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American Government in Black and White

Second Edition

Paula D. McClain and Steven C. Tauber

Publication Date - July 2013

ISBN: 9780199325467

624 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $85.95

The first comprehensive introduction to American government through the lens of racial and ethnic equality, now in a new edition


Concise, affordable, and engaging, American Government in Black and White, Second Edition, is a unique introduction to American government that uses racial and ethnic equality as its underlying theme. Authors Paula D. McClain and Steven C. Tauber address issues of inequality in major facets of government, including the U.S. Constitution, key American political institutions and instruments of political behavior, and the making of public policy. Engaging the original voices of racial and ethnic actors in our nation's history, they show students how to measure and evaluate the importance of equality in America, from its founding up to today.


* Three kinds of text boxes that help students develop empirical and qualitative analytical abilities: "Measuring Equality," "Evaluating Equality," and "Our Voices"

* Vignettes, illustrations, and case material that connect America's past and present

* Running glossary definitions, thematic chapter conclusions, probing review questions, and annotated additional readings highlighting writings by and about racial and ethnic minorities


Now Playing: Learning American Government Through Film, provides video examples of course concepts, demonstrating the real-world relevance of what students are learning in the course. It is available in both a student and instructor version and can be packaged for free with this text.

CNN Video DVD: Featuring recent clips on timely topics, this DVD contains fifteen films tied to the chapter topics in the text. Each clip is approximately 5-10 minutes in length, offering a great way to launch your lectures. The DVD will be available to qualified adopters.

Adopters of American Government in Black and White, Second Edition, can package ANY Oxford book with the text for a 20% savings off the total package price. See our many trade and scholarly offerings at www.oup.com/us, then contact your local OUP representative to request a package ISBN.

New to this Edition

  • A new chapter on federalism illuminating the effects that shifts in power between federal and state governments have had on the rights of all Americans
  • Updated analysis that places the 2012 election and its results into political and cultural context
  • Expanded coverage of Latinos highlighting their increasing and complex political influence as a demographic and voting group
  • Enhanced discussions of political science research in relevant chapters
  • A sleek and modern full-color design and a revamped photo program

About the Author(s)

Paula D. McClain is Professor of Political Science, Professor of Public Policy, Dean of the Graduate School, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences at Duke University. She is a premier author, scholar, and series editor of numerous works on urban, racial, and ethnic politics.

Steven C. Tauber is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida. He is known for his work on judicial politics, particularly on social movements' use of litigation as a strategy. His work has covered civil rights groups and the animal rights movement.

Previous Publication Date(s)

September 2011


"American Government in Black and White is unique. There is no other text like it. It covers issues that other textbooks merely refer to as asides."--Richard Waterman, University of Kentucky

"This is a text that will provoke emotion and serious opportunities for critical thought about the role of government in the lives of Americans. It enables students to thoughtfully consider notions of equality and inequality and how government alleviates and burdens its citizens."--Damien Arthur, West Virginia State University

"American Government in Black and White is a thought-provoking yet substantive and research-filled textbook. It offers innovative perspectives on the overlap of race and politics while also fostering new levels of learning."--Anthony A. Maalouf, Delaware County Community College

"This book is innovative in that it uses the thematic lens of inclusion and exclusion to explore American politics. This approach is necessary because it enables today's college students to explore where our country has come from and where it is going."--Nathan K. Mitchell, Prairie View A&M University

