American Political Thought
I. Course Prefix/Number: PSC 210
Course Name: American Political Thought
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
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
- Identify the historical events and describe the ideologies that shaped the Founding Fathers’ political views;
- Define the perspectives of the Founding Fathers and explain how those perspectives helped shape the structures of American government;
- Analyze the development of American political thought and interpret the impact of that development on the evolution of America's political institutions;
- Analyze the current dominant philosophical ideologies and evaluate their role in shaping the policy-making process;
- Evaluate and interpret representative works of American political thought.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• 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.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
- Natural Law theory
- Lockean Liberalism
- The Founding Fathers
- The Declaration of Independence
- The philosophy of the Articles of Confederation
- The philosophy of the state constitutions
- The philosophy of the U.S. Constitution
- Hamiltonian Federalism
- Jeffersonian Republicanism
- jacksonian Democracy
- Slavery and the Nature of the Union
- John C. Calhoun and the Concurrent Majority
- The Abolitionist Crusade
- Lincoln: The Union – An Indissoluble Chain
- The Gospel of Wealth
- The Social Gospel
- Wilson: The U.S. in the World Arena
- The New Deal: Social Rights Citizenship
- The Courts and Civil Liberties
- Contemporary Ideologies
VII. Methods of Instruction
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
Students will be required to:
- Read a standard textbook and research materials.
- 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.
- Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.
IX. Instructional Materials
The most current editions of the following texts are being used:
Dolbeare and Dolbeare, American Ideologies
Frisch and Stevens, American Political Thought
Mason and Leach, In Quest of Freedom
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out- of- class assignments.
XI. Other Course Information
Support Services: Tutoring is available in the Learning Center.
Important Dates: *
|XX/XX:||Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record|
|XX/XX:||Last day to change to Audit|
|XX/XX:||Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester|
|XX/XX:||Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"|
*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.
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.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.