COURSE OUTLINE

 

September 27 – 29, 2004 – The Political Landscape, Chapter 1

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 5 - 23.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I hope to give you a basis understanding of the theories and ideas that underpin our political and economic system.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The philosophies that underpin our system of government

-         the 7 characteristics of democracy that define and influence our system of government

-         who the American people are and how they are changing

-         American political culture and our views about government

-         How the American dream has changed as our racial and ethnic makeup have changed`

 

The Roots of American Government

-         A Growing Idea: Popular Consent

-         Devising a National Government

o       www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/constpap.htm - A collection of historical documents relating to the study of American government

o       www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/locators/coredocs/ - The GPO page lists a number of documents considered integral to American democracy

 

-         The Theory of Democratic Government

o       John Locke: www.utm.edu/research/i/locke.htm

 

Characteristics of American Government

                        Popular Consent

                        Popular Sovereignty

                        Majority Rule

                        Individualism

                        Equality

                        Personal Liberty

                        Civil Society    

 

            The Changing Political Culture and Characteristics of the American People

-         Changing Size and Population

-         Changing Demographics

-         The Ideology of the American Public

 

Political Culture and Views of Government

-         High Expectations

-         Mistrust of Politicians

-         Voter Apathy

 

Redefining our Expectations

 

October 4 – 6, 2004 – The Constitution, Chapter 2        

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 36 - 55.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I hope to give you a basis understanding of the colonial era and the events that led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the main grievances of the colonists against the Crown and Parliament, the first American government under the Articles of Confederation, the writing of the Constitution, the nature of the U.S. Constitution and the ratification debate.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         why colonists came to the New World

-         the break with Great Britain and the circumstances surrounding the beginning of the Revolutionary War

-         the Declaration of Independence and its philosophical underpinnings

-         the first American government under the Articles of Confederation and its failings

-         the U.S. Constitution. What does it say?

-         the controversy over ratification, the ratification debates – Federalists and Anti-Federalists

 

Chapter Outline

            The Origins of a New Nation

-         Trade and Taxation

-         First Steps Toward Independence

-         The First Continental Congress

-         The Second Continental Congress

 

The Declaration of Independence

-         A Theoretical Basis for a New Government

 

The First Attempt at Government: The Articles of Confederation: U.S. Constitution Online www.usconstitution.net offers many documents including the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and many other links.

 

Problems under the Articles of Confederation

 

The Miracle at Philadelphia: Writing a Constitution  www.house.gov/house/educat.html - Official government site with full text of the Constitution

 

-         The Framers

Motives of the Framers

-         The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

-         Constitutional Compromise

-         Unfinished Business

 

The U.S. Constitution

-         The Basic Principles

Federalism

Separation of Powers

Checks and Balances

The Supremacy Clause

           

-         The Articles of the Constitution

Article I – Establishes the legislative branch

Article II – Establishes the executive branch

Article III – Establishes the judicial branch

            Judicial Review

Articles IV through VII

 

            The Drive for Ratification

 

            Formal Methods of Amending the Constitution

 

            Informal Methods of Amending the Constitution

 

October 11 – 13, 2004 – Federalism, Chapter 3

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 70 - 100.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I hope to give you a basis understanding of our system of federalism.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The definition of federalism and why it divides powers between one national and several state governments

-         How the federal system was created by the Framers

-         the allocation of the powers of government

-         the evolution and development of federalism

-         the changing nature of federalism and how the Supreme Court plays a major role in those changes

 

Chapter Outline

            The Roots of the Federal System

            www.mcs.net/~knautzr/fed/fedpaper.html - The text of the Federalist Papers.

 

The Powers of Government in the Federal System: www.temple.edu/federalism - Center for the Study of Federalism’s website that offers a variety of links to the study of federalism.

-         Denied Powers

-         Guarantees to the States

-         Relations among the States

 

The Evolution and Development of Federalism

-         Early Pronouncements on Federalism

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

           

Dual Federalism

 

The Civil War and Beyond

 

The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments

 

Cooperative Federalism

 

The Changing Nature of Federalism: www.gsa.gov – The Government Services Administration’s site has information on hundreds of federal grants.

-         Federal Grants

 

Creative Federalism:

 

The Reagan Revolution

 

The Devolution Revolution: www.brook.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb003/pb3.htm

-         Preemption

-         Unfunded Mandates

 

Federalism and the Supreme Court: www.oyez.nwa.edu – A comprehensive database of major constitutional cases.

