Political Science | Introduction to American Politics
Y103 | 10518 | Bianco

This course is an introduction to American national politics. The
goal is to convince you that American politics is not as confusing,
chaotic, or unexplainable as most people think.  The central premise
is that nothing in politics happens by accident  everything you see
is the result of the choices people make.  The focus here is on
understanding American politics by examining these choices and their

The secondary emphasis is on facts.  The aim is to provide basic
information about American politics, to bring information to bear on
claims on how American politics works and, finally, to demonstrate
that there is evidence behind the theories and arguments presented
in the class.  The class will be ruthlessly contemporary,
emphasizing the political issues, campaigns, and controversies that
are part of our everyday life.

As this description suggests, this is a class that covers both the
science of politics and the politics of the real world, not a class
that puts a partisan spin on events.  You are free to hold whatever
opinions and preferences you like.  However, the class will focus on
explaining how politics works without taking a position on whether
one set of opinions or preferences are better than another.  You are
expected to follow this rule in your class participation and

Within this framework, the course covers all of the usual topics in
American politics: the Constitution, elections and public opinion,
Congress, the President and the bureaucracy, and the Supreme Court.
That said, many topics are covered only briefly or not at all.  The
aim is to give you a sense of how things work  and to get you
interested enough to take other classes in American politics and
political science.