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American Political Development

 

Key information

  • Module code:

    5SSPP240

  • Level:

    5

  • Semester:

      Spring

  • Credit value:

    15

Module description

This module will introduce students to the history, development and institutions of the American political system. It aims to provide a deeper understanding of contemporary US politics by exploring the historical origins of American political and economic development. The module will examine the operation of the main branches of the US government (Congress, Presidency, Supreme Court), and the nature of political ideology and the rise of modern political parties. It also sets out to analyse the development of the federal government, bureaucracy and regulation, and explain the importance of voting and elections in shaping the scope and breadth of public policy in the US today.

Assessment details

2500 word essay

Attendance and Participation 

2 Hour exam

Educational aims & objectives

This module will introduce students to the history, development and institutions of the American political system. It has four main aims:

  • To provide an introduction to the operation of the main branches of the US government (congress, presidency, judiciary)
  • To understand the historical origins of the American political system and the process of industrialisation
  • To examine the nature of political ideology and the rise of modern political parties
  • To analyse the development of bureaucracy and regulation in the US
  • To explain the importance of voting and elections in shaping the scope and nature of government action

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will have:

  • A detailed understanding of the historical origins and development of the US political system
  • The skills to analyse the power of US political institutions, to explain the distribution of executive, legislative and judicial functions, and to reflect critically on their internal capabilities
  • The ability to apply different theories and approaches to explaining American political development
  • The capacity to analyse and explain processes of US industrialisation, and the responsiveness of government actors to public opinion and democratic pressures

 

It will also provide students with a range of core transferable skills:

  • The capacity to analyse and explain competing theories, concepts, frameworks and empirical evidence
  • The ability to think independently and to address complex problems through the application of different conceptual and analytical toolkits
  • The development and formulation of personal views and arguments, and the ability to present and communicate these concisely to peers
  • The identification and sourcing of secondary literature and primary research material in the relevant area
  • The organisation and time management of assessed and non-assessed work to clear deadlines

Teaching pattern

Weekly seminars & lectures 

Subject areas

Department