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with a Conclusion, Review Questions, Additional Readings, Notes, and Key Terms.
    1. American Government and Politics in a Racially Divided World
    The Nature of Government
    The Functions of Government
    The Types of Government
    Principles of Constitutional Democracies
    The Rule of Law
    Natural Law
    Natural Rights
    Foundations of American Government
    Classical Liberalism
    Classical Republicanism
    Our Voices: Lemeul Haynes - Republicanism and Slavery
    Tradition of Exclusion (Inegalitarianism)
    Evaluating Equality: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
    Jefferson's Views
    Jefferson's Actions
    Exclusion and the Founding
    Measuring Equality: Who Was Eligible to Be Included in "We The People"?
    2. The Constitution: Rights and Race Intertwined
    A Revolution for Independence
    The Road to Revolution
    Declaring Independence
    First Attempt at National Government: The Articles of Confederation
    A Limited National Government
    Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
    Our Voices: Prince Hall (1748-1807)
    Second Attempt at National Government: The Constitution
    The Convention Delegates
    Measuring Equality: Whom Did the Framers Represent?
    Forming a New Government
    The Great Compromise
    Evaluating Equality: The Effect of the Three-Fifths Compromise on the Political Power of the South
    Debate over Ratification
    The Bill of Rights
    National Government Under the Constitution
    National Supremacy
    The Legislative Branch
    The Executive Branch
    The Judicial Branch
    Liberalized Amendment Rules
    Planning for Potential Pitfalls
    Separating Powers
    Varying Terms of Office
    Selecting National Government Officials
    Qualifying for National Office
    Instituting Checks and Balances
    3. Federalism: Balancing Power, Balancing Rights
    Federalism and State and Local Governments
    State Legislatures
    Measuring Equality: Black and Latino Representation in State Legislatures
    State Courts
    Local Governments
    Evaluating Equality: Home Rule, Statehood, and the Status of Washington, DC
    Federalism and the Constitution
    The Constitution and National Government Power
    Constitutional Amendments and National Power
    The Constitution and State Power
    The Evolution of American Federalism
    Federalism in the Early Republic and Industrialization
    Our Voices: John Marshall and the Status of Indian Tribes
    Dual Federalism and the Ascendency of State Autonomy
    Cooperative Federalism and the Growth of the National Government
    The Era of Devolution
    4. Civil Liberties: Freedom and Government Authority in Tension
    The Bill of Rights
    Origins of the Bill of Rights
    Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
    Freedom of Expression
    Political Dissent
    Pornography and Offensive Speech
    Freedom of the Press
    Freedom of Religion
    Establishment of Religion
    Free Exercise of Religion
    Our Voices: The Right to Practice Nontraditional Religions and Employment Division v. Smith
    Criminal Justice
    Evaluating Equality: Recognizing Values in Political Cartoons on Racial Profiling in Fighting Terrorism
    Measuring Equality: Discrimination, Death Row Population, and Executions in States with the Death Penalty
    Personal Autonomy
    Reproductive Freedom
    5. Civil Rights: Inequality and Equality
    Civil Rights Terms and Concepts
    Forms of Inequality
    Race, Ethnicity, and Civil Rights
    Measuring Equality: Voter Registration and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Evaluating Equality: Terminology and Support for Illegal Immigration Reform
    Asian Americans
    American Indians
    Nonracial and Ethnic Struggles for Civil Rights
    Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and the Transgendered
    Elderly and Disabled
    6. Congress: Representation and Lawmaking
    The Nature of Congressional Representation
    The Unrepresented
    Our Voices: Nonvoting Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Representation for Washington, DC
    Members of Congress
    Congressional Organization and Leadership
    Leadership in the House
    Leadership in the Senate
    Informal Organizations
    Evaluating Equality: The Congressional Black Caucus and Black Republican Members of Congress
    The Lawmaking Process
    Activity on the House Floor
    Action on the Senate Floor
