Dec 06, 2022
POL 215W - Intro to American Political Thought and CultureCredits: 3
Instructional Contact Hours: 3
Introduces concepts central to American political thought, philosophy, and culture. Explores topics relevant to current political events. (This course satisfies the American Government/Foundational Civics graduation requirement in all curricula)
Prerequisite(s): READING LEVEL 3 or WRITING LEVEL 3 or concurrent-enrollment in WRT 098 .
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Social Science
Outcomes and Objectives
- Practice the intellectual and participatory skills identified with effective citizenship.
- Define and explain the terms "liberal", "conservative", "neo-liberal", and "neo-conservative".
- Outline and explain the history of voting rights in the United States.
- Outline and explain the history of the development of political parties in the United States.
- Define the term "coalition" and outline the modern Republican and Democratic party coalitions.
- Describe the Democratic and Republican party organizations.
- Describe and explain the primary election system in the United States.
- Outline and explain modern election campaign strategies for both the primary and general elections.
- Define and outline the "heirarchy of political involvement" and the variables associated with an individual's political participation.
- Identify, describe, explain, and evaluate important public issues.
- Assess American democracy critically, using appropriate models to identify problems and possible changes using informal and formal writing.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental assumptions underlying democratic theory.
- Contrast these assumptions with the philosophical basis for autocracy and oligarchy.
- Explain the importance of accountability in representative democracy.
- Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of citizenship in democratic societies.
- Contrast the civic tradition of the United States with those of other nations’ autocracies, oligarchies, and democracies, in terms of: 1) use of constitutions or basic laws; 2) geographical division of power; 3) the nature of executive authority; 4) legislatures and assemblies; 5) the role assigned to courts of law; 6) the role of political parties and interest groups; 7) the manner in which citizens participate in civic affairs.
- Recognize the role of core values in the workings of a civil society.
- Synthesize all of the above into a comprehensive assessment of American democracy.
- Demonstrate the ability to at least consider the possibility of alternative structures and models for collective decision-making in society.
- Relate American history, culture, and political institutions to our civic culture using informal and formal writing.
- Assess how religious freedom, history of slavery, economic resources, relative geographic isolation, the frontier, immigration, market economy, and cultural values have influenced the development of American political culture.
- Use all of the above to define the shared political and civic beliefs and values that define an American citizen.
- Use the American experience to analyze the tension between core values and beliefs and the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties for a diverse population.
- Analyze how individuals and groups influence American political institutions using informal and formal writing.
- Define and analyze polyarchiacal democracy, interest group, party systems, political party, democratic and nondemocratic parties.
- Compare and contrast interest groups and political parties in the United States.
- Evaluate the merits and defects of interest groups and parties in the United States.
- Describe and assess the role of public opinion in the United States.
- Critique the role and influence of the mass media in the United States.
- Relate the structure of American political institutions to policies produced by those institutions using formal and informal writing.
- Describe and scrutinize the presidential roles of foreign-policy maker; commander-in-chief of the armed forces; legislative leader; political party leader; and molder of public opinion.
- Summarize the House of Representatives and the Senate leadership configurations and the roles they play within the organization.
- Describe the House and the Senate operating procedures, including the structures and rules that affect them.
- Describe the roles and functions of members of Congress.
- Outline the function of the state and federal court systems.
- Define and analyze civil, criminal, original, and appellate jurisdictions.
- Summarize and analyze the restraintist and activist philosophies utilized as a judicial philosophy in the United States.
- Define and explain the concept of judicial review.
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