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COURSE TITLE: Political History of the United States
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: William Van Arragon
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course in American government examines the history of political institutions in the United States from Independences in 1776 to the present day. This course explores the origins of the Constitution, the functions and historical evolution of the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative, judiciary) as well as the roles of political parties, interest groups, public opinion, and the media. It also studies important historical case studies (over issues such as race, slavery and civil rights; civil and religious liberties; family and privacy law; and economic and environmental policy) that demonstrate how American political culture has changed over time. This course is decidedly interdisciplinary in approaching the subject using the methodologies of history and political science.

Prerequisites: one of HIST 202, 204, POLI 205

Same as POLI 353.
  • Stephen Brooks, Douglas Koopman, and J. Matthew Wilson, Understanding American Politics
    (University of Toronto Press, 2013 [2nd ed])
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.  Abridged with an Introduction by Michael Kammen. (Bedford, 2008)
Assignment # 1: Response to Tocqueville, Democracy in America20%
Assignment #2: Report on 2016 Elections. 30%
Assignment # 3: Report on the Role of the Judiciary in American Political
Attendance and participation5%
Final Exam 25%
  • American Exceptionalism
  • Political Culture
  • Public Opinion
  • Religion in American Politics
  • The Constitution
  • Congress
  • The Presidency
  • The Judiciary
  • Civic Participation
  • Parties and Election
  • Politics and Race, Class, Gender
  • Politics and Foreign Policy

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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