    Reconciling Differences Between House and Senate Bills
    Nonlawmaking Functions of Congress
    Influences on Congressional Decisionmaking
    Party Leaders
    Measuring Equality: The Influence of Race and Political Party on Voting
    Interest Groups
    7. The Presidency: Conventional Wisdom Redefined
    Becoming President
    Our Voices: Barack Obama's Inaugural Address
    The Presidential Selection Process
    Measuring Equality: Scatterplots of Obama Vote and Minority
    Financing Presidential Campaigns
    Presidential Power
    Administrative Powers of the President
    Foreign Powers of the President
    Domestic Powers of the President
    Executive Branch Organization
    The Vice President
    The President's Spouse
    The Cabinet
    The Executive Office of the President
    The White House Staff
    Evaluating Equality: Racial and Ethnic Representation in the Executive Branch
    Presidents and Congress
    Negotiating with Congress
    Presidents and the Public
    Congressional Investigations of the Executive Branch
    8. The Bureaucracy: Career Government Employees, Accountability, and Race
    Bureaucratic Organization
    Cabinet Departments
    Independent Regulatory Commissions
    Independent Executive Agencies
    Our Voices: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Controversy over Florida and the 2000 Election
    Government Corporations
    Evaluating Equality: Bureaucratic Organization and American Indians
    The Bureaucrats
    Politics versus Merit
    Measuring Equality: Minority Representation in the Federal Civilian Workforce
    Bureaucratic Policymaking and Power
    Administrative Adjudication
    Sources of Bureaucratic Power
    Controlling Bureaucracies
    Executive Control over Bureaucracies
    Legislative Control over Bureaucracies
    Judicial Control over Bureaucracies
    9. The Judiciary: The Countermajoritarian Institution
    Law and Courts
    Dimensions of Law
    Organization of the Federal Judiciary
    Judicial Powers and Limitations
    The Origins and Development of Judicial Review
    Judicial Review and Constitutional Interpretation
    Judicial Review and Civil Rights
    Limitations on the Courts
    Judicial Selection
    Nominating Judges
    Confirming Judges
    Race and Ethnicity and Judicial Nominations
    Measuring Equality: Presidents' Records of Minority Judicial Appointments to the Lower Federal Courts
    Our Voices: Opinions of African American Supreme Court Justices
    Evaluating Equality: Legal Argumentation, Amicus Curiae Briefs, and Affirmative Action
    Attorney Influence on Court Decisionmaking
    10. Public Opinion: Divided by Race?
    Public Opinion Overview
    Our Voices: Transcript of Conversation between Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Governor Ross Barnett of Mississippi (Sunday, September 20, 1962)
    Race, Gender, and Public Opinion
    Evaluating Equality: Differences in Perception of Discrimination against Black Americans
    Political Culture and Public Opinion
    Measuring Equality: Barack Obama and the "Birthers"
    Political Socialization
    Demographic Factors
    Partisan Identification
    The Media
    Expressions of Public Opinion
    Measuring Public Opinion
    The Mechanics of Polling
    How the Sample Is Drawn
    How a Question Is Worded
    When a Question Is Asked Within the Survey
    When Data Are Gathered
    How Data Are Gathered
    The Bradley Effect
    Public Opinion and Politics
    11. The Media: Reinforcing Racial Stereotypes?
    A History of Media and Politics
    Print Media
    Our Voices: The Liberator and Abolitionism
    Broadcast Radio and Television
    New Media
    The Media Industry
    The Media Business
    Media Personnel
    Press Coverage of Politics and Government Officials and Institutions
    Reporting of Elections
    Measuring Equality: Racial and Ethnic Representation in the Media
    Coverage of Government Officials and Institutions
    Government Regulation
    Evaluating Equality: Racial Bias in the Press Coverage of Hurricane Katrina
    12. Social Movements: Civil Rights as a Movement Model
    A Social Movement Defined
    Conditions that give Rise to Social Movements
    Social Movements and Democracy
    Successful American Social Movements
    The Civil Rights Movement
    Our Voices: Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail
    The Women's Suffrage and Women's Rights Movement
    Evaluating Equality: What Arguments Did Supporters and Opponents of the ERA Put Forth?
