Understanding the US Government

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understanding the US Government Well researched and clearly presented. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of political persuasion. You will come away better informed.
Date published: 2021-02-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hard Left Turn I was enjoying the even handed course presentation until Lecture 9. Blamed the republicans for fake news and said I could avoid misinformation by relying on the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN. Not on this planet
Date published: 2021-01-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A liberal/progressive's take on the US Government There is a lot to like about this course and I do plan to watch it again. I do feel that I have a better understanding of how the Federal Government functions and how the various divisions and departments of the government relate to one another. This course had the potential to be a 5 star course, for me. However, I would rate this course 3.5 stars, overall. Dr Victor did an excellent job of explaining the organization, structure, function and purpose of the Federal Government. She effectively explains how each subdivision of the government functions, what it's purpose is and how it accomplishes it's prime and secondary objectives. For me, this is what I was hoping to gain from this course and she largely achieved that objective. Dr Victor's articulation, enunciation, organization, pace of progression through the course and general demeanor were all excellent. As many others have already noted, Dr Victor has a strong liberal/progressive bias that frequently flavors her presentation. To my left leaning friends, you may absolutely love this course. While I am a conservative, I grew up in abject poverty and had significant exposure to liberal/progressive ideology through both family and friends throughout my formative years. I believe that I have the ability to listen to and consider argumentation from both sides of the political spectrum. My problem with Dr Victor (and the reason for subtracting 1.5 stars) is that it felt like she just could not help herself but to take jabs at people or practices that she personally disagrees with and, worse; at times it just felt as if she used this course as a forum for promoting her own ideology. This is especially true during the final lecture when I felt as if I was being preached to, about how certain liberal-progressive actions could potentially save America from itself. Obviously, less conservative viewers (and perhaps some conservative viewers) may feel differently. The course isn't anti-conservative so much as it is pro progressive; however, it is peppered with a liberal perspective and a certain degree of progressive pontification that made it feel anything but neutral in it's overall presentation. I do believe that it IS possible to teach people about how our government works, without ever revealing (and certainly without pushing an agenda) personal bias. This is where Dr Victor failed completely. However, It may never have been her goal to present this course from a politically neutral viewpoint, in the first place. In summary: what I was hoping to gain from this course (a better understanding of how our government functions), I largely did. I credit Dr Victor for doing a great job at explaining how the government works and making it all feel more accessible. If she could have accomplished that in a politically neutral way, then it would have achieved 5 star status for me. Having said that, many of my friends and family would have loved her presentation, precisely because of it's overt liberal bias. Perhaps others will enjoy Dr Victor's approach for similar reasons; it just didn't work for me. I streamed the video version of this course, though I believe that the audio only version would give up little to the video version. A few of the charts and photos were helpful, though not entirely needed to follow the professor's monologue.
Date published: 2021-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome. Really helpful right now. I am pretty "politically savvy" but this was still most welcome.
Date published: 2021-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course I almost did not get this course as I saw several negative reviews citing heavy bias. I am very glad I did as I thought it was excellent and very fair and balanced. I have teens taking Government in school and wanted to keep up and relearn in greater detail information I have long forgotten since school and college and I think this course did a great job.
Date published: 2021-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Helpful explaining history of our government, constitution, bill of rights. And how we've evolved to our current place. Still watching but very well DDT one. Excellent instructor.
Date published: 2021-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very timely This course was very helpful in trying to understand what is going on in American politics, especially in regard to what happened today, when Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building. The professor talks about the decrease in mutual tolerance and forbearance, as well as the three reasons why polarization is so extreme at present. With an understanding garnered from this course, one could almost anticipate the happenings of today, Jan 6, 2021.
Date published: 2021-01-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Campaign Propaganda I have generally been pleases with the courses I have viewed. But this Lady crossed the line in presenting personal bias as scholarship. And recent events have revealed her biases to be as unfounded as they are insulting.
