Course Description

Throughout this course we cover a number of topics beginning with two basic questions, what is government? and what is the study of politics? We then work our way forward through the intricacies of the United States government: the founding, the politics, and the institutions.

The early weeks focus on the 'foundations' needed to understand American government and provide students with background information concerning the role of citizens in government, the history of the founding of the United States, and the Constitution. After this we discuss the 'politics' associated with American government including public opinion, media, and political groups such as parties and interest groups. Finally, we pay closer attention to the three branches of government in our discussion of institutions. This final section of the course puts together all of the pieces paying special attention to Congress, the Presidency, and the Federal Courts.

Course Learning Objectives
By the end of the course students should be able to...

  1. Describe the main events, documents, and key actors involved in/associated with the establishment of the United States of America.

  2. Discuss, with a deeper understanding, the United States Constitution and the powers it grants to the government and to the people.

  3. Recognize and discuss the main roles of the three branches of government as well as discuss the power dynamics between them.