Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · Helms School of Government · Government

Foundations of American Governance: An Introduction to Public Policy

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/06/2020

Course Description

This course provides a broad study of the philosophical, intellectual, political, and cultural influences on Western Society and examines the manner in which those influences have been and are being reflected in American Public Policy. More specifically, it will examine the manner in which various worldviews affect American Public Policy, with particular emphasis on the contrast between the Judeo-Christian worldview and Secular Humanism, Marxism/Leninism, and Islamic Fundamentalism.





Foundations of American Governance is a required and foundational course providing the mechanical, philosophical, and substantive framework for the study of public policy that will occur throughout the remainder of the program.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate how ideas affect and inform public policy.
  2. Analyze the sources, characteristics, and influences of particular philosophies and ideas on American public policy.
  3. Evaluate the tangible implications of public policies and the ideas affecting them as to their impacts on individuals, groups, and/or society.
  4. Synthesize particular public policies from a practical and Judeo-Christian perspective.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchases

Alinsky, Saul D. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. New York: Vintage Books, 1971. ISBN: 9780679721130.

Bastiat, Frederic. The Law: The Classic Blueprint for a Free Society. Auburn: Simon & Brown, 2010. ISBN: 9781936041749.

Beckwith, Francis J. Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press Academic, 2010. ISBN: 9780830828142.

Schaeffer, Francis A. A Christian Manifesto. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2005. ISBN: 9781581346923.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Current ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning 

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 400–500 words and contain at least 3 citations in current Turabian format. In addition to the thread, the student must reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200–250 words and contain at least 1 citation in current Turabian format.

News Article Reviews (4)

The student will be required to submit 4 News Article Reviews in this course. Each News Article Review must demonstrate comprehension and identify key elements related to concepts discussed in the course. Each News Article Review must be 150–250 words and cite the reviewed article in current Turabian format.

Research Papers (2)

The student will be required to submit 2 research papers written in current Turabian format. Both papers must cite appropriate grad-level sources and contain a title page and bibliography. The first Research Paper will require at least 3 sources and have a 500-word body. The second Research Paper must cite at least 5 sources and have a 1,750–2,000-word body.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 75 pts ea)


News Article Reviews (4 at 100 pts ea)


Research Paper 1


Research Paper 2





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


PPOL 501

Textbooks:  Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (1971).

                    Bastiat, The Law: The Classic Blueprint for a Free Society (2010).

                    Beckwith, Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (2010).

                    Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (2005).

Module/ Week

Reading & Study




Beckwith: Preface, Introduction, chs. 1–2

2 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Beckwith: chs. 3–5, Conclusion

News Article Review 1



Bastiat: Entire book

Research Paper 1



Schaeffer: chs. 1–4

2 presentations

News Article Review 2



Schaeffer: chs. 5–8

DB Forum 2



Schaeffer: chs. 9–10

Alinsky: Prologue - p. 47

News Article Review 3



Alinsky: pp. 48–124

News Article Review 4



Alinsky: pp. 125–96

1 presentation

Research Paper 2




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.