American government may be studied as a college minor, as a major leading to a bachelor's degree in American government, or through master's and doctoral programs in political science, government or American government. Some schools offer these courses through distance learning. Graduates may pursue careers in law, government or teaching.
Here is a list of common concepts often covered in the study of American government:
- History of American government
- Philosophy of democracy
- Structure of the U.S. government
- The U.S. Constitution
- Comparative political ideologies
List of Common Courses
American Government Course
This introductory course explores the history and structure of American government. The philosophy of democracy and political thought that are relevant to the foundational documents of the American government will be analyzed. Approaches to studying government will also be explained, and students might be offered the opportunity to participate in and evaluate local public government activities.
American Constitution Course
Students in this course will read and learn the history behind the Constitution. Legal rulings based on constitutional law will be explored and analyzed, including decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning civil rights, taxation and personal liberties. Constitutional powers granted to Congress, the president and judiciary systems will be examined.
American Legislature Course
The organization of the Congress and how its members function will be covered in this course. Topics covered can include policy- and law-making, representation, inter-state relationships and historical responsibilities. Comparisons between the House and the Senate will be discussed and the role of the Congress as defined by the Constitution will be reviewed.
Political Thought and Theory Course
Political values, theories and ideologies held in America from the time of its formation through present day will be introduced in this course. American thought will be explored through the writings and speeches of influential Americans such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. President Jefferson and President Hamilton. The interaction between religious and political ideas will be examined. Political ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, fascism, communism and conservatism will be compared.
American Presidency Course
This course will cover the constitutional origins of the office of the presidency, along with its historical responsibilities and the relationship between the presidency, legislature and judiciary. Individual presidencies will be reviewed and the growing role of the presidential staff and cabinet may be studied. The domestic and international roles played by American presidents will also be discussed.
International Relations Course
International or foreign relations courses explore and evaluate the relationships between America and other countries. Topics that include national policy goals and objectives, adherence to federal laws and the history of American interaction abroad will be examined. The political thought and philosophies of other countries may be explored in relation to how international relationships are formed and conducted.