POL 1001: American Democracy in a Changing World

3 CreditsSocial Sciences

This course is intended to introduce students to the expressed hopes of the American people for their government and to the institutions and processes that have been created and recreated to achieve these hopes. The course is designed to help students understand what liberal education is by engaging in the study of American politics as a fundamentally critical and creative enterprise, and by grappling with the most complex and challenging problems of political life, such as the sources of political equality and inequality, and the tension between individual aspirations and political control. Questions of power and choice, opportunity and discrimination, freedom and restrictions on freedom are fundamental to the historical development of and current controversies within the American political system, and we will attend to all of these. We will explore topics including the ideas underlying the nation’s founding and its constitutional foundations; civil rights and civil liberties; the role of the United States in an increasingly globalized world; the structure and function of American political institutions; and the behavior of American citizens in the political process. In addition, we will learn to think and communicate like political scientists. We will read primary documents, such as the Federalist papers, engage with scholarly arguments about the way the American political system works, and critically evaluate critiques of the American political system that have been offered from a variety of perspectives. By the end of the semester students should have a basic understanding of the structure and function of American government as well as an increased ability to critically reflect on the degree to which our institutions, processes, and citizens live up to the expectations placed on them. Students will be able to identify, define, and solve problems and to locate and critically evaluate information. Students will have mastered a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry. This course fulfills the liberal education requirements for the Social Sciences Core.

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All Instructors

B+ Average (3.333)Most Common: A (31%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

1403 students
  • 4.36


  • 4.25


  • 4.46


  • 3.99


  • 4.24



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