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Political Science
An Introduction

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Political Science
An Introduction

Fourteenth edition

Michael G. Roskin
Lycoming College

Robert L. Cord
James A. Medeiros
Walter S. Jones

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Political science: an introduction/Michael G. Roskin, Robert L. Cord,
James A. Medeiros, Walter S. Jones.— Fourteenth edition.
pages cm
ISBN 978-0-13-440285-7—ISBN 0-13-440285-5
1. Political science. I. Roskin, Michael G., 1939–
JA71.P623 2017


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Student Edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-134-40285-7
ISBN-10: 0-134-40285-5

Instructor’s Review Copy:
ISBN-13: 978-0-134-40989-1
ISBN-10: 0-134-40498-X

A La Carte Edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-134-40479-0
ISBN-10: 0-134-40479-3

Brief Contents

Part i The Bases of Politics 1

1 Politics and Political Science 2

2 Political Ideologies 28

3 States 49

4 Constitutions and Rights 68

5 Regimes 86

Part ii Political Attitudes 108

6 Political Culture 109

7 Public Opinion 127

Part iii Political Interactions 147

8 Political Communication 148

9 Interest Groups 168

10 Parties 187

11 Elections 207

Part iV Political Institutions 227

12 Legislatures 228

13 Executives and
Bureaucracies 248

14 Judiciaries 269

Part V What Political
Systems Do 290

15 Political Economy 291

16 Violence and Revolution 311

17 International Relations 331


This page intentionally left blank


Preface xi

Part i The Bases of Politics 1

1 Politics and Political Science 2
What Is Politics? 3

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Concepts and Percepts 4

What Is Political Science? 8

■■ CLASSIC THOUGHT: “never Get angry
at a Fact” 9

■■ METHODS: Learning a Chapter 10

Theory in Political Science 15

■■ THEORIES: Models: Simplifying reality 19

“Political Theory” versus Theory in
Political Science 22

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: not Just europeans 23

Review Questions 26 • Key Terms 26
• Further Reference 27

2 Political Ideologies 28
What Is Ideology? 29

■■ THEORIES: the origins of ideologies 30

Liberalism 31

Conservatism 33

Socialism 35

Nationalism 39

■■ METHODS: theses 41

Ideology in Our Day 42

■■ CASE STUDIES: islamism: a new ideology
with old roots 45

■■ DEMOCRACY: authoritarian Capitalism 46

Is Ideology Finished? 47
Review Questions 47 • Key Terms 48
• Further Reference 48

3 States 49
Institutionalized Power 50

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: aristotle’s Six types of
Government 52

Effective, Weak, and Failed States 52

■■ THEORIES: Political development
in three Stages 53

Unitary or Federal Systems 54

■■ METHODS: Sources 55

■■ CASE STUDIES: the Shaky Lives of
Confederations 57

Electoral Systems 61

■■ CASE STUDIES: French and German
Variations 63

States and the Economy 64
Review Questions 66 • Key Terms 67
• Further Reference 67

4 Constitutions and Rights 68
Constitutions 70

The Highest Law of the Land 71

■■ CASE STUDIES: the dangers of Changing
Constitutions 72

■■ CASE STUDIES: Canada’s new
Constitution 74

Can Constitutions Ensure Rights? 76

The Adaptability of the U.S.
Constitution 77

■■ THEORIES: What is a right? 78

Freedom of Expression in the
United States 79

■■ METHODS: references 83

Review Questions 84 • Key Terms 84
• Further Reference 84


viii Contents

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: almond’s three Publics 133

■■ DEMOCRACY: opinion Curves 137

Public-Opinion Polls 137

■■ METHODS: Variables 141

American Opinion 141
Review Questions 145 • Key Terms 146

• Further Reference 146

Part iii Political Interactions 147

8 Political Communication 148
The Mass Media and Politics 149

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: the two-Step Flow of
Mass Communications 150

