POLITICAL SCIENCE 150 (SECTIONS 03, 05)
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
FALL, 2013

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Instructor: Dr. Harbour
Office: East Ruffner 228
Office telephone: 395-2219
Office hours:
MWF 10:00-11:00  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:

The Logic of American Politics.  Sixth Edition.  Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, Lynn Vavreck.  Sage, CQ Press, 2014.

Students are expected to follow news items of national and international importance found in The National Journal (a good nonpartisan source of news found at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/ ) and other news sources found below.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one essay question requiring students to reflect on current political news.  They should also expect questions on the factual accuracy of campaign ads. 

Students should investigate competing claims by political leaders regarding public policy by going to the site below.
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 above site sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The experts at this site check 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 in examining current political debates over public policy.

Other Reading:

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/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
http://www.foxnews.com/index.html
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5

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/

Students can also make use of Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs found online at:
http://www.opencrs.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 sites 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 last hundred years.

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 sites containing materials on the topics being explored, and suggestions on developing your research for the critical thinking writing assignments.

Week 1 (Aug. 26-30) Introduction to the Study of American Politics; The Constitutional System
Read: Kernell, Chpts, 1, 2
The Declaration of Independence
The Articles of Confederation
The Constitution

The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51
Special Topics:
What is politics all about?  How do political scientists try to understand politics?
What are some of the most important collective action problems?
What are the most important features of the American constitutional system?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 1
First read The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51.  Then write a three page essay on what you believe to be the core principles of Madison's political theory and what he hoped the system of checks and balances in the constitutional system would both prevent and achieve. What are his key values?  What are his goals?  How does he hope to protect his most important values?  How can one relate Madison’s ideas to your textbook authors’ ideas about what they call the “logic of American politics” and “collective action problems”?
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.

Week 2 (Sept. 2-6) The Constitutional System; Federalism 
(No classes on Monday, September 2 - Labor Day)
Read: Kernell, Chpts. 2, 3
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.
Or this alternative: Write a three page essay on the competing views about the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution and how liberals and conservatives offer different interpretations of its meaning.  Before writing your essay carefully read the article “Re-examining the Constitution” by Kenneth Jost in the September 7, 2012, Volume 22, Issue 31 edition of the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  You may 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).  You may also be able to access the article at:
http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2012090700

Week 3 (Sept. 9-13) 
Constitutional Liberties; Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Read: Constitutional Amendments
Kernell, Chpts. 4, 5
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.

Week 4 (Sept. 16-20) American Political Culture
Read:  The Declaration of Independence
           The Articles of Confederation
           The Constitution

          The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51
You may encounter debates involving some important aspects of our political culture by going to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
Go to the link on the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  Then go to the link to the article “Conspiracy Theories: Do they threaten democracy?” by Peter Katel in the October, 23, 2009 Volume 19, Issue 37at: http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2009102300
Also go to the link on the article “Government and Religion: Was the United States founded as a “Christian nation?” by Thomas J. Billiteri in the January 15, 2010 Volume 20, Issue 2 at: http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2010011500
For good polling data on religious affiliation and political attitudes, you may go to The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx
Poll data on levels of trust and distrust in different institutions: http://www.gallup.com/poll/141512/Congress-Ranks-Last-Confidence-Institutions.aspx
Poll data on levels of trust and distrust in the three branches of the federal government:
 http://www.gallup.com/poll/143225/Trust-Legislative-Branch-Falls-Record-Low.aspx
Special Topics:
What are the most important features of American political culture?
First test
NOTE: You will have your first test on Thursday, Sept. 19. This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Week 5 (Sept. 23-27) Public Opinion; Political Ideology; Political Participation
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 10
To follow public opinion polls on a wide range of political issues go to the Gallup site at: http://www.gallup.com/Home.aspx
There are important think tanks on both the left and right and each produce informative research on contemporary political issues.
           You may read studies representing contemporary liberalism by going to the online site of the Center for American Progress at:
           http://www.americanprogress.org/    and Brookings at: http://www.brookings.edu/
           There are important political magazines found on both the left and right that feature stories and editorials on contemporary political issues.
           You may read articles representing different contemporary liberal views by going to the online version of The New Republic at:
            http://www.tnr.com/
           You may read studies representing contemporary conservatism by going to the online site of The Heritage Foundation at:
            http://www.heritage.org/    and the American Enterprise Institute For Public Policy Research at:  http://www.aei.org/
           You may read articles representing different contemporary conservative views by going to the online version of The National Review at:
           http://www.nationalreview.com/#

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 and reading some of the online articles dealing with debates taking place in contemporary American politics, do some web-based research on the views advanced by these different ideologies.  Then write a three page essay in which you explain 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.

