Bluefield State College

POSC 200—SUMMER 2013

CRN:  30029

Section:  001


Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.                                                                                                       Course Room No.:  B104

Class MTWR:  10:00-11:50                                                               INTERNET:

Office Hours:  TBA                                                                                                                        Office No.:  B120

VOICE:  304.327.4034 (W)                                                                                                          512-924-2364 (M)


Survey of the American political system, with emphasis on the Constitution, governmental structure, the political process and selected policy outcomes.


Grading Policy:  20% for Attendance & Participation*; 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:  90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; 0-59=F.  These numerical scores correspond to the following evaluations:  “A” = Excellent; “B” = Good; “C” = Satisfactory (NOTE:  A grade of “C” or better is required in major courses); “D” = Poor (passing, except in major courses); “F” = Earned Failure (removed only by repeating the course; upon successfully passing the course, the first grade is “excluded” from grade point average.  The second grade is “included” in the recalculation of the grade point average); and “I” = Incomplete.


Learning Outcomes:  Upon completion of POSC 200, students should be able to read and provide an immanent critique of texts; to articulate arguments and examine their flaws; be familiar with the basics of logical, ethical, and dialectical reasoning; be familiar with essays, both pro and con, regarding the 1787 US Constitution; understand the reasoning behind the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the US Constitution; understand the reasoning behind the idea of checks and balances in the US Constitution; be familiar with characters associated with and the culture and history of the US republic; be familiar with the constitutional history of the US experiment in self-government; understand the differences between a secular and theistic form of living; understand the historical evolution of human culture, including struggles over rights and responsibilities; be familiar with the horrendous tragedies as well as accomplishments of the US experiment in self-government; empathize with the plight of the European Pilgrims, the Native Americans, the enslaved Africans, women, et al. who struggled to overcome adversity in their quest for freedom; understand the effects of race, gender, class and other divisions on society and the effect of constitutional provisions to either enhance or dissipate such divisions; articulate some conception of human freedom and adopt a stance towards it; and be able to envision a defensible future.


Academic Integrity Policy:   Academic integrity is expected of all students. This means that all work for this class must be undertaken and completed by you alone without collaboration from others. Any dishonesty in the performance of course work, such as plagiarism or cheating in other forms, will be reported. In the event the student is charged with some form of dishonesty, the Student Discipline Policy will be followed. The full text of the BSC Academic Honesty Policy can be found at: In addition, students should be aware that research paper assignments may be submitted to Turnitin by the instructor for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism. Submitted assignments will be included in the BSC dedicated database of assignments at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism during the grading process during this term and in the future.


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.  “When the number of clock hours of willful absences exceeds the number of  semester hours of credit, the instructor will notify the Registrar that the student has exceeded the permissible number of absences and should be withdrawn from class.”  Students with Excused Absences must submit to me a hard copy of the campus publication The Bulletin announcing your allowed absence in order to get credit for the day(s) of your absence.  “It is the responsibility of the student to…provide supporting documents for institutional and unavoidable absences” (Bluefield State College Academic Catalog 2012-2014, p. 55).  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.  NOTE:  TURN OFF all cell phones during class or put on silent vibration; if you must answer the call, then quietly leave the classroom to complete your call.


* 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.


Withdrawal Policy:   Academic Withdrawal from the course prior to the deadline date for withdrawal as published within the academic calendar is accomplished by securing a change in schedule form and having it signed by appropriate persons.  Blank copies of the change in schedule form are available in the offices of the Registrar, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean and the advisor.  After obtaining the required signatures, the student must submit, prior to the deadline date, the change in schedule form to the Office of the Registrar.


Disability Services Statement:  BSC is committed to full inclusion of all students. Students who, by nature of a documented disability, require classroom, equipment, testing or assignment accommodations should contact the Student Support Services at 304.327.4227 to request accommodations before the start of the semester. Your immediate attention to these arrangements is necessary to assure a positive learning experience.

Free Tutoring Services Available:  BSC offers free online tutoring for all BSC students in the following subjects:  Math; Accounting, Managerial; Accounting, Financial; Writing (all subjects); Grammar; Microeconomics; Macroeconomics; Statistics; Spanish. Chemistry, etc. This service is free and available 24 hours a day to all BSC students. Go to and follow these instructions.



Required Texts:


Greenberg, Edward S. & Benjamin I. Page.  2013.  The Struggle for Democracy, 2012 Election Edition.  New York, NY: Longman.  [ISBN-10: 0205909043, ISBN-13: 9780205909049], 768 pages.


Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison and John Jay.  1787/2003.  The Federalist Papers.  New York:  Penguin Books.  [ISBN: 9780451528810], 688 pages.


