Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student in this course will demonstrate development of critical, analytical, research, and writing skills.
  • Understand and utilize a variety of theoretical approaches to the analysis of institutional/policy outcomes of government.
  • Analytical use of concepts and research to support hypotheses and conclusions.


Contemporary analysis of the structure and function of American government and California state government, both their constitutional and political systems at the federal, state and local levels. Focus on the following topics: paradigms in the social sciences, models of justice and models of democracy, evolution of American elites and American constitutionalism, role of media in American political culture, political parties and political socialization, concept of the separation of powers: legislative, executive and judiciary branches, protest and protest movements, Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. systematically analyze and interpret historical and current political issues from different points of view.
B. distinguish fact from propaganda in analysis of political issues.
C. observe and investigate American government and California government and politics from a critical perspective.
D. explain the difference between the federal perspective on constitutional issues and those of state and local governments (with a focus on California government).
E. explore and evaluate the successes and failures of political institutions at the federal, state, and local government levels.
F. participate in political discourse as an informed citizen.
G. explain civil rights of individuals and civil liberties as articulated in the US Constitution and federal court rulings.

Course Content

A. Paradigms in the Social Sciences
1. How social scientists view social phenomena
2. Functionalism
3. Conflict theory
4. Symbolic interaction
5. Variations in these paradigms
B. Models of Social Justice
1. Classical conservatism and social justice (Plato, Edmund Burke)
2. Classical liberalism and social justice (John Locke, Robert Nozick)
3. Socialism (Marx)
4. 20th century liberalism (Wilson, FDR, Truman, Johnson)
C. Models of Democracy
1. Direct democracy (Plato, Rousseau)
2. Liberal representative democracy (John Locke)
3. Pluralism (Madison)
D. Evolution of American Elites and American Democracy
1. The irony of American democracy
2. The Founding Fathers and the American system
3. The Continental Congress and its role in shaping the political system
4. The Declaration of Independence and the formation of the young nation
E. American Constitutionalism and the Birth of American Democracy
1. The American and California constitutions compared and contrasted in size of purpose
2. Baron de Montesquieu's contribution to Locke's conception of the separation of powers
3. The Federalist Papers and their impact on American constitutionalism. Explain the federalist and anti-federalist position on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
4. Concept of the separation of powers and the American system
5. The Constitution and its Amendments
F. Role of Media in American Political Culture
1. How values, symbols, ideas, beliefs are transmitted in American political culture
2. Role of political socialization in American political culture
3. Forms of political socialization In American life
4. Role of advertising in American political culture
G. Development of U.S. Congress and California State Assembly and State Senate
1. Theories of representation
2. Leadership and organization
3. The legislative process
4. Other powers and duties
H. Development of the U.S. Presidency and Governorship of California
1. Informal and formal powers
2. Leadership styles
3. Process of presidential elections
4. The executive branch
I. Development of the U.S. Judiciary and California Judiciary
1. Judicial philosophy
2. Federal court system
3. The U.S. Supreme Court and California Supreme Court
J. Political Institutions at the State and Federal Level
1. Democrat and Republican
2. Minor parties
3. Interest groups
4. Lobbyists
5. Election campaigns
6. State and local elections
K. Protest and Protest Movements In American Society
1. Define protest, movement, and protest movements
2. Gandhi's satyagraha and ahimsa
3. MLK's agape
4. The development of the Women's Movement
5. The development of Civil Rights Movement
6. The suffragists
7. Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, NOW
L. Outcomes of Protest Movements
1. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (11 titles)
2. The Civil Rights Act of 1991
3. Impact of these two major pieces of legislation on individual rights and the workplace

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus, no special facilities or equipment needed.
B. When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Research papers, which develop critical analytical, research, and writing skills, as well as testing for thematic understanding.
B. Tests in essay format, as well as true/false and multiple choice.
C. Oral presentations, including debates, which foster critical thinking skills and teamwork.
D. Participation in class discussions.
E. Newspaper article summaries.
F. Midterm and final examinations.

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture
B. Discussion

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Greenberg, Edward S., and Benjamin I. Page. The Struggle for Democracy, the 2014 Election and Updates Edition. NY: Pearson, 2016.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. College level reading and writing required.

B. Reviews of New York Times articles required.

C. Students may be asked to review and critique political science journal articles.



Political Science