This list is intended to provide a guide in preparing for field examinations in American Politics for doctoral degree candidates. Students should see individual faculty for additional suggestions for further reading. An asterisk indicates a reading of particular significance. Revised Fall 2020.


* The Constitution
* The Federalist Papers (esp. nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, 14, 37, 39, 40, 44, 47-53, 55, 57, 62, 63, 70-71, and 78)
* Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America
* Theodore Lowi, The End of Liberalism
* Herbert Storing, What the Anti-Federalists Were For
* Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
David Mayer, The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson
Yuval Levin, A Time to Build


* Douglas Arnold, Logic of Congressional Action (ch. 1-6, 8)
* Richard Fenno, Congressmen in Committee
* Richard Fenno, Homestyle
* John Kingdon, Congressmen's Voting Decisions
* Keith Krehbiel, Pivotal Politics
* Frances Lee, Beyond Ideology
* David Mayhew, Congress: The Electoral Connection
* Nelson Polsby, "The Institutionalization of the U.S. House," APSR 62 (1968)
Morris Fiorina, Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment (ch. 1-8)
David Mayhew, Divided We Govern
David Rohde, Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House
Eric Schickler, Disjointed Pluralism
Weingast and Marshall, "Industrial Organization of Congress," Journal of Political Economy (1988)
Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government


* James David Barber, The Presidential Character
* Sidney Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and Development
* Richard Neustadt, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents (ch. 1-8)
* Clinton Rossiter, The American Presidency
* Stephen Skowronek, The Politics Presidents Make (2020 edition)
* Jeffrey Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency
Erwin Hargrove, Presidential Leadership: Personality and Political Style (1966)
Irving Janis, Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions & Fiascoes
Forrest McDonald, The American Presidency: An Intellectual History
John Burke and Fred Greenstein, How Presidents Test Reality
Michael Medhurst, Beyond the Rhetorical Presidency
Samuel Kernell, Going Public
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Michael Beschloss, Presidents and War 


* Robert Dahl, "Decision-Making in a Democracy: The Supreme Court as National Policy-Maker,"Journal of Public Law 6 (1957)
* Howard Gillman and Cornell Clayton, eds., The Supreme Court in American Politics: New Institutionalist Interpretations
* Mark Miller and Jeb Barnes, eds., Making Policy, Making Law: An Interbranch
* David O'Brien, Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics OR Larry Baum, The Supreme Court
* Stephen P. Powers and Stanley Rothman, The Least Dangerous Branch?: Consequences of Judicial Activism
* Gerald Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?


Note: Students who have not had Constitutional Law should review any leading modern casebook and consult Dr. Coyle for further guidance on key cases and doctrines. 

* Alexander Bickel, The Least Dangerous Branch
* John Ely, Democracy and Distrust
* Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry, Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations
* Michael J. Gerhardt, et al., Constitutional Theory: Arguments and Perspectives
* Herbert Wechsler, "Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law," Harvard Law Review 73 (1959)
Bruce Ackerman, We The People
Brison and Sinott-Armstrong, eds., Contemporary Perspectives on Constitutional Interpretation
Garvey and Aleinikoff, eds., Modern Constitutional Theory
Scott Gerber, To Secure These Rights
Leslie Friedman Goldstein, In Defense of the Text
Ronald Kahn, The Supreme Court and Constitutional Theory, 1953-1993
Stephen Macedo, The New Right v. the Constitution


* Lance Banning, The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison & the Founding of the American Republic
* Carl Becker, The Declaration of Independence (esp. chapters 1 & 2 and pp. 174-193)
* Ronald Hamowy, “Jefferson and the Scottish Enlightenment: A Critique of Garry Wills’ Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence,” William and Mary Quarterly, October 1979
* Samuel Huntington, American Politics
* Donald S. Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism
* James March and Johan Olsen, "The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life," APSR 78 (1984)
* Alpheus T. Mason, "The Federalist: A Split Personality?" in John P. Roche, ed., Origins of American Political Thought
* Paul Pierson, Politics in Time
* Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State
* Rogers Smith, Civic Ideals (esp. ch. 1)
* Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic (esp. chs. 2 and 14)
Douglass Adair, “The Authorship of the Disputed Federalist Papers.” The William and Mary Quarterly. Vol. 1, No. 2 (Apr., 1944), pp. 97-122
Brian Balough, "Reorganizing the Organizational Synthesis," Studies in American Political Development (1991)
Richard Bensel, Sectionalism and American Political Development
Carey, George W. “Publius: A Split Personality?” The Review of Politics. Vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 5-22
Samuel Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (ch. 2)
Robert McCormick, The Party Period and Public Policy (ch. 1-5)
Forrest McDonald, Novus Ordo Seclorum
Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers 


