Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address.
Welcome to Professor Gerson's course: Introduction to American Politics
This course has several goals: one, to broadly survey the field of American politics. Among the many topics that will be discussed and analyzed are: the United States Constitution, Congress, Presidency and Bureaucracy, Supreme Court, Political Parties, Campaigns and Voting, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, and Interest Groups and the Media; two, to help students to think critically about American politics and gain more knowledge about how the U.S. government works; three, the course reinforces the idea that keeping abreast of current events is crucial for understanding political history, philosophy and contemporary debates on issues.
The course will go beyond the survey approach to look at several cases currently before the United States Supreme Court. We will do this by reading those cases and students will participate in a mock Supreme Court, with two attorneys (one pro, one con) and 9 justices per case. We will also read J.D. Vance’s best selling Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis (2016), a story of the white working class in America, a segment of the American population that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Reading this book should help us to better understand the presidential election of 2016.
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