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Archived teaching schedules 2013–2014
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POLVOA31 American National Government and Politics 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Degree Programme in Politics
Political Science
School of Management

General description

Course overview: This course is an introduction to the structure and functioning of American political institutions, with special emphasis on the theory and practice of American democracy, the political meanings of the U. S. Constitution, the structure and organization of Congress, the executive and judicial branches, the evolution of civil rights policy, campaigns and elections, and the political influence of interest groups. Over the past two centuries, the government of the United States has grown enormously in size, scope and power. Nevertheless, many features of the modern American regime would still be recognizable to its founders. The most important of these are federalism and civil liberties. However, the principle of majority rule through elections has remained an essential anchor of American democracy. When the people vote, they are participating in the determination of who rules, but they are also giving their consent to be governed. Elections are as important today as ever, but are they important for the same reasons? Elections are important, but to whom, and for what? These are some of the salient issues we would be addressing in this course. Students are also acquainted with the substantive areas of economic, social, foreign, and defense policies.

Instructional outcomes/learning objectives: A student who successfully completes this class, should be able to: acquire an integrated understanding of the nature and responsibilities of the American government as an institution; understand the role of congress and bureaucrats as lawmakers and administrators, respectively; understand the role of the Supreme Court in adjudicating and reinforcing the fundamental rights and liberties as granted in the constitution; understand the role of individuals, interest groups, and other publics as participants in the democratic process; develop an analytical frame of mind and a critical assessment of current/contemporary political issues; and acquire adequate foundation to take other higher-level courses in American government and politics.

Basic course outline:

Evaluating governments:

(1) Introduction – the People, Community, and the concept of the State; political socialization and political culture; the Frameworks of Government

(2) The U. S Constitution

(3) Federalism, Powers, and State Sovereignty

(4) The Courts I: Civil Liberties

(5) The Courts II: Civil and Political Rights

The Institutions of Government:

(6) The U. S. Congress

(7) The Presidency                                                                  

(8) The Judiciary

(9) The Bureaucracy

Political Actors and Pressure Groups:

(10) The News Media

(11) Public Opinion

(12) Political Parties

(13) Interest Groups

(14) The Campaign Process, Voting Behavior and Elections

Approaches to policy making:

(15) Stages of the Policy Making Process I / Social Welfare Policy II                                                   

(16) U. S. Economic Policy I: Theories and Models

Classical, Supply-side, Keynesian, and monetarist models. Theoretical models.

(17) U. S. Economic Policy II: Micro and Macro Applications

Micro and macro approaches; market regulation, fiscal and monetary policies, national budgetary issues.

(18).Foreign and Defense Policy:

From Cold war to Détente, bipolarity to multilateralism, national security, asymmetrical warfare (terrorism), and nuclear proliferation.


Kalu Kalu, Teacher responsible


21-Oct-2013 – 27-Nov-2013
Lectures 24 hours
Mon 21-Oct-2013 - 25-Nov-2013 weekly at 10-12, Main building D11
Wed 23-Oct-2013 - 27-Nov-2013 weekly at 10-12, Main building D11


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria

Learning diary, written exam