Department of Political Science

PSC 319 American Legislative Institutions

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Old Political Science Field: American Politics

This course is archived. It will not be offered again.

Michael Peress, Lynda W. Powell
Spring 2007

Course Syllabus

The United States Congress has always dominated the modern study of legislatures. In recent years, however, legislative scholars have paid increasing attention to the value of comparative studies. American state legislatures, in particular, offer a rich field for examining the impact (and origins) of institutional differences. In this course, we will look side-by-side at the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the 99 state legislative chambers. We will consider the major institutions within a legislative chamber, including the role of committees, leaders, parties, and rules in legislative organization. But, taking advantage of this comparative approach, we will also gain insight into the effects of term limits, bicameralism, party competition, seniority systems, professionalization, careerism, ideological heterogeneity, money in politics, and links between campaigns and governance.