Skip to Content

Articles, News & Updates

Note from Cal Jillson and Dave Robertson - co-editors of Perspectives on American Government, 2nd Ed


We are thrilled to announce the publication of a new edition of Perspectives on American Government (Routledge 2014). We are pleased by the broad support that the first edition of Perspectives received and grateful to all of those who worked with us to improve this new edition. Perspectives provides supplementary readings for any American Government text, but it works especially well with Cal Jillson’s text, American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change (8th edition available for Spring 2015). Click on the links below to request an exam copy of either book or both books.

Click on the headline to read the rest of the letter.

Perspectives on American Government opens with an introductory essay on American Political Development (APD) and the importance of historical context and development for understanding most aspects of contemporary American politics. The body of the book is organized in sixteen chapters covering the origins, participants, structures, institutions, and policy results of American government and politics. Students are not left to founder in esoteric original readings. Each chapter has an introductory essay and each reading has a headnote to insure that students know what they are reading and what they should be looking for in that reading. Each chapter presents six readings, always a mix of classics (Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, Tocqueville), political science standards (Key, Schattschneider, Lindblom), and the best of the recent APD literature (Skocpol, Skowronek, Smith, Mettler, Schickler).

American government texts generally do a good job of presenting an overview of what we know about all of the major topics treated in class – the Constitution, federalism, political participation, Congress, and much more – but students benefit greatly from a few well-chosen original readings to provide more depth to each chapter of the basic text. These readings, whether it is Locke on prerogative, Schattschneider on interest groups, or Skocpol and Williamson on the origins and goals of the Tea Party, give our students a better and a deeper sense of what political scientists know, how they found it out, and how they present it to others – scholars, teachers, students, and fellow citizens – for discussion, criticism, and revision.

Both of us have taught American Government for about thirty-five years and the readings that we offer in Perspectives are those that we have found work best in our own classes. In our classes and, we hope, in yours these readings open a range of fascinating questions for lecture, discussion, and debate. Finally, once you have had a chance to look at Perspectives, we would love to hear from you about your reactions to the book, about readings that you think might enrich future editions, and, ideally, about how the book worked for you in class.

All the best,

Cal and Dave,

Related Products

  1. Perspectives on American Government

    Readings in Political Development and Institutional Change, 2nd Edition

    Edited by Cal Jillson, David Brian Robertson

    The second edition of this much-admired book offers an accessible and coherent selection of readings illustrating for students the depth and contours of how American politics has developed over time. Grounded in foundational debates, classic political science scholarship, and the best contemporary...

    Published February 25th 2014 by Routledge

  2. American Government

    Political Development and Institutional Change, 7th Edition

    By Cal Jillson

    History matters. America’s past is present in all aspects of the contemporary political system. Cal Jillson uses political development and the dynamics of change as a tool to help students understand how politics works now—and how institutions, participation, and policies have evolved over time to...

    Published January 7th 2013 by Routledge