PS 103 - U S Political Systems

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Instructor: Patt Sharp
Department: Political Science, Philosophy and Religion
Email: and
Office: 116, Southeast at Kennett
Office Hours:  by appointment at any campus
Phone: 573.888.0513

Welcome to PS103 U.S. Political Systems!

As the late W.C. Handy, a blues musician, once said, "Life is something like this trumpet. If you don't put anything in it, you don't get anything out."  Putting Mr. Handy's statement in the positive, this instructor hopes that you will get a great deal out of our U.S. Political Systems class. 

Our nation continues to have combat soldiers in Afghanistan, and we have the threat of foreign and domestic terrorism on U.S. soil.  During the second term of the Bush administration, our country’s financial markets were on the brink of disaster, thousands of families in states across the nation could not make the mortgage payments on their homes, at least one of every eight of our workers became unemployed, and government debt rose higher than it had ever been.  We were in a recession with the greatest potential for economic perils since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Although that recession officially ended during the first Obama administration, economic indicators at home and abroad show that recovery is still a work-in-progress, and individual states, including Missouri, are still cutting funding for education, highways, and other essential services; many cities don’t have enough money to pay their bills. 

All of these issues and others … such as those related to jobs, jobless benefits, military veterans, illegal immigrants, taxes, the national debt, our dependence on foreign oil,  farm subsidies, tax credits, the environment, global warming, health care, educational scholarships and grants …  are only a partial listing of the economic- and quality-of-life issues that many rely upon our government to address.  To what extent are we and our fellow citizens aware of the political debates that surround these topics, and how well-informed are we?    

Do we know how our elected decision-makers vote on issues important to us?  Are we participants in our political process, are we registered and knowledgeable voters, … or are too many of us merely affected bystanders?  


To hear our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, performed by a U.S. Army Band,  click on  Or, ... if you've never heard or read all four verses, you can read them on this site. 

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