The American Political Process

The American Political Process, Seventh edition, Alan Grant


List of illustrations viii

1 The framework of American politics 1

The people of the United States 1
A mobile society 9
The historical framework: from Independence to Philadelphia 13
Amendments to the Constitution 14
The separation of powers 20
Checks and balances 21

2 Making the laws: the American Congress 26

The role of the legislature 26
The membership of Congress 29
A bicameral legislature: the Senate and the House of Representatives 33
Congressional committees and their chairmen 39
The elected party leaders 43
Republican control of Congress 48
Factors influencing voting in Congress 57
The legislative process in Congress 65
Financial control by Congress 68

3 Law execution: the President and administration 76

The different roles of the President 76
The growth of the presidential office 80
The limits of presidential power 84
Dimensions of presidential power 95
Personal and institutional perspectives on the presidency 102
Sources of presidential support 103
Organisation of the executive branch 116
The federal civil service 119

4 Law adjudication: the Supreme Court and the judiciary 128

The structure of the American judiciary 131
The appointment of the federal judiciary 133
The Supreme Court and the role of government 142
Judicial activism and the Warren Court 144
The Burger Court 1969–86 148
The Rehnquist Court since 1986 150
Major decisions of the Burger and Rehnquist Courts 150
The political nature of the Supreme Court 160

5 Pressure group politics 164

The American system and pressure group activity 165
Different types of pressure group 167
Methods of pressure group influence 171
The role of pressure groups in the American system 177
The checks on pressure group influence 179

6 Party politics 183

The structure of American parties 183
The American two-party system 189
Minor parties and independent campaigns 201
Political parties today 203

7 Elections and voting 210

Who runs for the presidency? 210
The nomination process 213
The presidential election campaign 224
The Electoral College 238
Participation in elections 242
Congressional elections 246
The administration of elections 248
Financing elections 250

8 Federalism, the states and local government 256

The federal principle 256
The development of modern federalism 258
Dual federalism and cooperative federalism 261
New federalism, revenue-sharing and block grants 263
President Reagan and new federalism 265
Federalism in the 1990s 268
President George W. Bush and federalism 271
The Rehnquist Supreme Court and contemporary federalism 272
The organisation of state and local governments 274
The roles of state and local governments 276
The problems of modern federalism 277

Notes 282

Appendices 291

I  The Constitution of the United States 291

II List of Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States 305

III Glossary 307

Index 313

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The American Political Process (2nd Edition-2004) – Alan Grant

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