American Government and Politics Today, 2013-2014 (AP® Edition)

  • AUTHORS: Steffen W. Schmidt; Mack C. Shelley, II.; Barbara A. Bardes; Lynne E. Ford
  • ISBN-13: 9781133610625 
  • Grade(s): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
  • 704 Pages  Hardcover 
  • 16th Edition  |  Previous Editions: 2012
  • ©2014     Published
  • Prices are valid only in the respective region


About The Product

Learning Outcomes appear in the opener to help students target their reading and are revisited directly in the chapter summary. These objectives are tied to the introduction to American government outcomes that are expected from most courses across the country and help instructors meet and exceed the expectations for what the learner must know and be able to do at the end of the course.


  • Learning Outcomes appear in the opener to help students target their reading and are revisited directly in the chapter summary. These objectives are tied to the introduction to American government outcomes that are expected from most courses across the country and help instructors meet and exceed the expectations for what the learner must know and be able to do at the end of the course.
  • "Politics with a Purpose" features highlight how a group or individual has impacted our political system. They succinctly incorporate a literature review of key scholarship on the topic and offer a balance of positive and negative, modern and historical examples. Examples often include students employing the skills they have learned in college to bring about social and political change. In chapter 5, for example, the story of The Other Wes Moore invites students to consider how opportunities are socially constructed rather than available to all as the "American Dream" suggests.
  • Provocative "What if . . . ?" questions prompt lively classroom discussion and put critical-thinking skills into practice with current, real-life issues such as "What if taxes never increased, and local public services disappeared?" (Ch 1) and "What if slavery returns, but we don't notice?" (Ch 5). Student-oriented features "Making a Difference" and "You Can Make a Difference" show students ways to become politically involved. Rich with examples and stories of young adults, these features illustrate for students how easy it is to get involved in the political process. A new box in Chapter 1 describes students fighting cuts in higher education funding. Another in Chapter 6 describes the power of social media as it relates to KONY 2012, the film and campaign by Invisible Children to bring the Ugandan war criminal, Joseph Kony, to justice.
  • A boxed feature entitled "Beyond Our Borders" appears in each chapter to give students both global and comparative context, covering topics related to key issues such as economic globalization, foreign elections, citizenship, immigration, and foreign lobbying. New boxes focus on Greece (Ch 1), on "new" Constitutions written around the world (Ch 2), and on LGBT rights around the world (Ch 5).

About the Contributor

  • Steffen W. Schmidt

    Steffen W. Schmidt is a professor of political science at Iowa State University. He grew up in Colombia, South America, and has studied in Colombia, Switzerland, and France. He has a B.A. from Rollins College and obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University, New York, in public law and government. Dr. Schmidt has published 14 books and over 130 articles in scholarly journals and is the recipient of numerous prestigious teaching prizes, including the Amoco Award for Lifetime Career Achievement in Teaching and the Teacher of the Year award. He is a pioneer in the use of web-based and real-time video courses and is a member of the American Political Science Association's section on Computers and Multimedia. He is known as "Dr. Politics" for his extensive commentary on U.S. politics in U.S. and international media. He is a weekly blogger for Gannett, and comments on CNN en Español and Univision, as well as WNYC, New York. Dr. Schmidt is on Facebook (Steffen W Schmidt) and Twitter (DrPolitics).

  • Mack C. Shelley, II.

    Mack C. Shelley, II is a professor of political science and statistics at Iowa State University. After receiving his bachelor's degree from American University in Washington, DC, he went on to graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a master's degree in economics and a Ph.D. in political science. He arrived at Iowa State in 1979. From 1993 to 2002, he served as elected co-editor of the Policy Studies Journal. Shelley has also published numerous articles, books, and monographs on public policy, including The Permanent Majority: The Conservative Coalition in the United States Congress; Biotechnology And The Research Enterprise: A Guide to the Literature (with William F. Woodman and Brian J. Reichel); American Public Policy: The Contemporary Agenda (with Steven G. Koven and Bert E. Swanson); and Quality Research in Literacy and Science Education: International Perspectives and Gold Standards (with Larry Yore and Brian Hand).

  • Barbara A. Bardes

    Barbara A. Bardes is professor emerita of political science at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Kent State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She served as a faculty member in political science and dean of Mundelein College at Loyola University of Chicago. In 1993, she was appointed dean of Raymond Walters College of the University of Cincinnati, where she served until 2003. She returned to the political science department, where she held the position of graduate director before retiring. Bardes has written articles on public and foreign policy, and women and politics. She also has co-authored Declarations of Independence: Women and Political Power In 19th Century American Novels; Thinking About Public Policy; Public Opinion: Measuring The American Mind; and American Government And Politics Today.

