AMST 206—SPRING 2008


Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.                                                                                                   Course Room No.:  S17-229

Class UTH:  11:00-11:50                                                                                  INTERNET:

Office Hours:  By appointment                                                                                                 Office No.:  S17-263

VOICE:  17438775 (W)                                                                                                                           17729091 (H)


An examination of the political institutions at the national and local levels, such as the legislature, judiciary and the executive.  America’s economic policy, bureaucracy, civil liberties, civil rights, and foreign and defense policies will be surveyed.


Grading Policy:  20% for Attendance*; 20% for the Class Presentation; 20% for the Midterm Exam; 20% for the Research Paper; and 20% for the Final Exam. A Guidelines sheet will be distributed outlining the requirements for your Class Presentation and for your Research Paper.


Grading Scale:  93-100=A; 90-92=A-; 88-89=B+; 83-87=B; 80-82=B-; 78-79=C+; 73-77=C; 70-72=C-; 68-69=D+; 63-67=D; 60-62=D-; 0-59=F


Attendance Policy*:  Attendance in class is mandatory.  It is the student’s responsibility to sign the attendance sheet each day of class; failure to sign the attendance sheet—even if in attendance—will be counted as an absence.  If your unexcused absences exceed 25% of the total number of lectures of the course in this semester, you will be automatically withdrawn from the course and be given a grade of (WF) which will be counted towards your GPA.  As well, you are expected to follow the syllabus and accordingly be prepared for each day's class.  This means that you must read the pre-assigned readings before class so that you will be prepared to discuss and debate in class the subject matter scheduled for that day and answer questions related to the issues being covered.


* Absence from class may be made up by preparing a two-page, typed (i.e. using maximum 12 point font size and maximum double-spaced text with one-inch margin on all sides), summary on the missed material scheduled to be covered the day(s) of your absence.  The summary must be in your own words and must not be copied material from the text(s), the internet, or any other source(s).  All summaries must be turned in to me by the last day of classes if you want credit for your absences.


Cell Phone Policy:  TURN OFF all cell phones during class.  Any student whose cell phone rings, sounds alarm, or makes any noise whatsoever during class must immediately leave the classroom for that day.  This policy applies to any electronic device students carry with them.


Required Texts:


Greenberg, Edward S. & Benjamin I. Page.  2003.  The Struggle for Democracy, Eigth Edition.  New York, NY:  Longman.  [ISBN-10: 978-0321420837]


InfoUSA:  Information USA [CD-ROM].  2007-2008.  Washington, D.C.:  U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs.  [Supplied by professor.]


Feb. 26:  Introduction to American Government II:  National and Local




Feb. 28:  Democracy and American Politics


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Appendix A-2  “The Declaration of Independence”;  Ch. 1  “Robert Moses and the Struggle for African-American Voting Rights,” “Democracy,” “Democratic Origins,” “Direct Versus Representative Democracy,” “Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy,” “Mapping American Politics:  Where the Voters in America Are Purple,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  Is Voting Turnout Declining in the United States?,” “Objections to Majoritarian Representative Democracy,” “Democracy as an Evaluative Standard:  How Democratic Are We?,”  pp. 3-17.


Mar. 2:  Democracy and American Politics


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 1  A Framework for Understanding How American Politics Works,” “Organizing the Main Factors of Political Life,” “Connecting the Main Factors of Political Life,” “Understanding American Politics Holistically,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  The Voting Rights Act,” pp. 17-21.




Mar. 4:  The Constitution


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Appendix A-4  “The Constitution of the United States”;  Ch. 2  “Shay’s Rebellion,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “The Political Theory of the Revolutionary Era,” “The Declaration of Independence,” “The Articles of Confederation:  The First Constitution,” “Provisions of the Articles,” “Shortcomings of the Articles,” “Factors Leading to the Constitutional Convention,” “The Republican Beliefs of the Founders,” “Why the Founders Were Worried,”  pp. 25-34.


Mar. 6:  The Constitution


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 2  “The Constitutional Convention,” “Who Were the Framers?,” “Consensus and Conflict at the Convention,” “What the Framers Created,” “Mapping American Politics:  Equal and Unequal Representation in the House and Senate,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  Slavery in the Constitution,” “The Struggle to Ratify the Constitution,” “The Changing Constitution, Democracy, and American Politics,” “America’s Constitution:  How Exceptional?,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  A Republic or a Democracy?,”  pp. 34-50.


