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Political Science 201005: American Government Spring 2008


7-10 pages on a current topic pertaining to American national government or politics. ... Government exists to make and enforce laws in a way that protects the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Science 201005: American Government Spring 2008

Political Science 201-005American
GovernmentSpring 2008
  • Tues. 630-915 PM
  • Kinard 201

Prof. John Holder
  • Class Webpage http//www.winthrop.edu/plsc/john2
  • E-mail holderj_at_winthrop.edu
  • Office Bancroft 340
  • Phone (803) 323-4665
  • Office Hours Tues. 500-630 or by appt.

  • Welch, Gruhl, Comer and Rigdon Understanding
    American Government
  • 11th Ed. (hardcover)
  • Thomson Wadsworth, 2008

  • Four short writing assignments (5 each)
  • Midterm exam (20-30) In class, Mar. 11
  • Research paper (30) Due in class Apr. 22
  • Final exam (20-30) Sat., May 3, 1130200
  • Your higher exam grade will count for 30 of your
    semester grade. Your lower exam grade will count
    for 20.
  • Any academic dishonesty will result in an F for
    the semester, and will be reported to the Dean of
    Students for further action. Check the Student
    Conduct Code, or ask if you have any questions.

Administrative details
  • There will usually be a break from approx.
  • Attendance is taken by a sign-in sheet circulated
    at the beginning of each class meeting.
  • Four or more unexcused absences will result in a
    failing grade for the class.
  • Administrative announcements will be made via the
    class listserv. Please check your winthrop.edu
    e-mail frequently.

No In-Class Distractions, Please
  • Examples
  • Using a cell phone (please turn it off!)
  • Audible conversations which are not related to
  • Noticeably not paying attention includes
    listening to an iPod, checking e-mail, attending
    to personal hygiene, etc.

Research Paper
  • 7-10 pages on a current topic pertaining to
    American national government or politics.
  • Two of the four writing assignments will tie into
    your research paper assignment.
  • Research questions due Jan. 29.
  • Example of a research question How has the No
    Child Left Behind Act affected academic
    achievement by students with disabilities?

Political Science
  • Social science Study of society using scientific
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Etc.

A quick question
  • Anonymous survey
  • If the 2008 Presidential election were held
    today, for whom would you vote?
  • SC Rep. primary Jan. 19 (this Sat.)
  • SC Dem. primary Jan. 26 (next Sat.)

  • Power, organization of power
  • Harold Lasswell Who gets what, when and how.
  • Power laws, rules deciding
  • What you have the right to do
  • What youre required to do
  • What youre prohibited from doing
  • Rewards and punishments
  • Imprisonment, fines, execution

Political Science
  • Use of scientific method to
  • Observe (Whats happening?)
  • Explain (Why is it happening? Why is it
    happening that way?)
  • - Predict (Whats going to happen?)

Western Political Thought
  • Aristotle
  • Greek philosopher, 3rd Century B.C.
  • Man has the power to reason
  • Absolute justice derived from reason
  • Natural law reason produces common views on the
    nature of universal justice

Western Political Thought
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • (Italy, 13th Century)
  • - God is source of mans ability to reason
  • - Natural law, absolute justice, government are
    Gods gifts to mankind
  • - Leads to philosophy of natural rights

Western Political Thought
  • John Locke (Britain, 17th C.)
  • - Agrees with Aquinas about the existence of
    natural law, but doubts the source
  • - Challenge to divine right power is derived
    from the people, not from God
  • - State of Nature world of complete freedom,
    with no restrictions on anyones behavior except
    those imposed by natural law

Complete Freedom
  • Do whatever you want
  • No rules, no laws, no restrictions
  • Right to acquire property
  • Whats the problem?

Complete Freedom
  • No way to protect your own property or otherwise
    prevent your rights from being violated
  • Whats the answer?

Rules and Laws
  • Give up some of your complete freedom in exchange
    for the protection of your remaining freedom
  • You agree not to steal, others agree not to steal
    from you
  • Are you better off?

Basis of Government
  • Government exists to make and enforce laws in a
    way that protects the rights of the people
  • Power to make rules and laws gives you a great
    deal of power over others lives (incl. taxation)
  • How do we decide who gets to govern?

Who Gets to Govern?
  • Divine right
  • Belief that God gives monarch power
  • Democracy
  • People govern directly
  • Republic/
  • Indirect Democracy
  • People choose leaders

Next Week
  • Welch, Ch. 1
  • Take the Civic IQ quiz (ungraded, just for your
    own information)
  • Appendix A (the Declaration of Independence)
  • Think about paper topics
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