Overview and Features




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American Government PoliticsOverview

In a storytelling approach that weaves contemporary examples together with historical context, By The People: Debating American Government explores the themes and ideas that drive the great debates in American government and politics.  The book introduces students to big questions like:

Who Governs? »

Do we have a government “by the people” or do the rich and powerful get more say?


How does our system of government work? »

It is complex and messy, so what makes it “tick” and does it work for everyone?


What does government do? »

Does is provide solutions to collective problems, or is it a problem in and of itself?


Who are we? »

As a community, a people and a nation?

By challenging students with the questions above, the text gets them to ENGAGE with, THINK about, and DEBATE the merits of U.S. government and politics.

Click here to read the Preface.

American government political science textbook overviewLearning Features

Chapter Introductions »

Each chapter of By The People begins with a compelling story about colorful individuals that underscores the theme of the chapter.


By the Numbers »

A set of fun facts in each chapter help frame the quizzical reality of American politics and government. By the Peopleis informed by the most current scholarship available.The textbook offers a balanced, though critical viewpoint that broadens the student’s understanding of America’s government and the way it works.


The Bottom Line »

A brief recap concludes each chapter section, underscoring the most important aspects of the discussion.


Comparing Nations »

This chapter feature discusses how other nations operate their courts, legislatures, media, or elections and helps students understand what is vital and distinctive about the United States. This feature also engages non-native students, who make up a rising proportion of our student population.


Photos, Tables, Infographics »

A compelling visual program brings essential themes to life.


What Do You Think »

These critical thinking activities reflect our belief that students will have the last word in the ongoing debate. We ask you to take a stand on important issues found in each chapter.


See For Yourself »

Mobile links using QR (Quick Response) supplement the reading by connecting students to selected historical and contemporary audio and video content.


Key Terms in Chapter Margins »

A running glossary of key terms appears in chapter context. A complete glossary in the back of the book collects all key terms in one location.


Chapter Ending Summary and Study Questions »

Each chapter concludes with a summary of key points, list of key terms, and several thought-provoking study questions that reach beyond the facts and figures.