POLITICAL SCIENCE 342

AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT

1865 - PRESENT

Fall, 2011

 Instructor: Dr. Harbour
Office: East Ruffner 228
Office telephone: 395-2219
Office hours:
MWF 11:00-12:00  TR 9:30-10:30
bharbour@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 principal thinkers and the central themes in American political thought.  (1865 to the Present)

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Texts:
Isaac Kramnick and Theodore J. Lowi.  American Political Thought.  A Norton Anthology.  New York:  W. W. Norton & Company, 2009.
Don E. Eberly.  Editor.  The Essential Civil Society Reader: The Classic Essays.

New York:  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Students should also follow ideological debates in contemporary American politics by going to the sites found below.
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/#

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

A good nonpartisan source of news may also be found at the National Journal at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/

Every test will have at least one question dealing with current events and the ideological debates surrounding them.

A useful site for checking on the facts presented in public forums:
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 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 in examining current political debates over public policy.

Various optional background readings will be available in Dr. Harbour’s office. 

Thornton Anderson.  Jacobson’s Development of American Political Thought.  New York:
 Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1961.
Sue Davis.  American Political Thought: Four Hundred Years of Ideas and Ideologies.
 Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:  Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1996.
Kenneth M. DolbeareAmerican Political Thought.  Monterey, California:  Duxbury Press,
 1981.
Kenneth M. Dolbeare and Linda J. Medcalf.  American Ideologies Today.  Second Edition.  New
 York:  McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993. 
Amitai EtzioniRights and the Common Good: The Communitarian Perspective.  New York:
 St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1995.
Allen Pendleton Grimes.  American Political Thought.  Hinsdale, Illinois:  Drydeen Press,
 1960.
David A. Hollinger and Charles Capper.  Editors.  The American Intellectual Tradition, Vol II
 1865 to the Present.  Third Edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997.
Alpheus Thomas Mason and Gordon E. Baker.   American Political Thought.  Fourth Edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1985.
Paul Schumaker, Dwight C Kiel, Thomas W. Heilke. Ideological Voices: An Anthology in Modern Political Ideas. New York:
 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.,1997.
William Graham Sumner.  What Social Classes Owe to Each Other.  New York:  Caxton, 1947.
Thorstein Veblen.  The Theory of the Leisure Class.  New York:  Penguin Books, 1979.
Gayle Graham Yates.  What Women Want: The Ideas of the MovementCambaridge, Mass:
 Harvard University Press, 1975.

Other Reading:
A good online source for articles on topics concerning American political thought is the Britannica site found at:
http://www.britannica.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 tradition.

2. Demonstrate an ability to communicate their knowledge and beliefs about the principal thinkers and central themes in the   tradition of American political thought.

3. Discuss the ideas that constitute essential features of the American political system.

4.  Identify information regarding American political thought necessary and useful for responsible citizenship.

5. Discuss important philosophical and ethical issues associated with American political thought.

6. Interpret the meaning and significance of the symbols that influence American political thinking today.

7. Describe the major ways in which political scientists have tried to understand American political thought.

8. Discuss how American political beliefs have shaped and been shaped by the dynamic social forces found in our society.

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Class Schedule:

