Course Summary
Credit Type:
Organization's ID:
9 weeks (144 hours)
Dates Offered:
Credit Recommendation & Competencies
Level Credits (SH) Subject
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 American Government


This course covers American Government from its beginnings in the colonies to current present-day history-in-the-making. It not only presents the historical evolution of the United States Democratic processes, but it also relates governmental concepts to our contemporary world. American Government begins with the emergence of 17th Century democracy, the philosophy of the social contract, fresh U.S. political ideals and immersion into the theories of power and politics in America. The course goes on to illuminate the U.S. Constitution from its creation to its most current amendments, as well as taking a look at the great importance and legacy of its Bill of Rights along with Judicial interpretations of prominent portions of the document. American Government also explores the concept of Federalism and the balance of powers at both the national and state levels. Finally, the course covers substantial exploration in civil liberties, human rights, public opinion, political parties, electoral processes, and special interest groups (among other things) while journeying through the three branches of the national government as well as state and local entities.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Recognize and interpret the contribution of enlightened thought to the Founders’ ideologies as exemplified in the foundation of the United States of America.
  • Apply how the people and their participation are critical in a representative democracy.
  • Comprehend and evaluate the dynamic system of federalism as a central issue in the study of American government.
  • Apply a conceptual understanding of the historical development of the United States Constitution and its evolution through today.
  • Identify and summarize the history and ongoing movements in civil liberties and civil rights.
  • Categorize interest groups and social movements as well as describing how they affect political socialization and public opinion.
  • Recognize and measure how the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) engage in the model of separation of powers – a source of our government’s strength, and at times, a basis of conflict. Detect how checks and balances, closely related to the notion of separation of powers, affects each governmental branch.
  • Relate how the Executive Branch works under the auspice of the Presidency.
  • Recall and interpret the history, development, election and current modalities of the Legislative Branch made up by Congress (House of Representatives and Senate).
  • Recognize how political parties, campaigns, elections, voting, media, and technology all intersect and affect historical and contemporary politics in the United States.
  • Identify our responsibilities as a citizen and recognize how civic participation is critical for a democratic system to survive.
  • Compare and contrast the structures of the federal, state, and local governments.
  • Identify, describe, and analyze the national system of bureaucracy in the United States.
  • Recall the importance, power, process, and current issues facing the judicial branch and the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Identify and apply the various United States policies including economic policy, domestic policy, and foreign policy.
  • Identify and interpret the events leading to the creation of the United States of America.

General Topics:

  • People, Politics, and Participation
  • The United States Constitution
  • The Concept of Federalism
  • Civil Liberties
  • Civil Rights
  • Political Socialization and Public Opinion
  • Interest Groups and Social Movements
  • Political Parties
  • Campaigns, Elections, and Voting
  • The Media
  • Politics and Technology
  • Congress
  • The Presidency
  • The Bureaucracy
  • The Judiciary
  • Economic Policy
  • Domestic Policy
  • Foreign Policy and National Security
Instruction & Assessment

Instructional Strategies:

  • Audio Visual Materials
  • Case Studies
  • Discussion
  • Lectures
  • Practical Exercises

Methods of Assessment:

  • Examinations
  • Quizzes

Minimum Passing Score:

Supplemental Materials

Other offerings from Distance Learning Systems Indiana, Inc