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Freedom in America
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Freedom in America



September 2011 | 456 pages | CQ Press
If you want students to really understand the concept of power, moving beyond a survey book's quick discussion of Laswell's "who gets what and how," Muir's thoughtful Freedom in America might be the book for you. Exploring the words and ideas of such thinkers as Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, Muir discusses the nature and limits of three types of power—coercive, reciprocal, and moral—and then uses this framework to explain how American political institutions work.

If looking for an alternative to a long survey text—or itching to get students grappling with The Federalist Papers or Democracy in America with more of a payoff—Muir's meditation on power and personal freedom is a gateway for students to take their study of politics to the next level. His inductive style, engaging students with well-chosen and masterfully written stories, lets him draw out and distill key lessons without being preachy. Read a chapter and decide if this page turner is for you.

 
PART ONE: FREEDOM AND POWER
 
Anarchy
 
Coercive Power
 
Tyranny
 
The Police Power
 
The American Constitution
 
The Declaration of Independence
 
Tocqueville and Marx
 
Reciprocal Power
 
Moral Power
 
Demagoguery
 
Social Pluralism
 
Political Democracy
 
PART TWO: INSTITUTIONS OF FREEDOM
 
The Presidency
 
The Coercive Power of the Presidency
 
The Presidency’s Reciprocal and Moral Powers
 
Legislatures as Schools
 
Congress as Defender of Freedom
 
The Supreme Court as Freedom’s Protector
 
The Moral Power of the Courts
 
Political Parties: Machines, Coalitions, Churches
 
American Newspapers and Ideas
 
Free-Market Capitalism
 
The Moral Effects of Taxation
 
Federalism and Freedom Part
 
PART THREE: AMERICAN SOCIETY
 
We the People
 
The American Electorate
 
Tocqueville’s Warnings
 
Equality
 
Racial Equality
 
Americans and Foreign Relations
 
The Democratic Vision

I considered this book a very good choice for supplemental reading for my course this semester. It contains several chapters that are best for suggested reading rather than class reading. However, I might use this as a text book for a new class that I am designing about democracy in the world.

Dr Miguel Buitrago
Department of Social Science, University of Hamburg
September 18, 2012

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ISBN: 9781608718443
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