The History of American Public Policy

Course Description:  This course will introduce you to the basic elements of American public policy making and its history.  Students will describe and analyze aspects of the development of public policy in the United States, focusing specifically on debates regarding civil rights, welfare policy, and immigration. For the purposes of this course, public policy will be defined as the making of rules and laws and their implementation by government in response to citizen advocacy efforts. This course assumes that the public policy landscape is complex but still comprehensible given the proper set of analytical frameworks and appropriate historical background. Particular emphasis will be placed on social movements and mass politics and the responses by state officials and representatives. This course asks two central questions: How have social movements shaped public policy? And how have governments responded to and/or limited social movements’ policy proposals?