Jun 15, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 103W - American Politics

Credits: 3
Instructional Contact Hours: 3

Introduces the development and maintenance of the U.S. system of government. Surveys the nature of American political institutions, behavior, ideas and their structure. Explores core beliefs and their affect on government participation. Explores the role of citizens in a diverse democracy. Credit may be earned in any POL 103 course, any POL 104 course, any POL 105 course or any POL 111 course, but not in more than one. (This course satisfies the American Politics graduation requirement in all curricula.)

Prerequisite(s): High School GPA of 2.3 or higher OR completion of or concurrent enrollment in any ENG course OR a Guided Self-Placement recommendation of ENG 111A  or higher
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Social Science
Pass/NoCredit: No

Outcomes and Objectives  

  1. Define the elements of American political culture and identify the fundamental principles which make up the American political system.
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of American government including majority rule and minority rights, universal suffrage, liberty, republicanism, constitutionalism, and equality.
    2. Interpret what government is, what it does, and how it can be influenced by citizens.
    3. Define what power and authority are, and how they are critical in any government.
    4. Describe what politics are, its motivating effects in the system and why it is vital in every society to study politics.
    5. Define why people disagree in the U.S. over the proper size, shape, and scope of the government.
    6. Explain the basis of the need of American government to have the consent of its citizens.
    7. Compare and contrast a democratic system with other forms of government in the world.
    8. Evaluate the conditions of contemporary American democracy and the citizen's responsibilities to maintain it.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the history, structure and powers of the Constitution
    1. Understand the historical events of American history and the political thought which led up to the American Revolution.
    2. Critique the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and the need for a new government.
    3. Detail the events and results of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
    4. Discuss the debate and ratification of the Constitution
    5. Analyze the main components of the Constitution and discuss its structure.
    6. Detail the process by which the Constitution can be amended and adapted to conform to societal changes.
    7. Explain the basic principles of the Constitution such as checks and balances, separation of powers, limited government, federalism, national supremacy and states rights.
    8. Compare and contrast between unitary, confederation and federal system in the U.S.
    9. Describe the nature of federalism as it relates to the relationship between the national, state, and local governments and the reasons for a federal system in the U.S.
  3. Access the importance of civil liberties and civil rights and the need for them in a democracy.
    1. Explain the importance of the Bill of Rights and why they did not cover all citizens.
    2. Analyze the obligations, restrictions and guarantees placed on the government through civil liberties and civil rights.
    3. Interpret the 14th Amendment and how it allowed for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.
    4. Evaluate court cases which have changed the interpretation of the Constitution.
    5. Analyze the struggle of African Americans, women and other minorities to achieve Civil Rights.
    6. Demonstrate how America will become an increasingly diverse nation in the future and the necessity for all to be protected by civil rights and civil liberties.
    7. Debate under which conditions a government can infringe on civil rights and civil liberties.
  4. Analyze how individuals and groups participate in the political process, are influenced by and linked to political institutions, and develop values of effective citizenship.
    1. Define and analyze the roles following in the political process: interest groups, political parties, political participation, and mass media.
    2. Describe how and why interest groups are formed.
    3. List the methods used by interest groups and political parties to achieve their goals.
    4. Describe the history, nature, and functions of political parties.
    5. Discuss the differences between the major political parties in terns of their platforms, ideological positions and how Democrats and Republicans are different.
    6. Interpret how ideology relates to political party positions and is then translated into public policy.
    7. Discuss the history, role, and affects of minor parties on the political system.
    8. Describe and assess the role of public opinion, the structure and use of public opinion polls and the effects

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