Social Science Education

PoliSci 201B

 

POLITICAL SCIENCE 201 American Government Dr. James L. McDowell Fall 2002

HH 309; Tel.: 237-2514

E-mail: j-mcdowell@indstate.edu

This course is an introduction to the structure, function and politics of American government. It will concentrate on the institutional aspects of the governmental system, contrasting the way the system is designed to operate with various reasons why "government" doesn't seem to work at all any more.

There will be three one-hour examinations and a two-hour final examination, all of which will be OBJECTIVE. The final examination will be COMPREHENSIVE, covering material from the entire course. The value of the final examination is twice that of each one-hour examination. There also may be occasional unannounced quizzes.

This course is part of the Liberal Studies component of General Education 2000 (GE2000). It is an elective for Social and Behavioral Studies (SBS:E).  For students enrolled before Summer 2000, it carries two hours' credit in Area B (Human Origin, Process and Systems Studies) and one hour credit in Area D (Historical Studies).   The material included in this course is designed to improve a student's understanding of the operation and interaction of communities, organizations, institutions and other human systems, and the effects of time and change in human societies.

Two other factors will have an impact on the determination of the final course grade.

The first factor is attendance. The University, as well as the instructor, expects the student to attend all classes except those missed with a valid excuse (that is, one approved by the instructor) .Given the content of the course examinations, previous students have found regular attendance to be most beneficial.

The second factor is class participation. Appropriate student discussion of the topics presented in class will not only improve understanding of the material but also increase the likelihood that a borderline grade may be raised to the next higher level.

The instructor wishes the student to be aware of these regulations:

1. The University policy on granting an "N" grade, detailed in the ISU UnderGraduate Catalog, will be strictly applied.

2. A student must make up a missed examination prior to the giving of a subsequent examination in the course; otherwise, zero points will be awarded and a grade of "F" assigned. The makeup examination may be of a different format at the instructor's discretion. A missed "pop quiz " may NOT be made up under any circumstances.

3. There will be NO "extra credit" work accepted.

4. An incomplete grade will be given ONLY under the most extenuating- -and verifiable--circumstances. University policy on time limits for completion of an incomplete grade will be strictly adhered to. A student's failure to meet an assigned deadline will result in a grade of "F"--with NO exceptions .

 

The required textbook for this class is:

D. Grier Stephenson, Jr., et al., Introduction to American Government, (2002).

In addition to the required textbook, the student will benefit from reading a daily newspaper or watching local/national news on television. No textbook, however recent the copyright date, can ever be as current as the contemporary media. Further, the news reports will reinforce the events and topics covered in the textbook: these things really do happen!

READING ASSIGNMENTS

PART ONE: FOUNDATIONS OF A GOVERNMENT

I. The American Democratic Experience

A. Government by the people?

B. America: vision and reality
 

II. Constitutional Foundations of a Nation

A. From confederation to nation Chapter 1

B. Problems and possibilities of American federalism Chapter 2

C. American political culture Chapter 4

FIRST EXAMINATION

PART TWO: POLITICAL BEHAVIOR OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

III. People and the Political Process Public opinion: voice of the people? Chapter 5

IV. People and the Political Process Political Parties and Interest Groups Chapter 6

V. People and the Political Process Campaigns, Elections and Voting Chapter 7

SECOND EXAMINATION

PART THREE: INSTITUTIONS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

VI. Policy Makers for the People Congress: the sapless branch? Chapter 8

VII. Policy Makers for the People The President: mainspring of the system? Chapter 9

VIII. Policy Makers for the People The bureaucracy: are civil servants uncivil? Chapter 10

IX. Policy Makers for the People The judiciary: independent and impartial? Chapter 11

THIRD EXAMINATION

PART FOUR: PUBLIC POLICY CONCERNS

X. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

A. The Bill of Rights and individual freedoms
B. The civil rights movement Chapter 3

XI. Making Policy: From Agenda-Setting to Implementation Chapter 12

XII.  Is the American System up to the Task of the 21st Century?

FINAL EXAMINATION

65

 

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