Mar. 6:  [Last day for dropping courses]


Mar. 9:  Federalism:  States and Nation


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 3  “Who’s in Charge Here?,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Federalism as a System of Government,” “The Nature of Federalism,” “American Federalism:  How Exceptional?,” “Federalism in the Constitution,” “Independent State Powers,” “The States’ Roles in National Government,” “Relations Among the States,” “The Evolution of American Federalism,” “The Perpetual Debate About the Nature of American Federalism,” “Federalism Before the Civil War,” “The Civil War and the Expansion of National Power,” “Expanded National Activity Since the Civil War,” pp. 53-68.


Mar. 11:  Federalism:  States and Nation


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 3  “National Grants-in-Aid to the States,” “Origin and Growth of Grants,” “Mapping American Politics:  Federal Dollars—Which States Win and Which Ones Lose?,” “Types of Grants,” “Debates About Federal Money and Control,” “By the Numbers:  How Do We Know How Many People There Are in Each of the States?,” “U.S. Federalism:  Pro and Con,” “Using the Framework:  Paying Out-of-State Tuition,” “What Sort of Federalism?,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Does Federalism Advance or Retard Democracy,” pp. 68-80.


Mar. 13:  The Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 4  “The Disappearing Highly Paid, Semiskilled Worker,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “America’s Population,” “Growing Diversity,” “Changing Location,” “Income, Wealth, and Poverty,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  The Persistence of Poverty,” “By the Numbers:  Is America Becoming More Unequal,” pp. 83-94.


Mar. 16:  The Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 4  “The American Economy,” “The Rise of Industrial Capitalism,” “Globalization and the New American Economy,” “The United States in the World,” “Superpower:  The First Stage,” “Superpower:  The Second Stage,” “Mapping American Politics:  The United States in the World Trading System,”  “The American Political Culture:  How Exceptional?,” “Individualism,” “Private Property and Private Enterprise,” “Distrust of Government,” “Citizenship and the Nature of the Political Order,” “Populism,” “Religious Belief,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Is Real Democracy Possible in the United States,” “Structural Influences on American Politics,” pp. 94-112.




Mar. 18:  Public Opinion


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 5  “The Vietnam War and the Public,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Democracy and Public Opinion,” “Measuring Public Opinion,” “Public Opinion Polls,” “Problems in Political Polling,” “Learning Political Beliefs and Attitudes,” “Agents of Socialization,” pp. 115-123.


Mar. 9-Apr. 30:  Withdrawal Period with (W)


Mar. 20:  Prophet’s birthday  [No classes]


Mar. 23:  Public Opinion


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 5  “How People’s Opinions Differ,” “Race and Ethnicity,” “Social Class,” “Region,” “Education,” “Gender,” “Age,” “Religion,” “Partisanship,” “The Contours of American Public Opinion:  Are the People Fit to Rule?,” “What People Know About Politics,” “The Content of Collective Public Opinion,” “The System in General,” “Government Performance,” “Party Identification,” “Liberals and Conservatives,” “Policy Preferences,” “The Peoples’ ‘Fitness to Rule’ Revisited,” “Is Government Responsive to Public Opinion?,” “Yes, It Is,” “No, It’s Not,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  What Impact Does Public Opinion Have on American Democracy?,” “Using the Framework:  Gun Control,” pp. 123-150.


Mar. 25:  The News Media


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 6  “The Attack of the Blogs,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Roles of the News Media in Democracy,” “Watchdog Over Government,” “How Exceptional?,” “Clarifying Electoral Choices,” “Providing Policy Information,” “The Media Landscape,” “Newspapers,” “Magazines,” “Radio,” “Television,” “The Internet,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  How Much Serious Crime Is There in the United States?,” “How the News Media Work,” “Organization of the News Media,” “Political Newsmaking,” “Mapping American Politics:  The Limited Geography of National News,” “Interpreting,” “Is the News Biased?,” pp. 153-175.


Mar. 27:  The News Media


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 6  “Prevailing Themes in Political News,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  Monica All the Time,” “Effects of the News Media on Politics,” “Agenda Setting,” “Framing and Effects on Policy Preferences,” “Fueling Cynicism,” “Government Regulation of the Media,” “Print Media,” “The Electronic Media,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Do the News Media Help or Hinder Democracy?,”  pp. 175-188.


