University of Vermont

UVM Course Directory

POLS 021 – American Political System

Credits: 3.00

Course Description: Institutions, processes, and problems of American government.

Section Description: Does the American political system work, or is it fundamentally flawed, as many citizens contend? Why do we face serious policy problems in a range of substantive areas, from domestic policy issues such as health care and immigration to foreign policy matters such as terrorism? And has the national policy-making scene become too partisan, so that the three branches of the federal government cannot fulfill the roles envisioned by the framers of the Constitution? Is the venom and vitriol we are witnessing, particularly since Donald Trump’s election, a sign of a broken polity or simply representative democracy at work? Is our political system at risk and is our democracy in crisis under Trump – who has expressed a lack of understanding and lack of support for key foundations of our representative government – or can our nation withstand such a president? Are all of these problems and various conflicts just an inherent and natural part of the system, or is something different happening now? Through a survey of the American political system, POLS 21 will explore these and other questions. By learning about the basics of the American political system – the ideas on which the Republic was founded, the principal institutions of the national government, and participation in government and politics – students will gain the requisite knowledge to analyze the key challenges facing our constitutional democracy. Class meetings will be a combination of lecture and discussion.

CRN: 14771

Section: A

Enrolled/Seats: 106/117

Days Time Location
TR 10:05 - 11:20 LAFAYETTE HALL L207

Instructor(s): Eileen Kay Burgin

Meeting Dates: 13 Jan 2020 - 01 May 2020