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Duke University

Civic Engagement in American Democracy

Duke University via Coursera


So how does the American political system work? Who are some of the key actors? What are key concepts for a student trying to understand what’s going on? How can I as a citizen influence politics?

Civic Engagement in American Democracy takes on these and other key questions. We’re Dr. Nicholas Carnes and Dr. Bruce Jentleson, the principal course instructors. Along with our Duke faculty colleagues who also contributed modules, we’ve designed the course to provide a strong foundational introduction to US politics.

If you’re new to this material, proceed through the modules one by one and build up your knowledge of politics and government. If some of the material is familiar, go ahead and set your own pace. Either way we hope Civic Engagement in American Democracy helps you be an effective student in more advanced politics courses and/or an engaged citizen in 21st century America.


  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Who are the key players?
    • This week we'll learn who is who in American Democracy.
  • How do the players fit together?
    • This week we'll learn how American Democracy is structured and how forces—internal and external—affect it.
  • How do citizens influence politics?
    • This week we'll learn how American citizens can affect their political system.

Taught by

Deondra Rose, PhD, Philip Bennett, Bill Adair , Frederick W. Mayer, Kenneth Rogerson, Dr. Bruce W Jentleson, Tana Johnson and Nicholas Carnes


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 89 ratings

Start your review of Civic Engagement in American Democracy

  • Yechen Huang
    A quite brief introduction to American Democracy and Political System. As well as how to engage in politics as a citizen.

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