Ketcham, Ralph, ed.  1787-8/2003.  The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates.  New York:  Signet Classic.  [ISBN 0-451-52884-0], 480 pages.



***This class is web-enhanced and students will be able to access supplemental materials on the BSC BlackBoard website, including chapter outlines, chapter PowerPoint summaries, etc.***






First Summer Session 2013


May 28 [Tuesday]:  Classes begin for First Summer Session; Introduction to United States National Government: Main Themes; Democracy and American Politics


Main Themes:  Nature of the American political system; republican governmental type; written constitution; tripartite separation of powers; role of media and civil society, and formulating governmental policy.


Explain Syllabus:  Go over class requirements, required books, in-class presentation, research paper, midterm and final exams.


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Ch. 1 and (in the Appendix) The Declaration of Independence; Ketcham, “James Madison to George Washington”


May 29 [Wednesday]:  The Constitution; Federalism: States and Nation


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 2 & 3 (including the Constitution) and (in the Appendix) Madison, Federalist “No. 10” and Hamilton, Federalist “No. 78”; Ketcham, “The Virginia Plan,” “Debate on Representation,” “Debate on Executive Power”


May 30 [Thursday]:  The Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics; Public Opinion


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 4 & 5; Ketcham, “Opposition to Executive Salaries,” “Opposition to a Unitary Executive,” “Electing Representatives,” “Debate on Method of Electing Senators”


May 31 [Friday]*:  The News Media; Interest Groups and Business Corporations


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 6 & 7; Ketcham, “Debate on Veto of State Laws,” “The New Jersey Plan,” “Debate on the New Jersey Plan,” “Plan for National Government,” “Opposition to the New Jersey Plan”


*Classes meet to make-up for Memorial Day Holiday of May 27, 2013


June 3 [Monday]:  Social Movements; Political Parties


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 8 & 9 and (in the Appendix) Madison, Federalist “No. 51”; Ketcham, “Debate on Federalism,” “Length of Term in Office for Senators,” “Debate on State Equality in the Senate”


June 4 [Tuesday]:  Voting, Campaigns, and Elections


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Ch. 10; Ketcham, “Majority Rule: The Basic Republican Principle,” “Election and Term of Office of the National Executive”


June 5 [Wednesday]:  MIDTERM EXAM [10:00-11:50 a.m.]


June 6 [Thursday]: Congress; The Presidency


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 11 & 12; Ketcham, “The Judiciary, the Veto, and Separation of Powers,” “Appointment of Judges,” “Method of Ratification”


June 10 [Monday]:  The Executive Branch; The Courts


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 13 & 14; Ketcham, “Election of the Executive,” “First Draft of the Constitution”


June 11 [Tuesday]:   Civil Liberties: The Struggle for Freedom; Civil Rights: The Struggle for Political Equality


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Chs. 15 & 16; Ketcham, “Qualifications for Suffrage,” “Citizenship for Immigrants”


June 12 [Wednesday]:  Domestic Policies


Readings:  Greenberg and Page Ch. 17; Ketcham, “Executive Veto Power,” “Slavery and the Constitution”


June 13 [Thursday]:  Foreign Policy and National Defense


Readings:  Greenberg and Page, Ch. 18 & Appendix, “The Declaration of Independence,” “The Constitution of the United States”; Ketcham, “Election and Powers of the President,” “Opposition to the Constitution,” “Signing the Constitution”


June 17 [Monday]:  In-Class Presentations Begin


Readings:  Greenberg and Page, Ch. 18 & Appendix, “The Federalist Paper No. 10,” “The Federalist Paper No. 51,” “The Federalist Paper No. 78,” “Presidents and Congresses, 1789-2009”


June 18 [Tuesday]:  In-Class Presentations (cont’d.)


June 19 [Wednesday]:  In-Class Presentations (cont’d.) (Last Day to Withdraw from course/college with a grade of "W" from First Summer Session)


June 20 [Thursday]:  In-Class Presentations (cont’d.)


June 24 [Monday]:  In-Class Presentations (cont’d.); Research Papers Due (Research Papers must be submitted today)


Assignment: Research Papers Due today.  Hand in a hard copy of your Research Papers to me in class and send me an electronic copy by email as a Microsoft Word attachment.


June 25 [Tuesday]:  In-Class Presentations (cont’d.)


June 26 [Wednesday]:  In-Class Presentations Due.  Last day of classes.  All course work MUST be completed by this date.  No submissions will be accepted after this date.


Assignment: Complete all readings & submit all work.


June 27 [Thursday]:  FINAL EXAM [10:00-11:50 a.m.]


July 1:  Final grades due to Registrar electronically