If information wants to be free, why are textbooks so expensive?

Stars and Stripes, Justice Dept. Washington, D.C.  Photo © 2007 Scott Hanley

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The College American Government Reader

An advantage of the internet is the ability to provide a free reader for American Government students. This reader is comprised of items specially written for it, writings in the public domain, links to external sources, and items originally published elsewhere whose authors have graciously allowed us to republish their work. This Reader is still in development, and we welcome recommendations. If you have the qualifications and would like to contribute an essay for the reader, check our Contributors page for more information.

1. Introduction to Political Science and American Government

1.1 Why Study the Constitution and National and State Politics, Richard Millsap (external link)

1.2 20th Century Democide, R. J. Rummel (external link)

1.5 “Is the United States of America a Republic or a Democracy?” Eugene Volokh (external link)


2. Institutions that Limit Government Power

Civil Liberties

2.1 New York Times v. United States (concurring opinion), Justice Hugo Black

2.2 Telling the Police to F*** Off: Risky First Amendent Business, Clay Calvert (external link)

2.3 Warrants: Bulwark of Liberty or Paper Shield? Ken White


3. Congress

3.1 The History of the Filibuster, Senate testimony of Sarah A. Binder (external link)

3.2 Case Study: How a Bill Does not Become a Law–Asian Carp and the Closure of the Chicago Area Waterway, James Hanley

3.3 The American Budget Process, Lynzi Miller and James Hanley

3.4 Article II and Associated Amendments of the U.S. Constitution


4. The Executive Branch: The Presidency and the Federal Agencies

4.1 The (Relatively) Unchecked Growth of Executive Power, James Hanley


5. The Judicial Branch:

5.1 Judicial Independence in the United States: Current Issues and Relevant Background Information, Mira Gur-Arie & Russell       Wheeler (external link)


6. Elections

6.1 Why Do Those Pollsters Keep Telling Us What To Think?