Date published: 2021-01-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not an accurate program There seemed to be more opinion that facts regarding how things should work opposed to how they are functioning currently. I was looking for old-school explanation on how things work at the Federal level, but received a narrative that lacked historic accuracy, was fueled by the professor's personal bias, and misinformation in general. I would have given it a no-star if it were possible as it is not a good course for Great Courses and certainly not worthy of paying for. One could get the same narrative from watching news media.
Date published: 2020-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must to understand the fundamentals I have been self-educating gradually on the complexities of how the American Government works and had many questions in my mind. This course answered many of those questions. Dr. Victor breaks down the fundamentals, principles, and inputs that influence how our Government functions in an amazingly simple and objective manner. I recommend anybody to take this course. I had my doubts at the beginning because of some comments implied political bias; however, I completely disagree. My household and friends have voted on both sides of the spectrum. I think anyone can benefit of this course if they focus on learning the fundamentals and not politicizing the course.
Date published: 2020-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information I viewed this course to learn something new, not to confirm ideas I already had. This course gave me a perspective of our democracy and government I can appreciate and understand. I have recommended others to The Great Courses, primarily because of this course series.
Date published: 2020-12-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from "Mixed salad" course Positive: a) Course does a good job of describing hardwired structural elements and tensions within the U.S. Government, e.g., founding fathers' inability/unwillingness to foresee political parties. b) Also discusses initial strong early role of decision-making by states being subject to steady encroachment by nationalistic tendencies and strong(er) role of the U.S. President. c) Good analysis of media effects. Negative: a) Supercilious, left-of-center politics, e.g., rips on Trump & Republicans (e.g., more partisan, more extreme, "they started it," less able to handle complex ambiguous info, whatever). Unlike those dispassionate, intelligent Democratic acolytes of the New York Times and the Pelosi/Schumer ilk, I guess. b) Likes federal campaign "reform," aka political incumbent protection game. c) Underplays dramatic growth in Washington D.C. lobbying trade since 1960s as correlating with the Willie Sutton mantra "that's where the money is" these days. There's gold in them there corridors of power. Finally, she swings (and forgivably misses) in Lecture #13 "Polling Public Opinion." She states polling presents important largely accurate info. One suspects the good Professor would like a mulligan do-over on Lecture #13, after the 2020 Presidential election. Polling has long specialized in crafting questions that yielded answers that its customers wanted. Now it can't even do that, to the probable detriment of our form of government.
Date published: 2020-12-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I learnt more in high school What a waste of time. The professor produced nothing new and added numerous viewpoints that had nothing to do with the course.
Date published: 2020-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understanding US Government Review Understanding US Government is a Great Courses offering that provides us with an in depth review of how our country's government functions. It begins by introducing us to the three main branched of our federal government: the legislature, the presidency and the judiciary. Professor Victor then expands into many of the features of our system of government that impact how country's government functions that a course like this can explain. Professor Victor provides ample examples to underscore the significance of her lecture topics. For example, I found her discussions of the 2016 presidential election's issues to be both timely and instructive. Understanding US Government is a course that, in my opinion, will enhance your understanding of how our country's government functions.
Date published: 2020-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A course every American should take. I learned so much more and believe I will be a much better citizen and voter.Professor gave a fairly unbiased view of American politics,Will be much more attuned to current political events after this course.
Date published: 2020-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course to Take Very informative and up to date. Great course to take, especially these days, to better understand how we got to today and why there is such a divide...
Date published: 2020-11-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Passed political opinion as fact After listening to about 200 courses, I have found a new low in quality of material. The course should be somewhat mundane because we all know a substantial amount about the workings of the government. After 7 lectures, I found little in the way of new insight that I would classify as value added. By this time, the problems with the actual workings of the government such as greed, political values over representing constituents or good of country had ignored in favor of high-mindedness with a distinctly partisan bias. Consequently I stopped listening to this course, the 4th time this has happened.