Mar. 30:  Interest Groups and Business Corporations


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Appendix A-13  “The Federalist Papers, No. 10”;  Ch. 7  “Groups Face Off Over Social Security,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Interest Groups in a Democratic Society:  Contrasting Views,” “The Evils of Factions,” “Interest Group Democracy:  The Pluralist Argument,” “Interest Group Formation:  Structural, Political Linkage, and Governmental Factors,” “Diverse Interests,” “Rules of the Game,” “The Growth in Government,” “Disturbances,” “Incentives,” “What Interests Are Represented,” “Private Interest Groups,” “Public Interest Groups,” “What Interest Groups Do,” “The Inside Game,” “The Outside Game,” “By the Numbers:  Is There a Reliable Way to Evaluate the Performance of Our Representatives in Congress?,” pp. 190-208.


Apr. 1:  Interest Groups and Business Corporations


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 7  Possible Flaws in the Pluralist Heaven,” “Representational Inequalities,” “Resource Inequalities,” “Using the Framework:  Prescription Drugs Under Medicare,” “Access Inequality,” “The Special Place of Business Corporations,” “Curing the Mischief of Factions,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Do Interest Groups Help or Hinder American Democracy?,” pp. 208-218.


Apr. 3:  Social Movements


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 8  “Women Win the Right to Vote,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “What Are Social Movements?,” “Major Social Movements in the United States,” “Social Movements in a Majoritarian Democracy,” “Encouraging Participation,” “Overcoming Political Inequality,” “Creating New Majorities,” “Overcoming Gridlock,” “Factors That Encourage the Creation of Social Movements,” “The Existence of Social Distress,” “Availability of Resources for Mobilization,” “A Supportive Environment,” “A Sense of Efficacy Among Participants,” “A Spark to Set Off the Flames,” pp. 221-232.


Apr. 6:  Social Movements


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 8  Tactics of Social Movements,” “Why Some Social Movements Succeed and Others Do Not,” “Low-Impact Social Movements,” “Repressed Social Movements,” “Partially Successful Social Movements,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue’,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  How Do Social Movements Affect Democracy?,” pp. 232-240.


Apr. 8:  Political Parties


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 9  “The Parties at War,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “The Role of Political Parties in a Democracy,” “History of the Two-Party System,” “The First Party System:  Federalists Versus Democratic Republicans,” “The Second Party System:  Democrats Versus Whigs,” “From the Civil War to 1896:  Republicans and Democrats in Balance,” “The Party System of 1896:  Republican Dominance,” “The New Deal Party System:  Democratic Party Dominance,” “The Sixth Party System:  Dealignment and Parity,” “Why a Two-Party System?,” “Mapping American Politics:  The Shifting Democracy of the Parties,” “Electoral Rules:  How Exceptional?,” “Restrictions on Minor Parties,” pp. 243-255.


Apr. 10:  Political Parties


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 9  The Role of Minor Parties in the Two-Party System,” “Democrats and Republicans,” “The Organization of American Political Parties,” “Core Supporters,” “Ideology and Policies,” “The Parties in Government and in the Electorate,” “Using the Framework:  Ending Gridlock,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  How Do Our Major Political Parties Affect Democracy?,” pp. 255-268.


Apr. 13:  Participation, Voting, and Elections


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 10  “Bush Wins the 2004 Election,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Elections and Democracy,” “The Prospective (or Responsible Party) Voting Model,” “The Electoral Competition Voting Model,” “The Retrospective (or Reward and Punishment) Voting Model,” “Imperfect Electoral Democracy,” “Using the Framework: Elections Bring the New Deal,” “American Elections:  How Exceptional Compared With Others?,” “Political Participation,” “Expansion of the Franchise,” “Low Voting Turnout,” “Who Participates?,” “Income and Education,” “Race and Ethnicity,” “Age,” “Gender,” “Does It Matter Who Votes?,” pp. 270-288.


Apr. 15:  Participation, Voting, and Elections


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 10  “Campaigning for Office,” “Contending for the Party Presidential Nomination,” “The Autumn Campaign,” “Mapping American Politics:  Ad Buys and Battleground States,” “Money and Elections,” “Election Outcomes,” “How Voters Decide,” “The Electoral College,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  Did George W. Bush Really Win the 2000 Presidential Vote in Florida?,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Do Elections Matter?,” pp. 288-305.


