Department of Political Science

PSC 105 Introduction to American Politics

Display Tracks: New or Old


New Political Science Track: Elections and Government

Old Political Science Field: American PoliticsIntroductory Courses

Mary A. Kroeger
Fall 2017 — MWF 9:00-9:50

This course will introduce students to the systematic study of American political institutions, processes, and behavior. We will focus on key questions about the political system and how political scientists address these questions. The strategic actions and interactions of various political actors will be examined from a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches. Political polarization, economic inequality, presidential power, the role of the administrative state will be discussed throughout the course.

Peter Bils
Summer 2017 — MTWR 13:00-16:00

What strategic decisions do members of Congress make to achieve their goals? How do political institutions affect policy outcomes? Drawing from political science research, as well as contemporary events, this course will introduce students to the foundations of American government and politics. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and ordinary American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does.

Douglas Johnson
Spring 2017 — MWF 11:50-12:40

Course Syllabus

How has presidential behavior changed over time? What strategic decisions do members of Congress make to achieve their goals? Why has the American electorate become so polarized? This course introduces students to the foundations of American government. Key concepts at the heart of American politics will be introduced, their evolution over time presented, and their place in contemporary politics discussed. The course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how the American political system works.

Gerald Gamm
Fall 2015 — MWF 10:25-11:15

Course Syllabus

When did some states turn blue--and others red--in presidential elections? What are the origins of the modern Congress, including the filibuster-prone Senate and a House run by its majority party? Why did politicians begin to campaign for the presidency, rather than waiting on their front porches for voters to appear? How did voting rights--and other rights of citizenship--expand, then narrow, then expand again, over time? Drawing broadly on historical as well as contemporary evidence, this course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. We will examine political institutions as well as the linkages that connect institutions, political leaders, and ordinary citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does.

Gerald Gamm
Fall 2013 — MWF 11:00-11:50

Course Syllabus

When did some states turn blue--and others red--in presidential elections? What are the origins of the modern Congress, including the filibuster-prone Senate and a House run by its majority party? Why did politicians begin to campaign for the presidency, rather than waiting on their front porches for voters to appear? How did voting rights--and other rights of citizenship--expand, then narrow, then expand again, over time? Drawing broadly on historical as well as contemporary evidence, this course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. We will examine political institutions as well as the linkages that connect institutions, political leaders, and ordinary citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does.


Spring 2012 — MWF 13:00-13:50

This course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and ordinary American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does. Students will be graded on two midterms, a final exam, and short writing assignments.


Spring 2011 — MWF 11:00-11:50

Course Syllabus

This course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and ordinary American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does. Students will be graded on two midterms, a final exam, and short writing assignments.


Fall 2009 — MWF 11:00-11:50

Course Syllabus

This course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and ordinary American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does. Students will be graded on two midterms, a final exam, and short writing assignments.