Jeffery Steely

ISBN-13: 978-1-945628-08-5

# pages: 245


Suggested Retail: $59.95



In 1776, a small group of British colonists signed their names to a piece of paper known as the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming America’s intention to leave Britain’s empire and become a free, independent nation in its own right. While American independence was not achieved formally until 1783, the Declaration sparked the need for the thirteen original colonies to create their own plans of self-government and to come together in a united effort.  This need for a national effort ultimately led to the development of the US Constitution.  Now, nearly 250 years later, this same Constitution is the oldest written plan of government still in use.  The government created under its terms has proven itself time and again to be flexible enough to meet any situation and strong enough to protect the nation from enemies foreign and domestic. 

Yet many students entering college are not familiar with the Constitution or the federal government.  Many contemporary American National Government texts are incredibly long and verbose in the extreme- often being so dense and difficult to read that students just give up.  This is especially true of students in accelerated learning programs, who often juggle work and family responsibilities as well as the demands of college or university courses. 

The thought it can take over 700 pages to expose students in a survey course to the basics of the federal government and the Constitution is simply absurd.  Making the situation even more bizarre is these same intimidating tomes commonly have an equally intimidating price tag.  A price that often exceeds the level that many classroom faculty could justify insisting their students pay.  Yet there seems to be no viable alternative.  A gap exists between what students need and what many textbooks deliver.   Something has to be done.  The gap between the dense, difficult to read, intimidating tomes with an outsized price tag on the one hand and the needs of classroom faculty for a text that students will find accessible and informative and still provide the critical mass of knowledge on the other hand is very real and seemingly is growing larger with the passing of every academic year.  Something has to be done. 

In this text, Jeffery Steely attempts to bridge that gap.  Jeffery Steely has over a decade long career teaching adults, accelerated program students and traditional students at the university level.  This perspective helped inform his decision to write this text- a text that could be used with traditional undergraduates as well as mature adults in an accelerated learning program.  Each of these broad subsets of the student population has different needs to be sure, but both have the most important need in common: the need for an accessible, not intimidating text that still covers the basics of American national government.

America's Federal Government in Brief is a fast moving, truly brief treatment of the subject.  In eight chapters, Steely guides students through the basics of what they need to know about the federal government, from key concepts like constitutional democracy to federalism to the enumerated powers of Congress among others.  America's Federal Government in Brief also provides students with an accessible survey text that is easily comprehended, covers the essentials and leaves plenty of time and space for in-class activities. 

Table of Contents


Chapter 1:   Basic Concepts: American Democracy and Federalism

Chapter 2:  Establishing American Constitutionalism: The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

Chapter 3:  America’s Political Culture and Ideology:  Public Opinion and the News Media

Chapter 4:   The Congress

Chapter 5:  The Presidency and the Executive Branch Bureaucracy

Chapter 6:  Policymaking

Chapter 7:  The Federal Court System

Chapter 8:  Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and the Courts


About the Author(s): Jeffery Steely

Jeffery Steely did his graduate study in history at Marquette University.  He currently resides in West Bend, Wisconsin, and teaches for a local university.    He has taught Western Civilization and American History survey courses as well as upper division courses on Early America, History of Oil, The FBI and American Society, and American Diplomacy.  He has also completed a thorough going review and revision of several courses in the Adult, Accelerated Learning Program.  Among these are the Renaissance and Reformation Course, Worldviews History (the adult version of the traditional Western Civilization Course), an Islam among others. 

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