Apr. 17:  Midterm Exam


Apr. 20-24:  Mid-semester Break [No classes]





Apr. 27:  Congress


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Appendix A-15  “The Federalist Papers, No. 51”;  Ch. 11  “The Democrats Retake Congress,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Constitutional Foundations of the Modern Congress,” “Empowering Congress,” “Constraining Congress,” “Bicameralism and Representation,” “Federalism,” “Representation and Democracy,” “Styles of Representation,” “Race, Gender, and Occupation in Congress,” “The Electoral Connection,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  Can Congressional Districts Be Drawn to Include Equal Numbers of Voters Yet Favor One Party Over the Other?,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  Big Government Republicans,” pp. 309-326.


Apr. 29:  Congress


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 11  “How Congress Works,” “Political Parties in Congress:  How Exceptional?,” “Congressional Leadership,” “Congressional Committees,” “Rules and Norms in the House and Senate,” “Legislative Responsibilities:  How a Bill Becomes a Law,” “Mapping American Politics:  Majorities, Minorities, and Senate Filibusters,” “Legislative Oversight of the Executive Branch,” “Congress, Public Policy, and the American People,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Is Congress Out of Touch With the American People?,” pp. 326-346.


May 1:  International Labor Day [No classes]


May 4:  The Presidency


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 12  “The War Presidency of George W. Bush,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “The Expanding Presidency,” “The Earliest and Latest Presidencies Compared,” “The Founders’ Conception of the Presidency,” “The Dormant Presidency,” “The Twentieth-Century Transformation,” “How Important Are Individual Presidents?,” “The Powers and Roles of the President,” “Ceremonial Responsibilities,” “Domestic Policy Leader,” “Foreign Policy and Military Leader,” “By the Numbers:  How Well Is the American Economy Performing?,” “The President’s Staff and Cabinet,” “The White House Staff,” “The Executive Office of the President,” “The Vice-Presidency,” “The Cabinet,” “The President and the Bureaucracy,” pp. 349-369.


May 6:  The President


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 12  “The President and Congress:  Perpetual Tug-of-War,” “Conflict by Constitutional Design:  How Exceptional?,” “What Makes a President Successful with Congress?,” “Using the Framework:  Private Accounts in Social Security,” “The President and the People:  An Evolving Relationship,” “Getting Closer to the People,” “Leading Public Opinion,” “Responding to the Public,” “Presidential Popularity,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Are Presidents Responsive to the People?,” “Popular Support and the Transformation of the Presidency,” pp. 369-380.


May 7:  [Research Papers Due]


May 8:  The Federal Bureaucracy


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 13  The Return of Big Government After 9/11,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “The American Bureaucracy:  How Exceptional?,” “Hostile Political Culture,” “Incoherent Organization,” “Divided Control,” “How the Executive Branch Is Organized,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  How Big Is the Federal Government?  Did It Really Shrink in the 1980s, as Some People Say?,” “What Do Bureaucrats Do?,” “Executing the Law,” “Regulating (Rule Making),” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  The FDA Rules on Genetically Engineered Food,” “Adjudicating,” “Who Are the Bureaucrats?,” “The Merit Services,” “Political Appointees,” pp. 383-397.


May 11:  The Federal Bureaucracy


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 13  “Political and Governmental Influences on Bureaucratic Behavior,” “The Public and the Press,” “Interest Groups,” “The President,” “Congress,” “The Courts,” “Mapping American Politics:  Tracking Where Homeland Security Dollars End Up,” “Reforming the Federal Bureaucracy,” “Scaling Back Its Size,” “Reinventing Government,” “Protecting Against Bureaucratic Abuses of Power,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Does the Federal Bureaucracy Advance or Retard Democracy in the United States?,” “Increasing Presidential Control,” pp. 398-409.


May 13:  The Courts


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Appendix A-17  “The Federalist Papers, No. 78”;  Ch. 14  “The Battle for the Courts,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “The Structural Context of Court Behavior,” “Constitutional Powers,” “The Power of Judicial Review,” “The U.S. Court System:  Organization and Jurisdiction,” “Constitutional Provisions,” “Federal District Courts,” “U.S. Courts of Appeal,” “The Supreme Court,” “Appointment to the Federal Bench,” “Who Are the Appointees?,” “The Appointment Process,” “The Supreme Court in Action,” “Norms of Operation,” “Controlling the Agenda,” “Deciding Cases,” pp. 412-429.


