General knowledge


This class aims to explore the American political system using a strongly comparative approach. Thus, we will discuss the presidency of the United States, the Congress, and the Senate, the Supreme Court, federalism, the statutes, and roles of the parties, successively, especially in the context of primary elections. We will examine all these aspects from a resolutely historical perspective. This should also enable students to better understand, by contrast, the singularity of French institutions and possibly to clarify some of the characteristics of political regimes.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

Students must have a good understanding of the fundamental differences between political regimes, and basic knowledge of the history of the United States.


  • Toinet M.F., Le système politique des États-Unis, PUF, 1987.
  • Hamon F., Troper M., Droit constitutionnel, LGDJ, 37e édition, 2016.
  • Lauvaux P., Les grandes démocraties contemporaines, PUF, 2015.
  • Kaspi A., Les Américains: naissance et essor des États-Unis, 1607 à 1945, Seuil, 2002.
  • Revue Pouvoirs qui a consacré nombre d’articles sur le système politique des États-Unis.

Educational formula

Students will be required to watch, before the first session, an episode of an old TV series - namely, "the West Wing") - as an introduction to the discussions that will take place in class.

In brief

Year Fifth year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 3.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityMethod seminar

ValidationContinuous assessment

Mandatory teaching



Educational manager :
Bréhier Emeric [+]