Take stock of the political dynamics in the United States with this concise but thorough introduction to how the system works, how it got that way, who participates, and what the possibilities are for further change. Cal Jillson’s engaging text provides not only a sense of relevance, but also a sense of how politics works and how institutions, systems, avenues of participation, and policies have developed over time to produce today’s political environment in the United States. Going one step further, Jillson identifies the critical question of how American democracy might work better, focusing in every chapter on reform and likely next moves in the continually unfolding story of American politics, one in which your students will play a crucial part. The Fifth Edition has been carefully updated to bring the coverage and scholarship fully up-to-date. Highlights include: thorough, in-depth analysis of the 2008 campaigns and election results, as well as challenges the Obama administration will have to face increased attention throughout to race, ethnicity, and gender, especially as they relate to the nation’s development greater focus on the philosophical ideas and ideologies that continue to be central to American political development additional discussions throughout on political reform, to emphasize the ongoing potential for change in American politics. The companion website at http://americangovernment.routledge.com offers students useful study tools to master the book’s lessons, including diagnostic practice quizzes, chapter summaries, flashcards, weblinks, and participation activities. In addition, instructors have access to password-protected class prep and testing resources.