°PS103 Syllabus - Fall 2000
°Renka's Home Page

Essay Questions - Professor Renka
PS103 - Fall 2000 Classes

° Exam No.  4 - 4 December 2000
° Exam No. 3
° Exam No. 2 - 
° Exam No. 1 - September 18-19, 2000

PS103 - U.S. Political Systems—Professor Renka                                              Monday, 4 December 2000                                                  

PS103 Examination No. 4 –Essay – Fall 2000

 Essay:  Answer one of the following questions (100 points).  This is due by Friday, December 8 by 5:00 p.m.  Essay should take about 2 to 2.5 honest pages.  You may turn in the exam in person, send a physical copy to my mailbox at Carnahan 211-L, send by email attachment to rdrenka@semo.edu, or FAX to me at 573/651-2695.  As always, use appropriate citations to support your argument and conclusions.  When using website citations, be sure to include full information:  author (if any), file name, date accessed, and URL.  For APA style users who insert source information into text within parentheses, use either author or filename for website citations; but in References at the end, include full information.

1.  How has the U.S. Constitution been altered since 1933 to affect the succession from one president to another?  Which of the modern presidents have been specifically affected by one or more of these constitutional provisions?  What effect has change in succession had upon the position of Vice-President?

2.  The disputed election of 2000 is likely to influence the political powers and the public legitimacy of the new 43rd President of the United States.  What are the major duties of office and means of influence a contemporary President has?  Which of these will be affected by the narrow election margin and questionable method of determining the new President?  Which of these will not be affected?

3.  Judicial activism is identified with political liberalism in today’s political climate, but Judge Richard Posner and others insist this identification is faulty.  What evidence exists to show that judicial activists have been mostly liberal?  What is the argument made by Posner and others who deny an inherent link of activism with liberalism?


PS103 – Fall 2000 Exam 3 – Essay Section                              M and T, November 13-14, 2000                     
Professor Renka

PS103 Examination No. 3 - Essay - Fall 2000 

Answer only one of the following essays, in a paper of approximately 2 ½ to 3 honest pages, either typewritten or word processed.  Due:  by Friday, Nov. 17, at 5:00 p.m. in person, or by e-mail to rdrenka@semo.edu. Please note:  When you cite the text, cite the page or pages of your source material instead of just saying “text” and leaving your reader to wonder where among 600 pages that material might be.  When you use the reader’s sources, cite the specific writer, article and pages; do not attribute something written by Thomas Patterson to editors Cigler and Loomis.  If you cite a website, first cite the author (if one is given), then file name (title of the article or piece to which you refer), then the URL, and finally the date you accessed it.  For APA style users, just cite website file name in full or part instead of using the full URL.  If in doubt about how to do citations, check Kent Library’s main floor information desk for how-to handouts.  Or ask me for assistance.

1.  Some say term limitations ought to be applied to the current U.S. House and Senate elections.  Others say it’s better to do nothing.  Still others advocate use of public funding of elections for all major-party House and Senate candidates in the general election.  Finally some advocate free public air time for advertising and public exposure of the major party candidates during the fall general election campaign.  What position do you take on this?  What’s the basis for your position?   Be sure to provide documented source support for your answers.

2.  Interest groups have found ways to do two things effectively.  These are: a) solve the free riding problem, and b) influence the U.S. Congress.  How do these groups accomplish each of these objectives?  Be sure to provide documented source support for your answers.


PS103 Exam No. 1 - September 18-19, 2000

PS103 – Fall 2000 Exam No. 1 – Essay Section                         September 18-19, 2000
Professor Renka

    Answer only one of the following essays, in a paper of approximately 2 ½ to 3 honest pages, either typewritten or word processed.  You may turn in the exam in person, send a physical copy to my mailbox at Carnahan 211-L, send by email attachment to rdrenka@semo.edu, or FAX to me at 573/651-2695.  When citing source materials in support of your essay, be sure to give the author or authors proper credit.  And be damned sure that anytime you quote or closely paraphrase the words of someone else, you give them the credit.  Enclose all direct uses of others’ words in quotes.  If you don’t, I’ll automatically return the paper unread and ungraded for you to correct.  Essay section value is 100 points.
     Due:  by Friday, September 22 on or before class time for the Monday exam (Section 04), and by Friday at 5:00 p.m. for the Tuesday exam (Section 03).

1.  John Roche said the Framers of the Constitution were pragmatic democrats, but Richard Hofstadter raised serious doubts about that, labeling them as economic upper-class defenders who feared the aggressive urban mobs and small dirt farmers—men whom Jack Rakove says were habitually voting their own into office in the states of the 1780s.  James Madison in Federalist No. 10 and No. 51 put forth the framers’ views on human nature as self-interested and inclined to form into factions that sought power for their own selfish ends.  Yet Madison in No. 10 also says voters will be inclined to elect their betters in a republic with powers conferred on elected officials.  I chipped in that elected officials are much kinder on taxation to their own citizens than they are to outsiders and nonvoters.
    What was democratic about the things the Framers did in Philadelphia?  What was undemocratic about the things they did?  On balance, were they more democratic than undemocratic?

2.  Federalism is in dispute today, with some arguing for greater state and local governmental powers and others for retaining federal or central powers.  Donahue cites one side of this, and Dunlap another.  Based on evidence such as theirs, make your best argument for increasing the power of the states (against the central government) or for increasing central power against the states.

3.  The readings on Macks Creek and the West Virginia tax on river traffic, the class and text description of constraint on trade by states in the 1780s, the taxation of the national bank by Maryland before 1819, and the dependence of states and other federal grant recipients on grant money from Washington, all have a certain common element about them.  What do these things say about the nature and behavior of politicians in a democracy such as the U.S.?  Also, if you can, cite one or more additional examples to highlight this same kind of behavior.

Note:  Whichever essay you answer, please avoid saying the equivalent of “whatever is, must be fine, because it’s working OK by me, and the United States is the best possible way to do things, in any case.”  That may be true, but it’s not an argument with evidence backing it.  It’s a proclamation without a defense.  In a courtroom that would leave you defenseless against cross-examination.  So also in essay writing.