Learn US Politics with Film

A fun way to reach a new understanding of the United States' Political System
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  • Lectures 44
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 2/2016 English

Course Description

Welcome to Learn US Politics Through Film! This course is designed for anyone that wants to understand the system in the US without getting too complicated, and using popular movies and TV shows as a guide.

Learn How the System Works in the Most Powerful Nation on Earth.

  • The purpose of the three branches of government.
  • Why the US Congress has two separate law-making organizations.
  • The Presidential election system (Electoral College and Primary elections) fully explained.
  • How the justice system sometimes produces strange results.
  • And much much more!

I am not trying to change your mind about the US' System; I just want to help you understand the 'how' and the 'why' behind it.

I love teaching about the system in my home country to students abroad. I have been doing this at a university now for almost five years and I am excited about bringing it to Udemy now as well.

Nearly every country in the world is affected by U.S. policies. If you look closely enough, you can surely find some aspect of the government where you are that is based on the U.S. system. Are your politicians talking about adopting a US-style medical care, jury trial, or lobbying system and you are not sure if that is a good or bad idea? This class will help you to figure it out for yourself.

Course Format

Every unit of the course begins with an introduction of that unit's homework: a list of films to try and borrow, rent, or buy that are all chosen to illustrate a specific aspect of the US political system. The main lectures for the course are taught in screen-cast format. I give overviews of each topic and relevant case studies where appropriate. Links are provided to resources used in the lecture sessions, so you may check it out for yourself (and possibly in your native language if you need to). There is also a short quiz for each section.

Topics Covered

  1. North America before the United States
  2. The Constitution
  3. Civil Liberties
  4. Civil Rights
  5. Media and Public Opinion
  6. Political Parties and Interest Groups
  7. Campaigns and Elections
  8. Congress
  9. The Presidency
  10. The Judiciary
  11. Foreign Policy

What are the requirements?

  • Intermediate-mid level English

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Figure out whether a US policy would be a good idea in your country
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the US system socially
  • Make informed decisions in the voting booth

Who is the target audience?

  • College students preparing for a more intensive course in the US system
  • English as a Second Language students looking for a challenge outside of the ESL environment
  • Anyone that wants to understand the system in the US

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: How to use this course

This lecture explains the process and procedure for this course.

Introduction to Films

I decided to record these lectures in screencast format relying heavily on Wikipedia because of the various language options in Wikipedia. If an article I use does not currently have a local language version, it could soon.

In fact, if students are interested in earning extra credit by volunteering to translate the wikipedia articles, I would be open to the idea.

Adding an article to Wikipedia in your native language
Section 2: North America before the United States
Films Showing North America Before the Revolution
Europeans brought civilization to the America's, eh?
So why did the colonists revolt?
5 questions

This quiz is about the historical context in which the U.S. was created.

Section 3: The Constitution
Films about the Revolution and Rights
Prequel to the Constitution
The Philosophy Behind the Constitution
7 questions

This quiz is about the main components of the Constitution

Section 4: Civil Liberties
Slavery in Film
Defining Civil Liberties
The Great Shame: Slavery
Why the number,"3/5" is the worst part of the Constitution
How the Bill of Rights came to be
6 questions

This quiz reviews the Bill of Rights and civil liberties

Section 5: Civil Rights
The Civil Rights Movement in Film
Defining 'civil rights'
Get to know the people of the civil rights movement
How is protest changing in today's world?
6 questions

The civil rights movement

Section 6: Media and Public Opinion
Portrayals of the Media in Film
Introduction to the Media's role in the US
How does the media affect public opinion?
How 'new media' is changing political campaigns (Hint: Raising Money)
Issue profile: Net Neutrality
7 questions

Media and Public Opinion

Section 7: Political Parties and Interest Groups
Political Parties and Lobbying in Film
Introduction to Political Parties in the US
Interest Groups and Lobbyists
4 questions

Political Parties and Interest Groups

Section 8: Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections in Film
The primary election system
The Electoral College
4 questions

Campaigns and Elections

Section 9: Congress
Congress in Film
Introduction to the US' Bicameral (two-house) Legislature
Congress Explained
Legislative Roadblocks
Lyndon Johnson, The Master of the Senate
9 questions


Section 10: The Presidency
The Presidency and Bureaucracy in Film
Introduction to the Presidency and the Federal Bureaucracy
The Presidency and Foreign Affairs
Other Important Presidential Advisors (National Security and Economic Policy)
8 questions

The Presidency

Section 11: Judiciary
The Justice System in Film
Introduction to the Judicial system
Two important principles in the US justice system
The Supreme Court, it's members and functions.
8 questions

The Judiciary

Section 12: Case Study: Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

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Instructor Biography

Steven Ward, M.P.A., US Politics Instructor

Hi! I'm Steven and I teach the Introductory US Politics course here on Udemy.

After finishing graduate school (M.P.A. University of Missouri--Columbia) and working for the State of Missouri as a Performance Auditor (making sure other government agencies are following the rules), I decided to come to South Korea for an adventure. That was ten years ago. Now I teach Korean students about the US political system in a way that helps them connect the topic with their own lives.

I am very excited to be publishing my first course on Udemy, and I have plans to publish a couple more as soon as possible. Thank you!

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