                                                       www.romingerlegal.com/supreme.htm - Provides links to U.S. Supreme Court including history, pending cases.

 

The Devolution Revolution and the Court

 

October 11 – 20, 2004 – State and Local Government, Chapter 4

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 104 - 136.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I will introduce you to the nature and institutions of state and local governments.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The history of state, local and tribal governments

-         The nature of power and politics at the community level

-         The development of state constitutions

-         The major institutions of state government

-         The types of local governments and the basis of their authority

-         The budgeting process and finances at the state and local levels

 

Chapter Outline

            The Evolution of State and Local Governments

 

            Grassroots Power and Politics

 

            State Governments: www.lawguru.com/ilawlib/ has links to all 50 state constitutions also includes Indian treaties and compacts

-         State Governments

-         Governors

-         State Legislatures

-         State Courts

-         Elections

-         Direct Democracy

 

Local Governments

-         Charters

-         Types of Local Government

-         Executives and Legislatures

 

Relations with Indian Nations: www.ncia.org – The National Congress of American Indians website includes legislative updates, resolutions, links, etc.

 

October 25 – 27, 2004 – Civil Liberties, Chapter 5

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 140 - 177.

Supplemental Reading:

Faith and Diversity in American Religion by Alan Wolfe

A Nasty Business by Bruce Hoffman

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week we will discuss the individual rights and freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The Bill of Rights and the reasons for its addition to the Constitution

-         The application of some rights in the Bill of Rights to the states via the incorporation doctrine

-         the meaning of the First Amendment’s religion clauses:

o       the establishment clause

o       the free exercise clause

-         the meaning of the First Amendment’s free speech and press clause

-         the interpretation and controversy over the Second Amendment; the right to bear arms

-         rights of the accused or criminal defendant’s rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments

 

Chapter Outline

            Civil Liberties – www.aclu.org: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers information of the entire Bill of Rights.

 

            The First Constitutional Amendments: The Bill of Rights

-         The Incorporation Doctrine

-         Selective Incorporation and Fundamental Freedoms

 

First Amendment Guarantees: Freedom of Religion

-         The Establishment Clause

-         The Free Exercise Clause

 

First Amendment Guarantees: Freedom of Speech and Press

Attempts to Limit Speech

-         The Alien and Sedition acts

-         Slavery, the Civil War, and Rights Curtailment

-         Anti-Government Speech

-         Libel and Slander

-         Obscenity and Pornography

-         Congress and Obscenity

 

What Types of Speech are Protected?

-         Symbolic speech

-         Prior Restraint

-         Hate Speech, Unpopular Speech, and Speech Zones

 

The Second Amendment: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

 

The Fourth Amendment and Searches and Seizures

 

The Fifth Amendment and Self Incrimination

-         Use of Voluntary Confessions

 

The Fourth and Fifth Amendments and the Exclusionary Rule

 

The Sixth Amendment and Right to Council

 

The Sixth Amendment and Jury Trials

 

The Eighth Amendment and Cruel and Unusual Punishment

 

The Right to Privacy

-         Birth Control

-         Abortion

-         Homosexuality

-         The Right to Die    

 

November 1 – 3, 2004 – Congress, Chapter 7

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 222 - 265.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I plan on informing you about the institution of Congress.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The roots of the legislative branch

-         The Constitutional arguments about representation in Congress

-         Article I, the Constitutional basis for Congress and the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution

-         The nature of representation in the House of Representatives and the consequences of redistricting

-         The membership of Congress, how they are elected

-         How Congress is organized

-         How Congress makes laws

-         How members of Congress make decisions

-         The relationship between the Congress and the president and how that relationship has changed over time

 

Chapter Outline

            The Roots of the Legislative Branch

 

            The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of Government

-         Apportionment and Redistricting

-         Constitutional Powers of Congress

 

The Members of Congress

-         Running for Office and Staying in Office

-         Term Limits

-         What Does Congress Look Like?

