Political Science | Intro to American Politics
Y103 | 4602 | Moskowitz


Few people in the world live outside the jurisdiction or control of a
government.  Yet, while governments are all around us, we donít often
give them much thought.  This course is about in one of those
governments Ė that of the United States, and more specifically, its
national government.  After all, the American national government is
the one we at IU generally share: from the news on TV, and impromptu
conversations in the cafeteria, to the voting booths that youíre most
likely to enter, it tends to be the epicenter of both our actions and
dialogue.
While contemporary political events and everyday life in America will
provide helpful illustrations of what we will study, itís important
to realize that this is not a course in current events.  Facts
without theory and perspective are often of little value.
Accordingly, the aim of the course is for the past and present to
inform the future and for the present to shed light on the past.  You
will be expected, therefore, to develop an understanding of (1) what
politics is, (2) how a Constitution now in its third century
continues to affect our lives, (3) how our political institutions
work, (4) how individuals acquire and retain political power, and
finally (5) how you might take part.
Above all, you will develop your ability to think, speak, and write
cogently and critically about politics.  Knowledge of government and
politics is essential because governmental power now affects
virtually every aspect of our lives.  But beyond present concerns, we
will endeavor to make your understanding of American government to
last.  By learning what questions to ask and how to attempt to answer
them, your education will not be made obsolete by the on-rush of
events.  Instead, it will serve you long after you have completed the
course.