Political Science 100 Office: IASBO 201

Section 11, Fall 2005 Office Hours: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 3:00

American Government and Politics to 4:30 P.M. Otherwise by Appointment.

Instructor: Dr. Steve Berg E-mail:

6:00 8:40 P.M. Tuesday

Meeting in DU 459




This course provides a college level introduction to the American government and political science. Students will become acquainted with the theoretical and practical aspects of the American political system. Areas covered will include the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the national policy making institutions of the United States, and the nature of the democratic political process in the United States. Regular attendance is strongly recommended. Attendance will be taken, recorded, and along with meaningful participation in the class will count towards the final grade you earn in the course.


Required Text:

Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government. The author is James McClellan.


Course Requirements & Rules of the Game


Exams: There will be three exams during the semester, and a comprehensive final exam. The exams will be handed out at the end of class, and will be due at the beginning of the next class meeting. All of the exams will consist of short answer, and essay questions and will be in the take-home format. They must be printed out on a letter quality printer. Points may be taken off for grammar and spelling mistakes. The final exam will be due on Tuesday, December 6, 2005, at 6-7:50 P.M.. The class will meet on this date. Each exam taken for record will be worth 25 % of your course grade. Cheating on exams will result in serious consequences to those involved. The lowest exam grade will be dropped. This means that if you are happy with your grade by the time of the final exam, you do not need to take it. If you miss or get an unsatisfactory grade on one exam you can take the final exam and hopefully improve your grade in the course. The instructor reserves the right to utilize pop quizzes as he deems appropriate.


Make-up exams, and grades of incomplete will be provided at the discretion of the instructor, and only for instances of significant illness, personal tragedy, or otherwise similarly extraordinary circumstances. The nature of the circumstances must be fully documented with appropriate evidence provided by the student. Make-up exams will be different from the regular exams in the course.


Written assignments: A three to five page paper is assigned during this course. A bibliography page is required, and all quoted materials must be appropriately noted with end notes so that the original sources can be determined. Each paper must include an attached bibliography page, not counted in the 3 to 5 page length requirement, properly listing at least 10 references used in researching and writing the paper. No more than half of the sources may be from the internet. The paper is to be typed or printed by ink-jet or laser computer printers. Other computer printers can be used provided that the output is legible. Papers should be double spaced. As this is a college level course, spelling, command of the English language, and grammar are important elements of your work, and will be taken into account during grading. This paper counts for 10% of your overall course grade. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade per day. Papers showing evidence of plagiarism will be dealt with harshly. You should immediately start thinking about suitable topics for your paper. It would be a good idea to either come in and see me during my office hours or e-mail me about your topic. All paper topics must be submitted in writing, and approved formally by the instructor. Topics are due by October 4. The papers are due at the beginning of class on October 25.


Course grades will be based on the following criteria:


Three exams for record: 250 points each or 750 total points 75% of total grade

Research paper: 100 total points or 10% of total grade

Attendance & meaningful class participation: 150 total points or 15%

Total score: 1000 total points or 100% of final grade.


Grading scale:


90% to 100% = A

80% to 89% = B

70% to 79% = C

60% to 69% = D

0% to 59% = F



Attendance: It is strongly suggested that you attend class on a regular basis. Useful participation in class discussion is also encouraged. There are several dimensions to meaningful class participation. First, it involves taking the course seriously. This is largely indicated by showing up on time, being attentive in class, and taking notes. Those students who do not take the course seriously and exhibit behavior such as tardiness, sleeping in class, reading newspapers and other non-class related material during the class, talking persistently to other students, insulting students who ask questions, or students who are otherwise inattentive to the lectures and class discussions will be asked to leave and may be administratively withdrawn from the course by the instructor. Second, making an honest attempt to learn the subject matter of the course includes such things as asking intelligent questions, bringing in germane articles to share with the class, and being active in the discussions. The mixture of readings, lectures, discussions, and questions is intended to help make the subject matter fall into place and become more understandable to you. Class participation and attendance will be worth up to 15% of your final course grade. Tardiness is frowned upon as it disrupts the smooth functioning of the class. To minimize such classroom disruption, the Instructor reserves the right to reduce the attendance portion of the grades of frequently tardy students. In particularly egregious cases, chronically tardy students may be administratively withdrawn from the course. Students are to leave the class meeting only during the break(s) specifically called by the instructor. The only exceptions to this are extraordinary circumstances such as an bona fide emergency, medical condition, or some other contingency previously approved by the instructor. Attendance will be taken at the end of the class period. Those students imprudent enough to leave early will consequently be penalized.


