Introduction to American Government

Thomas Jefferson once said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” He and the other Founders were adamant that in order for a democracy to function properly the electorate must be educated in the ways of government and politics. That is the aim of this course.


An examination of the structures and functions of legislative bodies, with an emphasis on the U.S. Congress. Focus will be placed on the topics of representation, congressional elections, rules, norms, and procedures, interaction with the executive and judicial branches, and legislative policymaking

The American President

While we all may agree that the U.S. presidency is a powerful political position, analyzing the source and nature of that power is challenging, since we often evaluate presidents based on our own partisan or ideological preferences. Also, the unique circumstances of each presidency make generalizations more difficult to con firm. In this class, we focus on objectively analyzing the U.S. presidency.

Religion and Politics

The purpose of this course will be to examine two of the most contentious subjects in public discourse:
religion and politics. This course will be grounded in the theoretical and empirical literature conducted by social scientists. The course will provide a broad overview of some of the highlights of decades of study in the fi eld. Topics covered include the impact of religion on the founding of the United States, the way the judicial branch has dealt with the First Amendment’s discussion of religion, the political behavior of religion individuals in the United States, as well as a discussion of the future of religion and American politics.

Teaching with Prezi

I utilize the online presentation software, Prezi, as a way to engage my students in the classroom. Prezi offers a number of advantages to the instructor including allowing instruction to happen in a more unstructured manner.

The Prezi screenshots to the left have links to the full presentation on the Prezi website.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to American Government
  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Introduction to Public Policy
  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Court Management and Criminal Justice
  • The American Presidency
  • Congress
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Research Methods
  • Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • Religion and Politics
  • Organizational Theory
  • Interest Groups and Social Movements
  • International Organizations
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Senior Capstone
  • Research Methods (Graduate)
  • Research Methods (Graduate) – Online
  • Political Behavior (Graduate) – Online
  • The Presidency (Graduate)
  • Professional Seminar in International Relations (Graduate)
  • Professional Seminar in American Politics (Graduate) – Online
  • State and Local Government (Graduate) – Online

Student Evaluations

Some sample comments from student evalutions

Professor Burge is an amazing instructor. He is personable, laid back, and makes class really fun and enjoyable.

By far the best instructor I’ve had at this University, hands down.

Dr. Burge makes you work for your grade and is an effective teacher.

Complete student evaluations are available upon request.