Course Summary
Credit Type:
Organization's ID:
14 weeks (75 hours)
Dates Offered:
Credit Recommendation & Competencies
Level Credits (SH) Subject
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Introduction to American Government


The course objective is to provide students context, history and insight into the American Government. Students will understand how the founders created a democracy based upon the ideals of liberty, equality, and self-government. They will explore how the government is structured and how it operates; examine the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial, that make up the system of checks and balances; and explore the Constitution as a foundation for the government of today and as a changing, living document meeting the needs of contemporary America.

Learning Outcomes:

  • describe the ideals that the United States was founded upon and, discuss their lasting influence on the nation's politics
  • distinguish between civil rights and civil liberties, and explain how these rights and liberties are achieved through politics
  • explain how citizens participate in public affairs during elections and through intermediaries such as political parties, interest groups, and the media
  • discuss the ways Americans think politically, and describe the effect their opinions have on government
  • describe the division of political power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government
  • debate the proper relationship between the people and the government
  • explain how the policies of the United States reflect the nature of its political system and its people, and why they tend to be piecemeal and reactive
  • compare and contrast the structures of the federal, state, and local governments.

General Topics:

  • American political culture
  • Constitutional democracy
  • Federalism
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil rights
  • Public opinion and mass media
  • Voting and party systems
  • Interest groups
  • Getting elected to Congress
  • Congressional governance
  • The president and the bureaucracy
  • The judiciary
  • Public policy
  • State and local politics
Instruction & Assessment

Instructional Strategies:

  • Audio Visual Materials
  • Computer Based Training

Methods of Assessment:

  • Examinations
  • Quizzes

Minimum Passing Score:

Supplemental Materials

Other offerings from StraighterLine