We will study the American political system using several different approaches. First, we will look at the founding of the United States and the principles and the documents that continue to be central to debates in American politics today. Then, we will analyze how these founding principles and documents were used by opposing parties and individuals to define and distribute power in the US. These struggles include the continuing conflicts to expand and guarantee individual freedoms and to address discrimination. Looking back through American history will help us frame contemporary discussions of American political life, from voting to elections. Finally, we will look at the institutions of American government, learning how the structures and rules of the American political system shape the ongoing competition for political power and influence.
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