Week 1 (Aug. 22-26)  Introduction to American Political Thought;  The Emergence of Social Darwinism
Read: Kramnick & Lowi – Articles by Sumner, Carnegie, Conwell, Ward
Special Topics:
M:  Introduction to American political thought
W:  What were the claims advanced by 19th century advocates of laissez-faire liberalism and social Darwinism?
F:  How does the debate over the claims of social Darwinism continue to this day?
     (Student presentation:  Alexandria Cole on William Graham Sumner) 
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 1
Write a three page essay in which you explain the ideas advanced by 19th century advocates of laissez-faire liberalism and social Darwinism.  Evaluate the arguments for and against those theories.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 2 (Aug. 29 – Sept. 2)  Populism, Social Protest, and Alternative Visions
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by George, Bellamy, Lloyd, Ward, Donnelly, Weaver, Watson, Lewelling, Bryan
Special Topics:
M:  What were some of the chief criticisms of social and economic conditions advanced by the populists?
       (Student presentation:  William Cabot-Bryans on William Jennings Bryan)
W:  What were some of the alternative visions for society advanced by social critics such as George and Bellamy?
       (Student presentation:  Kevin McCarthy on Lester Ward)
F:  How do some populist themes continue to this day?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 2
Write a three page essay in which you explain the main arguments advanced by the populists.  Evaluate their ideas.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 3 (Sept. 5-9) American Socialism; Anarchism
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Tucker, Goldman, Rauschenbusch, De Leon, and Debs
Special Topics:
M:  No classes Monday, Labor Day
W:  American Socialists
      (Student presentation:  Kala Quinn on Walter Rauschenbusch)
F:  American Anarchists
     (Student presentation:  Courtney Johnson on Emma Goldman)  
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 3
Write a three page essay explaining and evaluating the ideas advanced by Emma Goldman.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 4 (Sept. 12-16) Union Protests
Read: Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Debs and Gompers
Special Topics:
Monday:  What were the conditions that helped to pave the way for union movements?
Wednesday:  What were some of the principal political and economic ideas advanced by the union movement?
Friday: NOTE: You will have your first test on Friday, Sept. 16. This test will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 5 (Sept. 19-23) Pragmatism, Social Reform, and the Progressives
Read: Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Steffens, Sinclair, Ryan, Addams, Rauschenbusch, Veblen, James, Dewey, Beard, Croly, T. Roosevelt, Wilson
Special Topics:
M:  Pragmatism
       (Krista Andres on John Dewey and Instrumentalism)
W:  The Progressives
       (Student presentations:  Michael Tegler on Thorstein Veblen; Elizabeth Berry on Woodrow Wilson; Bobby Smith on Charles Beard) 
F:  How do some of the themes of the Progressives continue to this day?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 4
Write a three page essay in which you explain the meaning of pragmatism and then discuss what the progressives owed to pragmatism.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 6 (Sept. 26-30) New Deal and Great Society Liberalism
Read: Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Hoover, Beard, Dewey, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Tugwell, Wallace, Lippmann
1941 Four Freedoms: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrthefourfreedoms.htm
1944 The Economic Bill of Rights: http://www.apj.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=130&Itemid
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
Special Topics:
M:  New Deal Liberalism
       (Student presentation:  David Brandon on The Four Freedoms and an Economic Bill of Rights)
W:  Great Society Liberalism
F:  How do the debates over New Deal Liberalism and Great Society Liberalism continue to this day?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 5
Write a three page essay in which you explain the theoretical underpinnings of the liberalism represented by the New Deal and Great Society.
This assignment is due on Friday.
 
Week 7 (Oct. 3-7) Contemporary Liberalism
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Rawls, Sandel, Walzer, Rorty, Etzioni
           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/
Special Topics:

M:  Liberalism and neo-liberalism 
W:  Process and Values
F:  What are the main political and economic proposals advanced by contemporary liberals?
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 6
Write a three page essay in which you explain the some of the major differences dividing contemporary liberals.   What values unite them?  What is it that separates them?
This assignment is due on Friday. 

Fall Break:  October 10-11

Week 8 (Oct. 12-14) More on Contemporary Liberalism; Second Test
Special Topics:
M:  No classes – fall break
W:  More on contemporary liberalism
      (Student presentations:  Kathryn Vaught on John Rawls; Michael Crumpler on Michael Walzer)
F:  Note:
You will have your second test on Friday, October 14. This test will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 9 (Oct. 17-21) America and the World; Debating the Constitution
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by George Washington, Strong, Beveridge, Sumner, Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League, Niebuhr, Kennan
Students interested in a generally liberal approach to interpreting the Constitution, especially on First Amendment issues can find interesting material at the website of the American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu.org/
Students interest in a generally conservative approach to interpreting the Constitution can find interesting material at the website of the Federalist Society:
http://www.fed-soc.org/aboutus/
Special Topics:

M:  What role should America play in the world?
       (Student presentation:  Vanessa Lieurance on Samuel Huntington)
W:  Liberalism and Neoconservatism
       (Student presentations:  Christopher Cheatham on Paul Wolfowitz; James Cochran on Francis Fukuyama versus Dustin Meadows on Robert Kagan)
F:  Debating the Constitution and Judicial Activism
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 7
Write a three page essay in which you explain the differences between those who disagree over America’s role in the world.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 10 (Oct. 24-28) Immigration, Race, the Civil Rights Movement
Read: Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Slater and George, Strong, T. Roosevelt, Lodge, Amendments 13, 14, 15, Chief Joseph, Crazy Horse, Smohalla, Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (Brown and Harlan), Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Garvey, Evans, Hughes, King, SNCC, Malcolm X, Rustin, Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall, Cornel West 
One may read articles about contemporary civil rights issues at the website of the NAACP at:  http://www.naacp.org/home/index.htm
and access informative articles on civil rights issues and hate groups at the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center at:  http://www.splcenter.org/index.jsp
Special Topics:
M:  On what Basis did Du Bois and others Challenge Racism early in the 20th Century? 
       (Student presentation:  Robin Brown on Du Bois)
W:  What were the Central Issues Surrounding the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960?
       (Student presentation:  Taylor McPeake on Martin Luther King, Jr.)
F:  Contemporary debates over Immigration
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 8.
Write a three page essay in which you explain the theoretical justification advanced by Martin Luther King, Jr. for his views on civil disobedience.  Explain whether or not you find his arguments convincing.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 11 (Oct. 31 - Nov. 4) Liberalism and the challenge from The New Left; Environmentalism
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Robert Dahl,  Daniel Bell, C. Wright Mills, SDS (The Port Huron Statement), Savio, Rubin, McKibben
One of the most influential thinkers who influenced “critical theory” and New Left theorists was Herbert Marcuse, and one may get access to his works and commentaries on them at the Herbert Marcuse official homepage at: http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/
One may read many articles on the contemporary environmental movement by going to the Greenpeace/USA website at: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/
One may read about one of the most important theorists of the environmental movement by going to the Aldo Leopold Archives and access some of his works at:  http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/AldoLeopold/
And one may read brief selections from his works at: http://gargravarr.cc.utexas.edu/chrisj/leopold-quotes.html
Special Topics:
M:  The New Left’s critique of American society
       (Student presentation:  Jonathan Seid on C. Wright Mills)
W:  The Environmentalist Movement
       (Student presentation:  Cooper Machlan on Aldo Leopold)
F: How do some of the debates surrounding the ideas of the New Left continue today?
       (Student presentations:  Tess Lione on Michael Parenti; Joseph Orr on Howard Zinn; Bobbie Smith on Noam Chomsky)
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 9
Write a three page essay in which you explain and evaluate the critique of American society advanced by the New Left.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 12 (Nov. 7-11) Conservatism in America
Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Adams, Twelve Southerners, Buckley, Chambers, Hartz, Lippmann, Goldwater, YAF (The Sharon Statement), Kristol, Bloom, Robertson, Nozick, Freidman
       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 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/
       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 conservative views by going to the online version of The National Review at:
           http://www.nationalreview.com/#
Special Topics:

M:  What are the principal schools of thought within American conservatism?
       (Student presentations:  Breanna Doll on Peter Viereck; Lee Hopkins on Ayn Rand)
W:  What are the most important ideas advanced by contemporary conservatives?
       (Student presentation:  Corey Morris on Barry Goldwater; Ryan Downey on Milton Friedman; Jeff Connelly on Robert Nozick)
Friday: NOTE: You will have your third test on Friday, November 11.  This test will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 13 (Nov. 14-18) Feminism

Read:  Kramnick & Lowi, Articles by Adams, Murray, Grimke, Beecher, Stanton, Brownson, Woodhull, Anthony, Gilman, Addams, Friedan, NOW Bill of Rights, Redstockings Manifesto, Millett, Schaffly, Hooks
    Many feminist organizations have informative web sites containing articles advancing their positions on contemporary issues.  One useful site is that of  
    The National Organization of Women found at: http://www.now.org/
Special Topics:
M:  What were the main themes of the Feminism found in the 19th and early 20th Centuries?
W:  What were some of the main themes and competing schools of thought developed within Feminism in the second half of
       the 20th Century?
F:  What are the most Important Challenges facing Feminism today?
      (Student presentation:  Destiny Jones on Gloria Jean Watkins – pen name bell hooks) 
Critical Thinking Writing Exercise No. 10
Write a three page essay in which you explain the most important claims advanced by feminist theory.  How do you assess the strengths of these claims? You are quite justified in developing this essay if you wish to point out the problems with the question being asked.
This assignment is due on Friday.

