Political Science | American Political Controversies
Y100 | 15780 | Dalecki


Politics is the study and practice of the decision-making process
involved in managing a state or a government.  It deals with “who
gets what, when and how” or “who could do what to whom,” to use
celebrated phrases.  Because political relations involve power and
authority, politics and controversy go hand in hand, either overtly
or covertly.  This course will explore several controversies that
have permeated American politics, ranging from contentions about the
rationale behind the American political system (motivations of the
Founding Fathers, the Electoral College) through disagreements over
the essence of public policies (immigration, death penalty, support
for the Arts) to debates about civil rights and liberties
(affirmative action, abortion, gay rights, freedom of expression).
We will focus on what types of arguments have been used to
endorse/reject specific views and how arguments in favor of/against
these views have been produced.  The goal of the course is thus two-
fold: to examine key debates present in American politics and to
appreciate the art of making effective political arguments.