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United States Politics Reading List

United States Politics, 2019/20, Semester 1
Dr Christine Harlen
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

WEEK TWO: American Culture

Required Reading:

MCKAY, David. 2017. American Politics and Society. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, chapters one and two. £

TOMES, R.R. 2014. American Exceptionalism in the Twenty-First Century. Survival  56  (1), pp.27-50.


TORPEY, J. 2017. The End of the World as We Know It?: American Exceptionalism in an Age of Disruption. Sociological Forum, 32: 701-725. 

CEASER, James W.. 2012. "The Origins and Character of American Exceptionalism." American Political Thought 1 (1):3-28.

 SCHILDKRAUT, Jennifer. 2014 ‘Boundaries of American Identity: Evolving Understandings of Us.’ Annual review of political science.   [online]  17, [Accessed day month year], pp. 441-460.

CROUCHER, S. 2015. From world citizenship to purified patriotism: Obama's nation-shaping in a global era. Identities-Global Studies in Culture and Power. 22 (1), pp.1-18. 

CHA, Taesuh. 2015. American Exceptionalism at the Crossroads: Three Responses. Political studies review.  [online], 13(3), [Accessed day month year], pp.351-362.

LOCKHART, Charles. 2012. The roots of American exceptionalism [electronic resource] : institutions, culture and policies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

SCHAFER, B. 1991. Is America different? : a new look at American Exceptionalism Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 187-221. PIED2463 VLE online course readings folder

SHAFER, B. E. 1999. American exceptionalism. Annual review of political science. [online], 2 (1), [Accessed day month year], pp. 445-463.

SMITH, R. M. (1993). Beyond tocqueville, myrdal, and hartz: The multiple traditions in america. The American political science review., 87(3), 549.

ARCHER, Robin. 2007. Why is there no labor party in the United States? Princeton ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, c2007.

SCHUCK, P. 2008. Understanding America : the anatomy of an exceptional nation. Reprint from The American Lawyer May 2008

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WEEK THREE: United States Constitution

Required Reading:

MCKAY, David. 2017. American Politics and Society. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, chapter three

LEVINSON, Sanford. 2010. ‘So Much to Rewrite, So Little Time.’ Constitutional Commentary. 27, pp. 515-526. 

SINGH, ROBERT (2017) ‘I, the people’: a deflationary interpretation of populism, Trump and the United States constitution, Economy and Society, 46:1, 20-42. Particularly from p. 30.


U.S. Constitution (it’s short). Available from the United States National Archives: Some of the language is antiquated, or deliberately evasive. The more difficult passages are available via the “Key to the most difficult passages of the constitution in the VLE”

ZVESPER, John (1999), The Separation of Powers in American Politics: Why We Fail to Accentuate the Positive. Government and opposition, 34: 3–23. 

DAWOOD, Yasmin. 2014. Democratic Dysfunction And Constitutional Design. Boston University Law Review. 94(3), pp.913-937.

DAHL, R. A. 2003. How democratic is the American Constitution? New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale Nota Bene, pp. 41-72. Learning Resources area of PIED2463 in BlackBoard 

CUTLER, L. N. 1980. To form a government. Foreign affairs. [online], 59 (1), pp. 126-143.

BEER, Samuel H. (Samuel Hutchinson). 1993. To make a nation : the rediscovery of American federalism. Cambridge, Mass. ; London : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

BRINKLEY, Alan, Nelson W. POLSBY, and Kathleen M. SULLIVAN. 1997. New Federalist papers : essays in defense of the Constitution. New York : Twentieth Century Fund, c1997.


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WEEK FOUR: Elections

Required Reading:

MCKAY, David. 2017. American Politics and Society. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, chapter Six. 

LAURISON, D. 2016. Social Class and Political Engagement in the United States. Sociology Compass  10  (8), pp.684-697.  


CAMPBELL, David E. 2013. Social Networks and Political Participation. Annual review of political science. . 16: 33-48.

FRANKO, W.W., Kelly, N.J. and WITKO, C. 2016. Class Bias in Voter Turnout, Representation, and Income Inequality. Perspectives on politics.. 14 (2), pp.351-368.  

SOSS, J. and L.R. Jacobs. 2009. The Place of Inequality: Non-participation in the American Polity. . Political science quarterly [online], 124 (1), [Accessed day month year]. pp. 95-125. 

Goldstein, K., Dallek, M. and Rivlin, J. 2014. Even the Geeks are Polarized: The Dispute over the 'Real Driver' in American Elections. The forum. -a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. 12(2), pp.211-222.

LEIGHLEY, Jan E. 2010. The Oxford handbook of American elections and political behavior. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010.

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WEEK FIVE: President

Required Reading:

MCKAY, D. H. 2017. American Politics And Society. Oxford: Blackwell, chapters 10 and 11. 

SKOWRONEK, Stephen. 2014. ‘Twentieth-Century Remedies,’ Boston University Law Review, 94(3) May, pp. 795-806. Available through search@library.

