POLITICAL SCIENCE 150 (SECTIONS 01, 03)
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
SPRING, 2006

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 Instructor: Dr. Harbour
Office: 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:
George C. Edwards, Martin P. Watenberg, Robert T. Lineberry.  Government in America.  Twelfth Edition.  New York: Pearson/Longman, 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/
Britannica site at: http://search.eb.com/

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.

This course satisfies Goal 8 of the new General Education requirements adopted by the University for students entering Longwood beginning in 2002-2003 as well as Goal 8 of the general education system existing for current students already in attendance prior to that time.

GOAL 8: An understanding of the forces shaping contemporary society as revealed in the social sciences (three
credits).

     Outcomes: Students will

          Understand the major methods of social science inquiry
          Recognize and explain major contributions of social science to our cultural heritage
          Understand how social science has been used to address significant contemporary issues

General Education courses will have at least nine characteristics in common, reflected in the nine General Education course
criteria. Together, they define what a General Education course is at Longwood.  Courses satisfying all goals except Goals 12
and 15 will:

1. teach a disciplinary mode of inquiry (e.g., literary analysis, statistical analysis, historical interpretation, philosophical
reasoning, aesthetic judgment, the scientific method) and provide students with practice in applying their disciplinary mode of
inquiry, critical thinking, or problem solving strategies.

2. provide examples of how disciplinary knowledge changes through creative applications of the chosen mode of inquiry.

3. consider questions of ethical values.

4. explore past, current, and future implications (e.g., social, political, economic, psychological or philosophical) of disciplinary
knowledge.

5. encourage consideration of course content from diverse perspectives.

6. provide opportunities for students to increase information literacy through contemporary techniques of gathering,
manipulating, and analyzing information and data.

7. require at least one substantive written paper, oral report, or course journal and also require students to articulate information
or ideas in their own words on tests and exams.

8. foster awareness of the common elements among disciplines and the interconnectedness of disciplines.

9. provide a rationale as to why knowledge of this discipline is important to the development of an educated citizen.
 

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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 (Jan. 17-20) Introduction to the Study of American Politics; The Constitutional System
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 1, 2; Serow, Part Two and Part Three
The Constitution
The Federalist, No. 51
Special Topics:
T: What is politics all about?  How do political scientists try to understand politics?
R: 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, Jan. 19.

Week 2 (Jan. 23-27) The Constitutional System; Federalism
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 2, 3; Serow, Part Three and Part Four
The Constitution
Special Topics:
T: How have the rules governing American institutions and politics been changed by amendments added to the Constitution?
R: 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, Jan. 26.

Week 3 (Jan. 30-Feb. 3) Constitutional Liberties; Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Read: Constitutional Amendments
Edwards, Chpts. 4, 5; Serow; Part Nine
Special Topics:
T: What are the most important rights protected by the Bill of Rights?
R: What are the most important equal rights issues facing this country?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 3
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.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Week 4 (Feb. 6-10) American Political Culture
Read: Declaration of Independence; Serow, Part One
Special Topics:
T: What are the most important features of American political culture?
R: First test
NOTE: You will have your first test on Thursday, Feb. 9. This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Week 5 (Feb. 13-17) Public Opinion; Political Ideology; Political Participation
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 6; Serow, Part Ten, 
Special Topics:
T: 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?
R: 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, Feb. 16.

Week 6 (Feb. 20-24) Voters, Elections, and Campaigns
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 9, 10; Serow, Part Twelve
Presidential Election Results, 1789-2000
Special Topics:
T: 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?                                                                                                                                         R: 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 cyberpolitics.  How are political activists using the internet and how is this technology changing politics?  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:  Price, Tom. "Cyberpolitics." The CQ Researcher Online 14, no. 32 (September 17, 2004): 757-780. http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2004091700 (accessed January 3, 2005). In your paper you should discuss both positive and negative aspects of cyberpolitics.  How might democracy be advanced or diminished by cyberpolitics?
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, Feb. 23. 

Week 7 (Feb. 27-March 3) Political Parties; Interest Groups
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 8, 11; Serow, Part Eleven and Part Thirteen
The Federalist, No. 10 and No. 51
Special Topics:
T: What are the most important of characteristics of American political parties?
R: 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, March 2.

Week 8 (March 6-10) Mass Media Politics
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 7; Serow, Part Fourteen
Special Topics:
T: 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?
R:  Second Test
NOTE: You will have your second test on Thursday, March 9. This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

SPRING BREAK       March 11-19

Week 9 (March 20-24) The Congress
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 12; Serow, Part Five
Special Topics:
T: 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?
R: What is the role played by committees in Congress?
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, March 23.

Week 10 (March 27-31) The Congress; The Presidency
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 12, 13; Serow, Part Five and Part Six
Special Topics:
T: What processes must a bill go through in order to become a law?
R: What functions are performed by the presidency in the American political system?  What are the key elements of
presidential power?
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, March 30.

Week 11 (April 3-7) The Presidency; The Bureaucracy
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 12, 14, 15; Serow, Part Six and Part Seven
Special Topics:
T: What institutional forces shape the modern presidency? How important is presidential personality to the office?
R: What are the most important characteristics of the federal bureaucracy?
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, April 6.

Week 12 (April 10-14) The Judiciary
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 16; Serow, Part Eight
The Federalist, No. 78
Special Topics
T: What role does the judiciary play in the American Political System?
R: Third Test
NOTE: You will have your third test on Thursday, April 13.
This test will count for 1/5 of your semester grade.

Week 13 (April 17-21) Domestic Policy Making; Economic and Budget Policies; Social Welfare Policies
Read: Edwards, Chpt. 17, 18; Serow, Part Fifteen
Special Topics:
T: What are the major steps in the policy making process?
R: What are the principal forces shaping economic and budget policies?
     What are the competing values at stake in debates over social welfare policies?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 10
This assignment is on the political debate over the issues surrounding the federal deficit.  You are to explain the issues involved in the debate regarding the reasons for the size of the budget deficit, the possible dangers posed by these deficits, whether or not tax cuts have been good or bad, and what should be done about the deficit.   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 Federal Deficit by Marcia Clemmitt in the December 9, 2005 issue.
This assignment is due by 4:00 on Thursday, April 20.

Week 14 (April 24-28) Policymaking for Health Care and the Environment; Foreign and Defense Policies
Read: Edwards, Chpts. 19, 20; Serow, Part Sixteen
Special Topics:
T: What are some of the most important health care and environmental issues facing the country?
R: What forces have shaped the making of American foreign policies and defense policies since World War II?

Classes end April 28
Reading Day:  April 29 

Final Exam Period:  May 1-5  The final exam for section 01 is on Wednesday, May 3 at  8:00 - 10:30 a.m. and the final exam for section 03 is on Friday, May 5 at 8:00 - 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 the combined score for all your weekly essays, 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 University Catalog and Student Handbook.

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Honor Code:
Students are expected to live by the Longwood University 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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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 University 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 Wilson text and Serow text required for the course
Online CQ Library publications
Current online news sites

Suggested Reading or Reference:
James David Barber. The Presidential Character. 4th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
    Prentice-Hall, 1992.
Kenneth N. Bickers & John T. Williams. Public Policy Analysis: A Political Economy Approach.  New York:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
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.
E.J. Dionne. Why Americans Hate Politics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
James M. Fallows. Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine 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.
Anthony J. Nownes. Pressure and Power: Organized Interests in American Politics. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
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. Voice and 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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