Date published: 2020-11-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Fail! Full of biased opinions An extremely narrow-minded view of the US Gov’t hurt by her inserting biased opinions about current events. It's sad that this was written and presented by a college level professor it sounds more like a poorly written 9th grade paper. I expect more from The Great Courses.
Date published: 2020-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best course I purchased this course about 2 months ago, and am maybe 1/3 done. In the past I have purchases around 40 courses. This course, Understanding the US Government, is maybe the best course of all of them. The presenter is very easy to understand and knowledgeable. The presentations are very clear. The course was done in the last year (2020) and is up-to-date, given all the crazy stuff going on in this country. The material is presented fairly and does not favour one point of view over another.
Date published: 2020-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well done. As a former civics teacher, I highly recommend this course. Sadly, too many of our Americans get their information from pundits instead of professors. An educated electorate is the best protection for our democracy.
Date published: 2020-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for non-Americans!! As a Canadian, I have long struggled to understand US politics, even though we lived in California for 2 years. I have been very active in Canadian politics and have taken a few political science sources, but I still struggled to understand US politics. Since 2016, I have been searching for an on-line course that would help me to understand the dynamics (from both sides - liberalism and conservatism) . I highly recommend this course! BRAVO, EXCEPTION VALUE
Date published: 2020-10-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Understanding the US Government First of all, let me explain that I have more than 100 Great Courses which I have listened to and enjoyed and learned from the vast majority of them. I did learn from "Understanding the US Government" particularly the lecture on how the laws are passed, but having stated that, I must say that this professor is the most biased teacher I have ever had in any course. Her hyper-liberal viewpoint clearly shines thru in almost every topic. She will frequently fault the conservative government while only criticizing liberal policies in the most forgiving manner. For example, she finds that FOX news media is a cause of the anger and hatred in conservatives while late night comedy is source of liberal opposition. Interesting that she doesn't mention the burning American cities and the violence and killings rooted in liberal beliefs. Another example is her belief that those with more resources have more influence on elections. She never clearly points out that those wealthy individuals are the very same earners who make freebees possible to the more needy. Overall, the professor's style is good and easy to listen to but she should stick with the mechanical facts of how the government works or, I she is going to interject her own political leanings, she should give a more balanced view. Either that or retitle the course "Understanding the US Government ACCORDING TO A LIBERAL PROFESSOR"
Date published: 2020-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best If The Great Courses were to offer one free course to all libraries and streaming, this would be my choice. Everyone should take this course. I found it a very good follow on to the Federalist Papers which I thoroughly enjoyed too. Nice to see someone tackling such a sensitive subject (as can be seen in the comments) and keeping what I thought was a very academic perspective. Of course there were areas that I don't agree with but those were perhaps the most useful presenting a perspective that I can now see where they are coming from even though I don't agree.
Date published: 2020-10-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The short answer … Pass The lecturer Jennifer Victor makes numerous mistakes in her presentation especially in her treatment of the historical foundation of the United States. In some cases the errors were so egregious it leads me to question what sources she's even relying on. Many of her claims are highly anachronistic and don't mesh with the motivations and viewpoints of the Founding Fathers. The information she presents is also either superficial or political screed not likely convince anyone of a differing viewpoint. She often veers into extend digression which seem solely intended to give her a chance engage in personal attacks. If your looking for the leftist talk radio version of the US government you’ll probably enjoy her unique zealotry, otherwise I’d recommend choosing another lecturer.
Date published: 2020-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It only took 30 years I'm reviewing from the audio version of the course. There are a few places where "as we can see from this chart" makes audio a bit problematic, which is mostly why it's four stars rather than five, but the course works well in either format. This is a basic introduction to US Government. It is well done, well organized, well presented, and it only took 30 years to get here. Some of the 1- and 2-star reviews probably explain why The Great Courses hasn't done a basic Government course earlier, which makes Lectures 14 and 15 on parties and polarization particularly interesting. Prof. Victor is presenting from an institutionalist perspective and says so at the outset, so she is very transparent as to where she is coming from. There are other approaches out there, but institutionalism works well for a survey course like this. Despite it being categorized as History, it's politics and some of the content may be somewhat controversial, but she takes an even-handed approach. I did not come across anything in the 24 lectures that was not well-supported in the literature. I do have minor quibbles about some bits, but they are things where she would have needed to take a much deeper dive into the data and methodology, which is beyond the scope of the course. For a basic Government 101 course, it's very good. I highly recommend it and even those with a deeper knowledge of Political Science will come across more than a few interesting bits.
