We The People
Time & Location
About the event
Instructor: Empress Zaria and Thomas Patterson
In this course, we’ll examine the American political system starting with its constitutional foundations. The emphasis will be on the “big picture.” What are the driving forces and persistent tendencies of American politics? Who governs America--how, when and why?
The lectures will highlight main features of American politics while asking you to think critically about key issues. Why are American elections awash in money? Why has the power to start wars shifted from Congress to the president? Why does the United States have more people in poverty and yet spend less on social welfare than other major democracies? What accounts for the party polarization that characterizes today’s politics? Why is income inequality on the rise in America? Why has global trade become a controversial foreign policy issue? In the process of addressing such questions, you will engage in analytical reasoning—an important life skill that is strengthened through repeated use. Case studies will be used to prompt you to think critically about what you have learned.
It is strongly recommended that you read an introductory American government text as a supplement to the lectures. Such a text will improve your knowledge of the subject and fill in details that the lectures—given the limits of time—do not address. One such text is (Thomas Patterson, We the People, 12th edition link below). Pages from the text are listed in the readings for each session. You are welcome to use a different introductory text if you prefer. In that case, you should identify the pages related to each session’s topic.