Associate Professor of Government
23767 Lec 039
TTh 12:00 noon - 1:20 pm
- May 15
Office Hours: MW 10:20-10:30, 11:50-12:00, &
11:50-12:00, 1:15-2:50 & 4:05-4:15
or by appointment
Textbook: The Struggle for
Longman, Tenth Edition, 2010,
James Madison (1751-1836)
So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual
animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the
most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle
their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But
the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and
unequal distribution of property.
Federalist Paper #10
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND DESCRIPTION
This course is an introduction to United States government. The
course includes a framework for understanding United
States government and politics, the constitutional basis for United
States government and politics, the processes of United States
government and politics, the institutions of United States government
and politics, and the policies of United States government. The basic
objectives of the course are for the student to:
1. Gain an awareness of the principles that guided the founders of the
U.S. and the manner in which our definition of these principles have
changed over the years.
2. Understand the basic structure of the U.S. government.
3. Develop an awareness of the political process and its impact on
4. Become aware of the ways in which government affects/is affected by
5. Think in political terms as part of the process of becoming a more
6. Develop independent critical thinking skills.
7. Understand the theoretical nature of what government is.
8. Critically explore such concepts as republic, democratic theory, and
The course will begin with a theoretical overview of politics.
This beginning will include a discussion about what the very nature,
role, and functions of government are. We will explore the
difference between the political, economic, and normative sphere of
action and how they interact to create politics.
In the second part of the course we will look at the evolution of the
U.S. political system through the lens of political history. The
objective here will be to discover what we have and how we got it.
Next we will focus on the political process by looking at public
opinion, interest groups, political parties, elections, voting, and the
media. In the process we will explore such concepts as single
member district representation, republic, proportional representation,
and campaign financing.
Then we will look at the institutions of the U.S. government, namely
the Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the federal
We will conclude the semester by examining foreign policy.
While this is primarily a lecture course, the class may also include
videos, transparencies, role-playing simulations, internet activities,
writing assignments, and classroom discussions. Students must
attend and participate regularly.
perfectly true that the government is best which governs least.
It is equally true that the
government is best which provides most.
OFFICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented
physical or psychological disabilities. Students with
disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office
for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take
the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this
three weeks before the start of the semester.
I do not like email. I realize that we live in a society where
people consider email to be a normal means of communication and I will
check it, but it is best to see me in person concerning any issue.
I will not respond to email addresses that are
your own. In other words if you are using your parents email,
then I will
not respond to any emails from such addresses.
For example if your name is John Smith and I receive an email
like the following:
please do not expect a reply from me.
you do not have your own email address and you are incapable of getting
such as one provided by ACC, then you will just need to see me during
hours or after class.
I am sending this to you per your request.
best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the
Do NOT ever message or text the professor using Facebook or his
personal cell phone for questions related to the class. You
should view Facebook and the personal cell as means of contacting the
professor for Twelfth Revolution club business, personal, or political
POLICY ON ATTENDANCE AND WITHDRAWAL
Each student is expected to attend and participate in each class
meeting and to complete the assigned reading PRIOR to each class.
Although class attendance is not a direct component of the final grade,
absences do limit the student’s opportunity to participate fully in
class activities and will almost certainly impact the student’s final
grade. Should it be necessary to miss a class a student should
contact other class members for copies of the notes amd materials
covered in that
class. Attendance is required on test days and on oral
presentation days. Should you miss a test day there will be NO
make up exams, instead your final grade will be based on the tests
taken. Should you miss two or more exams you should consider
dropping the course rather than suffering a failing grade.
Cell phones and text-messaging devices must be turned off and should
not be in evidence in the classroom unless you have prior approval from
the instructor. Late arrivals and early departures are disruptive
so please be on time and plan to stay the entire period unless you have
previously spoken to the instructor. Excessive tardiness or failure to
follow class policies on cell phones may result in the student being
dropped from the course. Do NOT get up during class to throw
The professor reserves the right to withdraw (drop) anyone from the
class for any reason. This does not mean that you will
withdrawn if you are failing or if you are not attending class.
If you wish to drop the course please make sure to do so
yourself. The instructor will not do it for you.
