lecture1 - LECTURE NOTES UCLA PS 40 Department of Political...

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1 LECTURE NOTES UCLA Department of Political Science Fall 2007 PS 40 Introduction to American Politics Prof. Thomas Schwartz Hunk 1 Introduction Welcome - - to PS 40, to Political Science, and in some cases to UCLA. There are too many of you. Sorry, some of you will have to take another course or take PS 40 next quarter or next year or this summer. Subject . This class is about American politics , of course, but it is also about political science - - about how one goes about the scholarly and scientific study of politics. American politics provides a good setting for the latter because the most sophisticated methods of inquiry were first tried in American politics. Most attention will be given to the nuts and bolts of our political system, to its parts and how they are connected and how they interact – what you see when you read the owner’s manual and look under the hood. So we lay more emphasis than others might on institutional (or procedural) mechanics – and a bit less on individual attitudes, social values, and public policy. But we do not downgrade history : we shall ask how and why the engine was put together one way rather than another. To emphasize institutions , as we shall do, is to emphasize the most durable part of American politics.
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