United States Government and Politics
This course is designed for students with a strong interest in political philosophies, processes, and the structure of government in the United States. The course covers a number of key concepts . Throughout the course, current political events will be tied into discussion and assignments to enhance student understanding of class material. The course will be a mix of direct instruction and independent learning. Exams will be based on knowing and applying information from the text and additional readings.
Some class time will also be given to allow students to work on readings, essays, and projects. Students will be expected to make good use of class time for individual and group assignments. Students are encouraged to pay attention to the news on a day-to-day basis, and actively participate in class discussions concerning the American political system and global issues and U.S. policy. Like anything else in life, effort and enthusiasm will go a long way in the course!
Introduction: Global Issues and U.S. Policy
It is clear that not all the people of the world have entered the twenty-first century on the same path. On the one hand, much of the planet seems increasingly connected by web of trade, technology, and common political values. In this age of globalization, traditional dividing lines based on borders and cultures have blurred. On the other hand, the problems that have haunted humanity throughout history have not disappeared. Violence continues to erupt over questions of land, power, and identity. Billions of people live in grinding poverty. Tyrannical governments use fear and intimidation to maintain their authority. The United States play an important role in this complex world.
From the first days of the republic, U.S. citizens have debated how to balance their priorities at home with their involvement in international affairs. In his farewell address of 1796, President George Washinton warned his fellow citizens to "steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Yet Washington also recognized that the United States would need to be connected to the larger world in order to prosper.
Today the United States wrestles with the task of balancing domestic needs and international relationships. An array of economic, political, cultural, and social problems exist both at home and abroad. Consensus about how to address these problems is hard to achieve. Nevertheless, a healthy democracy requires debate and discussion about the values and policies that shape the United States' place in the world.