  • Lynne E. Ford

    Lynne E. Ford is Associate Provost for Curriculum and Academic Administration and professor of political science at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She received her B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in government and political behavior from the University of Maryland-College Park. Ford's teaching and research interests include women and politics, elections and voting behavior, political psychology, and civic engagement. She has written articles on women in state legislatures, the under-representation of women in political office in the American South, and work-family policy in the United States. She also has co-authored Declarations of Independence: Women and Political Power in 19th Century American Novels; Thinking About Public Policy; Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind; and American Government and Politics Today.

New to this Edition

  • New and updated coverage of a multitude of topics including the economic recession and its impact on the future of today's students, social media, the power of interest groups, and in-depth coverage of the 2012 elections, including the influence of SuperPACs, the impact of redistricting on the composition of the House of Representatives, and women's roles in, and reactions to, 2012 campaign politics.
  • Now available with Aplia, the easy to use, affordable, and effective online resource that helps students learn and saves you time grading. It's like a virtual teaching assistant! Aplia uses visually engaging videos, graphs, and political cartoons to help capture students' attention and show them why the course is relevant. An automatically-included eBook provides convenient access to all the material at an affordable price.
  • The organization of the book and availability of supplementary materials, including Aplia, an Instructor's Manual, and Test Bank, make assessment of student learning easier for instructors, departments, and institutions. The student learning outcomes (SLO) for each chapter are supported by Aplia's interactive coursework and can be assessed using the auto-graded Aplia exercises and/or through test items keyed to the learning outcomes. This linkage makes it easier for an instructor to assess student learning and easier for departments to demonstrate American government course outcomes by aggregating individual section results.
  • Chapter 1, "The Democratic Republic" has been recast around the question, "Can America honor past promises and still meet future challenges?" It invites students to consider questions such as "Is our democratic republic nimble enough to take on new problems such as unemployment in a global economy or the education gap in a knowledge economy even as it must continue to fund Social Security and care for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan?"; "What does the 'American Dream' hold for today's college students?"; and "Have the rules changed or does it just feel that way to people?" The Occupy Wall Street movement caught fire because of this angst and spread quickly across the country thanks to social media. This chapter looks more deeply at the role of political ideology in shaping attitudes about the role of government and challenges students to think critically about why they need to know about and understand how government works--their futures depend on it.
  • Chapter 3, "Federalism," features a variety of new policy issues that bring into stark focus the evolving relationship between the national and state governments: economic recession, terrorism, immigration, public employee rights, environmental regulation, and access to health care, among others.
  • Chapter 5, "Civil Rights," includes new material on voter identification laws and other challenges to voting rights being adopted by states; a reconsideration of affirmative action in higher education; and updates to material on same-sex marriage and the elimination of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
  • Chapter 6, "Public Opinion and Political Socialization," now includes coverage of social media and social networking as tools that influence the dynamics of public opinion formation and expression. New material considers the impact of the economic recession in the political socialization process and the expression of public opinion throughout the 2012 primary and general election campaigns.
  • Chapter 7, "Interest Groups," has been completely rewritten to focus on the impact of interest groups in every aspect of politics and policymaking. Have interest groups become so professionalized and elite-driven that they have few ties to their grassroots supporters?
  • Chapter 10, "Campaigning for Office," addresses the new facts of campaigning from the creation of SuperPACs to the use of the social media and the use of data-mining techniques to find all the voters.
  • Chapter 11, "The Congress," includes a section on how the increased polarization of the members of Congress has led new processes including the frequent threat of the filibuster and the ability of the majority to control the action of each respective house.
  • The policy chapters (15, 16, 17) have been refocused to approach policy making in difficult times, reflect the connection between domestic and global policy, and highlight why policy matters to students--all within the framework of past promises and future challenges. Chapter 15, "Domestic Policy," takes its already expansive environmental politics coverage with greater treatment of sustainability. In addition, the chapter is now framed in terms of the U.S. policy agenda and how it has changed over time. Chapter 16, "Economic Policy," has been rewritten to discuss the global economic collapse and the government's role in the economy and the growth of income inequality.
  • Chapter 18, "State and Local Government," features more information on emergency management.