The aim of this module is to familiarise you with some of the key institutions of American governance. The module begins with an analysis of the US Constitution and the developmental history of American state-building. We then examine some of the major institutions of the federal government: Congress, the presidency, the federal bureaucracy, and the federal courts. Subsequently, the module turns to organised actors who operate within these institutions: political parties and interest groups. It will be in these weeks that we will explore the increasingly important economic and other social factors shaping policy influence. Finally, the module moves out of Washington to consider how governance operates in the American states and localities.