POLITICAL SCIENCE 150 (SECTIONS 3, 4,and 6)
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
FALL, 2005

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Instructor: Dr. Harbour


Office: East Ruffner 228
Office telephone: 395-2219
Office hours:
MWF 11:00-12:00  TR 9:30 - 10:30
harbourwr@longwood.edu

Table of Contents
Course Description
Texts
Course Objectives
Class Schedule
Course Requirements
Grading
Attendance Policy
Honor Code
Class Discussion
Critical Thinking Writing Exercises
Taking Exams
Bibliography
 

Course Description:
An introduction to the American political system, with an emphasis upon the national political institutions, processes, groups, public behavior, and issues which shape contemporary society.

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Texts:
George C. Edwards III, Martin P. Wattenberg, and Robert L. Lineberry.  Government in America.
Twelfth Edition.  New York: Person/Longman Publishers, 2006.
 

Ann G. Serow and Everett C. Ladd.  Editors.  The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity.  Third Edition.  Baltimore, Maryland: Lanahan Publishers, 2003. 

Other Reading:
Students will read the Online editions of  CQ Weekly and The CQ Researcher published by Congressional Quarterly Inc.   These may be found by going to the CQ Library site at: http://library.cqpress.com/

Students are expected to keep up with current political events and may follow the news through the following online sites:
http://www.nyt.com/
http://www.cnn.com/
http://www.britannica.com/

There will be specific assignments from the above and other Web sources. 

Click HERE  for the Study Guide which contains questions for reading and thinking about the assignments, links to useful web sties containing materials on the topics being explored, and suggestions on developing your research for the critical thinking writing assignments.

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Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a capacity for critical and analytical thought about issues central to the American political system.

2. Demonstrate an ability to communicate in writing their knowledge and beliefs about the institutions and forces shaping the American political system.

3. Describe the essential features of the American political system.

4. Identify information regarding the American political system which is necessary for useful and responsible citizenship.

5. Discuss important philosophical and ethical issues associated with the practice of politics and the challenges facing this nation's system of government.

6. Describe the major ways in which political scientists have tried to understand American politics.

7. Discuss how American government and politics have shaped and been shaped by the dynamic social forces of the 20th century.

8. Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of persuasions and interests within American society.

9. Discuss elements of both continuity and change within the American political system.

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Class Schedule:
Click HERE  for the Study Guide which contains questions for reading and thinking about the assignments, links to useful web sties containing materials on the topics being explored, and suggestions on developing your research for the critical thinking writing assignments.

Week 1 (Aug. 29-Sept. 2) Introduction to the Study of American Politics; The Constitutional System
Read: Edwards, Chpts, 1, 2;  Serow & Ladd, Part Three
The Constitution
The Federalist, No. 51
Special Topics:
What is politics all about?  How do political scientists try to understand politics?
What are the most important features of the American constitutional system?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 1
First read The Federalist, No. 51 and carefully study the Constitution.  Then write a three page essay on what you believe to be Madison's understanding of the necessity, requirements, and advantages of the system of checks and balances in the constitutional system. Explain how the design of the Constitution reflects Madison's basic objectives.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Sept. 1 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 2 (Sept. 5-9 - No classes on Monday, September 5, Labor Day) 
The Constitutional System; Federalism 