■■ DEMOCRACY: the tendency to Media
oligopoly 153

Social Media 154

■■ CASE STUDIES: the Media and War 155

The Giant: Television 156

■■ METHODS: defining Variables 158

■■ THEORIES: the Framing of news 160

Are We Poorly Served? 161

■■ CASE STUDIES: the Media
and Watergate 163

The Adversaries: Media and
Government 164

Review Questions 166 • Key Terms 166

• Further Reference 166

9 Interest Groups 168
The Ubiquity of Interest Groups 169

■■ THEORIES: Countervailing Power 171

Interest Groups and Government 171

■■ CASE STUDIES: French antipluralism 173

Effective Interest Groups 174

■■ CASE STUDIES: how Powerful are
u.S. unions? 177

■■ METHODS: tables 178

Interest Group Strategies 179

5 Regimes 86
Representative Democracy 88

Democracy in Practice: Elitism or Pluralism? 94

Totalitarianism 97

■■ DEMOCRACY: dahl’s “influence terms” 97

■■ METHODS: tight Writing 100

■■ DEMOCRACY: Why democracies Fail 101

Authoritarianism 102

■■ CASE STUDIES: democracy in iraq? 104

The Democratization of Authoritarian Regimes 104
Review Questions 106 • Key Terms 106

• Further Reference 107

Part ii Political Attitudes 108

6 Political Culture 109
What Is Political Culture? 110

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: the Civic Culture 112

■■ DEMOCRACY: Civil Society 113

■■ METHODS: Quotations 114

The Decay of Political Culture 115

■■ CASE STUDIES: america the religious 116

Elite and Mass Subcultures 117

■■ THEORIES: Culture and development 118

Minority Subcultures 119

■■ CASE STUDIES: Quebec: “Maîtres Chez nous” 120

■■ DEMOCRACY: the three israels 122

Political Socialization 122

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: the authoritarian
Personality 123

■■ CASE STUDIES: China Builds unity 124

Review Questions 125 • Key Terms 126

• Further Reference 126

7 Public Opinion 127
What Public Opinion Is and Isn’t 128

■■ DEMOCRACY: a Short history of Polling 130

The Shape of Public Opinion 131

Contents ix

Part iV Political Institutions 227

12 Legislatures 228
The Origins of Parliaments 229

Presidential and Parliamentary Systems 230

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Where did the u.S.
System originate? 232

Bicameral or Unicameral? 235

What Legislatures Do 236

■■ METHODS: Longitudinal Studies 237

The Decline of Legislatures 240

■■ DEMOCRACY: Pork-Barrel Politics 241

Review Questions 246 • Key Terms 246
• Further Reference 247

13 Executives and
Bureaucracies 248

Presidents and Prime Ministers 249

■■ DEMOCRACY: israel’s directly elected
Prime Ministers 252

■■ DEMOCRACY: Putin’s authoritarianism 253

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Lasswell’s Psychology
of Power 254

Executive Leadership 254

■■ DEMOCRACY: an imperial Presidency? 255

■■ METHODS: Graphs 256

Cabinets 258

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: american Paranoia 260

Bureaucracies 260

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Weber’s definition
of Bureaucracies 261

The Trouble with Bureaucracy 265

■■ THEORIES: Bureaucratic Politics 266

Review Questions 267 • Key Terms 267
• Further Reference 268

14 Judiciaries 269
Types of Law 270

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: the roots of Law 272

The Courts, the Bench, and the Bar 273

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: olson’s theory of
interest Groups 182

Interest Groups: An Evaluation 183
Review Questions 185 • Key Terms 185
• Further Reference 186

10 Parties 187
■■ METHODS: Cross-tabulations 188

Functions of Parties 189

■■ DEMOCRACY: Parties that ignore
Voters 192

Parties in Democracies 193

■■ THEORIES: What is a “relevant”
Party? 195

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: duverger’s three
types of Parties 196

Classifying Political Parties 197

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Kirchheimer’s
“Catchall” Party 199

Party Systems 199

■■ DEMOCRACY: Multiparty Systems
are More Fun 200

■■ THEORIES: Sartori’s Party Competition 203

The Future of Parties 204
Review Questions 205 • Key Terms 205
• Further Reference 205

