Readings in American Government

Author(s): Mary P Nichols, David K Nichols, KEVIN J. BURNS

Edition: 11

Copyright: 2023

Pages: 646


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Readings in American Government provides a wide array of material on the fundamental themes of American political life.  Teachers will enjoy having a single volume, which combines more than 100 readings from both primary and secondary sources.  Students will benefit from the introductory essays at the beginning of each chapter, which analyze the readings and explain the major themes of the chapter.  This volume encourages professors and students to engage with timeless questions and issues facing the American regime, including:

  • The American regime’s fundamental political commitments
  • The relationship between majority rule and the rights of minorities
  • The tension between individualism and community
  • Separation of powers and the role of political institutions
  • Presidential leadership and presidential rhetoric
  • The role of political parties and the potential for reforming them today
  • Constitutional interpretation
  • Economics and the appropriate extent of government involvement in the economy
  • The purposes and principles of American foreign policy
  • The maintenance of liberty and equality in the United States

Readings in American Government has been updated to address contemporary issues such as populism and the Trump Administration, modern political rhetoric, reforming Congress, and the “Green New Deal.”

1. The Declaration of Independence (1776) Thomas Jefferson

2. The Meaning of the Declaration of Independence (1857) Abraham Lincoln

3. Exchange on State Sovereignty and the Problem of Majority Rule (1858) Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln

4. The Revolution of Sober Expectations (1975) Martin Diamond

5. The Small Republic Argument (1787) Centinel​

6. Selections from the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

7. The Work of the Constitutional Convention (1787) James Madison

8. Federalist 10 (1787) James Madison

9. Federalist 51 (1788) James Madison

10. The Military in a Commercial Republic (1787) Alexander Hamilton

11. Equality and Commerce (1840) Alexis de Tocqueville

12. On Citizenship (1824, 1816, 1814) Thomas Jefferson

13. Federalist 39 (1788) James Madison

14. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

15. The Purposes Served by Local Self-Government (1840) Alexis de Tocqueville

16. Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital (1995) Robert D. Putnam

17. By the People: The Old Values of the New Citizenship (1994) William A. Schambra

18. Republican Friendship and the Common Good (2022) Jerome C. Foss


19. On Great and Small Parties (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville

20. Political Parties and Constitutional Principles (2020) James W. Ceaser

21. The Electoral College (1788) Alexander Hamilton

22. The Electoral College and the American Idea of Democracy (1977) Martin Diamond

23. Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

24. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

25. The New Republican Party (1977) Ronald Reagan

26. Second Inaugural Address (2013) Barack Obama

27. Inaugural Address (2017) Donald Trump

28. Battle for the Soul of the Nation (2022) Joseph Biden

29. “Party Unity and Presidential Speech: How Reagan, Obama, and Biden Manage Party Conflict” (2022) Mark A. Scully


30. On the Character of the Legislator (1778) Alexander Hamilton

31. On Congress (1788) Alexander Hamilton and James Madison

32. The Senate and Federalism (1833) Joseph Story

33. The Role of the Rich and the Poor in the Legislature (1787) John Adams

34. Anti-Federalists, Objections to the Constitutional Plan for Congress (1787-1788)

35. The Need for Cabinet Government in the United States (1879) Woodrow Wilson

36. The Palace Revolt: Majority Party Rule or  Majority Rule? (1910)

37. The Rise of the Washington Establishment (1989) Morris P. Fiorina

38. Congress Is Not the Broken Branch (2022) William F. Connelly, Jr.

39. Deliberation Defended (1994) Joseph M. Bessette

40. U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995)

41. McConnell and the Republicans Nuke the Filibuster (2017)

42. Congressional Crises: The Rhetoric of Reform (2019)  Joseph F. Wysocki


43. On the Presidency (1788) Alexander Hamilton

44. The Rise of the Rhetorical Presidency (1981) James W. Ceaser, Glen E. Thurow, Jeffrey K. Tulis, Joseph M. Bessette

45. The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions (1838) Abraham Lincoln

46. United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation (1936)

47. The “Stewardship Theory” (1913) Theodore Roosevelt

48. Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers (1916) William Howard Taft

49. The Presidency, Political Pragmatism, and Constitutional Principle (2019) Kevin J. Burns

50. Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952)

51. Korematsu v. United States (1944)

52. On the Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus (1863) Abraham Lincoln

53. Impeachment: A Legal or Political Process? (2022) Jordan T. Cash

54. Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (1876) Frederick Douglass


55. The Role of the Supreme Court (1788) Alexander Hamilton

56. The Problem of Judicial Review (1787) Brutus

57. Against Judicial Review (1815) Thomas Jefferson

58. The Authority of the Supreme Court (1857) Abraham Lincoln

59. Marbury v. Madison (1803)

60. Federalist Constitutionalism and Judicial Independence (2013) Matthew S. Brogdon

61. Eakin v. Raub (1825)

62. Cooper v. Aaron (1958)

63. United States v. Nixon (1974)

64. Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022)

65. Constitutional Interpretation (1985) William J. Brennan, Jr.

66. Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (1987) Robert H. Bork

67. Exchange on the Binding of Generations (1789–1790) Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

68. Federalist 49 (1788) James Madison


69. Capitalism and Freedom (1962) Milton Friedman

70. The New Goals of Politics (1932, 1935, 1941) Franklin Delano Roosevelt

71. The “Great Society” (1964) Lyndon B. Johnson

72. Address to the Nation on the Economy (1981) Ronald Reagan

73. Soft Despotism (1840) Alexis de Tocqueville

74. Against Manufacturing (1787) Thomas Jefferson

75. Report on Manufactures (1791) Alexander Hamilton

76. Address on Free Trade (1988) Ronald Reagan

77. Remarks at the World Economic Forum (2020) Donald Trump

78. Kelo v. New London (2005)

79. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012)

80. Regulation and Liberty (2013) Adam M. Carrington


81. Federalist 11 (1787) Alexander Hamilton

82. The Monroe Doctrine (1823) James Monroe

83. War Message (1917) Woodrow Wilson

84. The Principles and Purposes of American Foreign Policy (2019) Stephen P. Sims

85. Selections from Pacificus and Americanus (1793–1794) Alexander Hamilton

86. Selections from Helvidius (1793) James Madison

87. “The Bush Doctrine” (2002) George W. Bush

88. Speech to the United Nations (2018) Donald Trump

89. Press Conference on American Support for Ukraine (2022) Joseph Biden

90. Ukraine, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the Nature of War (2022) Eric Fleury 518 91. The Moral Basis of International Action (1961) Joseph Cropsey


92. United States v. Stevens (2010)

93. Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith (1990)

94. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014)

95. Roe v. Wade (1973)

96. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey (1992)

97. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022)

98. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

99. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

100. Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

101. Bolling v. Sharpe (1954)

102. Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

103. Harrison Bergeron (1961) Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

104. The Natural Aristocracy (1813) Thomas Jefferson

105. Why So Many Ambitious Men and So Little Lofty Ambition Are to Be Found in the United States (1840) Alexis de Tocqueville

APPENDIX The Constitution of the United States of America

Mary P Nichols

David K Nichols


Related ISBN's: 9781792498558, 9798765755303




ISBN 9781792498558

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