* APSA, Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System
* Walter Dean Burnham, Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics
* Angus Campbell, et al., The American Voter (ch. 1-2, 4-7, 13)
* Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy
* Benjamin Ginsberg and Martin Shefter, Politics By Other Means
* Paul S. Herrnson and John C. Green, Responsible Partisanship? The Evolution of 
American Political Parties Since 1950
* V.O. Key, "A Theory of Critical Elections," Journal of Politics 17 (1955)
* V.O. Key, Jr., "Secular Realignment and the Party System," Journal of Politics 21 (May 1959)
* David Mayhew, Party Realignment
John Aldrich, Why Parties?
Gary Jacobson, The Politics of Congressional Elections
Gerald Pomper, Passions and Interests
James Sundquist, Dynamics of the Party System (ch. 1-3, 10-18) 


John C. Calhoun (1851), A Disquisition on Government
* Alfred Stepan (2004), “Federalism and Democracy,” from Federalism and Territorial Cleavages, ed. Ugo Amoretti and Nancy Bermeo
* Alison LaCroix (2010), The Ideological Origins of American Federalism
* Martha Derthick (2001), Keeping the Compound Republic: Essays on American Federalism
* David Brian Robertson (2012), Federalism and the Making of America 
Samuel Beer, "The Modernization of American Federalism," in The Federal Polity, ed. Daniel Elazar
Jenna Bednar (2011), “The Political Science of Federalism,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7: 269-288
John Chubb, "Federalism and the Bias for Centralization," in The New Direction in American Politics, eds. Chubb and Peterson
Andrew Karch (2007), Democratic Laboratories
Jack Walker, "The Diffusion of Innovation Among the American States," APSR 63 (1969)
Herbert Wechsler, "The Political Safeguards of Federalism: The Role of the States in the Composition and Selection of the National Government," Columbia Law Review 54 (1954) 


* Abraham, Justices and Presidents
* Peter Bachrach and Morton Baratz, "Two Faces of Power," APSR 56 (1962)
* Michael Beschloss, Presidents of War
* Robert Dahl, Who Governs?
* Louis Fisher, Presidential War Making
* John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness
* Robert J. Spitzer, “Is the Constitutional Presidency Obsolete?” and Gene Healy, Our Constitutional Cult of the Presidency,” in Charles Dunn, editor, The Presidency in the Twenty First Century
* Keith Whittington, Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning
* Aaron Wildavsky, "The Two Presidencies," in Perspectives on the Presidency, ed. Wildavsky
Stephen David and Paul Kanto, "Urban Policy in the Federal System," Polity 16 (1983) Martin Diamond, "The Electoral College and the American Idea of Democracy"
Morton Grodzins, The American System
Paul Peterson, City Limits
Clarence Stone, Regime Politics (ch. 1, 9-12)
Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged


* David Truman, The Governmental Process (ch. 1-6, 16)
* Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action
* Jack Walker, "The Origins and Maintenance of Interest Groups in America," APSR 77 (1983)
* Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution
* Robert Salisbury, "An Exchange Theory of Interest Groups," MJPS 13 (1969)
* Jeffrey Berry and Clyde Wilcox, The Interest Group Society
Bauer, Pool, and Dexter, American Business and Public Policy
Terry Moe, The Organization of Interests (ch. 1-5)
James Q. Wilson, Political Organizations (ch. 1-5)
David Volgel, "The Power of Business in America -- A Reappraisal," BJPS 13 (1983) Frances Fox Piven and Robert Cloward, Poor People's Movements
Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement
Donald Green and Ian Shapiro, Pathologies of Rational Choice
Martin Marty, The One and the Many, America's Struggle for the Common Good


* John Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies
* Hugh Heclo, "Issue Networks and the Executive Establishment," The New American Political System, ed. King
* Hugh Heclo, A Government of Strangers (ch 3)
* Theodore Lowi, "American Business, Public Policy, Case Studies, and Political Theory," World Politics 16 (1964)
* Martin Shapiro, Who Guards the Guardians
* Michael Spicer, The Founders, the Constitution and Public Administration
* Max Weber, "Bureaucracy", in From Max Weber, eds. Gerth and Mills
* Woodrow Wilson, "The Study of Administration", PSQ 2 (1887)
Graham Allison, "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis," APSR 63 (1969) Martha Derthick and Paul Quirk, The Politics of Deregulation
Charles Lindblom, "The Science of Muddling Through," Public Administrative Review 19 (1959)
Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky, Implementation
Aaron Wildavsky, The Politics of the Budgetary Process
James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy (ch. 3-6, 9, 11, 19)
James Q. Wilson, The Politics of Regulation (ch. 10)