Week 6 (Sept. 30 – Oct. 4) Voters, Elections, and Campaigns
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 11
Study the exit polls and results from the 2012 election at: http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/race/president?hpt=hp_inthenews and http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls
Presidential Election Results, 1789-2012 (Edwards text)
Study the exit poll and results from 2004 at: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/
                                                               and: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html 
Study the exit poll and results from 2008 at:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/
                                                               and:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#USP00p1
Study the electoral vote map for 2012 (and access maps from earlier elections) at:  http://www.270towin.com/
If the above site is difficult to use, then the following one may do the job: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/elections.php
Study the presidential election voting results in maps for 2008 and 2004 by state and county at:  http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/
Study the presidential election voting results in maps for 2012 by state and county at:  http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/
Gallup data on voting by different demographic groups in presidential elections 1952-2012:
 http://www.gallup.com/poll/139880/Election-Polls-Presidential-Vote-Groups.aspx#1 
Presidential Election Results, 1789-2008
Study the exit poll and results from 2004 at: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/
                                                               and: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html 
Study the exit poll and results from 2008 at:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/
                                                               and:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#USP00p1
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
Write a three page essay explaining why and how Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election. 
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.

Week 7 (Oct. 7-11) Political Parties
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 12
The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51
Data on Partisan Identification found at: http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/Party-Affiliation.aspx
For information on the Democratic Party go to the website of the National Democratic Committee at: http://www.democrats.org/
For information on the Republic party go to the website of the National Republic Committee at: http://www.gop.com/
Study the electoral vote map for 2008 (and access maps from earlier elections) at:  http://www.270towin.com/
If the above site is difficult to use, then the following one may do the job: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/elections.php
To follow the role of money in political campaigns, go to the following site: http://www.opensecrets.org/
An excellent site tracking the connection between money and politics is found at: http://maplight.org/
Check out election results and exit polls for last fall’s 2010 Congressional elections at the sites below.
Check out election results at:  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/main.results/#val=S
            Check out exit polls at: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/polls/#USH00p1
            Check out the change in voting patterns seen in the 2010 election: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/03/us/politics/election-results-house-shift.html?ref=politics
Special Topics:
What are the most important of characteristics of American political parties?
How has the party system in American changed over time?
Why do two parties continue to dominate our political system?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 6
After examining http://www.factcheck.org/ sources for this semester, write a three page essay in which you discuss some of the major factual inaccuracies being propagated in the ongoing debate over The Affordable Care Act (often called Obama Care).  In your analysis you may need to distinguish claims that are simply not true from claims that represent significant distortions or omissions and claims that represent disputed predictions being forecasted by rival groups.  You could also note some of the uncertain variables in this debate and the problems associated with various predictions.  
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.

FALL BREAK  OCTOBER 14-15

Week 8 (Oct. 14-18) Interest Groups
Read:  Kernell, Chpt. 13
Special Topics:
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?

Week 9 (Oct. 21-25) Mass Media Politics
Read:  Kernell, Chpt. 14
For a good article presenting different points of view regarding media bias, you could 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) and look for the following:
Kiener, Robert. "Media Bias." CQ Researcher 23, no. 17 (May 3, 2013): 401-24. http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2013050300.
Article on the media, reading, information, the internet, and public knowledge: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/10/22/reading-more-but-learning-less
(Read the associated articles found at that site offering different perspectives on the impact of the internet on citizenship.) Article on psychology and political discussions: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/opinion/sunday/why-partisans-cant-explain-their-views.html
For a good source on the news media, you may go to The Pew Research Center : http://pewresearch.org/  and there you can go to their site on the media: http://www.journalism.org/ 
Poll data on public distrust of the mass media: http://www.gallup.com/poll/143267/Distrust-Media-Edges-Record-High.aspx
Poll data on public distrust of newspapers and TV news: http://www.gallup.com/poll/142133/Confidence-Newspapers-News-Remains-Rarity.aspx
Poll data on growing use of cable and internet news sources: http://www.gallup.com/poll/113314/Cable-Internet-News-Sources-Growing-Popularity.aspx
Read a debate about the media regarding its coverage of sex scandals by going to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
Go to the link on the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  Then go to the article “Sex Scandals: Do the media pay too much attention to adultery?” by Alan Greenblatt in the January 22, 2010 Volume 20, Issue 3 at:
 http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2010012200
For balanced information on the role of the media in American politics and useful public opinion polls, go to the PEW Research Center for the People & the Press at: http://people-press.org/
There are popular websites on the left and right that carry links to stories advancing left-wing and right-wing political agendas.
A popular site on the left is the Huffington Post found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
A popular site on the right is the Drudge Report found at: http://www.drudgereport.com/
Special Topics:
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?
NOTE: 
You will have your second test on Thursday, Oct. 24.  This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade. 

