Jul 21, 2024  
2023 - 2024 Catalog 
2023 - 2024 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 Government/Foundational Civics 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 and fundamental principles of American governance.

    a. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of American political culture.

    b. Interpret what government is, what it does, and how it can be influenced by citizens.

    c. Describe how people disagree in the U.S. over the proper size, shape and scope of the government.

    d. Explain how the legitimacy of democratic government is based on the consent of its citizens.

    e. Analyze the need to resolve conflicts peacefully, tolerate diverse opinions, and respect the dignity of all citizens.

    f. Describe how the political process resolves conflicts over differences in values and scarcity of resources.

  2. Demonstrate understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

    a. Understand the historical events and the political thought which led up to the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution.

    b. Analyze the main components and structure of the U.S. Constitution.

    c. Describe the nature of federalism in the United States.

  3. Analyze the restrictions and obligations placed on the government through civil liberties and civil rights.

    a. Explain the importance of the Bill of Rights and its selective incorporation through the 14th Amendment.

    b. Evaluate Supreme Court cases that have changed the interpretation of the Constitution.

    c. Analyze the struggle of African Americans, women and other minorities to achieve civil rights.

    d. Debate the conditions under which a government can infringe on civil rights and liberties.

  4. Analyze the extent to which linkage institutions facilitate the relationship between the people and their government in a democracy.

    a. List the methods used by interest groups and political parties to achieve their goals.

    b. Analyze the functions, roles and influence of the mass media.

    c. Describe the history, nature and functions of political parties.

    d. Analyze the nomination process, campaign and election process for the executive and legislative branches.

  5. Explore how people develop values and practice effective citizenship.

    a. Analyze the process of political socialization on how people form their political beliefs.

    b. Describe and assess the role of public opinion in the political process.

    c. Define the factors which affect whether people vote and how they vote.

    d. Interpret how ideology relates to political party positions and is then translated into public policy.

    e. Discuss the various methods of political participation, both collective and individual.

    f. Explore the importance of civic agency to effective democratic citizenship.

  6. Describe the structure of American national government.

      a. Describe the structure and roles of the presidency.

      b. Analyze the structure, functions and procedures of Congress.

      c. Describe the structure and functions of the federal court system.

      d. Describe the process by which the Supreme Court hears, argues and rules on cases.

      e. Evaluate the American political system within a global comparative context.

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