Date published: 2020-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting and useful This courses gives clear concise descriptions of the mechanism of our government, its gears and levers so to speak, and what the thinking was behind it being structured this way. It gives a clear picture of how some of the changes over time, the forces behind the change, as well as some of the outcomes of these changes. The lecturer deals in some depth with the origin and historical changes in the two main political parties we have today which I especially welcomed, as well as the function of political parties in winning elections versus producing political outcomes. Some reviewers have complained that the lecturer is biased. Maybe they were hoping to hear all good about "their side," in which case it is natural they were disappointed -- as neither "side" gets a five-star review from this lecturer. I very much appreciate that her lectures take us from the founding to the political present in our country, which makes it feel all the more relevant to me. It is so nice to have an equitable context within which to view current events that goes beyond 100% polarization. It also gives me a better framework to think about changes I have seen in my lifetime but which I did not have the broader context for. I would say that even as a very interested and fairly informed person on politics, this course delivered a real education. The lecturer is not trying to give gospel here, and you won't find that if that's what you're looking for. She is giving us certain intellectual "lenses" and a long-range context within which to view things which can help each of us bring them into better focus for ourselves.
Date published: 2020-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic course with depth and examples Binged much of this course over a weekend and loved it. I think the course is well laid out, more detailed than I expected, and the professor is well spoken and concise. There is a lot of material in this course which makes it a great value. I have only glanced at the course guide but like the inclusion of quizzes, this helps to cement concepts (at least in my brain). To quickly speak to others comments about the professor's bias, I did not see it nor did my wife (and we belong to different parties). Candidly, one my favorite courses....and I have watched a lot.
Date published: 2020-10-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from This course has a misleading title! I just finished this course and I must say that I am disappointed in The Great Courses for choosing this one. The title should be “Understanding the US Government from a Progressive Marxist Point of View”. I was unaware that income redistribution and equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity were part of mainstream political thought in this country. Perhaps I am wrong.
Date published: 2020-10-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Extremely Biased! There are so many instances of misleading explanations, it is hard to know where to begin. The exclusion of the term slavery in the constitution was not tantamount to condoning it, but rather a commitment not to legitimize it as part of the supreme law of the land. Likewise, the founders did not “punt” the question of slavery, they began efforts to dismantle, or at least severely limit it, almost immediately with the “Northwest Ordinance”. Professor Victor’s explanation and illustration of equality of outcomes is also disingenuous. A man (looking suspiciously father-like) giving a box (or whatever) to a child to stand on in order for the child to better see a sporting event beyond a wall, is not the same as a pernicious confiscatory government policy. Equality of outcomes is a fool’s errand because it denies natural individual differences that exists regardless of race, ethnicity or any other measure by which she chooses to categorize people. There will always be those who have greater faculties or drive than others, and thus will be more likely to succeed based on those faculties and drive. Equality of opportunity, regardless of race, ethnicity, etc., is the only measure that is “just” and “fair”. Equality of outcomes amounts to “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Where have I heard that before…and how well did it end? There are many other examples in the first two and a half lectures (which is all I was willing to endure), some mentioned in other posts. I agree with others here that the left-wing bias is dense in this series, and I would not bother with it. However, I also agree with some of alternative Teaching Company recommendations, many of which I have watched and enjoyed. I have been a longtime Teaching Company fan, but this is not its best work, and I hope not an indicator of where the company is are going.
Date published: 2020-10-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed bag The Professor is very articulate and much of the series is informative. Unfortunately her political bias shows through in a way that is completely unnecessary. I'm independent with my thinking and I search for empirical evidence and facts. I cannot recommend this series due to the bias, and would advise others to take a course that is fact based without political leaning.
Date published: 2020-10-10
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Understanding the US Government
Course Trailer
Why Have Government?
1: Why Have Government?