If, for any reason, you decide to withdraw from the course you must
complete the required forms in the Admissions and Records office.
The last day to withdraw from the Fall session
(initiated by instructor or student) is November 23,
This may not be the same date for High School students, so be sure to
in compliance with your High School.
Incompletes will not be
given to any student for any reason. If it becomes clear
that you will not be able to complete the course please consider
dropping the course by the drop deadline. Failure to
complete the required coursework will likely result in an F grade.
enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. I hope
to bring some of that discomfort of thought to the American people.
Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered
include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on
an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with
another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by
students shall be the result of their thought, research, or
self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to
tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper, projects,
either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework.
If a student commits any of these actions, I will seek disciplinary
action in the form of an academic penalty, which will likely include a
course grade of ‘F’.
Look, I take this very seriously and it has a real simple
solution. If you want to include text from someone else feel free
to cite the original author. It will strengthen your argument and
suggest that you have done research on the subject. Otherwise, I
am ruthless and will show no mercy when it comes to plagiarism.
Failure to comply with this rule is almost certain to cause you to fail
be the one to protect you from
A will to survive and a voice of
I'll be the one to protect you from
Your enemies and your choices son
They're one in the same
I must isolate you
Isolate and save you from yourself
Swayin to the rhythm of the new world
Count the bodies like sheep to the
rhythm of the war drums
The boogeymen are coming
A Perfect Circle
CLASS PARTICIPATION AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Just as each student is expected to attend class, each student is also
expected to participate in the class discussion. This not only
includes preparing for class and listening in class, but also includes
asking questions, answering questions, providing examples, and
expressing opinions. This class will be much more educational (as
well as interesting) in an atmosphere of active participation and
lively exchange of ideas. There will be numerous opportunities
throughout the semester to use current events to explore and expand
upon our understanding of the concepts we are studying. As a
also expect students to keep up with current events. If you are
not normally in the habit of doing, then so you must plan to begin
looking at a
reliable news source. The BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/ and Reuters
http://today.reuters.com/news/home.aspx are two examples of the sort.
In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical
thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. These
differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere
where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and
learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes
disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor.
It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of
others when expressed in classroom situations.
Each person has the right to express his or her opinion. Our Bill
of Rights not only guarantees us the right to express our opinions but
also provides us the opportunity to learn from our fellow citizens as
they express their opinions.
our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so – they're
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND SCHEDULE
Three exams will be given during this semester as noted on the Course
Schedule. In addition to this your grade will include a
participation component and miscellaneous activities. The exams
will include both objective and essay
questions. Essays may be conducted as take-home exams due by the
following class period or as in-class exams according to the
There are NO make-up exams. Should
you miss an exam I will calculate your grade as if you took the
2nd and Final
Exams, regardless of which exam that you missed. In other words
if you miss an
exam the highest grade that you can receive for the class will be 880
points (an 88%). If you miss two exams the highest grade that you
for the class will be a 64%. Sometimes things come up in life
that we cannot control. The first exam can serve as a sort of
insurance policy, so that you will not be completely lost should you
miss a test.
Arrangements can be made to take the first and second exam in the
Testing Center if the professor is informed of a need to miss the
regularly scheduled exam prior to the exam date. NO arrangement
can take place on or after the date of the test. Due to Testing
Center policy and since I
generate a new exam every semester, NO such arrangement can be made for
the Final Exam.
It should also be noted that there seems to be a high learning curve on
exams. It has been my experience that people tend to do poorly on
the first exam even if they ultimately earn an ‘A’ in the class.
The first exam should be regarded as a lesson in learning how to take
Writing assignments will be turned into turnitin.com
(http://www.turnitin.com). Papers handed to the professor should
be assumed lost and NO credit will be received for them. Never
treat a written assignment as a summarization. You are to ask and
answer some question of
political significance. Be creative, but also make sure to
support your thesis and any claims made around it.
