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Political Parties and American Politics

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSC 111

       Course Name: Political Parties and American Politics

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

None

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines political parties in the United States. Content includes the historical development, and modern status, the role political parties play in the American political process.

IV.   Learning Objectives

This course is designed to help students achieve an understanding of:

A.    The need for political parties in our political system
B.    The historical development of political parties, including the factors that have in recent times weakened the parties and their impact on both electoral outcomes and government decision-making.
C.    The rise of service-oriented party organizations.
D.    The relationship between the parties and the voters.
E.    The relationship between the parties and interest groups.
F.    The role of the parties in the public policy process.

V.    Academic Integrity

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Details of the Code of Academic Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.

VI.   Sequence of Topics

In order to accomplish this, the course will follow this outline of topics:

A. The Case for Political Parties
B. The Historical Development of Political Parties
    1. The First Party System
    2. Political Parties after Jackson
    3. The Civil War Period
    4. Parties in the Era of Boss Politics
    5. The Reform Movement
    6. The Decline of Party Power
    7. Political Parties in the Television Age
    8. The Rise of the Service-Oriented Party
    9. Political Parties Today
C. The Political Party as an Organization
D. The Political Party in the Electorate
E. Parties, Nominations, and Elections
F. The Impact of Interest Groups on Parties and Elections
G. The Party in the Government and its Impact on Decision-Making
H. The Impact of Interest Groups on Decision-Making in Government
I. Political Parties v. Interest Groups

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
    A. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
    B. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12-14 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
    C. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of- class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.