POLITICAL SCIENCE 150 (SECTIONS 03, 05)
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
FALL, 2007

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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.
Thirteenth Edition.  New York: Person/Longman Publishers, 2008.
 

Ann G. Serow and Everett C. Ladd.  Editors.  The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity.  Fourth Edition.  Baltimore, Maryland: Lanahan Publishers, 2006. 

Other Reading:
Students will also be required to purchase a discounted subscription to the New York Times from the Bookstore.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one question requiring students to reflect on current political news and relate such developments to the material we are studying about the American political system. 

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

A useful site for checking on the facts presented by political ads:
http//www.factcheck.org/
Many thoughtful students sometimes wonder how much they can trust information about politics they encounter when viewing political ads and reading political editorials. They also worry about the objectivity of media news reports. Both conservatives and liberals complain about the distortion of facts found in the political ads run by the other side and various websites sponsored by opposition ideological groups. Distorting the views and positions of the opposition to make them look as bad as possible is an all too typical campaign technique. As a citizen and a student you not only should consider examining many different perspectives and sources of information but also make use of the above site sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The experts at this site checks out the factual accuracy of many political speeches, ads, and news releases. They take on both the left and the right, finding errors put out by democrats and republicans. This site is especially useful when elections approach.

Students may also 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/

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. 27-31) 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, Aug. 30.

Week 2 (Sept. 3-7)- No classes on Monday, September 3, 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. 6.

Week 3 (Sept. 10-14) 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 article "Controlling the Internet" by Marica Clemmitt found in the online CQ Researcher in the May 12, 2006, Volume 16, Number 18 edition. 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 article.
You are to write an essay in which you explain the most important political and constitutional issues involved in attempts to regulate the internet.  What dangers are involved and what sorts of regulations, if any, would be justified?
(This week students can choose either the above essay assignment or the one below.)
Alternative Assignment:  You are to write a three page essay on the debate over the teaching of intelligent design in public school systems.  Explore the issues involved in the debate over whether or not intelligent design should be taught in our public schools and whether or not it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.  You must start by going to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
Go to the link on the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  There you can find the link to an article on the teaching of intelligent design in the July 29, 2005 issue by Marcia Clemmit.  You may also want to read newspaper accounts published since about how this issue is being fought out in school boards, state departments of education, and the federal courts.

The assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Week 4 (Sept. 17-21) 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. 20. This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Week 5 (Sept. 24-28) 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. 27.

Week 6 (Oct. 1-5) 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
You are to write a three page essay on the most important criticisms of the current system for nominating presidential candidates.  Discuss which of these criticisms seem to have the most validity and what might be done to improve the system.  In addition to following news stories regarding the current nomination battles, you need to go to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
You need to read the following article as a beginning point for your research and reflection:  Jost, K. (2007, April 20). Electing the President. CQ Researcher, 17, 337-360.  http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2007042001
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Oct 4.

Week 7 (Oct. 8-12) 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
You are to write an essay about the role of lobbying in American politics.  What important issues about the nature of our political system are raised in the debate about the role of interest groups and lobbying in American politics?  What are the good and bad aspects of lobbying in contemporary American politics?  Is the current lobbying system advancing or diminishing democracy in our country?  You need to begin your research on this topic by going 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: Peter Katel.  "Lobbying Boom."  The CQ Researcher, Volume 15, Number 26 (July 22, 2005).  
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Oct. 11.

FALL BREAK  OCTOBER 15-16

Week 8 (Oct. 17-19) 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. 22-26) 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. 23.  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. 29-Nov. 2) 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, June 30, 2003.  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. 1.

Week 11 (Nov. 5-9) 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.
One of the oldest debates in American politics concerns the extent of presidential powers.  Do they have too much or not enough?  This is especially controversial in times of war.  You are to write an essay about the debate over how far President Bush has push presidential power since 9/11.  Has he gone too far or are his actions and policies justified by the war on terror?   You need to begin your research on this topic by going 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: Kenneth Jost.  "Presidential Power."  The CQ Researcher, Volume 16, Number 8 (February 24, 2006).  
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Week 12 (Nov. 12-16) 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
What are some of the most important issues at stake in the debate regarding the Department of Justice during the second term of President Bush? 
You need to begin your research on this topic by going 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, K. (2007, June 22). Prosecutors and politics. CQ Researcher, 17, 553-576.  From CQ Researcher Online, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2007062201 
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 15.
                                                                    

Week 13 (Nov. 19-20)  Review & Test
Read: Review previous material for test.
Third test
NOTE: You will have your third test on Tuesday, Nov. 20.  
This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Thanksgiving Vacation   November 21-25

Week 14 (Nov. 26-30) Domestic Policy Making; Economic and Budget Policies; Social Welfare Policies, Health Care
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 14, 17, 18, 19 ; 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  
You are to write an essay on the most important issues involved in the debate over proposals for universal health care.  You need to begin your research on this topic by going 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:  Clemmitt, M. (2007, March 30). Universal coverage. CQ Researcher, 17, 265-288.  From CQ Researcher Online, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2007033001
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Nov. 29.

Week 15 (Dec. 3-7)  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. 7
Reading Day:  Dec. 8
Exam Period:  Dec. 10-14
Final Exam: The final exam for section 03 will be on Friday, Dec. 14 at 8:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M. The final exam for section 05 will be on Tuesday, Dec. 11 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
Daily reading of the New York Times

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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.  Be prepared to relate what we are studying to current political events.

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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> 
Your essays also must demonstrate reading beyond what is required for class assignments and must reflect knowledge of current political events.

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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.  You must be prepared in all the exams to relate the material being studied to current political events.

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Bibliography:
Required Reading:
The Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry and Serow & Ladd texts required for the course
Online CQ Library publications
Students will also be required to purchase a discounted subscription to the New York Times from the Bookstore.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one question requiring the student to reflect on current political news and relate such developments to the material we are studying about the American political system. 
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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