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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mark A. Smith
POL S 202
Seattle Campus

Introduction to American Politics

Institutions and politics in the American political system. Ways of thinking about how significant problems, crises, and conflicts of American society are resolved politically. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

Description: This course provides an introduction to the American political system. As a survey course, it strives for breadth more than depth. We will spend time on the major aspects of American politics, such as the Constitution, public opinion, elections, the mass media, political parties, and the governing institutions of the Congress, Presidency, and judiciary. Among the questions considered are: why the U.S. has only two major parties; why Congress tends to move slowly; how the electoral College works; why bureaucratic agencies use lots of formal rules; why the mass media cover certain stories but not others; and why it is hard for presidents to meet public expectations of them.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grading: one or more papers, exams, and section participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Mark A. Smith
Date: 10/31/2013