POLI 100: Introduction to Government in the United States

This course is a general introduction to government and politics in the United States. We will examine government from both normative and empirical perspectives. How should our government function, and how does it function in reality? As a society, how close have we come to the ideal of a representative democracy in which citizens are informed, politically active, and heard on an equal basis? How can we move closer to that ideal? We will attempt to answer these questions through the study of American political institutions and political behavior.

After taking this course, you should have a

  • clear understanding of the founding principles of American government
  • firm grasp on the institutional makeup of American government, both in theory and in practice
  • sense of the actual and potential roles that citizens can play in American government and politics
  • healthy skepticism about politics, particularly when you encounter public opinion poll results, campaign advertising, and media coverage of politics.

Required Texts:

  • Ginsberg, et al. We the People, 10th Essentials edition (2014), ISBN 978-0393937053
  • Canon, Coleman, and Mayer, eds., The Enduring Debate: Classic and Contemporary Readings in American Politics, 7th edition (2013), ISBN 978-0393921588

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at CCO@unc.edu with any questions or for more information.

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