Read more about Attenuated Democracy:  A Critical Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics

Attenuated Democracy: A Critical Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics

(6 reviews)

David Hubert, Salt Lake Community College

Copyright Year: 2020

Publisher: Salt Lake Community College

Language: English

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Reviewed by Lucy Britt, Visiting Assistant Professor, Gettysburg College on 11/8/22

This is book is fairly comprehensive, covering most of the big topics an introductory U.S. politics textbook should cover. Some topics I wish had their own chapters include social policy, fiscal policy/federal budget, foreign policy, and social... read more

Reviewed by Johannes Grow, Instructor, Radford University on 3/20/22

Hubert's textbook is quite comprehensive. The text's seventy short and succinct chapters first provide a detailed overview of the discipline of political science, and social science writ large, and then focuses on the basic political structure of... read more

Reviewed by June Tooley, Professor and Department Chair, History and Government, Berkshire Community College on 6/17/21

I have been looking for an Open Resource textbook that fits my U.S. Government course - or, for that matter, a textbook in any format that addresses the needs of my students. I am delighted to find this resource. This comprehensive text covers... read more

Reviewed by Bryant Sculos, Visiting Assistant Professor, Worcester State University on 6/11/21

Covers everything and more compared to most other textbooks on this subject. As with any textbook, complete comprehensiveness is impossible, so supplementary exposition in class or providing supplementary readings would be a good idea when using... read more

Reviewed by Eric Myers, Instructor, West Virginia University on 4/21/21

The glossary for this work addresses important terms that students can turn to when trying to understand complex ideas of American democracy. It is especially helpful that the terms in this book's glossary address relevant court cases, terms... read more

Reviewed by Jakob Miller, Asst. Prof. of Pol. Science, Taylor University on 3/10/21

With 70 chapters, the book has sections on all of the topics one would expect from an introductory American politics textbook. That said, many chapters are quite short: the chapter on voting, for example, is only a 2,000 words or so. Many... read more

Table of Contents

  • Part 1: Thinking Like a Political Scientist
  • Part 2: Constitutional Foundations
  • Part 3: Congress
  • Part 4: The Presidency
  • Part 5: The Supreme Court
  • Part 6: The Federal Bureaucracy
  • Part 7: Linkage Institutions
  • Part 8: Electoral Politics and Public Opinion
  • Part 9: Individual Political Behavior
  • Part 10: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

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  • About the Book

    The U.S. political system suffers from endemic design flaws and is notable for the way that a small subset of Americans—whose interests often don’t align with those of the vast majority of the population—wields disproportionate power. Absent organized and persistent action on the part of ordinary Americans, the system tends to serve the already powerful. That’s why this text is called Attenuated Democracy. To attenuate something is to make it weak or thin. Democracy in America has been thin from the beginning and continues to be so despite some notable progress in voting rights. As political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens wrote, “The essence of democracy is not just having reasonably satisfactory policies; the essence of democracy is popular control of government, with each citizen having an equal voice.” (1) Since this is likely to be your only college-level course on the American political system, it is important to point out the structural weaknesses of our system and the thin nature of our democracy. Whenever you get the chance—in the voting booth, in your job, perhaps if you hold elected office—I encourage you to do something about America’s attenuated democracy.

    About the Contributors


    David Hubert received his B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He makes his home in Utah where he serves as Associate Provost of Learning Advancement at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). He led the development and implementation of SLCC’s ePortfolio requirement in its General Education program, directed SLCC’s Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, and helped the college receive a commendation from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities for its assessment of General Education learning outcomes. 

    Active as a professor of Political Science, Dr. Hubert developed three separate online Political Science courses, one of which has used open educational resources since 2008.  He led four different study abroad trips to London that centered on active learning. In collaboration with colleagues, he developed two different learning communities. He serves as a faculty member at the AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High Impact Practices, and the Summer Institute on General Education. He is Treasurer and board member of the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL). In his spare time he loves tennis, photography, camping, and stargazing in Utah’s southern wilderness.

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