NYE, Joseph S. 2014. Transformational and Transactional Presidents, Leadership. 10: 118. The online version of this article can be found at


EDWARDS, George C. 2012. ‘Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership,’ in Overreach : leadership in the Obama presidency Princeton ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, 2012. Chapter 7. 

JONES, C. O. 2005. The presidency in a separated system. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, Chapter One. Available as e-book and regular book. 

FOLEY, M. 2013. Barack Obama and the Calculus of Presidential Ambiguity. Political studies review.. 11 (3), pp.345-357. 

GREENSTEIN, F.I. 2000. The Qualities of Effective Presidents: An Overview from FDR to Bill Clinton. Presidential studies quarterly.. 30 (1), pp.178-185.

GREENSTEIN, F.I. 2011. Barack Obama: The Man and His Presidency at the Midterm. PS : political science and politics.. 44 (1), pp.7-11.  

ROCKMAN, B.A. 2012. The Obama Presidency: Hope, Change, and Reality. Social science quarterly.. 93(5), pp.1065-1080.

MILKIS, S.M., RHODES, J.H. and CHARNOCK, E.J. What Happened to Post-Partisanship? Barack Obama and the New American Party System. Perspectives on politics.. 10 (1), pp.57-76.

NEUSTADT, R. E. 2001. The weakening white house. British journal of political science. [online], 31 [Accessed day month year], pp. 1-11.

RUDALEVIGE, A. 2006. The Contemporary Presidency: The Decline and Resurgence and Decline (and Resurgence? ) of Congress: Charting a New Imperial Presidency. Presidential studies quarterly., 36 (3), pp. 506-524.

GREENSTEIN, Fred I. 2009. The presidential difference : leadership style from FDR to Barack Obama. 3rd ed. Princeton, N.J. ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, c2009. 


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Week SIX:  Congress

Required Reading:

MCKAY, D. H. 2017. American Politics And Society. Oxford: Blackwell, chap. 8 and 9.

MAYHEW, D.R. 2009. Is Congress "the Broken Branch"? Boston University Law Review. 89(2), pp.357-369.


LEWALLEN, J., THERIAULT, S.M. and JONES, B.D. 2016. Congressional dysfunction: An information processing perspective. Regulation & Governance. 10 (2), pp.179-190.

SINCLAIR, B. 2009. Question: What's Wrong with Congress? Answer: It's a Democratic Legislature. Boston University Law Review . 89(2), pp.387-397.

KING, A. 1997. The vulnerable American politician. British journal of political science. [online], 27 [Accessed day month year], pp. 1-22.

FARINA, C.R. 2015. Congressional Polarization: Terminal Constitutional Dysfunction? Columbia Law Review.. 115 (7), pp.1689-1738. 

DAVIDSON, Roger H., Walter J. Oleszek, and Frances E. Lee. 2010. Congress and its members. 12th ed. Washington, D.C.. 

SINCLAIR, B. 1996. An effective Congress and effective members: What does it take? PS : political science and politics. [online], 29 (3), [Accessed day month year], pp. 435-439.

MAYHEW, David. 2015. Congress as the Handler of Challenges: the Historical Record. Studies in American Political Development. 185-212.

WILSON, G.K. 2009. Congress in Comparative Perspective. Boston University Law Review. 89(2), pp.827-845. 

MANN, Thomas E. and Norman J. Ornstein. 2006. The broken branch : how Congress is failing America and how to get it back on track. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2006.


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WEEK SEVEN: Supreme Court

Required Reading:

MCKAY, 2017.  American Politics And Society, Chapter 15.

HODDER-WILLIAMS, R. 1992. Six notions of political and the United States Supreme Court. British journal of political science. [online], 22 [Accessed day month year], pp. 1-20.

HASEN, R. L. 2019. Polarization and the Judiciary. In: LEVI, M. & ROSENBLUM, N. L. (eds.) Annual Review of Political Science, Vol 22.


CLAYTON, C.W. and SALAMONE, M.F. 2014. Still Crazy after All These Years: The Polarized Politics of the Roberts Court Continue. The forum. - a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. 12(4), pp.739-762.

RASKIN, Jamin. 2004. ‘The Supreme Court and America’s Democracy Deficit.’ Overruling democracy : the Supreme Court vs. the American people. London: Routledge, Chapter One. 

YARBOROUGH, T. 2000. In search of a role: The Supreme Court in a post-civil rights era. In: A. Grant. American politics : 2000 and beyond. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 129-146.  

HODDER-WILLIAMS, R. 2003. The Federal Judiciary. In: R. Singh (ed). Governing America : the politics of a divided democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 147-169.

Toobin, Jeffrey. 2007. The nine : inside the secret world of the Supreme Court New York ; London : Doubleday.

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WEEK 8: Reading Week.

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WEEK 9: Political Parties

Required Reading:

MCKAY, American Politics And Society, Chap. 5 in 2017 editions. 

