United States Political Systems
Dr. Jeremy Walling
Office: Carnahan 311R
Office phone: 651-2691
Patterson website: http://highered.mcgrawhill.com/classware/selfstudy.do?isbn=0073103497
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-10 and 11-11:30
This course is designed to introduce students to basic concepts comprising contemporary American politics. Classic and contemporary literature will be incorporated to provide an understanding of the foundations of American institutions and enduring characteristics of a complex political system. The initial component of the course consists of the founding of American government. Concepts such as “separation of powers” and “federalism” will be illuminated by readings and class discussions. The second unit of the course introduces the characteristics and interactions of the institutions of American government, such as Congress and the president. Next, linking institutions will be discussed. These institutions, such as interest groups and parties, exist to connect citizens to the primary institutions of government. For example, if a citizen feels underrepresented in Congress, he or she might join an interest group to address that disenfranchisement. Finally, the course will address the fundamentals of Missouri government.
Required Texts—Patterson, Thomas, 2007. The New American Democracy, 8th Ed. (available at textbook rental)
Expectations—This is a lecture course. However, students are expected to ask questions and participate in class discussions. In addition, students are expected to complete reading assignments before the class in which we are scheduled to discuss them.
Grades—Your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on your best two of three in-class examinations, a comprehensive final, and weekly quizzes. The grades will follow the traditional percentage scale (90%=A; 80%=B; etc.).
Exams (2@ 100 pts. each) = 200
Comprehensive Final = 100 pts.
Quizzes (5 @ 20 pts. each) = 100 pts.
Total = 400 pts.
Examinations—In addition to the comprehensive final,
there will be three unit examinations in the course. You are expected to take
all three unit tests. Your two higher grades will be factored into your final
grade total for the course. Please note the following exam policies:
--Note: Students who receive an 'A' grade on all three unit tests are not required to take the final. This only applies to students who earn 'A' grades on all three exams. No whining.
Multiple Choice Quizzes—Six quizzes will be given. In the event that 6 quizzes have been taken, students will be allowed to drop the lowest quiz grade. Since a drop are allowed, quizzes missed for any reason will be given a zero grade and dropped from the final quiz grade. Since make-up quizzes will not be offered, it is essential that students are present for 5 quizzes. The quizzes will cover main concepts from the reading and will generally be multiple-choice in nature.
Academic Dishonesty—Plagiarism on papers and cheating on exams will not be tolerated. Evidence of cheating will result in a zero grade.
Special Needs—Please see me if you have a disability that requires alternative arrangements or circumstances. I’ll assist you in any manner possible.
Week of August 20: Introduction, Politics & Government
Readings: Patterson, Ch1
Week of August 27: The Founding
Readings: Patterson Ch2
September 3: Labor Day, no class
Week of September 5, 7: Constitutional Principles
(Federalism and Separation of Powers)
Readings: Patterson Ch3
Week of September 10: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
Readings: Patterson Ch4 & Ch5
Week of September 17: First Exam
Week of September 24: The US Congress
Readings: Patterson Ch11
Week of October 1: The President and Bureaucracy
Readings: Patterson Ch 12, Ch 13
Week of October 8: The Federal Judiciary
Readings: Patterson Ch14
October 12: Fall Break, no class
Week of October 15: Second Exam
Week of October 22: Voting Behavior and Participation
Readings: Patterson Ch7
October 26: Last day to drop
Week of October 29: Organized Interests
Readings: Patterson Ch9
Week of November 5: Political Parties
Readings: Patterson Ch8
Week of November 12: Public Opinion/Media
Readings: Patterson Ch6, Ch10
November 19: Media Continued
November 21-23: Thanksgiving
Week of November 26: Third Exam
Week of December 3: State and Local Politics
Readings: Patterson Ch18
Final Exam: Monday, December 10, 8 am