This text provides comprehensive coverage of state and local institutions, political behaviour, and policymaking. It incorporates a unifying theme - the increased capacity and responsibilty of state and local government - to organize material. One of its major goals is to foster continuing student interest and involvement in state and local politics and policy. The text has several main features including a comprehensive examination of state and local governments. This explains their structure and history as well as their function in the current political scene. The text also has a unifying theme - that state and local governments are resurgent. They have a greater capacity to play central roles in the American federal system than ever before because they have been responding to difficult economic times by experimenting with innovative and creative solutions. "Problem-solving" boxes show state and local officials tackling tough public problems with creative responses and solutions to such everyday issues as the need for more efficient delivery of services and better use of people in the government. Continued emphasis is also placed on the comparative presentation of states and localities - there is no regional or ideological bias, with emphasis on intergovernmental relations.