Four distinguished scholars in political science analyze American democracy from a comparative point of view, exploring how the U.S. political system differs from that of thirty other democracies and what those differences ultimately mean for democratic performance. This essential text approaches the following institutions from a political engineering point of view: constitutions, electoral systems, and political parties, as well as legislative, executive, and judicial power. The text looks at democracies from around the world over a two-decade time frame. The result is not only a fresh view of the much-discussed theme of American exceptionalism but also an innovative approach to comparative politics that treats the United States as but one case among many. An ideal textbook for both American and comparative politics courses.