11 Elections 207
Why Do People Vote? 208

Who Votes? 209

■■ THEORIES: downs’s theory of Voting 209

■■ METHODS: tendency Statements 211

Who Votes How? 212

■■ CASE STUDIES: is the u.S. electoral System
defective? 217

Electoral Realignment 219

■■ DEMOCRACY: Partisan Polarization 220

What Wins Elections? 221

■■ DEMOCRACY: Changing Positions 224

Review Questions 225 • Key Terms 225
• Further Reference 226

x Contents

■■ CASE STUDIES: revolutionary Political
Warfare in Vietnam 320

Revolutions 321

■■ CASE STUDIES: the iranian
revolutionary Cycle 323

After the Revolution 324

■■ CASE STUDIES: Violent versus Velvet
revolutions 326

Review Questions 329 • Key Terms 329
• Further Reference 329

17 International Relations 331
What Is International Relations? 332

Power and National Interest 334

■■ METHODS: avoid “they” 334

■■ THEORIES: types of national interest 335

The Importance of Economics 336

Why War? 338

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Kennan’s dinosaur
analogy 340

Keeping Peace 341

Beyond Sovereignty? 343

■■ DEMOCRACY: the democratic Peace 345

U.S. Foreign Policy: Involved
or Isolated? 345

■■ THEORIES: Klingberg’s alternation
theory 346

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: thucydides on War 348

Review Questions 349 • Key Terms 349
• Further Reference 349

Glossary 351

Index 360

■■ CASE STUDIES: Common Law versus
Code Law 274

Comparing Courts 276

■■ CLASSIC WORKS: Marbury v. Madison 279

The Role of the Courts 280

■■ METHODS: Scattergrams 281

The Supreme Court’s Political Role 283
Review Questions 288 • Key Terms 288
• Further Reference 288

Part V What Political
Systems Do 290

15 Political Economy 291
What Is Political Economy? 292

■■ CASE STUDIES: how high are u.S. taxes? 294

Government and the Economy 294

■■ METHODS: Maps 298

What Is Poverty? 302

■■ DEMOCRACY: Poverty and ideology 303

■■ CASE STUDIES: Welfare Spending versus
tax expenditures 305

The Costs of Welfare 306

How Big Should Government Be? 308
Review Questions 309 • Key Terms 310
• Further Reference 310

16 Violence and Revolution 311
System Breakdown 312

Types of Violence 314

■■ METHODS: thinkpieces 315

■■ THEORIES: rising expectations 318

Terrorism 319



Political Science
and Democracy
Some people say political science is impractical.
It may be interesting, they add, but it really can-
not be used for anything. Not so. Political sci-
ence began as practical advice to rulers and still
serves that function. Plato, Aristotle, Confucius,
Machiavelli, Kautilya, and Ibn Khaldun, among
others, aimed to give sound advice based on one
or another theory. John Locke and the Baron de
Montesquieu deeply influenced the framers of the
U.S. Constitution. Political science has always en-
twined theoretical abstractions with applied rea-
soning. You may not become a political scientist,
but you should equip yourself with the knowl-
edge to make calm, rational choices and protect
yourself from political manipulation.

One of the great questions of our day, for ex-
ample, is whether democracy can and should be
exported. China, the Middle East, and many other
areas could benefit from democratic governance,
but is it practical to push democracy on them?
One of the original aims of the 2003 Iraq War was
to install a democratic regime which would then
inspire others in the region. Iraq, totally unready
for democracy, turned from a brutal dictatorship
into brutal chaos.

Even the United States, after more than two
centuries of trying to apply a democratic con-
stitution, is far from perfect. Reforms are badly
needed—but blocked at every turn—in taxation,
voting fairness, election campaigning, powerful
lobbies, economic policy, and the inefficiency and
complexity of government programs. By examin-
ing such problems, students see that democracy
is a constantly self-critical and self-correcting

process moved by open discussion and the admis-
sion of mistakes. It is always a work in progress.

