In this course, you'll study the way the country is governed, and how your votes make a government. The course is based on two democratic countries, and their similarities and differences.
The first year focuses on the UK political system, and the roles that key people play, such as the Prime Minister and judges. The course will also look at Britain as a political nation: how people vote, whether or not we have a constitution, and why this might be.
The second year is focused on the USA as a political model. Key issues here are the role of the president, the supreme courts, and the judicial process. Furthermore, you'll look at the role of the entrenched rights that Americans have over those of other countries, as well as evaluating the role of the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution.
In your first year, you'll study two sections, focusing on the British political system.
Section 1: People and politics
This section focuses on issues such as
- What is politics?
- Debates within Parliament
- Resolutions to political problems
Furthermore, the idea of citizenship is discovered. What does it mean to be a British Citizen? Are we citizens in a monarchy, and what are our political rights? Who holds the power within the country, and who makes the decisions for the nation? What political system do we use and why? What is democracy? Are there limitations to democracy that we could overcome with our political system? Finally, you will focus on pressure groups and change within a democracy.
Section 2: Governing the UK
In this section, you'll look at the way Britain is governed and why that is. Does Britain have a constitution? What is the role of Parliament and the Prime Minister? What does the Cabinet do? Who makes the decisions about tax rises and going to war? You will challenge the effectiveness of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and their roles.
In your second year, you will focus on the role of another democracy, the USA.
Section 3: Representation process in the USA
You will consider US pressure groups, and the role of institutions such as the National Rifle Association. You will also study the election system in the US, the main political parties, and the dominance of the Republicans and Democrats, and the growth of their parties, in the USA.
What role do the minor parties play, and what do they all stand for and against? You will also look at the radicalisation of politics within the US, and the problem for the US in promoting racial equality.
Section 4: Governing the USA
As in Section 2 of the first year, you will look at the system that governs the USA. You will consider the role of the Constitution in the USA, and the checks and balances system. Students will also discover the role of federalism and the breakdown of laws from state to state.
Americans also believe they have 'rights' just for being American. What are these? Why might these be extremely important to the US as a nation, as well as for the American citizen? You'll also look at the role of the President and the Supreme Court. An evaluation will be undertaken to consider the benefits and limitations of ruling a country in such a way as the US.