Read: Edwards, Chpts. 2, 3;  Serow & Ladd, Part Four
The Constitution
Special Topics:
How have the rules governing American institutions and politics been changed by amendments added to the Constitution?
What are the essential attributes of American federalism?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 2
This assignment is based upon your reading the Supreme Court decision: McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819. You can read this decision online by using the Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe at: http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/
There you will find a summary and outline of the case, the arguments presented to the Court by both sides, and the opinion handed down by the Court. In your three page essay you should explain why this case was so important to the evolution of the federal system.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Sept. 8 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 3 (Sept. 12-16) Constitutional Liberties; Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Read: Constitutional Amendments
Edwards, Chpts. 4, 5; Serow & Ladd, Part 9
Special Topics:
What are the most important rights protected by the Bill of Rights?
What are the most important equal rights issues facing this country?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 3
This assignment is based upon your reading the Supreme Court decision: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954. You can read this decision online by using the Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe at: http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/
There you will find a summary and outline of the case, the arguments presented to the Court by both sides, and the opinion handed down by the Court. In your three page essay you should explain the constitutional and public policy issues at stake in this case as well as the arguments used by Chief Justice Earl Warren in overturning the doctrine used by the defenders of government mandated segregation in education. In this essay you should also explain how knowledge from different academic disciplines played a role in how one could look at the practice of state mandated segregation in education.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Sept. 15 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 4 (Sept. 19-23) American Political Culture
Read: Declaration of Independence; Serow & Ladd, Parts One and Two
Special Topics:
What are the most important features of American political culture?
First test
NOTE: You will have your first test on Thursday, Sept. 22 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for Section 3. This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Week 5 (Sept. 26-30) Public Opinion; Political Ideology; Political Participation
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 6; Serow & Ladd, Part 10
Special Topics:
What are some of the most important observations which can be made about public opinion in American politics? What are the most important observations one can make about citizen participation in American politics?
What role does ideology play in American politics?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 4
After reading the text material on political ideologies, do some web-based research on the views advanced by these different ideologies.  Then write a three page essay in which you explain what are the most important differences between contemporary liberalism and conservatism in American politics.  What really sets these two schools of thought apart?
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Sept. 29 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 6 (Oct. 3-7) Voters, Elections, and Campaigns
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 9, 10; Serow & Ladd, Part 12
Presidential Election Results, 1789-2004
Special Topics:
What are the most important observations one can make about voting behavior in the United States?
How has research and knowledge about voting behavior developed by political scientists influenced how political consultants plan campaigns?  How are election campaigns driven by the empirical knowledge developed by the social sciences?
What are the principal aspects of the presidential selection process?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 5
One of the major issues emerging from the controversial 2000 presidential election involves the electoral college system for electing a president.  For this assignment you are to write a 3 page essay in which you explain the main arguments for abolishing the system, the main arguments for keeping it, why it would be very difficult to do away with that system.  You need to go to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
After you login, click on The CQ Researcher (which is a valuable source for articles on current political issues) where you then can do a search for the following article: Jost, Kenneth and Giroux, Gregory L.  "The Electoral College."  The CQ Researcher
10, no.42 (December 8, 2000):  977-1008.
In this essay you will need to discuss the importance of this topic and the principal concerns advanced by both sides in the debate over the electoral college system. .
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Oct 6 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 7 (Oct. 10-14) Political Parties; Interest Groups
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 8, 11; Serow & Ladd, Parts 11, 13
The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51
Special Topics:
What are the most important of characteristics of American political parties?
What is the role played by interest groups in American politics?
Do interest groups advance or diminish democracy in America?  Do Interest groups advance or diminish the common good?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 6
Read Federalist, No. 10 and carefully study the course material you have been reading about interest groups.  Then write a three page essay in which you explain Madison's theory about factions, what they are, where they come from, the problems they pose to popular government, and what can be done about those problems.  Then relate his theory about factions to
contemporary debates about the role of interest groups in our political system. You need to address both the good and bad aspects of what interests groups represent in American politics.  In this essay you should defend a position as to whether interest groups are basically good or bad for our political system.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Oct. 13 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

FALL BREAK  OCTOBER 17-18

Week 8 (Oct. 19-21) Mass Media Politics
Read:  Edwards, Chpt. 7; Serow & Ladd, Part 14
Special Topics:
Fall Break (No classes on Monday and Tuesday of this week.)
How has the media influenced politics in the United States?
What does content analysis (a method used by social scientists to analyze communication) employed by political scientists tell us about important changes taking place in American politics? How has the study of the media's impact on American politics modified our overall understanding of the political system?

Week 9 (Oct. 24-28) The Congress
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 12; Serow & Ladd, Part Five
Special Topics:
Second Test
The Congress
NOTE: You will have your second test on Tuesday, Oct. 25 for sections 4 and 6 but on Monday for Section 3.  This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.
What is the role of Congress in the American political system? Who has power in Congress?
What is the role of political parties in Congress?