Political science instructors may take some
joy in the uptick of student interest in politics,
although we cannot be sure how deep and du-
rable this interest may be. Budgetary cliffhang-
ers, spending cuts, and tax increases can provoke
discussion. For some years, students were rather
apolitical, a trend this book always tried to fight.
We ask them, “Well, what kind of a country do
you want? You’d better start developing your
own rational perspectives now because soon you
will have to make political choices.”

Political Science: An Introduction seeks to blend
scholarship and citizenship. It does not presume
that freshmen taking an intro course will become
professional political scientists. Naturally, we
hope to pique their curiosity so that some will
major in political science. This is neither a U.S.
government text nor a comparative politics text.
Instead, it draws examples from the United States
and from other lands to introduce the whole field
of political science to new students. Fresh from
high school, few students know much of other po-
litical systems, something we attempt to correct.

The fourteenth edition continues our eclectic
approach that avoids selling any single theory,
conceptual framework, or paradigm as the key
to political science. Attempts to impose a grand
design are both unwarranted by the nature of
the discipline and not conducive to broadening
students’ intellectual horizons. Instructors with
a wide variety of viewpoints have no trouble us-
ing this text. Above all, the fourteenth edition
still views politics as exciting and tries to com-
municate that feeling to young people new to the

xii Preface

New To This Edition
Instructor input, the rapid march of events, and
the shift to digitalization brought some changes
to the fourteenth edition:

• The old Chapter 2, Theories, has been merged
into Chapter 1 to bring the total number of chap-
ters down to seventeen, to better fit a semester.

• Jonathan Williamson of Lycoming College
contributes to Chapter 1 with discussions of
political theory and how political science con-
trasts with history and journalism.

• A new box in Chapter 3 explains Francis Fu-
kuyama’s three-step theory of the origins of
political order.

• The 2015 Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris illus-
trate the problem of free speech as opposed to
hate speech in Chapter 4.

• Recent Hong Kong protests now start
Chapter 5, illustrating the struggle for
democracy. Also new: Opportunism and
corruption undermine Communist regimes.

• A new box in Chapter 6, “The Three Israels,”
shows how successive waves of immigrants
brought distinctive political cultures to Israel.

• Jonathan Williamson, a pollster himself, up-
dates Chapter 7 on public opinion.

• The rise of the Tea Party and super-PACs rais-
es questions about the relevance of U.S. par-
ties in Chapter 10.

• Nonwhite voters are increasingly important,
and realignments may evolve more slowly
than previously thought, explains Chapter 11.

• Incomprehensible, overlong legislation is now
highlighted in Chapter 12.

• Chapter 13 now includes Fukuyama’s thesis
that uncorrupt, merit-based bureaucracies are
the basis of good governance.

• Chapter 16 gives more emphasis to the mostly
unhappy results of the Arab Spring and to ISIS
and Islamic fundamentalism.

• Chapter 17 begins with the dangers of a new
Cold War we face with Russia and China.

As ever, I am open to all instructor comments,
including those on the number, coverage, and
ordering of chapters. Would, for example, a text-
book of fourteen chapters—one for each week of a
typical semester—be a better organization?

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The fourteenth edition merges old Chapters 1
and 2 (Theories) to give us seventeen  chapters.
The consolidation of twenty-one chapters into
eighteen, more rationally arranged, received
very positive instructor feedback in the eleventh
and twelfth editions. We retain the introduction
of methodologies early in an undergraduate’s

Preface xiii

career. This does not mean high-level num-
bers crunching—which I neither engage in nor
advocate—but a reality-testing frame of mind
that looks for empirical verifiability. Where you
can, of course, use valid numbers. As an instruc-
tor, I often found myself explaining methodolo-
gies in the classroom in connection with student
papers, so I decided to insert some basic meth-
odologies in boxes. Each of these boxes make
one methodological point per chapter, cover-
ing thesis statements, references, quotations,
tables, cross-tabulations, graphs, scattergrams,
and other standard points, all at the introduc-
tory level. Instructors suggested that topics as
important as “Key Concepts” should be inte-
grated into the narrative, and I have done so.
Boxes on Democracy, Theories, Classic Works,
and Case Studies still highlight important polit-
ical science ideas, provide real-world examples,
and break up pages, making the text reader

