Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
By the People: US Politics. Past and Present
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Participation  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word Policy Report  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1,000 word Concept note in lieu of Seminar Participation  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word Policy report  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

- critically assess the impact of ideas upon the conduct of US politics;
- describe some of the relationships between historical, social, philosophical and political factors in both the raising of issues and in the formulation and projection of public policy options;
- identify and assess how the conceptual properties, operational problems and social implications of such values, when placed in juxtaposition to one another, influences the political agenda of American politics, which shapes how and what is decided in the political sphere.
- discuss and analyse both the motive forces and organising agency of ideas in political argument, and to demonstrate an awareness of how priorities can change either over different periods and across different issue areas.

10 ECTS Credits

Brief description

This module offers an introductory grounding in the nature and political implications of the United States' core beliefs and their relationship to the conduct of American politics.


The module provides an analysis of the role that a number of key ideas have had not only in the history of the United States and in the development of its political system, but in the formation of contemporary issue agendas.


The module will examine a number of key themes in the established belief structures of the US (e.g. constitutionalism, individualism, equality, democracy, conservatism). It will identify the main properties of each value; locate its significance in a historical and social context; and illustrate its significance in structuring attitudes and establishing priorities in the formation of political issues. The module will then move to describing and analysing the decision-making process and developing how institutions, ideas and traditions interact in the production of public policy (e.g. abortion, gun control, death penalty).

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeracy skills and self management skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team work and problem solving. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.


This module is at CQFW Level 6