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Cover of This Land Is Your Land: Introduction to American Government and Politics v2.0
October 2021
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ISBN (Digital): 

This Land Is Your Land: Introduction to American Government and Politics

Version 2.0
By Martin Saiz and Jennifer L. De Maio

Key Features

  • Written with a bottom-up or "individual-up" view of the American political system
  • Presents overall legal framework of the American political system, followed by the fundamental elements of the Constitution
  • Chapters on political parties, interest groups, and the media illuminate how these institutions connect citizens and their representatives, making civic participation more cost effective
  • Chapters on domestic and foreign policy to provide insights into how the government accomplishes its goals at home and abroad
  • Useful learning structure includes end-of-chapter features that review main points, encourage critical reflection, and challenge readers to imagine how the American political system could become more democratic
    • “What Can I Do” features suggest practical ways in which students can make a difference in their communities or influence the political system
    • “What’s the Alternative” features provide thought-provoking insights into how our political system might be differently structured to become more democratic


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This Land is Your Land: Introduction to American Government and Politics is suitable for United States government and politics or American government and politics courses at the undergraduate level at two- and four-year colleges and universities.

This Land Is Your Land: Introduction to American Government and Politics seeks to engage a wide variety of students. It serves as an accessible and comprehensive assessment of the American political system, written to help students understand and participate effectively in democratic governance. With a focus on critical analysis and practical guidance, the text explores issues through both historic and institutional contexts. It encourages readers to explore and better understand different levels of active citizenship so they may choose the path that is right for themselves. This text covers the full range of topics included in introductory and survey courses on American government and politics.

New in This Version

  • Chapter summaries added to all chapters
  • Chapter 5: “Civil Rights: Necessary for Equal Treatment” features an expanded discussion of diversity and Black Lives Matter with a focus on the impact of George Floyd’s murder. Updated to reflect current demographics of Congress and other government institutions
  • Chapter 10: “Media: Biased or a Business?” focuses on the increasingly important role played by social media and features updated data and figures on media consumption
  • Chapter 14: “The Federal Courts: Unelected but Powerful” reflects key changes on the Supreme Court as well as current demographics regarding racial and ethnic diversity in the courts
  • Chapter 16: “Foreign Policy: Engaging in the Global Community” includes expanded discussion of climate change and the role played by the United States in climate degradation. Includes new data and figures about military budgets and weapon capabilities
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Instructor’s Manual

Instructor’s Manual

The Instructor’s Manual guides you through the main concepts of each chapter and important elements such as learning objectives, key terms, and key takeaways. Can include answers to chapter exercises, group activity suggestions, and discussion questions.

Instructor’s Manual

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

A PowerPoint presentation highlighting key learning objectives and the main concepts for each chapter are available for you to use in your classroom. You can either cut and paste sections or use the presentation as a whole.

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

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Sample Syllabi

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Martin Saiz California State University - Northridge

Martin Saiz (PhD University of Colorado at Boulder) is Professor of Political Science and the former Chair of the Political Science Department at California State University, Northridge. Martin formerly taught with the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining academia, Martin directed small town and neighborhood community service centers for the Center for Community Development and Design at the University of Colorado at Denver. In that capacity, he helped local organizations develop problem-solving capacities to assist neighborhood revitalization projects. Martin was subsequently appointed to the Denver Planning Commission and served two four-year terms during which he developed insights into the political process gained only from the inside.

Martin writes extensively on issues of urban politics, political parties, economic development, and education policy. His articles have been published in the Journal of Politics, Urban Affairs Review, Political Research Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, Economic Development Quarterly, The Journal of Urban Affairs, California Policy Issues Annual, Thought & Action, and  The Higher Education Journal of the National Education Association, as well as many other books and journals.

Jennifer L. De Maio California State University - Northridge

Jennifer L. De Maio (PhD UCLA) is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Northridge. Jennifer’s research focuses on African politics, specifically on ethnic civil wars and conflict management. She is the author of Confronting Ethnic Conflict: The Role of Third Parties in Managing Africa's Civil Wars. Jennifer has also published and presented papers on elections and the use of social media, transnationalized violence, the relationship between urban space and conflict management, women and conflict, and sustainable development in Africa, including the 2019 co-edited volume Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Problems, Perspectives, and Prospects. She is currently working on a project about the politics of decolonizing language in African Studies. Before beginning a career in academia, Jennifer worked as a journalist for ABC News and NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

Jennifer brings a unique perspective to the Introduction to American Government and Politics course that incorporates research from comparative politics and international relations. She uses the classroom as a stage, on which the students are "spect-actors" who are actively involved in the learning process.

Additions & Errata

9/20/22: from 8.5 the line "As a result, no third party candidate has won a single state in the Electoral College." has been deleted.

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