Political Science | Pol Parties & Interest Groups
Y301 | 4550 | Osborn

	From reading the US Constitution, many people understand the basic
layout of American government structure, both how the structure works and
what it is meant to do.  Understanding this basic structure is only the
beginning of understanding American politics, however.  Although neither one
was explicitly established at the founding of our government, political
parties and interest groups play prominent roles as institutions in American
government.  Both interact with the three major branches of government and
the bureaucracy, they participate in elections, and they help make
government policy.  How did these institutions come to have so much power in
American politics?  How are political parties and interest groups
structured, and how do they function within government?  What purpose do
they (and should they) serve in American politics?  Also, what do interest
groups and political parties mean as institutions apart from the American
political setting?  What roles do these entities play in other nations, and
how does it compare and contrast with their role in US politics?  In this
course, we'll take an interesting in-depth look at political parties and
interest groups.  We'll cover the basic structure and history of each
institution, how they came about, and how they function.  We'll also cover
what each institution does, the roles each institution plays in government,
and why or why not these institutions should play these roles.  The basic
discussion will focus on parties and interest groups in US politics, but
these concepts will be expanded to other countries later in the course.
Work in the course will involve readings and class discussion, a group
project, and a paper based on the topics of the course.