In the two years that have passed since the first edition of "The American Democracy" was published, the US has witnessed a large amount of conflict, both at home (the Thomas hearings, the Los Angeles riots, and continued economic uncertainty) and abroad (the collapse of communism, the Persian Gulf War, and the rise of economic conflict with Japan). This new edition aims to help students keep pace with the changing world, by challenging them to think about how today's issues affect the institutions and processes of government in the US. Global perspectives are presented in "How the US Compares" boxes, and more than 100 "Analyze the Issues" inserts appear throughout, allowing students to develop critical thinking skills by questioning their own attitudes about current political issues. A series of brief essays in a debate format ("Dialogues"), written by leading political scientists, appear at the end of each of the text's seven parts to stimulate student thought. Focus points, which appear at the beginning of each chapter, act as a road map helping students recognize the important themes and concepts of each chapter. In this new edition, the chapter on US foreign and defence policy now stresses a greater emphasis on the economic dimensions of national security. There is coverage of international trade, the European Community, Japan, global competitiveness, the Middle East, and so on. Retianing the same chapter organization, the second edition features a new appendix on the state and local politics, and two new box programmes ("The Media and the People" and "Critical Thinking").