American Politics For Dummies
How This Book Is Organized
This book is organised in six parts to give you a review of the most important subjects you need to know when learning about America.
Part I: Running Down the Basics of American Politics
What’s the very best place to start? The beginning, naturally. The chapters in this part give you an overview of the key elements that explain what America is and how it operates. I show you how the country came to be, including the fears and hopes that led to the construction of the constitution, which is the defining document for American government. I also give you a sense of how the government is structured in a federal sense and within the states.
Part II: Discovering How the American Government Functions
The founders of the United States of America worked hard to ensure that they created something new, something that would correct what they saw as the wrongs of British rule in the early days of the colonies. In doing so they created a complicated system of many layers. I show you how those layers function together (and in opposition) and examine whether the system is overloaded.
Part III: Glimpsing Elections and Political Parties
Giving the people input into who runs their government is an essential part of American government, but it has become an incredibly complicated one as the country expanded and grew more diverse. The chapters in this part of the book give you the details on how elections work, including the ways in which two major political parties have come to dominate the political process. I show you the predictable ways in which people vote according to details like where they live and how old they are. I also discuss some of the politics behind politics, like how interest groups work to curry popular favour.
Part IV: Investigating American Politics and Society
Giving the people the power to vote means that all the basic human talents and shortcomings – all the difficulties of reaching agreement and making things happen – are magnified and scrutinised on the world stage. In this part of the book, I talk about changing views regarding race, and I tell you about issues wherein agreement continues to elude politicians and the people they serve. I also talk about tough economic times and the ways government has worked to coax the country through them.
Part V: Looking Into American Politics on the World Stage
America doesn’t operate in a vacuum. In fact, its actions and reach are a major part of the world political scene. In this part, I talk about America’s mission abroad, its special relationships with various countries, and the ways that America sees and protects itself have changed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Every For Dummies ends with top ten lists of quick, fun, and weird or surprising information. I used mine to cover major political scandals and interesting candidates who ran for office but didn’t quite make the grade.