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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Matthew A Barreto
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 class is an introductory survey of government and politics in the United States. One of the most important rights in a democracy is the right to vote and thereby influence government. However, Americans typically vote at rates much lower than other democracies throughout the world. Why is this the case? Some experts have suggested that because many people do not fully understand how the political system works, they do not exercise their right to vote. This class will try to answer any and all of your questions about the American political system. Topics covered will include, the Constitution, the relationship between the Federal and State governments, the Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and much more. When the class is offered during the Autumn quarter of an election year (i.e. 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012) an election-related project may be substituted for the short papers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: Heineman, Peterson, and Rasmussen; American Government 2nd edition, 1995. Custom reader will also be required.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: Two short papers, midterm exam and final exam. Each week there will be required readings from each of books. Readings should be done for the day they are assigned. The complete, week-by-week reading list will be posted on the course website.

Grading: Short Paper 1: 15%; Short Paper 2: 20 %; Midterm Exam: 25%; Final Exam: 40 %.


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 Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 08/14/2007