The text boldfaces important terms and
defines them in running marginal glossaries
throughout the chapters. As an instructor, I
learned not to presume students understood the
key terms of political science. The definitions
are in the context under discussion; change that
context, and you may need another definition.
There is a difference, for example, between the
governing elites discussed in Chapter 5 (a tiny
fraction of 1 percent of a population) and pub-
lic opinion elites discussed in Chapter 7 (prob-
ably several percent). Italicized terms signal
students to look them up in the glossary at the
book’s end.

Pearson is pleased to offer several resources to
qualified adopters of Political Science and their
students that will make teaching and learning
from this book even more effective and enjoy-
able. Several of the supplements for this book are
available at the Instructor Resource Center (IRC),

an online hub that allows instructors to quickly
download book-specific supplements. Please visit
the IRC welcome page at www.pearsonhighered
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around a lecture outline, these multimedia presen-
tations also include photos, figures, and tables from
each chapter. Available exclusively on the IRC.

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xiv Preface

My special thanks to Jonathan Williamson of
Lycoming College, who made many updates
to this edition. Several people reviewed this
and earlier editions, and I carefully considered
their comments. For this edition, I wish to thank
Maorong Jiang, Creighton University; Kimberly
Turner, College of DuPage; Robert Porter, Ventura
County Community College; John Sutherlin, Uni-
versity of Louisiana at Monroe; Ngozi Kamalu,
Fayetteville State University; and Aaron Cooley,

Johnston Community College. My thanks to
Martha Beyerlein for her careful work throughout
the production process.

Are further changes needed in the book, or
have I got it about right? Instructors’ input on
this matter—or indeed on anything else related
to the text or supplementary materials—is highly
valued. Instructors may contact me directly at

Michael G. Roskin


Part I

The Bases of Politics
Ch. 1 Politics and Political Science We study politics like a scientist studies
bacteria, never getting angry at a fact but trying to understand how and why
something happens. Political science focuses on power—how A gets B to do
what A wants. We do not confuse our partisan preferences with the scholarly
study of politics. Theories provide the framework for understanding the politics
we study. Alternatives to the objective, theory-driven approach of political sci-
ence include the emphasis on the unique taken by historians and journalists and
the normative questions of political theorists.

Ch. 2 Political Ideologies Ideologies are plans to improve society. The classic
liberalism of Adam Smith and classic conservatism of Edmund Burke and the
modern versions of the same are still with us. Marx led to both social democracy
and, through Lenin, to communism. Nationalism is the strongest ideology, some-
times turning into fascism. New ideologies include neoconservatism, libertarian-
ism, feminism, environmentalism, and, currently a problem, Islamism. We study
ideologies; we don’t believe them.

Ch. 3 States Not all states are effective; many are weak, and some are failed.
Aristotle’s division of governments into legitimate and corrupt is still useful.
Basic institutional choices can make or break a state. The territorial organization
of states—unitary versus federal—and electoral systems—single-member versus
proportional representation—are such basic choices. State intervention in the
economy, or lack of it, may facilitate prosperity or stagnation.

Ch. 4 Constitutions and Rights These institutionalized documents formalize
the basic structure of the state, limit government’s powers, and define civil rights.
Judicial review, the great U.S. contribution to governance, has over the years
curbed sedition laws and expanded freedom of speech and freedom of press.

Ch. 5 Regimes Democracy is complex and must include accountability, com-
petition, and alternation in power. In even the best democracies, elites have great
influence but do not always trump pluralistic inputs. Totalitarianism is a disease
of the twentieth century and has largely faded, but plenty of authoritarian states
still exist. Democracy is not automatic but can fail in unprepared countries like
Russia and Iraq.


Chapter 1

Politics and Political

Learning Objectives

1.1 Evaluate the several explanations of political power.

1.2 Justify the claim that political science may be considered a science.

1.3 Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of several theoretical
approaches to political science.

1.4 Contrast normative theories of …

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