Week 10 (Oct. 31 - Nov. 4) The Congress
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 12; Serow & Ladd, Part Five
Special Topics:
What is the role played by committees in Congress?
What processes must a bill go through in order to become a law?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 7
Imagine that you have been asked to give a speech to a group of foreign students or to lecture to your old high school civics class on the most important steps in the legislative process in Congress, with special emphasis on the key steps in the the House of Representatives.  This assignment requires that you write a three page essay that would serve as the basis for such a speech.  In order to become thoroughly familiar with how bills make their way through the House of Representatives, you must read the following:  "HOW OUR LAWS ARE MADE"  Revised and Updated by Charles W. Johnson, Parliamentarian, United States House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 2000.  This manual may be found online by going to the Thomas website at:  http://thomas.loc.gov/
and going to:  http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html
In developing this essay you need to reflect critically on the House procedures and write about what you regard as the most crucial steps in the legislative process.  Do not try to copy the manual; rather, develop an essay that would allow you to explain the most important aspects of the process.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 3 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 11 (Nov. 7-11) The Presidency
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 13, 14; Serow & Ladd, Part Six
Special Topics:
What functions are performed by the presidency in the American political system?  What are the key elements of presidential power?
What institutional forces shape the modern presidency? How important is presidential personality to the office?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 8.
Drawing on all the material in both of your texts, write a three page essay in which you explain the most important elements of presidential leadership.  What characteristics and skills do successful presidents need?  What are some of most important lessons about presidential leadership that can be learned from the study of presidential behavior? 
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 10 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 12 (Nov. 14-18) The Bureaucracy; The Judiciary
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 15, 16; Serow & Ladd, Parts Seven and Eight
The Federalist, No. 78
Special Topics:
What are the most important characteristics of the federal bureaucracy?
What role does the judiciary play in the American Political System?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 9
This assignment deals with the problems presidents face in dealing with the bureaucracy.  Read this week's assignment on the bureaucracy and reflect back on the material studied earlier regarding Congress and Interest groups.  You are to write a three page essay in which you explain why presidents find dealing with the bureaucracy so frustrating.  What institutional tools are available to presidents in dealing with the bureaucracy?
                                                                                                                                       This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 17 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.                                                                    

Week 13 (Nov. 21-22)  Review & Test
Read: Review previous material for test.
Third test
NOTE: You will have your third test on Tuesday, Nov. 22 for sections 4 and 6 but on Monday for Section 3
This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Thanksgiving Vacation   November 23-27

Week 14 (Nov. 28-Dec. 2) Domestic Policy Making; Economic and Budget Policies; Social Welfare Policies
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 14, 17, 18 ; Serow & Ladd, Part 15
Special Topics:
What are the major steps in the policy making process?
What are the principal forces shaping economic and budget policies?
What are the most important features of American social welfare policies? 
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 10
This assignment is on the political debate over genetic engineering.  While you have followed the debates over stem cell  research and cloning, there remains the broader policy debate over the genetic engineering of human beings.  Should we make better babies? In this essay you must address the important ethical issues raised by genetic engineering and clearly develop your own position on the matter. You need to go to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
After you login, click on The CQ Researcher (which is a valuable source for articles on current political issues) where you then can do a search for the following article: Masci, David..  "Designer Humans."  The CQ Researcher (May 18, 2001).
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Dec. 1 for sections 4 and 6 and on Friday for section 3.

Week 15 (Dec. 5-9)  Policymaking for Health Care; The Environment; Foreign and Defense Policies; Review
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 19, 20; Serow & Ladd, Part 16
Special Topics:
What are some of the most important health care and environmental issues facing the country?
What forces have shaped the making of American foreign policies and defense policies since World War II? 

Classes end Dec. 9
Reading Day:  Dec. 10
Exam Period:  Dec. 12-16
Final Exam: The final exam for section 6 will be on Monday, Dec. 12 at 8:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M. The final exam for section 3 will be on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 3:00 P. M. - 5:30 P.M..  The final exam for section 4 will be on Thursday, December 15 at 8:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M..  The final exam will be worth 1/5 of your semester grade.

