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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $39.00
  • Forthcoming: June 2019
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-67916-8
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

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Readings in American Politics

Fifth Edition


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Ken Kollman (Author, University of Michigan)


A contemporary reader with an analytical approach to American politics

This reader introduces students to foundational works and recent scholarship that have shaped the way political scientists understand American government today.


A contemporary, analytical perspective

Recent scholarship analyzing current debates and policy issues is presented along with foundational documents and classic works. These are the documents that have shaped the field of American politics. Drawing on extensive experience teaching introductory American government, Kollman has carefully edited each reading for undergraduates. Every selection is supported by a thoughtful headnote providing context and highlighting important issues.

30% NEW readings

New readings address major contemporary issue areas, such as the influence of fake news, social media, and technology on elections, the transformation of American conservatism, and polarization in American politics and culture.

A perfect companion to a Norton textbook—for only $7.50

Kollman curated these readings while teaching his own American government course and using Norton texts. The selections complement the approach and content of Lowi’s American Government and Kollman’s own The American Political System. The “Further Readings” sections in these books helpfully contain icons identifying pieces found in this reader.

Students can get this rich collection of more than 50 readings for just $7.50 net when packaged with one of our textbooks.

    Chapter 1: Fundamentals

    • MANCUR OLSON JR., from The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups 
    • GARRETT HARDIN, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 
    • JANE MANSBRIDGE, from “What Is Political Science For?,” American Political Science Review
    • ROBERT A. DAHL, from Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition
    • HANNA FENICHEL PITKIN, from The Concept of Representation  


    Chapter 2: The Constitution and the Founding

    • BRUTUS, The Antifederalist, No. 1 
    • ROBERT A. DAHL, from How Democratic Is the American Constitution?
    • MILA VERSTEEG and EMILY ZACKIN, from “Constitutions Unentrenched: Toward an Alternative Theory of Constitutional Design,” American Political Science Review


    Chapter 3: Federalism

    • CHRISTOPHER HAMMONS, from “State Constitutions, Religious Protection, and Federalism,” University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy
    • WILLIAM H. RIKER, from Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance
    • PAMELA McCANN, CHARLES SHIPAN, and CRAIG VOLDEN, from “Top-Down Federalism: State Policy Responses to National Government Discussions,” Publius


    Chapter 4: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

    • MICHAEL TESLER, from Post-Racial or Most-Racial? Race and Politics in the Obama Era
    • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) 
    • District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 
    • ANDREW R. LEWIS, from The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars

     Chapter 5: Congress

    • DAVID R. MAYHEW, from Congress: The Electoral Connection 
    • RICHARD F. FENNO JR., from Home Style: House Members in Their Districts 
    • GARY W. COX and MATHEW D. McCUBBINS, from Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House of Representatives
    • WILLIAM BERNHARD and TRACY SULKIN, from Legislative Style
    •  FRANCES E. LEE, from Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign


    Chapter 6: The Presidency

    • RICHARD E. NEUSTADT, from Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan 
    • CHARLES M. CAMERON, from Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power 
    • BRANDICE CANES-WRONE, from Who Leads Whom? Presidents, Policy, and the Public 
    • WILLIAM G. HOWELL, from Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action 
    • COREY ROBIN, from The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump


    Chapter 7: The Bureaucracy

    • JAMES Q. WILSON, from Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It 
    • MATHEW D. McCUBBINS and THOMAS SCHWARTZ, from “Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols versus Fire Alarms,” American Journal of Political Science 
    • DANIEL P. CARPENTER, from The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862–1928
    • SUSAN L. MOFFITT, from Making Policy Public: Participatory Bureaucracy in American Democracy


    Chapter 8: The Judiciary

    • GERALD N. ROSENBERG, from The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? 
    • Marbury v. Madison (1803) 
    • Lawrence v. Texas (2003) 
    • National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) 
    • TRACEY E. GEORGE and LEE EPSTEIN, from “On the Nature of Supreme Court Decision Making,” American Political Science Review


    Chapter 9: Public Opinion

    • ARTHUR LUPIA and MATHEW D. McCUBBINS, from The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know? 
    • JOHN R. ZALLER, from The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion 
    • DONALD R. KINDER and CINDY D. KAM, from Us against Them: Ethnocentric Foundations of American Opinion
    • KATHERINE CRAMER, from The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
    • JAMES CAMPBELL, from Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America
    • LILLIANA MASON, from Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity


    Chapter 10: Participation

    • JANELLE WONG, S. KARTHICK RAMAKRISHNAN, TAEKU LEE, and JANE JUNN, from Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and Their Political Identities 
    • JAN LEIGHLEY and JONATHAN NAGLER, from Who Votes Now? Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States
    • EITAN HERSH, from Hacking the Electorate


    Chapter 11: Interest Groups

    • KEN KOLLMAN, from Outside Lobbying: Public Opinion and Interest Group Strategies 
    • LARRY M. BARTELS, from Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age
    • BENJAMIN PAGE and MARTIN GILENS, from Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It


    Chapter 12: Political Parties 

    • JOHN H. ALDRICH, from Why Parties? A Second Look 
    • ANGUS CAMPBELL, PHILIP E. CONVERSE, WARREN E. MILLER, and DONALD E. STOKES, from The American Voter: An Abridgement 
    • MARTY COHEN, DAVID KAROL, HANS NOEL, and JOHN ZALLER, from The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform
    • KEN KOLLMAN, “Who Drives the Party Bus?” 
    • ERIC SCHICKLER, from Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism


    Chapter 13: Elections 

    • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 
    • Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder (2013) 
    • RICHARD L. FOX and JENNIFER L. LAWLESS, from “Gendered Perceptions and Political Candidacies: A Central Barrier to Women’s Equality in Electoral Politics,” American Journal of Political Science
    • CHRISTOPHER ACHEN and LARRY M. BARTELS, from Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government 
    • JAMES STIMSON, from Tides of Consent: How Public Opinion Shapes American Politics


    Chapter 14: The Media 

    • MATTHEW A. BAUM, from Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age 
    • MARISA A. ABRAJANO, from Campaigning to the New American Electorate: Advertising to Latino Voters 
    • HUNT ALLCOTT and MATTHEW GENTZKOW, from “Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives


    Chapter 15: Policy 

    • SUZANNE METTLER, from The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy 
    • ANDREA CAMPBELL, from How Policies Make Citizens: Senior Political Activism and the American Welfare State
    • DANNY HAYES and MATTHEW GUARDINO, from “Foreign Voices, Party Cues, and U.S. Public Opinion about Military Action,” International Journal of Public Opinion Research