To gain a fuller understanding of American politics today, students need to learn how it has evolved, from its founding principles to its contemporary practices. Such a perspective is crucial for making sense of the strategic and ideological battles in twenty-first century American politics. Cal Jillson’s American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change fosters this understanding by providing insights into how institutions, avenues of participation, and policies have changed over time to produce today’s political environment in the United States. Going one step further, Jillson homes in on the critical question of how American democracy might work better, focusing in every chapter on reform and change into the future. These revisions make the sixth edition better than ever: New chapter opening vignettes emphasizing the Constitution and how it both structures political change and is continually reinterpreted Separate chapters for civil liberties and civil rights, each subject receiving a fuller treatment than in previous editions Updates throughout to reflect the 2010 midterm elections Coverage of President Obama’s first two years in office Along the way, several pedagogical features foster critical thinking and analysis: Key terms defined in the margins on the page where they appear help students study important concepts. Focus questions at the beginning of every chapter highlight the central learning objectives, and focus question icons throughout the chapter flag relevant discussions. Colorful figures and charts help students visualize important information. "Let’s Compare" boxes analyze how functions of government and political participation work in other countries, a proven method for better learning. "Pro & Con" boxes bring to life a central debate in each chapter, from questions over campaign finance, bias in the media, and the balance between the president and Congress in war making, to judicial activism and restraint, gay marriage, and equitable taxes. Time lines in every chapter give students an at-a-glance reference to important stages in political development. End-of-chapter summaries, suggested readings, and web resources help students master the material and guide them to further critical investigation of important concepts and topics. The companion website at www.routledge.com/textbooks/Jillson offers students useful study tools to master the book’s lessons, including practice quizzes, chapter summaries, flash cards, participation activities, interactive timelines, and links to further resources online. In addition, instructors have access to password-protected class prep and testing resources.