Week 14 (Nov. 21 - 22) Civil Society Theory Part I
Read: Articles from Eberly: "The Meaning, Origins, and Applications of Civil Society" by Don E. Eberly; "The Quest for
          Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom" by Robert Nisbet; "Whose Keeper? Social Science and
          Moral Obligation" by Alan Wolfe; "The Good Society: We Live Through Our Institutions" Robert Bellah; "The
          Demoralization of Society: What's wrong with Civil Society" by Gertrude Himmelfarb; "Democracy on Trial: The Role of
          Civil Society in Sustaining Democratic Values" by Jean Bethke Elshtain; "Communitarianism and the Moral Dimension"
          by Amitai Etzioni; "To Empower People: from State to Civil Society" by Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus;
          "Professionalized Services: Disabling Help for Communities and Citizens" by John McKnight; "Culture, Incentives, and
          the Underclass" by James Wilson; "The Urban Church: Faith, Outreach and the Inner City Poor" by John Dilulio.
Special Topics:
M:  Civil Society Theory; Moral Issues in Civil Society and Social Capital

Thanksgiving Vacation    November 23-27    No Classes

Week 15 (Nov. 28- Dec. 2) Civil Society Theory Part II;  Beyond Ideology
Read: Articles from Eberly: "The Lost City: The Case for Social Authority" by Allan Ehrenhalt; "Trust: The Social Virtues and
          the Creation of Prosperity" by Francis Fukuyama; "Democracy's Discontent: The Procedural Republic" by Michael
          Sandel; "Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse" by Mary Ann Glendon; "The Progressive Assault of
          Civic Community" by William A. Schambra; "Individualism, Liberalism and Democratic Civic Society" by William
          Galston; "American Exceptionalism Revisited: The Role of Civil Society" by Daniel Bell; "Politics, Morality, and Civility"
          by Vaclav Havel.
Special Topics:
M:  Social Trust and Authority; The Democratic State and Civil Society
       (Student presentation:  Gregory Feitel on Hannah Arendt)
W:  Individualism and American Exceptionalism
F: What do Civil Society Theory and Communitarianism have in common with conservatism?

Classes end Dec. 2

Reading Day:  Dec. 3
Exam Period:  Dec. 5-9
Final Exam: The final exam will be on Friday, Dec. 9 at 3:00 P.M. – 5:30 PM.. The final exam will be worth 1/6 of your semester grade.

 
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Course Requirements:
Three tests
Ten Critical Thinking Writing Exercises (This will address the writing intensive aspects of this course.)
Final comprehensive examination
Class discussion (This is a speaking intensive course; students will make special oral presentations to the class to be scheduled throughout the semester.   These special presentations will be viewed as part of your total participation in class discussion.  Students will select a particular thinker to make a report on, and once everyone has selected a thinker the dates of the presentations will be posted on the syllabus.)

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Grading:
Your semester grade will be based on three tests, the combined score on 10 critical thinking writing exercises, the final exam, and your contribution to class discussion.  Each will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.
Grading: This course uses the + and – grading scale.

            The total possible number of points to earn for the course is 600.  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 University policy found in the University Catalog and Student Handbook:
 Students are expected to attend all classes. Failure to attend class regularly impairs academic performance. Absences are disruptive to the educational process for others. This is especially true when absences cause interruptions for clarification of material previously covered, failure to assume assigned responsibilities for class presentations, or failure to adjust to changes in assigned material or due dates.  It is the responsibility of each instructor to give students a copy of his or her attendance policy in the course syllabus. Instructors may assign a grade of “0” or “F” on work missed because of unexcused absences. Instructors have the right to lower a student's course grade, but no more than one letter grade, if the student misses 10 percent of the scheduled class meeting times for unexcused absences.  Instructors have the right to assign a course grade of “F” when the student has missed a total (excused and unexcused) of 25 percent of the scheduled class meeting times. Students must assume full responsibility for any loss incurred because of absence, whether excused or unexcused. Instructors should permit students to make up work when the absence is excused. Excused absences are those resulting from the student's participation in a University sponsored activity, from recognizable emergencies, or from serious illness. Faculty may require documentation for excused absences in their attendance policy. Student Health Services can provide documentation only for students hospitalized locally or absent at the direction of Student Health Services personnel.

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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. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to express their knowledge and beliefs about the material and issues being dealt with in class. Students are expected to make contributions to class discussion.
Your grade in this regard (which is worth 1/6 of your semester grade) will be based upon your daily contributions during the semester.  Since this is a speaking intensive course, part of the class participation grade will be based on the formal presentations students make to the class.
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Critical Thinking Writing Exercises:
There will be 10 critical thinking writing exercises. These papers will usually be 3 pages in length and be handed in at the beginning of class on the day they are due.  They are not to be sent as an email attachment.  Late papers will lose points. 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. Failure to cite sources properly will cost points and may result in a 0 for the 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>

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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.  Critical thinking writing exercises handed in past the time they are due will lose points.

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Bibliography:
 
 

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