Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Political Science


Political Science 298. Experimental Courses

Congress and the Presidency

Observers of American politics frequently lament the unproductive relationship between contemporary presidents and the Congress. Yet, many of the framers of the U.S. Constitution believed conflict between the legislative and executive branches would lead to better government. In this course, we will examine the constitutional roots of Congress and the presidency. We will focus on the relationships between these two American political institutions primarily charged with enacting and refining public policy. Topics covered include the organization of the executive and legislative branches, the impact of elections on interbranch relationships, and the consequences of partisan polarization on contemporary politics.​


Might, Manipulation and Morals

Power is one of the most fundamental concepts in international politics, as well as one of the most troublesome. In introducing students to several understandings and definitions of power, this course suggests that power manifests itself not just in times of war and violent conflict, but in a variety of behaviors and environments that often appear, at first glance, entirely peaceable and even cooperative. Through course readings, discussions, and assignments, students will explore the multifarious ways in which power is exercised in the international sphere, how we can study it, and what methods and strategies international actors use (or could use) to resist it.


Education and Politics

This course explores political issues in the American educational system with focus on both primary/secondary education and higher education. We will analyze federal and state educational policy, trace the development of federal involvement in the education system, and explore the current political issues related to the American education system. Special attention will be given to issues of race, sex/gender, and class.


American Political Development

In this course, students will be introduced to the subfield of American Political Development (APD), which is a way to study American political history to understand how events shaped current configurations of institutional power. We will identify moments of crisis, or critical junctures, to understand the lasting impact of these important political moments on the relationship between citizens and the state, the development of the modern welfare system, and identity groups’ claims over rights during the 20th century.


Political Parties and Elections

This course traces the development of modern party arrangements in the United States through a study of political strategy in key elections. The first part of the course will focus on elections and voting. Students will learn why voters make choices, and how political strategists design electoral appeals. The second part of the course will focus on political parties. We will trace the development of modern party alignments and the modern party system.