Big Ideas

The soul of American Government and Politics, its essence, can be found in a number of key big ideas.  These ideas are: Constitutionalism, Liberty and Order, Civic Participation in a Representative Democracy, Competing Policy Interests and Methods of Political analysis.  Keep in mind these big ideas whenever and wherever you observe American government and politics and consider yourself a crucial player in our republic - a citizen.

The U.S. Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances among branches of government and allocates power between federal and state governments.  This system is based on the rule of law that seeks to balance majority rules with minority rights.
Civic Participation 
Popular sovereignty, individualism, and republicanism are important considerations of U.S. laws and policy-making and assume citizens will engage and participate.
Methods of Political Analysis
Using various types of analyses, political scientists measure how U.S. political behavior, attitudes, and ideologies are shaped by a number of factors over time.
Liberty and Order
Governmental laws and policies balancing order and liberty are based on the U.S. Constitution and have been interpreted over time
Competing Policy Interests 
Multiple actors and institutions interact to produce and implement possible policies.
Essential Skills