POL-115: American National Government and Politics

American flag
        waving

    American National Government and Politics examines the features of American politics with the goal of preparing you for lifelong political participation and
observation... whether or not you're a political science major or plan to become a politician!

    First, we will examine the philosophy behind the structures of government in the Constitution--in other words, why they were set up the way they were. Then we will study the policy making process--which we can hope will be relevant in a year without national elections--as well as some currently important policy issues.

     Recent writing assignments have included finding information about a current national policy issue, comparisons of candidate web sites, and letters to newspapers and members of Congress. The goal is to have students practice the types of research, speaking and writing they might be doing in the rest of their political lives. There are also three exams during the semester, one on each section of the course. Students are further credited for participation in classroom discussion.

      American National Government and Politics is a prerequisite for advanced American politics courses needed for the Political Science major or minor. It counts in the "Social Science" category for fulfilling general education requirements.


American Government Links

Sources of current information: Other Print Media:
Constitution-related sites: Political information:
Sites dealing with public policy:
                              TEXTS (SPRING 2015)
	Michael E. Kraft and Scott R. Furlong, Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives (Sage/CQ Press, 5th ed, 2014)
Bruce F. Nesmith, Simulating the U.S. Constitutional Convention (online at crnewmood.coe.edu)

                          COURSE OUTLINE

Course introduction

I.  THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

Constitution--Theory: Simulating the Convention, ch. 1
Constitution--History: Simulating the Convention, ch. 2
Constitution--Setting: Simulating the Convention, ch. 3
Constitution--Issues: Simulating the Convention, ch. 4
The Constitution--The Final Product: Simulating the Convention, ch. 10
The Constitution--Ratification and Amendments: Simulating the Convention, ch. 11
EXAM I

Debate 1--Powers of the national government: Simulating the Convention, ch. 5
Debate 2--Representation in Congress: Simulating the Convention, ch. 6
Debate 3--Voting and elections: Simulating the Convention, ch. 7
Debate 4--Powers of the president: Simulating the Convention, ch. 8
Debate 5--Individual rights: Simulating the Convention, ch. 9

II. THE POLICY MAKING PROCESS
Public policy: KF 1
Government and politics: KF 2
Policy process: KF 3
EXAM II

III. PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES
Economic policy: KF 7
Health care: KF 8
Poverty: KF 9
Education: KF 10
Environment: KF 11
Security: KF 12
EXAM III

Last course: Introduction to Politics

Next course: Religion and U.S. Politics

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updated 12/10/14