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 assess the impact of mass media on politics--particularly pertinent in this (off-year) election year--and examine media coverage of politics to help you as a citizen to decode the information you receive.

     Recent writing assignments have included comparisons of candidate web sites, research on contemporary issues using key politics sources, 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 (FALL 2014)
	Shanto Iyengar, Media Politics: A Citizen's Guide (W.W. Norton, 2nd ed, 2011)
Bruce F. Nesmith, Simulating the U.S. Constitutional Convention (online at coemoodle.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 NEWS MEDIA AS POLITICAL ACTORS
Introduction/image: Iyengar 1
News media in other countries: Iyengar 2
The news business: Iyengar 3
Reporters and sources: Iyengar 4
New media: Iyengar 5
EXAM II

III. THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF NEWS MEDIA
Media and political campaigns: Iyengar 6
Media and governing: Iyengar 7
Media and public opinion: Iyengar 8
Impacts of campaigns on elections: Iyengar 9
Presidents and the permanent campaign: Iyengar 10
Evaluation and reform: Iyengar 11
EXAM III

Last course: Introduction to Politics

Next course: Religion and U.S. Politics

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updated 5/19/14