American politics
American politics is an area of study within the academic discipline of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. It is primarily, but not exclusively, studied by researchers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Along with comparative politics
Comparative politics
Comparative politics is a subfield of political science, characterized by an empirical approach based on the comparative method. Arend Lijphart argues that comparative politics does not have a substantive focus in itself, but rather a methodological one: it focuses on "the how but does not specify...

, international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

, and political theory, it is one of the four major fields of political science that are studied in American academic institutions. Political scientists studying American politics (referred to as "Americanists") focus on two main research sub-fields: political behavior and political institutions; a third major sub-field, American political development (APD), also called Democratic theory, has emerged over the last couple of decades. Research interests within the political behavior sub-field include voting behavior, public opinion
Public opinion
Public opinion is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population. Public opinion can also be defined as the complex collection of opinions of many different people and the sum of all their views....

, race, gender, ethnicity and politics, and partisanship. Among the research focuses of political scientists studying political institutions are the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 (and legislative behavior more generally), the presidency, courts and the legal process, the public service, public law
Public law
Public law is a theory of law governing the relationship between individuals and the state. Under this theory, constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law are sub-divisions of public law...

, and state and local politics. Researchers working within the APD sub-field focus on determining how American politics has changed over time and what factors (institutional and behavioral) led to these changes. Public policy
Public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...

(foreign and domestic) is also widely studied by Americanists.
In universities outside of the United States, American Politics generally refers to a course in comparative politics or a survey course in American domestics politics for International Relations within political science.
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