US Government and Politics

US Government and Politics

William Storey

Edinburgh University Press

book_US Government and politics


List of Boxes                                       viii
List of Tables                                      ix
Introduction                                       x

Part I: The Framework of US Politics

1 The Constitution – History and Key Features                              3

The origins of the Constitution                                                   4
How the Constitution was written                                              7
The ratiication debate: its advantages and disadvantages    10
The key features of the Constitution                                         13
Viewpoints on the effectiveness of the Constitution              19

2 Evaluating the Constitution – Race and US Politics           28
The impact of slavery and segregation                                      29
Responding to exclusion from society                                       33
The struggle for integration                                                         35
Constitutional issues raised by the end of legalized segregation  40
The development of Affirmative Action programmes                     43
Resistance to Affirmative Action                                                          45
The current political debate on Affirmative Action                           49

3 Interpreting the Constitution – the Supreme Court                   62
The constitutional powers of the judicial branch of government   63
The organisation of the judiciary                                                          65
How judges are appointed                                                                     66
The judicial process                                                                                 71
The power of judicial review                                                                  72
The use of judicial power                                                                       77
‘Culture Wars’                                                                                           80
Prospects for the Supreme Court                                                         82

Part II: The Limits of Federal Power – Federalism and Pluralism

4 Federalism                                                                       91

The states at independence from Britain              92
Federalism in the Constitution                                94
The growth of the central government                  97
Restoring powers to the states                                105
Federalism in the twenty-first century                   111

5 Elections                                                                            121

The Founding Fathers’ dilemma 122
The electoral system 123
Making the electoral system genuinely democratic 136
Concerns about the system: campaign finance 139
Concerns about the system: redistricting 147
Concerns about the system: participation 148
Elections in the twenty-first century 150

6 Political Parties 167

The emergence of two ‘umbrella’ parties 168
‘The party’s over’: the decline of political parties 171
Two ideological parties: the resurgence of political parties 173
Party supporters 192
Minor parties 196

7 Pressure Groups 205

Pressure groups and the Constitution 206
Influencing individuals and the local community 207
Influencing state governments 209
Influencing elections 210
Influencing the House of Representatives 213
Influencing the Senate 217
Influencing the White House 219
Influencing the Federal bureaucracy 220
Influencing the judiciary 221
The impact of pressure groups on the US political
system 223

Part III: Testing the Limits of Federal Power –  the Legislature and the Executive

8 Congress 233

Congress and the Constitution 234
Congress and the presidency 236
Congress and the judiciary 246
Legislating: the process of passing laws 247
Representation: promoting the interests of constituents 257
Political parties in Congress 269
Evaluating the effectiveness of Congress 271

9 The Presidency – Domestic Affairs 280

The presidency and the Constitution 281
The President’s role as chief executive of the government 282
The President’s role as chief legislator 295
The President’s role as head of state 298
The President’s role as party leader 301
The Vice President 302
Evaluating the domestic powers of the President 303

10 The Presidency – Foreign Affairs 308

The presidency and the Constitution 309
The goals of US foreign policy 312
The instruments of US foreign policy 321
The impact of foreign policy on domestic affairs 323
Evaluating the powers of the President 327

Index 334

US Government and Politics (2007) – William Storey


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