IYENGAR, S., LELKES, Y., LEVENDUSKY, M., MALHOTRA, N. & WESTWOOD, S. J. 2019. The Origins and Consequences of Affective Polarization in the United States. In: LEVI, M. & ROSENBLUM, N. L. (eds.) Annual Review of Political Science, Vol 22.

RAPOPORT, Ronald. 2010. “Winning Isn’t Everything: Third Parties and the American Two Party System,” in Maisel, L.S. and Berry, J.M. eds. The Oxford handbook of American political parties and interest groups. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 222-242.


PEW RESEARCH CENTRE FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE PRESS. 2014. ‘Political Polarization in the American Public'. June. Available online:

BRADY,, DAVID W. 2010. “Party Coalitions in the U.S. Congress: Intra- vs. Interparty,” in Maisel, L.S. and Berry, J.M. eds. in Maisel, L.S. and Berry, J.M. eds. The Oxford handbook of American political parties and interest groups. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 358-376..

RAE, Nicol. 2007. ‘Be Careful What You Wish For: The Rise of Responsible Parties in American National Politics,’ Annual review of political science., 10: 161-190.

MASON, R. 2003. Political parties and the party system. In: R. Singh. Governing America : the politics of a divided democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 94-108.

LAYMAN, Geoffrey C., Thomas M. Carsey, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, 2006. 'Party Polarization in American Politcs: Characteristics, Causes and Consequences.', Annual review of political science.., 9: 83-110.

BRADBERRY, L.A. and JACOBSON, G.C. 2015. The Tea Party and the 2012 presidential election. Electoral studies.. 40, pp.500-508. 

RAPOPORT, R.B. 2015. Epilogue: What 2012 nomination contests tell us about the future of the Republican Party. Electoral Studies. 40, pp.509-513.

ABRAMOWITZ, Alan I. 2013. The Electoral Roots of America's Dysfunctional Government. Presidential studies quarterly.. 43(4): 709-731. 

FRIED, A. and HARRIS, D.B. 2015. The Strategic Promotion of Distrust in Government in the Tea Party Age. Forum-a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. 13 (3), pp.417-443.  

LOWNDES, J. 2016. White Populism and the Transformation of the Silent Majority. The forum. ISSN: 1540-8884; 2194-6183-a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics. 14 (1), pp.25-37.

GROSSMAN, M. and HOPKINS, D.A. 2015. Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats: The Asymmetry of American Party Politics. Perspectives on politics. 13(1), pp.119-139.


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WEEK 10: Organized Interests

Required Reading:

MCKAY, 2017. American Politics And Society, Chapter 14.

SCHLOZMAN, Kate. 2010. “Who Sings in the Heavenly Chorus? The Shape of the Organized Interest System,” in Maisel, L.S. and Berry, J.M. eds. The Oxford handbook of American political parties and interest groups. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 425-450. 

SMITH, Mark. 2010. “The Mobilization and Influence of Business Interests,” ,” in Maisel, L.S. and Berry, J.M. eds. The Oxford handbook of American political parties and interest groups. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 425-450.


BAUMGARTNER, Frank L. and Beth Leech. 2001. ‘Interest Niches and Policy Bandwagons: Patterns of Interest Group Involvement in National Politics.’ The Journal of politics. 63(4) November: 1191-1213. 

BURDETT, Loomis. 2003. Interest Groups. In: R. Singh. Governing America : the politics of a divided democracy . Oxford: Oxford University Press, chapter 12.  

HERTEL-FERNANDEZ, A. 2014. Who Passes Business's "Model Bills"? Policy Capacity and Corporate Influence in US State Politics. Perspectives on Politics. 12 (3), pp.582-602.

Gilens, M. and Page, B.I. 2014. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on politics.. 12(3), pp.564-581. 

LOWERY, David. 2007. ‘Why Do Organized Interests Lobby? A Multi-Goal, Multi-Context Theory of Lobbying’ Polity , 39 (1) (January): 29-54. 

REILLY, S. 1998. Organized interests in national politics. In: G. Peele. Developments in American politics 3. Chappaqua, N.Y.: Chatham House Publishers, pp. 162-182.

BERRY, J. M. and C. WILCOX. 2007. The interest group society. New York: Pearson Longman.


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WEEK 11: Foreign Policy

Required Reading:

MCKAY, American Politics And Society, chapters 20 and 21 in 2017 edition.

SCOTT, James and Ralph G. Carter. 2014. The Not-So-Silent Partner: Patterns of Legislative–Executive Interaction in the War on Terror, 2001–2009. International studies perspectives. 15: 186-208.


LOEFFLMAN, G. 2015. Leading from Behind - American Exceptionalism and President Obama's Post-American Vision of Hegemony. Geopolitics.. 20 (2), pp.308-332.

SKIDMORE, D. 2012. The Obama Presidency and US Foreign Policy: Where's the Multilateralism? International Studies Perspectives. 13 (1), pp.43-64.

This list was last updated on 28/10/2019