Learning Objectives
GOVT 2305, U.S. GOVERNMENT

This course is an introduction to United States national government. The course includes an introduction to a framework for understanding United States government and politics, the constitutional basis for United States government and politics, the processes of United States government and politics, the institutions of United States government and politics, and the policies of United States government and politics.

Constitutional Foundations
Learning Outcome: The student will understand the foundations, development, and features of the U.S. Constitution.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. define democracy.

2. distinguish among direct, representative, and pluralist democracy.

3. describe separation of powers.

4. describe checks and balances.

5. describe the importance of the Declaration of Independence.

6. describe the nature and impact of the Articles of Confederation.

7. describe the members and operation of the Constitutional Convention of 178

8. describe the compromises reached at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

9. describe the ratification process of the U.S. Constitution.

10. define federalism.

11. describe the evolution of federalism.

12. distinguish among enumerated (delegated, express), inherent, implied, concurrent, and reserved powers.

13. describe McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) and its impact.

14. describe the obligations of states to each other.

15. describe the obligations of the national government to the states.

16. describe the process for amending the U.S. Constitution.

17. describe the substantive changes made in the U.S. Constitution through the amending process.

18. describe the informal methods for changing the U.S. Constitution.

19. define judicial review.

20. describe Marbury v. Madison (1803) and its impact.

Linkage Institutions
Learning Outcome: The student will understand how media, interest groups, and political parties serve as institutions to connect people to government.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. describe how the government regulates the media.

2. distinguish between objective and interpretive reporting.

3. describe the influence of the media on the political system today.

4. define interest group.

5. describe the types of interest groups in the United States today and their goals.

6. describe the resources and tactics used by interest groups to influence public policy.

7. describe the impact of interest groups on politics and government in the United States.

8. describe political action committees (PACs) and their significance.

9. distinguish between iron triangles and issue networks.

10. define political party.

11. describe the functions of the two major parties today.

12. describe the evolution of the U.S. political party system.

13. compare and contrast the issue positions of the two major parties today.

14. describe the reasons for the two-party system in the United States.

15. describe minor parties and their impact.

16. describe the organization of the two major parties.

17. define party identification and its significance.

18. describe the changes in the distribution of partisan attachments in the United States over the last fifty years.

19. distinguish between realignment and dealignment.

Political Learning
Learning Outcome: The student will understand how political values, attitudes, and behaviors are learned, organized, and expressed.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. define political socialization.

2. describe the agents of political socialization and their impact.

3. describe the U.S. political culture.

4. define political ideology.

5. define public opinion.

6. describe the methods for measuring public opinion.

7. describe the impact of public opinion on U.S. government and politics.

Campaigns and Elections
Learning Outcome: The student will understand the operation of a political campaign, types of elections, and the factors that affect election outcomes.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. define suffrage.

2. describe the expansion of the right to vote in the United States.

3. define voter turnout.

4. describe the factors that influence voter turnout.

5. describe the factors that influence vote choice.

6. distinguish between primary elections and general elections.

7. distinguish among the types of primaries.

8. describe the factors that affect elections.

9. describe current campaign finance regulations and their impact.

Institutions of Government
Learning Outcome: The student will understand the structure, functions, and operations of the institutions of U.S. government.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. describe the bicameral structure of Congress and its impact.

2. describe the organization of Congress, including the leadership structure and the committee system.

3. describe the powers and functions of Congress.

4. describe the impact of incumbency.

5. distinguish between reapportionment and redistricting.

6. describe gerrymandering and its impact.

7. describe the legislative process.

8. describe the influences on the voting behavior of members of Congress.

9. describe the process by which the parties nominate their presidential candidates.

10. describe the process by which a president is elected.

11. describe the constitutional powers of the president.

12. describe the formal and informal roles of the president today.

13. describe the organization of the executive branch.

14. describe the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

15. describe the structure and operations of the federal courts.

16. describe the process by which federal judges are selected.

17. distinguish between judicial activism and judicial restraint.


Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Learning Outcome: The student will understand how civil liberties and civil rights protect both the individual and categories of people.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. distinguish between civil liberties and civil rights.

2. describe the nature of the Bill of Rights.

3. describe the First Amendment freedoms.

4. describe the landmark decisions of the Supreme Court in First Amendment cases and their impact.

5. describe the rights of accused criminals as guaranteed in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth amendments.

6. describe the landmark Supreme Court decisions in interpreting the rights of the accused and their impact.

7. describe the development of the right to privacy.

8. describe selective incorporation and its application.

9. describe the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection and due process clauses and their significance.

10. describe Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and its impact.

11. describe Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and its impact.

12. describe the Civil Rights movement and its impact.

13. describe the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its impact.

14. describe the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its impact.

15. define affirmative action.

16. describe the landmark Supreme Court cases in the area of affirmative action and their impact.

17. describe the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its impact.


Public Policy
Learning Outcome: The student will understand the development and implementation of both foreign and domestic policies.

Learning Objectives: After completing this section of the course, the student should be able to:

1. distinguish between fiscal and monetary policy.

2. describe the Federal Reserve Board and its role.

3. describe the Social Security program.

4. describe the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

5. describe the food stamp program.

6. describe the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.

7. describe the processes by which foreign and defense policies are made.


Last updated on August 15, 2001
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