Focus Programs

The Duke Program in American Values and Institutions sponsors the American Experience and Visions of Freedom Focus Programs for students in their first semester at Duke.  More information about these programs and how to apply is available at the FOCUS Website.

Fall 2017 Courses

Political Science 206, American Values, Culture and Institutions

WF 1:25AM – 2:40PM

Visiting Assistant Professor Nora Hanagan

In this overview of early American political theory and development, we examine the competing political ideologies that influenced American political life from the colonial period to the Progressive Era. We also explore the origins and evolution of key political institutions—including congress, federalism, the presidency, and the Supreme Court, paying special attention to the ways in which these institutions shaped political outcomes.

We begin by examining several different ideologies—liberalism, republicanism and puritanism—that shaped colonial America. Then we explore the Revolution and Founding in considerable depth. Next, we analyze how institutions and ideologies influenced the emergence of the two party system, and the ongoing conflict about slavery that eventually resulted in the Civil War. The final unit covers Progressive Era reforms, including the creation of the National Parks system and the beginnings of the welfare state.