Political Science Y103-08 Introduction to American Politics

Course Description

Although we currently treat the U.S. Constitution with the utmost reverence, it was the center of a raucous political struggle at the time of its ratification. The Remnant Trust documents include an original printing of the Federalist Papers, which represent how the Founders viewed the basic institutions of American government. If students can see for themselves what the original arguments were for and against the Constitution, they can have a greater ability to understand how it functions today. More importantly, if students can appreciate why the Constitution was a controversial document and that it did not just appear fully formed from nowhere, they can come to a much deeper understanding of the operations of, and theories behind, the major American political institutions. The Federalist Papers are also an important example of the use of propaganda, a word that has negative connotations in the popular American imagination but that in this case simply refers to making a coherent argument in favor of some particular action (i.e., adopting the Constitution). Many of the disputes that raged around the new Constitution are still being fought today. In this course students will analyze one of these recurring debates and come to their own conclusions about the merits of each side of the disagreement using a modern issue to illustrate their point.