As context, begin by looking into the nature of governments, and the major types of government. Consider why governments exist and how major political theorists have viewed the roles of government. Examine the founding of the United States and the creation of the Constitution through the lens of “collective action theory,” which helps explain why the US government is structured as it is.

31 min
The Framework of US Federalism
2: The Framework of US Federalism

Study the system of federalism, where sovereign power is divided between the national and state governments. Trace the history of federalism in the United States, as it protects individual liberties, checks government power, and allows for the resolution of political conflicts. Note how the balance shifted in the 20th century, from greater state authority to a much-expanded power of the federal government.

27 min
Civil Liberties: Freedoms from Government
3: Civil Liberties: Freedoms from Government

Probe the concept of civil liberties, as they delineate restrictions that government cannot impose. Learn about “selective incorporation,” the process through which civil liberty protections at the state level have been guaranteed through Supreme Court rulings. Then look at how the judicial system has interpreted and upheld freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

33 min
Civil Rights: Fairness under Government
4: Civil Rights: Fairness under Government

Consider how America’s historic record on human rights continues to impact modern politics. Study the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment and how it has been applied. Examine the history and the current landscape of human rights with regard to African-American rights, affirmative action, and women’s rights, as well as Native American, Asian American, and LGBTQ+ rights.

33 min
How a Bill Becomes a Law
5: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Observe how a congressional bill originates, and how legislators formally submit a bill. Then follow the various stages through which a bill is acted upon by the House, the Senate, by presidential review, and the process of ultimate adoption into law. Finally, learn about the “cloture rule,” a mechanism that forces bills to a vote, and the strategic tactic of filibustering in the Senate.

29 min
Why Congress Is Such a Puzzle
6: Why Congress Is Such a Puzzle

Explore core issues in the functioning of Congress. First, take account of the inherent tension for legislators between serving their constituents and serving their party. Investigate procedural challenges within this unwieldy organ of government, tasked with solving massive social problems, whose institutional design is in some ways an impediment to progress.

27 min
How Congressional Elections Work
7: How Congressional Elections Work

Learn how congressional elections are structured, and differences between the House and Senate. Examine key factors in the politics of congressional campaigns, such as the high cost of campaigning, the role of incumbency, and how congressional campaigns have become increasingly nationalized. Then delve into the issue of gerrymandering, and the varied record in the United States of the practice of gerrymandering.

31 min
The Powers of the Presidency
8: The Powers of the Presidency

Identify the powers granted to the president by the Constitution, versus other powers that have been implied or have developed over time. Assess the roles of the president as both head of state and head of government, and delve into core topics that include the budget process, the exercise of executive privilege, impeachment, and the president’s role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

33 min
How Presidential Elections Work
9: How Presidential Elections Work

Grasp the ways in which presidential elections differ from congressional elections. Take an in-depth look at the Electoral College, and the sometimes odd consequences of the system. Observe how presidential nominations are made, and assess election forecasting and the indicators that are most predictive of election outcomes. Also, examine the phenomenon of “fake news” and misinformation.

36 min
A Road Map of the Federal Bureaucracy
10: A Road Map of the Federal Bureaucracy

Take an overview of how the vast systems of the federal government operate. First, trace how and why the United States developed such a massive bureaucracy. Study how the executive branch is structured, highlighting the cabinet departments, independent agencies, and government corporations. Finally, analyze the theory of the “principal-agent problem,” which gives insights into bureaucratic control.

32 min
How the Judicial Branch Works
11: How the Judicial Branch Works

Investigate the sources of judicial authority that underlie our legal system, and the judicial system’s organization according to three types of legal cases. Learn about the structure of the federal court system, comprising three types of federal courts. Conclude with a detailed look at the Supreme Court, how a case gets to the Supreme Court, and how cases are heard and adjudicated.

26 min
Where the Supreme Court Meets Politics
12: Where the Supreme Court Meets Politics

Follow the very politicized process that takes place when a president appoints a justice to the Supreme Court. Then look at four categories of influences that bear on the Court and its decisions. Examine how the Court plays a role in policymaking through its decisions and precedents. Finally, trace how the Court’s role in politics and government has changed over the course of US history.

30 min
The Challenges of Polling Public Opinion
13: The Challenges of Polling Public Opinion

Define “public opinion,” in its various forms, both individual and aggregate. For the measuring of public opinion, note the difference between the theory of the “wisdom of crowds,” and what’s called “groupthink.” Explore the sources of individual opinion and political identity. Then look at what polls are and what they do, highlighting the polling controversy of the 2016 presidential election.

33 min
How Political Parties Organize Democracy
14: How Political Parties Organize Democracy

Why do political parties exist? Dig into this question, and grasp how parties solve three categories of problems for three different groups of political “actors.” Investigate why it is that the United States has two, and only two, major political parties. And, to better understand how parties operate today, trace the history of political parties in the United States, and how they have changed and realigned over time.