Week 10 (Oct. 28 – Nov. 1) The Congress
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 6
For extra information on the House of Representatives, go to: http://www.house.gov/
For extra information on the Senate, go to: http://www.senate.gov/
Congress has important agencies helping it to analyze public policy issues and serve as a watchdog on the Executive Branch:
You may go to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) site at:  http://www.cbo.gov/
You may go to the Government Accountability Office (GA0) site at: http://www.gao.gov/
You may go to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) site at:  http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo/about/
You may access many of the CRS reports at the following site:   http://www.opencrs.com/
In order to become thoroughly familiar with how bills make their way through the House of Representatives, you could look at the following:  "HOW OUR LAWS ARE MADE" Revised and Updated by John V. Sullivan, Parliamentarian, United States House of Representatives, Presented by Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania – July 24, 2007.  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
For an excellent study of ideological polarization in Congress go to the following site: http://nationaljournal.com/magazine/congress-hits-new-peak-in-polarization-20110224
The following cites gives students the ideological ratings of all members of Congress as well as additional information on party and committee leaders:  http://www.nationaljournal.com/2010voteratings
Special Topics:
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?
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
Write a three page essay in which you explain the political debate over Congressional redistricting and gerrymandering.  Take note of what critics of gerrymandering Congressional districts have to say about the consequences of those practices.  Be sure to explain the processes and legal issues involved.  Note how all this ties into what your textbook says about how rules of a game affect outcomes.  Before writing your essay carefully read the article “Redistricting Debates” by Kenneth Jost in the February 25, 2011 Volume 21, Issue 8 edition of the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  You may 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).  You may also be able to access the article at:
http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2011022500
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.

Week 11 (Nov. 4-8) The Presidency
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 7
For more information about the presidency, you may go the White House website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
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.
What factors account for the success or failure of presidents as they attempt to lead the country?
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.

Week 12 (Nov. 11-15) The Bureaucracy

Read: Kernell, Chpt. 8
For a balanced treatment of the debate over the level of pay given to Federal workers, go to the FactCheck.org (http://factcheck.org)
article at: http://factcheck.org/2010/12/are-federal-workers-overpaid/
The President has a number of important offices and agencies assisting him:
You may go to the Executive Office of the President (EOP) site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop
You may go to the White House Staff site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/staff
You may find out information on the cabinet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/cabinet
Special Topics:
What are the most important characteristics of the federal bureaucracy?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 9
Write a three page essay on the debate over the level of pay for federal workers.  You must make use of the FackCheck article listed above and any other sources you find useful in trying to explore the debate over whether federal workers are paid too much or not enough.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.                                                                  

Week 13 (Nov. 18-22) The Judiciary
Read: Kernell, Chpt. 9
Check out extra information on the Supreme Court at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/
Students might find the following video rather funny.  It was sent to me by a former student who is very successful in her legal career, but it makes fun of going to law school.  Enjoy…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMvARy0lBLE
The Federalist, No. 78
Special Topics:
What role does the judiciary play in the American Political System?

Week 14 (Nov. 25-29)  Test and then Thanksgiving Vacation
NOTE:
You will have your third test on Tuesday, Nov. 26.  
This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.
Thanksgiving Vacation Nov. 27-29

