美国政府:宪法基础

American Government: Constitutional Foundations

了解美国早期政治如何为美国宪法提供信息,以及为什么其对自由和平等的承诺尚未完全实现。

哈佛大学

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  • 分类: 法律
  • 平台: edX
  • 语言: 英语

课程概况

“We the People” are the opening words of the U.S. Constitution, yet the original document did not give citizens much say in the election of their officials. Though some of those issues have been addressed, substantial barriers—gerrymandering, voter registration, and voter ID laws—still restrain the power of the vote. Why? How can a country, founded more than 200 years ago on the ideals of liberty, equality, and individualism, still struggle to empower all of its citizens equally?

This course explores the origins of U.S. political culture, how that culture informed the Constitution, and how that framework continues to influence the country’s politics and policies. We will examine the Constitution’s provisions for limited government, the division of power between the federal and state governments, and the forces that have made federalism a source of political conflict and change.

We will address how the Constitution not only established the structure of the U.S. government but guarantees personal freedoms and civil rights. These rights have been challenged and expanded in significant Supreme Court cases, which will help to illustrate how historically disadvantaged groups have struggled to realize the 14th Amendment’s promise of equality.

你将学到什么

美国政治文化的基础
宪法如何代表“有限政府”的概念
为什么宪法制定者认为有必要限制民众的影响力
联邦制作为宪法问题的历史
联邦政府和州政府之间的权力划分方式
今天的美国人拥有哪些个人权利
哪些政策扩大了弱势群体的权利

课程纲要

第1周:政治文化
This session will explore the origins of the nation’s political culture, its embrace by each succeeding generation of Americans, and its continuing influence on the nation’s politics and policies. U.S. welfare and education policy will be used to illustrate that influence. The session also highlights the nature of politics—the process through which society settles its conflicts over scarce resources and conflicting values.

第2周:有限政府
This session will examine the Constitution’s provisions for limited government and then explore the extent to which these provisions have curbed constitutional abuses of power. The main points of the session will be reinforced by examining a set of cases, including the Watergate scandal, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Bush Administration’s handling of enemy detainees after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

周3:代表政府
This session will explore the reasons that the framers felt it necessary to limit popular influence, will describe how and why the original system changed, and will look at contemporary barriers—gerrymandering, voter registration, and voter ID laws—that inhibit voting.

第四周:联邦制
The session will explain the division of power between the federal and state governments and also explain how broadly worded constitutional clauses, partisan differences, and changing national needs have combined to make federalism a source of political conflict and change. Among the cases explored in this session is the constitutional dispute provoked by the 2010 healthcare reform act.

第五周:公民自由
This session will examine these developments and explain the individual rights held by today’s Americans. Major Supreme Court rulings—such as those relating to free speech and protection from unreasonable search and seizure—will be discussed as a means of clarifying Americans’ civil liberties.

第六周:民权
This session will focus on three policies that have been instrumental in expanding the rights and opportunities of disadvantaged groups: the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and affirmative action. The last of these policies have been particularly contentious and we’ll take a close look at it, including a recent Supreme Court ruling on a case involving the University of Texas at Austin.

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