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POL 151 provides an overview of the principles, institutions, and decision-making processes of the American government. It focuses on the foundations of American constitutional order and the development of powers to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. It addresses a range of actors from federal government agencies to lobbies, interest groups and the media, who contribute to public policy in the United States. The central focus of this course will be on the institutions, principles and practices of American government, though it will also touch upon contemporary debates in American politics. Thematic topics are approached in a critical and analytical way, seeking to understand the trade-offs inherent in democratic choice.

The City-as-Classroom component of this course was relatively straightforward. On October 6, I proposed to lead a group of students to the Constitution Center, at 5th and Arch, and see the multi-media exhibit “Freedom Rising” and go through the exhibit together. Students unable to make the joint visit were permitted to go on their own before the end of the semester. Students were expected to write a brief reflection paper (2 pages) connecting some of the themes and debates covered in the POL 151 class with things that they saw and experienced during their visit to the Constitution Center.