This course introduces students to the theory and practice of the American political system. Students will come to know the basic functioning of American political institutions and understand the ways in which they have changed over the years. At the end of the course, they will be able to relate the institutions and behavior that have been discussed to a variety of core concepts and persistent problems that arise any time humans are confronted with the prospect of taking collective action. The course will cover how parties, interest groups, public opinion, the media, campaigns, and the institution of federalism influence the political process. Finally, students will become familiar with the scientific approach to the study of politics and develop an understanding of political science as a unique discipline. This course is a controlled environment (impacted) course. Students who have previously attempted the course and received a grade other than W may repeat the course in the summer or winter session; or only in the fall or spring semester with a petition to the Dean's Office of the College of Arts and Sciences.