Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Harvard University

U.S. Government

Harvard University via edX XSeries


What are the foundations of the U.S. political system? How do leading institutions such as the presidency and Congress operate? Where do public opinion, political parties, groups, and the media fit in? What explains America’s economic, social, and foreign policies? If exploring these questions interests you, then this series is for you.

You’ll examine the American political system, including its constitutional foundations and public policies. You’ll learn about U.S. institutions and U.S. political organizations while maintaining a perspective on the "big picture". What are the driving forces and persistent tendencies of American politics? Who governs America — how, when and why? Lectures highlight the main features of American politics and case studies will prompt you to think critically about what you have learned.

American politics has all the aspects of drama, but it has real meaning for people’s everyday lives. This introduction to the U.S. government will enable you to understand the origin of key narratives in U.S. political discourse and guide you through a complex system so that you can enable change in your communities.


Courses under this program:
Course 1: American Government: Constitutional Foundations

Learn how early American politics informed the U.S. Constitution and why its promise of liberty and equality has yet to be fully realized.

Course 2: U.S. Political Institutions: Congress, Presidency, Courts, and Bureaucracy

Examine the inner workings of the three branches of the U.S. Federal Government

Course 3: Citizen Politics in America: Public Opinion, Elections, Interest Groups, and the Media

Learn about the forces in American politics that seek to influence the electorate and shift the political landscape.

Course 4: U.S. Public Policy: Social, Economic, and Foreign Policies

Learn about public policy in America and the dynamics of American politics.


Taught by

Thomas E. Patterson


Start your review of U.S. Government

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.