Political Science | Introduction to American Politics
Y103 | 0503 | Hetland

	Politics in America can leave the casual observer filled with a
multitude of paradoxical, often confusing ideas and feelings.  Politics
today focuses on modern issues such as airline regulation or health care
reform, but it also encapsulates issues like freedom of speech and gun
control that have been around since the Founding.  We want to deal with the
issues of today, but often refer to the ideas of the Founding Fathers.  We
have more opportunities for expressing our beliefs through voting than in
any other country, but choose to exercise this right less and less.
Citizens want increases in government services, but also want lower taxes.
Individual voters seem uninformed, yet we seem to get sophisticated election
results.  In this course, we will analyze the institutional foundations and
the basic elements of the American political system, but with an eye to
analyzing and resolving some of the paradoxes of politics today.  As we are
in an election year, we will devote some time to the electoral process as an
illustration of how politics works in practice, and how paradoxical issues
can pop up.
	The course reading load will average about 20-30 pages of reading
per day, mostly from the primary text, but supplemented with other materials
by the lecturer.  Audio-visual materials will be shown in class, with a
particular emphasis on the current Presidential and Congressional election
races, along with concurrent analysis.  Course grading will be awarded on
the basis of three exams and two brief papers, as well as points for class
discussion and participation.  Students should come to class aware of
current political and election events, and be prepared to discuss them.