Political Science | Intro to American Politics
Y103 | 3356 | O'Bannon
This is an especially good time to study American Politics. We have
just emerged from the most hotly contested presidential race in our history.
No doubt there are many lessons to be learned from this event, but after
this course you will enjoy a much more considered view on its place in the
broader context of the American polity. For example, we will explore the
role that the Electoral College plays in our system. Many Americans
recently learned that they don't actually cast a vote for president, but
rather for electors who then speak on behalf of their respective states.
(And no, you can't get a degree from the Electoral College!) What does it
say about our system of democracy when the candidate who wins the most votes
nationally may not get to serve in the White House? Why do we have such an
institution? What does it say about the intentions of the framers of the
Constitution that they rejected a more direct election of the president
while they sought to create "a more perfect union?"
These are the sorts of questions we will ask in this course. Others include:
"why do we have political parties? What do they do for us? And more timely
than ever, "why do we have only two really competitive parties when many
Americans desire more?" These questions help us frame our analysis of
American politics. More generally, we will explore our system of government
and politics by examining our institutions (and their historical
development), the nature of American political behavior or participation,
the culture of American politics and the major issues in the politics of