-         The Representational Role of Members of Congress

 

How Congress is Organized

-         The House of Representatives

-         The Speaker of the House

-         Other House Leaders

-         The Senate

-         The Role of Political Parties in Organizing Congress

-         The Committee System

-         Types of Committees

-         Committee Membership

-         Committee Chairs

 

The Lawmaking Function of Congress

 

November 8 – 10, 2004 – The Presidency, Chapter 8

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 270 - 311.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I hope to give you a basic understanding of the presidency as an institution as well as some information on the men who have occupied the office.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The roots of the office of president of the United States and how the Framers created the executive for a new nation

-         Article II and the constitutional powers of the presidency

-         The development of presidential power in the response to events, crises, personalities and other influences

-         How the presidency managed to become the central focus of power and action in the United States

-         The role of the president in the legislative process and how presidential agenda-setting has caused Congress to try to reassert their own powers in this area

-         The role of public opinion and its impact on the American president as well as the effect the president has on public opinion

 

Chapter Outline

The Roots of the Office of President of the United States: www.whitehouse.gov – The official White House Site

            The Constitutional Convention

-         Qualifications for Office

-         Terms of Office

-         Removal

-         Succession

 

The Vice President: http:www.vicepresidents.com – Statistics, facts and biographies of U.S. Vice-Presidents.

 

The Constitutional Powers of the President

-         The Appointment Power

-         The Power to Convene Congress

-         The Power to Make Treaties

-         Veto Power

-         The Line-Item Veto

 

The Power to Preside Over the Military as Commander-in-Chief

 

The Pardoning Power

 

The Development of Presidential Power: www.npg.si.edu/col/pres/index.htm - the National Portrait Gallery’s Hall of Presidents has information on and portraits of American presidents.

-         The First Three Presidents

-         Congressional Triumph: 1804-1933

-         The Growth of the Modern Presidency

 

The Presidential Establishment

-         The Cabinet

-         The First Lady

-         The Executive Office of the President (EOP)

-         White House Staff

 

The Role of the President in the Legislative Process: The President as Policy Maker

-         Presidential Involvement in the Budgetary Process

-         Ruling Through Regulation; http:

-         Winning Support for Programs

 

The President and Public Opinion

 

The Changing Presidency

 

November 8 – 10, 2004  – The Executive Branch and the Federal Bureaucracy, Chapter 9

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 316 - 344.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week we will discuss the executive branch and federal bureaucracy.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The historical roots of the executive branch and federal bureaucracy and its development

-         How the modern bureaucracy is structured and how it works

-         How policies are made and the impact of the bureaucracy on policymaking

-         How agencies are held accountable

 

Chapter Outline

            The Roots and Development of the Federal Bureaucracy

 

            The Civil War

 

From Spoils to Merit

 

National Efforts to Regulate the Economy

 

What Should Government Do?

 

The New Deal and Bigger Government

 

World War II and Its Aftermath

 

The Modern Bureaucracy

 

            Policy Making

-         Iron Triangles

-         Administrative Discretion

-         Rule Making

 

November 15 – 17, 2004 – The Judiciary, Chapter 10

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 348 - 393.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I plan on giving you an overview of the federal judicial system.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The creation of the national judiciary by Article III of the Constitution and congressional statute – the Judiciary Act of 1789

-         The rules and structures of the American legal system

-         The types and jurisdictions of the various federal courts

-         How federal court judges are selected through the political process of presidential nomination and Senatorial review

-         The operation and function of the Supreme Court today

-         How judicial policies are made and implemented

 

Chapter Outline

            The Constitution and the National Judiciary

-         The Judiciary Act of 1789 and the Creation of the Federal Judicial System

-         The Marshall Court

-         Judicial Review

 

The American Legal System

-         Jurisdiction

 

The Federal Court System

-         District Courts

-         The Court of Appeals

-         The Supreme Court: www.supremecourtus.gov – The official website of the Supreme Court of the United States offers transcripts of oral arguments before the Court, recent case decisions, a history of the Court, the Court’s docket and other information.

 

How Federal Court Judges are Selected

-         Who are Federal Judges?

 

The Supreme Court Confirmation Process

-         Lobbying by Interest Groups

-         The Senate Committee Hearings and Senate Vote

 

November 22 – 24, 2004 – Voting and Elections, Chapter 13

 

Assigned Reading: O’Connor and Sabato, 398 - 430.

Supplemental Reading:

 

Chapter Outline and Key Points

This week I plan on giving you an overview of voting and elections in the United States.

 

After you finish reading and studying this chapter, you should understand:

-         The purposes served by elections, particularly their importance in legitimizing the political system

-         Different kinds of elections, from primaries and caucuses to congressional and presidential elections

-         How presidential elections work from the primaries through national conventions

-         How congressional elections work and how they differ from presidential elections

-         How voters behave in the election cycle

 

Chapter Outline

            Different Kinds of Elections

-         Primary Elections

-         General Elections

-         Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

 

Presidential Elections

 

Primaries versus Caucuses

 

The Electoral College: How Presidents are Elected

 

November 29 – December 1, 2004 – Issue Debates!

 

Debate Instructions can be found here