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The Student Side of the Web Site
Updated March 10, 2017

We created this site to help you learn about American politics and the problems posed when ordinary citizens--who often disagree over the relative value of freedom, order, and equality--rely on democratic government to make public policy. As its title implies, The Challenge of Democracy argues that good government often involves difficult choices.

Our publisher (Cengage Learning) ofers a computer tool, MindTap, that is tied to The Challenge of Democracy. Kenneth Janda, one of the original authors, created this website many years earliar. He maintains it today on behalf of his co-authors with the thought that enterprising students may find it useful in some ways.

Useful Internet Links Organized by Chapters
Janda created over 200 Internet links tied to all 18 individual chapters of The Challenge of Democracy. Click to go to the Table of Contents and then click on individual chapters.
This is an interactive quiz based on the tradeoff of the values of freedom/order/equality underlying The Challenge of Democracy. Perhaps your instructor may incorporate the quiz in your course. If not, you may gain a better understanding of the book's conceptual framework by taking the quiz outside of class to determine whether you have a Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, or Communitarian orientation to politics and government.
NYTimes Tool to Cut the Deficit
On November 13, 2010, the Times published this interactive tool to cut the deficit, saying: Today, you're in charge of the nation's finances. Some of your options have more short-term savings and some have more long-term savings. When you have closed the budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030, you are done. Make your own plan, then share it online. You might think you can dance, but can you cut the deficit? Try doing it. It's not easy.
$2.99 iBook: The Social Bases of Political Parties
Janda published this 110 page iBook in the spring of 2013 and priced it for student usage. Based on 16 national surveys from 1952 to 2012, my book (1) describes--in colored charts--how the United States society has changed from 1952 to 2012 in terms of occupation, education, regional growth, urbanization, religion, ethnicity, and ideology; (2) summarizes how the patterns of social support for the Democratic and Republican parties have shifted with these changes; (3) indicates how the parties have articulated the political interests of their social bases in congressional voting in Congress; and (4) invites readers to speculate about the future of our two-party system in 2032 by offering their views in a national survey.  (Note that it is only available as an iBook. If someone wants to convert it to a generic eBook, contact me.) Students may find the decades of data useful in trying to analyze the results of the 2016 presidential election and the current tate of the parties.
Do-It-Yourself Examination Pretest
Students in one of Janda's large lecture classes devised and submitted their own multiple-choice items for possible use on the final examination. (If Janda used a submitted question, the student-author might stand a good chance of getting it right.) The items were then posted on the class web site without answers as a pretest to stimulate studying. You might find the questions similarly useful.
Party Platforms
The American Presidency Project has made available all major party platforms from 1840 to 2016.. You might find this collection useful for class projects. For example, create a list of words concerning a given concept (e.g., the environment, religion, taxation) and then search each party's platforms for how often the words occur and what the platform said. One student wrote about the Republican and Democratic platform references to the issues of "equal pay" or "imigration."Guess which partiesreferred to these terms most often.
State of the Union Addresses
The American Presidency Project also provides all presidential State of the Union Addresses since 1913. Similar research might be done with these addresses. One undergraduate at Northwestern wrote her thesis on which president was most likely to make religious references in his State of the Union addresses. For the period she covered, it was Ronald Reagan by far.
Global Terrorism, Domestic Order, and the United States
Shortly after 9/11, a Russian colleague asked Janda to write something about the event and the U.S. response for a Russian yearbook. It focuses on events leading to the successful routing of the Taliban in 2001. It might be useful for students who know little about this successful phase of the "war on terror."

Please watch this space. In the future, I'll add more information that I hope will be useful to your study of American politics. Please write me at with comments and suggestions.

Happy Surfing--
Kenneth Janda, Jeffrey Berry, Jerry Goldman, Deborah Schildkraut, and Paul Manna