Primary Navigation
  • About
  • Academics
  • Continuing Education
  • Admission
  • Student Life
  • Student Services
  • Library
  • News and Events
  • Giving
American Political Thought

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSC 210

       Course Name: American Political Thought

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

None

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces political convictions and ideologies. Content includes examination of principles as bases of our American political system and as influences in the shaping of America’s political history.

IV.   Learning Objectives

A. Identify the historical events and describe the ideologies that shaped the Founding Fathers’ political views;
B. Define the perspectives of the Founding Fathers and explain how those perspectives helped shape the structures of American government;
C. Analyze the development of American political thought and interpret the impact of that development on the evolution of America's political institutions;
D. Analyze the current dominant philosophical ideologies and evaluate their role in shaping the policy-making process;
E. Evaluate and interpret representative works of American political thought.

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

1. Origins
    A. Natural Law theory
    B. Constitutionalism
    C. Lockean Liberalism
    D. Montesquieu
2. The Founding Fathers
    A. The Declaration of Independence
    B. The philosophy of the Articles of Confederation
    C. The philosophy of the state constitutions
    D. The philosophy of the U.S. Constitution
3. Hamiltonian Federalism
4. Jeffersonian Republicanism
5. Jacksonian Democracy
6. Transcendentalism
7. Slavery and the Nature of the Union
    A. John C. Calhoun and the Concurrent Majority
    B. The Abolitionist Crusade
    C. Lincoln: The Union – An Indissoluble Chain
8. The Gospel of Wealth
9. The Social Gospel
10. Wilson: The U.S. in the World Arena
11. The New Deal: Social Rights Citizenship
12. The Courts and Civil Liberties
13. Contemporary Ideologies

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.