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Course Requirements:
Ten critical thinking writing assignments
Three tests
Final comprehensive examination

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Grading:
Your semester grade will be based on your combined score for 10 critical thinking writing assignments, three tests given during the course of the semester, and a final examination. Each of these will count for 1/5 of your semester grade for the class.

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Attendance Policy:
The attendance policy for this course is the college policy found in the College Catalog and Student Handbook.

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Honor Code:
Students are expected to live by the Longwood College Honor Code. All work done for the class must be pledged. Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating.

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Class Discussion:
Your instructor values class participation. Those students who make consistent contributions to class discussion will discover that if their semester average is on the borderline between two grades that they will receive the higher of the two grades. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to express their knowledge and beliefs about the material and issues being dealt with in class.

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Critical Thinking Writing Exercises:
There will be 10 critical thinking writing exercises. These assignments will be three pages in length. They will be done in Microsoft Word with a Font size 12 and double spaced. Any documentation for these exercises will be done according to the Turabian format for a research paper. A shorter version of that style manual can be found on the History style manual at the following web address: <http://www.longwood.edu/history/HDPTSTS2.htm>  All of these essays will also be turned in to <turnitin.com> 

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Taking Exams:
All tests and exams must be taken on time. You are expected to provide proof for any legitimate reason (illness, participation in a college sponsored activity, or recognizable emergency) you have for missing a test or exam. Quizzes, critical thinking worksheets, and papers handed in past the time they are due will lose points.

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Bibliography:
Required Reading:
The Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry and Serow & Ladd texts required for the course
Online CQ Library publications
Current online news sites
Any special assignments of web based materials posted on Blackboard

Suggested Reading or Reference:
James David Barber. The Presidential Character. 4th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
    Prentice-Hall, 1992.
Colin Campbell & Bert A. Rockman.  Editors. The Clinton Legacy.  New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000.
Thomas E. Cronin & Michael A. Genovese. The Paradoxes of the American Presidency. New
    York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Byron W. Daynes & Glen Sussman.  The American Presidency and the Social Agenda.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:
    Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001.
Byron W. Daynes, Raymond Tatalovich, Denis L. Soden. To Govern a Nation: Presidential Power
    and Politics. New York: St. Martinís Press, 1998.
Robert E. DiClerico.  The American President.  Fifth Edition.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000.
Robert E. DiClerico.  Political Parties, Campaigns, and Elections. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000.
George C. Edwards III & Philip John Davies.  New Challenges for the American Presidency.  New York: Longman, 2004.

E.J. Dionne. Why Americans Hate Politics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
James M. Fallows. Breaking the News: How the MediaUndermine American Democracy. New
    York: Pantheon, 1996.
Abraham J. Henry and Barbara Perry. Freedom and the Court. 5th Edition. New York: Oxford
    University Press, 1994.
John S. Jackson III & William Crotty.  The Politics of Presidential Selection. Second Edition.  New York:  Longman, 2001.
Bruce W. Jentleson.  Editor.  Perspectives on American Foreign Policy. New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.
Lance T. LeLoup & Steven A. Shull. Congress and the The President: The Policy Connection.
    Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1993.
James P. Pfiffner & Roger H. Davidson.  Editors.  Understanding the Presidency.  Second Edition. New York:  Addison
   Wesley Longman, Inc., 2000.
Nelson W. Polsby and Aaron Wildavsky. Presidential Elections.  10th Edtion. New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000.
Gerald M. Pomper  et. al. The Election of 2000.  New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2001.
Larry Sabato.  Editor.  Overtime: The 2000 Election Thriller.  New York: Longman, 2002.
John Spanier and Eric Uslaner. American Foreign Policy and the Democratic Dilemmas. Sixth
    Edition. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994.
Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry Brady. Voiceand Equality: Civic Voluntarism in
    American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Shirley Anne Warshaw. The Domestic Presidency: Policy Making in the White House. Boston:
    Allyn and Bacon, 1997.
Martin P. Wattenburg. The Decline of American Political Parties, 1952-1992. Cambridge, Mass.:
    Harvard University Press, 1994.
Stephen P. Wayne. The Road to the White House 1996: The Politics of Presidential Elections. New
    York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Academic Journals:
American Political Science Review
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Journal of Politics

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