• Unit 4: American Political Institutions

    When many people think of American government, the institutions – Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court – most often come to mind. This unit will focus on these three important pillars of American government, in addition to a fourth and often overlooked facet of American government: the bureaucracy. Each subunit will be dedicated to one of the major institutions and discuss the significant role that the particular institution plays in the American political system. As you learned in previous units, the American system of government relies on a delicate balance of power among many forces; by the end of this unit, you will understand the specific roles that each institution plays in establishing and maintaining that balance of power.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 45 hours.

    • 4.1: The Legislative Branch – Congress

      • 4.1.1: The Formal and Informal Roles of Congress National 

      • 4.1.2: Structure of Congress

      • 4.1.3: Evolution of the Modern Congress

      • 4.1.4: The Legislative Process, "Logrolling", and the "Pork Barrel"

      • 4.1.5: The Committee System

      • 4.1.6: Congressional Leadership and Organization

      • 4.1.7: Influences on Congress and Voting

      • 4.1.8: Congress and the Media

      • Checkpoint

    • 4.2: The Executive Branch – The Presidency

    • 4.3: The Executive Branch – The Bureaucracy

    • 4.4: The Judicial Branch

      • 4.4.1: The Constitutional Role of the Judicial Branch

      • 4.4.2: The Development and Organization of the Federal Courts

      • 4.4.3: The Supreme Court

      • 4.4.4: The Politics of Judicial Confirmation

      • Checkpoint

    • Unit 4 Assessment