Week 15 (Dec. 2-6) Public Policy
Read:  Here you should review the material you have been reading and thinking about since the beginning of the semester when you were asked to follow a particular public policy issue of your choice.
You may check out federal budget information at the following sites:
OMB: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/
CBO: http://www.cbo.gov/
There is also a libertarian site at: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/index.php
You may read about the Federal Reserve System at: http://www.federalreserve.gov/
Examine the links and data found on the federal budget at this site: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/budget-2010/
Special Topics:
What are the most important political characteristics of domestic policy making?
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?
What are some of the most important environmental issues facing the country?
What forces have shaped the making of American foreign policies and defense policies since World War II?
How is American foreign policy evolving?
What are the most important aspects of state and local governments within the American federal system of government?
How do state and local governments affect public policy?
What are the key features of Virginia government? 
Be familiar with the challenges facing Social Security and Medicare caused by the aging of the population and the impending retirement of the "Baby Boom" generation.  Examine some of the material below.  You may also want to understand this issue in a broader global context. You could start by going to the Congressional Quarterly Library online at: http://library.cqpress.com/
Read the Nov. 21, 2008 article by Sarah Glazer, "Declining Birthrates." http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2008112100
The following study by Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane has a good analysis of the impact on the federal budget created by the problems facing Social Security: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412095-social-security-budget.pdf
Go to the link on the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  Examine the July 15, 2011 Volume 21, Issue 25 article by Alan Greenblatt, “Aging Population.”   It may also be found at:  http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2011071500
You may also want to examine the main issues involved in the debate over the national health care reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010. It may be useful to read the article “Health-Care Reform” by Marcia Clemmitt in the June 11, 2010 – Volume 20, Issue 22 edition of the Congressional Researcher (CQ Researcher Online).  You may 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).  You may also be able to access the article at: http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2010061100
Another good source to use in dealing with misleading claims about health care reform is to go the following nonpartisan site: http://www.factcheck.org/  This site also has information about misleading claims regarding entitlement reforms.
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 10
Write a three page essay in which you discuss the challenges facing American entitlement programs in the context of the aging population.  Also discuss some of the alternative proposed solutions and the political challenges in adopting any of them.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday.
 
Classes end Dec. 6
Reading Day:  Dec. 7
Exam Period:  Dec. 9-13
Final Exam:   The final exam for section 03 will be on Friday, Dec. 13 at 8:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M.
                       The final exam for section 05 will be on Tuesday, Dec. 10 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 newspapers

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Grading:
Your semester grade will be based on three tests, the combined score on 10 critical thinking writing exercises, and the final exam.  Each will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.
Grading: This course uses the + and – grading scale.

            The total possible number of points to earn for the course is 500.  Grades will be assigned according to the following percentages: 

A+ = 98-100%

A = 92-97%

A-    = 90-91%

B+ = 88-89%

B = 82-87%

B-    = 80-81%

C+ = 78-79%

C = 72-77%

C-    = 70-71%

D+ = 68-69%

D = 62-67%

D- = 60-61%

F = 59% and below

 

Students with Disabilities:

            If you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please let me know at the beginning of the semester or when given an assignment for which an accommodation is required.  The Director of Disability Support Services can be reached at x2391. 

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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.  For students majoring in either history or political science, 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/philpolhist/resources.htm
Students majoring in other disciplines may follow the documentation style they are use to employing in their disciplines.  All of these essays will also be turned in at: http://www.turnitin.com/  When you go to this site you must first establish your own identification and password.  You then go to this course entitled American Government and Politics, use the course ID 6828909 and the course password Posc150f13 
Students will turn in a hard copy of the essay on the day the essays are due, and must also submit an electronic copy to the turnitin.com site or receive a 0 on the assignment.
Your essays also must demonstrate reading beyond what is required for class assignments and must reflect knowledge of current political events.  Each essay is worth 10 points.  There are 10 essays due during the semester.
Late papers will lose points.

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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 Logic of American Politics.  Sixth Edition.  Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, Lynn Vavreck.  Sage, CQ Press, 2014.

Students are expected to follow news items of national and international importance found in The National Journal (a good nonpartisan source of news found at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/ ) and other news sources found below.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one essay question requiring students to reflect on current political news.  They should also expect questions on the factual accuracy of campaign ads. 

Students should investigate competing claims by political leaders regarding public policy by going to the site below.
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 above site sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The experts at this site check 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 in examining current political debates over public policy.

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. Martin’s Press, 1998.
Robert E. DiClericoThe American President.  Fifth Edition.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000.
Robert E. DiClericoPolitical 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.
Steven W. Hook and John Spanier.  American Foreign Policy Since World War II.  Eighteenth Edition.  CQ Press: Washington, D.C., 2009. 
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. JentlesonEditor.  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 SabatoEditor.  Overtime: The 2000 Election Thriller.  New York: Longman, 2002.
Larry Sabato.  The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House.  New York: Longman. 2010.
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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