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POLS 1010—Politics in the United States

Three Semester Hours

BT 3/16



Course Overview

This course explores four topics related to American national government: the philosophical and constitutional foundations of our governmental system, various factors that link citizens to their government, governmental institutions, and the fourth topic concerns public safety. The primary objective is to acquire a better understanding of how the US national government functions. This includes an appreciation of how those functions affect our daily lives.

Methods of Course Instruction

All material for this course is print-based. Instructor and students communicate and exchange materials through postal mail. 

E-Print Option

In this course, an option exists to use e-mail to submit your lesson assignments. Your assignment will be returned to you either as an e-mail attachment or as a hard copy sent through the postal mail, depending on the preferences of the instructor and/or program. 

Textbooks and Supplies

Morone, James A., and Rogan Kersh. By the People: Debating American Government. Brief 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York, 2016. [ISBN: 9780190216733]

Number of Lessons

The course has 12 lessons, including one midcourse examination and one final examination. These lessons include:

  • Lesson 1: “Ideas That Shape American Politics”; “The Constitution”
  • Lesson 2: “Federalism and Nationalism”
  • Lesson 3: “Civil Liberties”; “The Struggle for Civil Rights”
  • Lesson 4: “Public Opinion and Political Participation”
  • Lesson 5: “The Media”
  • Lesson 6: Midcourse Examination Information 
  • Lesson 7: “Campaigns and Elections”; “Interest Groups and Political Parties”
  • Lesson 8: “Congress”
  • Lesson 9: “The Presidency”; “Bureaucracy”
  • Lesson 10: “The Judicial Branch”
  • Lesson 11: “Domestic and Foreign Policy”
  • Lesson 12: Final Examination Information

Types of Writing Assignments

The writing assignments consist of both essay questions and terms to identify. With regard to the essay questions, you are given a choice of three or more regular essay questions from which you’ll choose two to write about. Also, you will be asked to write an additional essay question drawing upon an article or editorial found in the supplemental reading that you choose. With regard to the terms, there will be three or more terms, three of which must be identified.

Grading Criteria

  • Writing Assignments (ten total) = 75%
  • Midcourse and Final Exams = 25%
  • Total = 100%

Within each Writing Assignment, the breakdown is as follows

  • Essay Questions = 67%, Identification terms = 33%)