Extra Credit: The instructor reserves the right to place one extra credit question on each of the exams. No other extra credit will be given.


Deportment: Courteous and considerate behavior is required in this course. Abusive and otherwise inappropriate actions will result in the miscreant(s) being administratively withdrawn and/or expelled from the course, and the appropriate University judicial authorities will be apprised of the situation. Unless authorized by the instructor in advance, all electronic devices such as cell phones, pagers, portable radios, music playback devices, and other entertainment and communications equipment shall be turned off for the duration of each class meeting. You can make those all-important calls during the break(s).


Humor: The Instructor reserves the right to have a sense of humor and exercise it in the class.


Miscellaneous: The instructor of this course was probably the champion non-traditional student at this university. Consequently, he realizes that crises and emergencies crop up in the lives of students as they do for faculty. Whenever possible, prompt discussion of the situation with the instructor is a really good idea. Those students who are on scholarships requiring the maintenance of acceptable grade point averages are advised to contact the instructor immediately should they suspect that they might be in some difficulty in the course. This is especially true for those students with athletic scholarships. Should any of you have a personal crisis of one sort or another that adversely impacts your performance in this course you are advised to see me immediately during my office hours. I do not need to hear the private details, but will try to work with you to salvage as much of your grade in this course as is possible. It is always much easier to make accommodations before the end of the semester. It is virtually impossible to do much after the semester is ended. In the hopefully unlikely event that anyone must be absent due to a death in the family or similar tragedy, please come talk to me and give me some documentation such as a newspaper obituary and what you missed from class can usually be worked out.



Tentative Course Outline & Reading Assignments:


(August 23)

Introductions: Getting acquainted, organized, and the basics of government & politics. Discussion of the importance of politics. Start on rights and the Declaration of Independence.

Read: McClellan Pages 1-13; 32-59.


(August 30)

More of the basics, and moving on to the American Founding, and read and discuss the Declaration of Independence.

Read: McClellan Pages 89-121; The Declaration of Independence Pages 183-187; and Federalist 51 from the handout.


(September 6)

Major Constitutional Principles/Institutions. Introduction to the 3 branches of the federal government. Read: McClellan Pages 295-321 and Federalist 10, Pages 357-364; and Federalist 47, Pages 371-378;


(September 13)

Go over Article I and the Congress. Read: McClellan Pages 281-287; 297-326.


(September 20)

Finish up the constitutional basis of the Congress, and discuss how this has been modified by political parties. Read handout on Congressional officers. Read: McClellan Page334. Hand out first Exam.


(September 27)

First Exam is due. Start on Article II, the Executive Branch. Read: McClellan Pages 287-289.


(October 4)

Paper topics are due at the beginning of class. Continue discussing the Executive Branch and the Presidency. Explain the Electoral College. Read handout on the Executive Branch.


(October 11)

Possible guest lecture on the DoD. Continue on and finish off the Executive Branch & Presidency. Hand out Second Exam.


(October 18)

Start on the Judicial Branch. Read: McClellan Page 290, and Pages 463-518. Article III. Read handout on the Judicial Branch.


(October 25)

Term papers are due at the beginning of class.

Continue discussing the Judicial Branch & start on the Bill of Rights. Read: McClellan Pages 409-427.


(November 1)

Continue discussing the Bill of Rights. Hand out Third Exam.


(November 8)

Third Exam, due at the beginning of class. Start on the concepts of Federalism and the Separation of Powers. Read: McClellan Pages 295-326.


(November 22)

Continue on with the Separation of Powers. Read: McClellan Pages 327-354, and 588-600. Start on the post Bill of Rights Constitutional amendments.


(November 29)

Hand out Final Exam. Finish up discussion, and summarize the course.


(December 6)

Final Exam is due at the beginning of class.