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Authors: by Paula D. McClain (Author), Steven C. Tauber (Author)
American Government in Black and White: Diversity and Democracy, Fourth Edition, covers all of the standard topics found in an Introduction to American Government text while also speaking to today’s students who want to examine how racial inequality has shaped-and will continue to shape-who we are and what we believe. Authors Paula D. McClain and Steven C. Tauber address issues of inequality in major facets of American government, including the U.S. Constitution, key political institutions, and the making of public policy. Engaging the original voices of racial and ethnic actors in our nation’s history, the text shows how to measure and evaluate the importance of equality in America, from its founding up to today.
To the Student xiii
About the Authors xxvi
1 American Government and Politics in a Racially Divided World 1
2 The Constitution: Rights and Race Intertwined 26
3 Federalism: Balancing Power, Balancing Rights 55
4 Civil Liberties: Freedom and Government Authority in Tension 95
5 Civil Rights: Inequality and Equality 127
6 Congress: Representation and Lawmaking 166
7 The Presidency: Conventional Wisdom Redefined 199
8 The Bureaucracy: Career Government Employees, Accountability,
and Race 237
9 The Judiciary: Blending Law and Politics 264
10 Public Opinion: Divided by Race? 293
11 The Media: Reinforcing Racial Stereotypes? 327
12 Social Movements: Civil Rights as a Movement Model 355
13 Interest Groups: Good Outcomes with Few Resources 403
14 Political Parties: Linking Voters and Governing Institutions 435
15 Voting and Elections: The End of the Obama Era 464
16 The Making of Domestic and Foreign Policy: Summing Up American
Government in Black and White 527
Appendix I: The Declaration of Independence 551
Appendix II: The Constitution 554
In this book, we are concerned with the complexities of the American political system and inequalities that continue to exist within it. If you read and understand the text, we believe you will benefit in four ways.
First, government is more than just a set of institutions, rules, and procedures by which those institutions operate. Government exists also in our perceptions about and our experiences with government. Every American might perceive government differently, and each of us behaves somewhat differently based on these perceptions. Describing government in this sense is not something that is feasible here, but we can report on the perceptions of different peoples grouped by shared characteristics. The United States is not “one nation . . . indivisible” but, instead, something different to each of us based on
our citizenship status, socioeconomic class, religion, age, place of residence, race, ethnicity, gender, and many other factors.
Second, we offer a practical view of American government supported by empirical analysis. By using hard evidence to support our views, we hope to avoid a naive “how government should work” approach and give you a firm base for developing informed opinions. For example, we list the powers of the president, but in reality these powers are limited and the president is much less powerful than a simple list of official powers would suggest.
Third, you will have a sense of how race has played out in the American governmental system and its politics. Although some historical events present a sad and painful look at the American system, recent events such as the election of President Obama show a more hopeful albeit cautious look at the American political system and its politics.
Finally, reading this book will give you a more holistic and realistic perspective on American government. You will have a sense of what government can do and what American citizens must do to help government achieve its objectives. Regardless of whether that help comes through social movements, voting, or participation in other types of political activity, people—individually and collectively—are central to the American governmental system.
New to the Fourth Edition
• Updates and analysis place the 2018 election and its results into political and cultural context for students.
• Expanded coverage of issues of race and ethnicity that have emerged since the election of President Donald Trump
• Expanded coverage of the #MeToo Movement
• Enhanced discussion of political science research in relevant chapters provides insights into both the scholarly debates and consensus of the discipline. Many of the tables in the chapters have been updated with the most recent data available.