United States Political Systems … Honors
Office: Carnahan 311R
Office phone: 651-2691
Office Hours: MWF 10-11; or by appointment
Congratulations. You’re getting two classes for the price of one. PS103 is designed to introduce students to basic concepts comprising contemporary American politics. Students in a typical PS103 course would spend 2-3 weeks discussing the principles and debates underlying American government (see weeks 2 and 3 in the Course Schedule section below). However, we’ll spend the entire semester engaged in an intensive examination of the foundations of American government. Classic and contemporary literature will be incorporated to provide an understanding of American institutions and the enduring characteristics of a complex political system. In addition, the course will address the fundamentals of Missouri government.
Required Texts—Patterson, Thomas. 2006. The American Democracy (available at textbook rental); McClellan, James. 2000. Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government, 3rd Edition (available at the bookstore); Various. 2005. Choices: An American Government Reader (available at the bookstore);
Expectations—This is a lecture format 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, three brief papers; quizzes, and participation. The grades will follow the traditional percentage scale (90%=A; 80%=B; etc.).
Exams (2 @ 100 pts. each) = 200 pts.
Comprehensive Final = 100 pts.
Quizzes (5 @ 20 pts. each) = 100 pts.
Brief Papers (3 @ 20 pts. each) = 60 pts.
Participation = 40 pts.
Total = 500 pts.
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:
--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.
--In order to avoid misunderstandings about what constitutes an "excused absence" and difficulties in scheduling make-up sessions, make-up exams are not offered. By counting only two of the three unit exams, the grading system essentially builds in one make-up for every student. A student who misses one of these exams, for whatever reason, will receive a zero for that score and it will be dropped from the final semester grade.
Quizzes—Six quizzes will be given in the course. In the event that 6 quizzes have been taken, students will be allowed to drop the lowest quiz grade. Since a drop is 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, will generally be multiple-choice in nature (although one or two might feature an essay), and will be announced one class prior to the quiz.
Brief Papers—Students will write three 2-3 page papers. The papers will specifically cover the topics in the McClellan book and topics will be assigned in advance. The papers are due on the Thursday following Tuesday in-class exams. Papers will be typed and double-spaced using any format that is consistent. Since the only sources used for the papers will be the course textbooks, a bibliography will not be necessary. However, supporting materials are expected to be cited with the author and page number of the reference. Late papers will not be accepted.
Attendance and Participation—Students are expected to attend class on time. Since quizzes will be given in class, class participation is a significant component of your grade in the course. Although attendance will not be graded in and of itself, you must be present to participate.
Academic Dishonesty—Plagiarism on papers and cheating on exams will not be tolerated. Evidence of cheating will result in a zero grade on that assignment. The official statement about academic honesty, including plagiarism, may be accessed at: http://www.semo.edu/bulletin/pdf/2006Bulletin.pdf
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 January
19: Introduction, Politics & Government
Readings: Patterson, Ch1; Choices (Dahl); McClellan (1-31)
Week of January 26: SNOW WEEK!!
Week of February
2: The Founding
Readings: Patterson Ch2; Choices (Frohnen); McClellan (32-59 + Ch1 Appendix A, Ch2 Appendix E)
Week of February
9: Constitutional Principles (Federalism and Separation of Powers)
Readings: Patterson Ch3, Federalist #51 (609-611); Choices (Wildavsky); McClellan (90-136)
Week of February
16: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
Readings: Patterson Ch4 & Ch5; Choices (Levin); McClellan (137-163 + Ch2 Appendix A, G)
February 24: First Exam
February 26: First take home paper due
Week of March 2: Voting Behavior and Participation
Readings: Patterson Ch7; Choices (Putnam; O’Bierne; Will); McClellan (241-271)
Week of March 9:
Readings: Patterson Ch9, Federalist #10 (605-608); Choices (Olson; Schattschneider); McClellan (295-326)
Week of March 16: Spring Break; no class
Week of March 23:
Readings: Patterson Ch8; Choices (Aldrich; Ladd); McClellan (327-353)
Week of March 30:
Public Opinion/State and Local Politics
Readings: Patterson Ch6, Ch18; Choices (Lipset; Cook); McClellan (381-408)
April 7: Second Exam
April 9: Second take home paper due
Week of April 13: The US Congress
Readings: Patterson Ch11; Choices (Mayhew; Cox and McCubbins); McClellan (409- 426)
Week of April 20: The President and Bureaucracy
Readings: Patterson Ch 12, Ch 13; Choices (Neustadt; Barber); (McClellan Ch6 Appendix A); McClellan (463-515 + Ch6 Appendix C)
Week of April 27:
The Federal Judiciary
Readings: Patterson Ch14; Choices (Thayer); Marbury v. Madison; McCellan (551-599)
May 5: Third Exam
May 7: Third take home paper due
Final Exam: Tuesday, May 12, Noon