    The Labor Movement
    Measuring Equality: Unions and Wages
    The Environment Movement
    The Anti-Vietnam War Movement
    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movement
    Other Important Social Movements
    The Chicano Civil Rights Movement
    American Indian Movement
    Asian American Movement
    The Antinuclear Movement
    Religious Fundamentalist Movement
    Why Some Social Movements Decline and Some Fail
    Factors that Contribute to Social Movement Decline
    Factors that Contribute to Social Movement Failure
    Social Movement or Political Activism
    13. Interest Groups: Good Outcomes with Few Resources
    Interest Groups and Their Functions
    Our Voices: Ida B. Wells
    A Group-Based View of American Politics
    Criticisms of Pluralism
    Interest Group Formation
    Types of Interest Groups
    Economic Interest Groups
    Evaluating Equality: The AMA Apologizes to Black Physicians
    Noneconomic Interest Groups
    Civil Rights
    Public Interest
    Single Issue
    Techniques of Interest Groups
    Media Campaigns
    Factors That Make Interest Groups Effective
    Political and Financial Inequalities
    Measuring Equality; Selected Racial and Ethnic Interest Groups and Their Resources
    14. Political Parties: Linking Voters and Governing Institutions
    The Development of the Two-Party System
    The Early Parties
    Realignment and Republican Party Dominance
    The New Deal Coalition and Democratic Party Dominance
    The End of Party Dominance and the Rise of Party Competition
    Minor Parties
    Evaluating Equality: Minor Parties and Racial and Ethnic Minorities
    Party Organization
    National Party Conventions
    Our Voices: Political Party Platforms and Civil Rights
    National Party Committees
    State and Local Organization
    Parties and Voters
    Party Identification
    Parties and Group Attachments
    Measuring Equality: Latinos, Religious Preference, and Party Identification
    15. Voting and Elections: Past and Prologue to the Obama Victory
    The Electoral Process: Nominating a Candidate
    Primary Elections
    Measuring Equality: Obama's Attention to Caucus States in the 2008 Presidential Election
    Party Conventions
    General Elections
    Electing the President: How the Electoral College Works
    Campaigning for Elections
    Developing a Campaign Strategy
    Financing a Campaign
    Running a Campaign
    Winning the Election: How Elections Are Decided
    Factors That Affect Voter Participation
    Evaluating Equality: Calculating Voting Turnout Rates
    Why Americans Do Not Vote
    Demographics and Voting
    Marital Status
    Socioeconomic Status
    The 2012 Presidential Election
    Our Voices: Senator Barack Obama's Speech on Race: "A More Perfect Union"
    16. The Making of Domestic and Foreign Policy: Summing Up American Government in Black and White
    Agenda Setting
    Social Movements, Interest Groups, and Agenda Setting
    The Media and Agenda Setting
    Our Voices: President Obama's Cairo Speech
    Policy Enactment
    Policy Formulation
    Policy Adoption
    Evaluating Equality: Racism and the Public Debate over the Adoption of Health Care Reform Policies
    Postenactment Stages
    Policy Implementation
    Measuring Equality: Racial Disparities in the Punishment of Drug Offenders
    Policy Evaluation
    Appendix I: The Declaration of Independence
    Appendix II: The Constitution

Teaching Resources


  • Instructor’s Manual with Test Bank (9780199325481)
  • Instructor’s Resource CD (9780199325504) including the Instructor's Resource Manual with Test Bank, the Computerized Test Bank, the PowerPoint-based slides, and the graphics from the text.
  • Companion Website: (www.oup.com/us/mcclain) Instructor resources include the instructor’s manual and test bank in Word format, downloadable PowerPoint slides, and chapter graphics. For students, the site contains learning objectives, key concepts, quizzes, essay questions, web activities, web links, and glossary term flashcards.
  • Course Cartridges


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  • McClain with Lindsay, Investigating American Democracy Package ISBN: 9780199356638, $98.95

Package one of Oxford’s Very Short Introduction’s with this text FOR FREE! Suggestions include:

  • American Immigration, David Gerber
  • American History, Paul S. Boyer
  • American Politics, Richard M. Valelly

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Package ISBN: 9780199352616