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Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government


Separation of powers

Considerations that influenced the formulation and adoption of the Constitution

Theories of democratic government

Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts

The major formal and informal institutional arrangements of powers

Relationships among these four institutions and varying balances of power

Links between these institutions and political parties, interest groups, the media, sub national governments, and public opinion and the voters

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

The development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation

Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties

The impact of the Fourteenth Amendment on the constitutional development of rights and liberties

Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and its leaders

Processes by which citizens learn about politics

The nature, sources, and consequences of public opinion

The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life

Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and behaviors

Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media

Political parties and elections




Effects on the political process

Electoral laws and systems

Interest groups (including PACS)

The range of interests that are or are not represented

The activities of interest groups

The effects of interest groups on the political process

The unique characteristics and roles of PACs in the political process

The mass media

The functions and structures of the media

The impacts of the media on politics

Public Policy

Policy making in a federal system

The formation of policy agendas

The role of institutions in the enactment of policy

The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation

Linkages between policy processes and the following:

Political institutions and federalism

Political parties

Interest groups

Public opinion


Policy networks