University of Notre Dame

Introduction to American Politics

Course Number: POLS10100
Instructor:

This course surveys the basic institutions and practices of American politics. The goal of the course is to gain a more systematic understanding of American politics that will help you become better informed and more articulate. The course examines the institutional and constitutional framework of American politics and identifies the key ideas needed to understand politics today. The reading and writing assignments have been designed not only to inform you, but also to help develop your analytic and research skills. The themes of the course include the logic and consequences of the separation of powers, the build-in biases of institutions and procedures, the origins and consequence of political reforms, and recent changes in American politics in the 21st century. This semester we will emphasize the significance of the upcoming 2016 elections, and the course will include election-related assignments. Although the course counts toward the Political Science major and will prepare prospective majors for further study of American politics, its primary aim is to introduce students of all backgrounds and interests to the information, ideas, and academic skills that will enable them to understand American politics better and help them become more thoughtful and responsible citizens.