The class ID and enrollment passwords
are listed below:
LETTER GRADE ASSIGNMENT
Final letter grades will be assigned after determining total points
earned, as follows:
Final Grade Scale
Classroom participation is worth 150 points (one and a half letter
grades). There is no formal attendance grade,
however, it will be difficult to participate in classroom discussions
if you are not in attendance. The best way to earn a high
participation grade is to ask questions, answer questions, and
contribute insights when appropriate. This is NOT a license to be
The text may be conducted as an in class test or with an in class
multiple-choice test with a take-home essay. If an essay is
take-home, that portion of the exam must be turned
into turnitin.com (see above).
There are five ways to earn these 0-200 points (a maximum of 2 letter
1) You can attend Austin Philosophy Forum, Pinnacle
Student Political Science Association, or Twelfth Revolution
events. You cannot get credit for Twelfth Revolution business
meetings. If you go to these event to get credit you must bring
back proof that you attended or sign a sign-in sheet. (15 poinnts
2) You can write an 600-900 word essay about a political topic from a
single story from 60 Minutes http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml.
and story from that episode is up to you. However,
since this essay MUST be political you will want to avoid writing about
topics like Penelope Cruz, as fun as they might be. (30 points)
3) You can write a 600-900 word essay about a political topic from a
single story from Frontline http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/.
and story from that episode is up to you. However,
since this essay MUST be political you will want to avoid writing about
topics like Penelope Cruz as fun as that might be. (30 points)
4) You can submit a personal essay or an opinion essay to the 4th
Annual Constituation Day (60 points)
5) You can write 450 word film review for one of the following movies:
(10-15 points each)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (10)
Lion of Winter (10)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (10)
Control Room (10)
Thin Blue Line (10)
Chaplan (1992) (10)
A Woman in Berlin (10)
Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral (15)
The Corporation (15)
Hearts and Minds (15)
Battle of Algiers (15)
For options 2 - 5 you mst turn in your work to turnitin.com
(see instructions above).
HOW TO BEST COMPLETE THIS COURSE
1. Attend all class sessions; if you miss a class get copies of the
handouts/notes from a classmate.
2. Do not miss tests. It may be tempting to miss the first exam,
3. Read the assigned material prior to each class session.
4. Study the materials; prepare for and take each exam as scheduled.
5. Complete and turn in all assignments as assigned and on time.
NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY REASON AFTER THE DUE DATE.
6. Contact the instructor if, at any time, you feel your performance is
not up to your standards.
FUNDAMENTAL ACADEMIC FORCES (STRONGEST TO WEAKEST)
1. Writing Ability
2. Reading Ability
3. Critical Thinking and Analytical Sills
If you can master these four forces, then you can succeed in
To the extent possible this class will attempt to assist in developing
all four skills further. However, it should be obvious that
English classes are generally where the above skills (especailly the
first two) are formally
taught. It is assumed that you have had English classes and
you will apply those skill sets developed in such classes to ALL
||ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE
|In the Beginning
|The Origin & Nature of
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
|The Birth of a
| Chapter 2
|Origins of the Revolution
|The Declaration of Independence
|The Articles of Confederation
|Federalist Paper #10
|2/15, 2/17, 2/22, 2/24, 3/1
our government ought to secure the
permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders
ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable
interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so
constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the
|The Role of the News Media
|3/10, 3/22, 3/29, 3/31
||Ideology & Parties
|Chapters 5 and 9
|Iraq and Iran
intimidated men. They advance politically
only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise
manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their
|Congress & Parliament
|Presidency as Institution
|A History of the Presidency
|The Presidency & Power
and the Federal Courts
is nothing so good for the human soul as the discovery that there
are ancient and flourishing civilized societies which have somehow
managed to exist for many centuries and are still in being though they
have had no help from the traveler in solving their problems.
|Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743
– July 4, 1826)
(October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826)
|God forbid we should ever be
twenty years without such a rebellion. The
people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the
facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What
country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And
what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned
from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?
them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and
pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The
tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of
patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Letter to William Stevens Smith (November 13, 1787), quoted in
Padover's Jefferson On Democracy
democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and
murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit
Letter to John Taylor April 15, 1814
The instructor reserves the right to modify any portion of the syllabus
at any time. The Course Schedule is meant as a guide; treat the
rest as law.