May 15:  The Courts


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 14  “The Supreme Court as a National Policymaker,” “Structural Change and Constitutional Interpretation,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  The Court Allows Internment of Japanese Americans,” “The Debate Over Judicial Activism,” “Outside Influences on the Court,” “Governmental Influences,” “Political Linkage Influences,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Does the Supreme Court Advance or Retard Democracy in the United States?,” pp. 429-441.




May 18:  Freedom:  The Struggle for Civil Liberties


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 15  Campus Speech Codes and Free Speech,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Civil Liberties in the Constitution,” “Rights and Liberties in the Nineteenth Century,” “Economic Liberty in the Early Republic,” “Economic Liberty After the Civil War,” pp. 445-450.


May 20:  Freedom:  The Struggle for Civil Liberties


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 15  “Nationalization of the Bill of Rights,” “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of the Press,” “Free Exercise of Religion,” “Establishment of Religion,” “Privacy,” “Rights of the Accused,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  The Death Penalty,” “Mapping American Politics:  Violent Crime and the Death Penalty,” “Civil Liberties and the War Against Terrorism,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Are Civil Liberties Strong Enough in the United States to Sustain Democracy?,” pp. 450-475.


May 22:  Civil Rights:  The Struggle for Political Equality


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 16  The Return of Segregated Schools,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Civil Rights Before the Twentieth Century,” “An Initial Absence of Civil Rights,” “The Civil War Amendments,” pp. 478-483.


May 25:  Civil Rights:  The Struggle for Political Equality


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 16  “The Contemporary Status of Civil Rights for Racial Minorities,” “Ending Government-Sponsored Separation and Discrimination,” “Affirmative Action,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  Affirmative Action,” “The Contemporary Status of Civil Rights for Women,” “Intermediate Scrutiny,” “Abortion Rights,” “Sexual Harassment,” “Broadening the Civil Rights Umbrella,” “The Elderly and the Disabled,” “Gays and Lesbians,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Is Equal Citizenship a Reality in the United States?,” pp. 483-500.


May 27:  Domestic Policy:  The Economy and Social Welfare


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 17  “Whatever Happened to the Budget Surplus?,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Why So Many Government Domestic Programs,” “Managing the Economy,” “Social Welfare,” “Economic Policy,” “The Goals of Economic Policy,” “The Tools of Macroeconomic Policy,” “The Federal Budget and Fiscal Policy,” “Spending,” “Taxes,” “The Deficit and the National Debt,” “Regulation,” “Why Government Regulates,” “A History of American Regulation,” “The Future of Regulation,” pp. 503-518.


May 29:  Domestic Policy:  The Economy and Social Welfare


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 17  “Social Welfare,” “Social Security and Medicare,” “Means-Tested Programs,” “BY THE NUMBERS:  How Many Americans Are Poor?,” “USING THE FRAMEWORK:  Welfare Reform,” “The American Social Welfare State System:  How Exceptional?,” “Mapping American Politics:  Childhood Poverty and Federal Child Nutrition Programs,” “Final Thoughts on American Domestic Policies,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Do Americans Get the Domestic Policies They Want from Government?,” pp. 518-532.


June 1:  Foreign Policy and National Defense  [Last Day for In-Class Presentations]


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 18  Unilateralism or Multilateralism?,” “Thinking Critically About This Chapter,” “Foreign Policy and Democracy:  A Contradiction in Terms?,” “How Exceptional?  The World’s Superpower,” “The American Superpower:  Structural Foundations,” “The American Superpower:  Strategic Alternatives,” pp. 536-548.


June 3:  Foreign Policy and National Defense


Readings:  Greenberg & Page, Ch. 18  Problems of the Post–Cold War World,” “Security Issues,” “Economic and Social Issues;” “Who Makes Foreign Policy?,” “The President and the Executive Branch,” “Using the Framework:  Air War in Kosovo,” “Congress,” “Using the Democracy Standard:  Do Americans Get the Foreign and National Defense Policies They Want from Government?,” pp. 548-560.


June 5:  Summation


June 8:  Review


June 10:  Last day of classes


June 15:  Final Exam  14:30-16:30


June 28:  Last day for submitting grades