32 min
How Americans Became So Polarized
15: How Americans Became So Polarized

Delve into the factors that underlie the extreme partisan polarization of current US politics. Define what polarization is, as distinct from partisanship. Focus on three main sources of polarization, and explore how and why polarization tends to self-perpetuate. Examine false assumptions about polarization, its dangers, and consider how possible reforms might break the cycle.

32 min
The Fundamentals of Elections and Voting
16: The Fundamentals of Elections and Voting

Look first at suffrage (the right to vote) in the United States, including the history of women’s suffrage, African-American suffrage, and suffrage for 18 year olds. Study voter turnout in elections, and how we can account for consistently low voter turnout. Consider what determines a person’s likelihood to vote, the gender gap in voting, and the need of candidates to be appealing to median voters.

28 min
How Does American Democracy Work?
17: How Does American Democracy Work?

In assessing the US democratic system, dispel the common myth of a single “will of the people.” Grasp how institutions such as Congress provide stability and an agreed-upon procedure for making major group decisions. Review several fully democratic ways of counting votes, which provide different outcomes, and look into the use and possible benefits of ranked-choice voting in the United States.

26 min
The Ins and Outs of Campaign Finance
18: The Ins and Outs of Campaign Finance

Witness how campaigns have been financed throughout US history. Trace the many campaign finance reforms enacted since the 1970s, which aim to curb corruption and unequal influence on elections. Take account of the problems that arise when sources of campaign funding do not represent the broader population, and the repeating cycle of reforms followed by attempts to work around campaign finance limits.

30 min
The Pros and Cons of Organized Interests
19: The Pros and Cons of Organized Interests

Revisit the theory of collective action as you chart the seven types of organized interest groups that figure in American politics, and the huge proliferation of interest groups since the 1960s. In grasping how interest groups form and operate, and the problems they address, weigh the valuable things these groups can do for society against the tendency for the power of organized interests to be skewed toward the wealthy and privileged.

31 min
Politics and the Media
20: Politics and the Media

To better understand the complex relationship between media, politics, and government, investigate public trust and distrust of journalism, and the ideological positions of news sources themselves. Note how social media can exacerbate political polarization. Finally, grasp the ways in which the political environment is ripe for conspiracy theories and misinformation, and how we can best respond.

29 min
How Government Affects the Economy
21: How Government Affects the Economy

Examine the US system of free market economics, and the fiscal and monetary policies our government employs to correct for market failures. Learn how Congress and the president address problems such as high unemployment and inflation through government spending and taxation, and how the Fed uses interest rates and the sale of treasury bonds to stimulate or de-stimulate the economy.

33 min
How the US Social Safety Net Works
22: How the US Social Safety Net Works

The federal social safety net is designed to alleviate poverty among the elderly, needy families, and the disabled. Learn about the TANF program, or “welfare,” and the institutions of Social Security, disability insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Take account of the financial strains on these programs, questions of their future solvency, and the political controversies that surround them.

33 min
The Major Shifts in American Foreign Policy
23: The Major Shifts in American Foreign Policy

Trace the history of the United States in international politics, from early isolationism through America’s global role in the 20th century, to today’s post-9/11 political climate. Observe US participation in international institutions aimed at peacekeeping, trade, and economic growth, and note current US policy trends regarding trade conditions and the negative effects of globalization.

35 min
The Changing State of American Democracy
24: The Changing State of American Democracy

Conclude with a look at the biggest challenges that American politics and government will face in the coming years, such as racial, environmental, and economic justice. Assess possible reforms for greater income and racial equality, and the benefits of a stronger role for political parties. Consider the dangers of the current degradation of democratic norms, and how they might be restored.

35 min
Jennifer Nicoll Victor

By learning about the US government, you’ll have a much richer appreciation for our government, the trials we’ve faced as a nation, and the challenges that are yet to come.


Washington University in St. Louis


George Mason University

About Jennifer Nicoll Victor

Jennifer Nicoll Victor is an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a coeditor of the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks and coauthor (with Nils Ringe) of Bridging the Information Gap: Legislative Member Organizations as Social Networks in the United States and the European Union. She also serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

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