Introduction to American Politics

Second year module

Lecturer: Dr Robert Watt

This module surveys not only the institution of the American presidency but also the broad and complex subject of American government and politics. Aspects include political culture, political institutions, political decision-making, leadership, participation, elections and a range of contemporary topics in American politics and society. We will look in particular at debates about the degree to which, and the way in which, the American political system lives up to the ideals and norms of liberal democracy.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • be familiar with the main foundations of American political culture
  • be able to detail the complex institutional politics of the USA and, in particular, how the system of checks and balances at the centre of its system of government operates
  • develop an awareness and appreciation of the major issues and controversies in American politics and society
  • be capable of making comparisons with other political systems


  • Term Two: 1 essay x 2,000 word assessed work (50%)
  • Term Three: 2 hour examination (50%)