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.

The Democratic Vision

The democratic vision

I often think of something a British writer said in the magazine The Economist. “In America they call waiters sir.” Yes, we do. This is the fairest place there ever was, it's wide open, and no one has cause for bitterness.

PeggyNoonan, What I Saw at the Revolution (1990)1

There is presently a belief with wide currency that America is the cause of much that is wrong in the world. A version of that belief goes, “We are hated in the Middle East because …,” and out will trot the list of usual suspects: American arrogance, a president's swagger, America's failure to sign some treaty or other, its stubborn protection of Israel, its exploitation of Arab oil, and so on.

Nonsense, says the ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles