DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
POLS 150, Section 1 Democracy in
Instructor: Andy Schott Fall 2005
Office: Zu 408 Course Meeting Place: Du 252
Phone: 753-7052 (office)
POLS 150 Democracy in America studies American political and social institutions primarily through the political thought, writings and speeches of three categories of people: 1) the nation’s founders and the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution whose work structures the political controversies reappearing through subsequent generations; 2) office holders who bore responsibility for dealing with these controversies and who both changed and preserved constitutional institutions and democratic thought and practice; and 3) the influential non-office holders whose thought helped shape public opinion, social change and law and whose thought provided insight into both the goodness and badness of American democracy. Among the latter, Tocqueville’s commentary, still (160 years after its publication) commonly regarded as the best ever written, gives this course its name and spirit.
Emphasis is placed on the Constitution because, as the central legitimating symbol of American political life, citizens need to understand how it frames political controversy and how it influences political and social change. To that end, we will study important debates concerning both democratic institutions and the meaning of liberty and equality from the Founding until now. Such debates include whether we needed a national government and how the framers thought it could be kept from being oppressive; disputes about what political/economic conditions make American democracy possible; successive waves of controversies about whether the suffrage (voting rights) should be expanded; about whether the Founders’ Constitution was democratic; about whether it was a slave or a free Constitution; about whether it recognized the humanity of the Negro, as African-Americans were then called; about whether the national government should regulate the economy and provide welfare; disputes about what democratic representation is; whether separation of powers prevents democracy or makes it possible; whether religion is an indispensable political institution or a persistent political problem; what makes one a citizen; what law-abidingness means and whether it is or is not a duty; and the relation of women to democratic government and society.
The persistent and over-arching theme of the class will be the disputed question “what is democracy”? In keeping with its disputed nature, we will study a range of opposing answers. Considerable attention will be given to the perennial dispute about whether democracy, in the most humanly relevant and ennobling sense, is possible primarily through local institutions (as maintained in the American political tradition by the anti-Federalists and Tocqueville); or whether it is possible primarily through national institutions (as maintained generally by the Progressives, the New Deal, and the Great Society). This dispute turns on whether democracy is understood to involve (or be) primarily “self government” in that oneself and one’s neighbors are primarily responsible for solving the day to day problems of living together (as the Jeffersonian tradition down to the Republican contract with America maintains); or whether democracy is understood to involve (or be) a greater degree of national-level government to regulate the nation’s economy in order to promote “economic democracy” and secure rights (as the Hamiltonian tradition down to modern “civil liberties” and “civil rights” maintains).
Both this over-arching theme and the nature of the readings present a distinctive approach to American democracy and government. The approach is historical, cultural, and philosophic, particularly emphasizing the mutual interdependence of governmental and social institutions. It is further distinguished by its purpose which (unlike POLS 100) is not specifically to introduce students to the sub-field of American politics, or even to the political science major/minor (although it does that). It is aimed at all students whether or not they enter the course intending further study of political science. Its aim is deepening citizen’s understanding and awareness of persistent issues, arguments, and themes of American democracy’s development.
Commons Bookstore has more of them.)
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
* As we will be reading and referring to particular passages in these texts, it is essential that each student brings a copy of these editions to every class.
Attendance at each class meeting is both expected and required. Attendance is defined as “being present when attendance is taken at the beginning of each class and remaining until class is dismissed.” Please do not come late to class, as this is both discourteous and disruptive. Students who come to class after attendance has been taken will be considered absent. If there are special circumstances regarding this matter, please discuss them with the instructor as early as possible. Do not schedule doctor appointments, study groups or anything else during this class period. Leaving early for any reason will result in the student being counted absent for the day. Do not ask the instructor if it is “o.k.” to miss class! It is never o.k. to miss class!
Students with extended absences due to illness should notify the instructor as promptly as possible during the absence and produce appropriate documentation indicating the nature and duration of the illness. This note should be provided to the instructor at the first class upon returning. Absences due to extracurricular activities are excused only by a letter from the instructor, professor, coach or coordinator of the activity. Students who need to miss class due to a funeral must notify the instructor of the days the student will be absent and the student will present a memorial card from the funeral to the instructor upon the students return to class.
An excused absence only allows the student to make up quizzes or tests administered during the absence. An excused absence does not change the fact that the student has missed a class period. The missed class still counts as an absence when calculating total absences. Extended absences are highly discouraged, as they will adversely affect the student’s grade. The student’s final grade will be reduced half a letter grade for each absence over 5.
Proper participation in class is both required and rewarded. As this is a course concerning the discussion of ideas, simple attendance without participating in discussion, is insufficient. The good student will not only be present and attentive in class, but will also actively participate in class discussion by answering questions about the assigned readings, raising questions, and volunteering thoughtful observations about the material. Proper class participation also requires that the student behave with proper courtesy and regard for others’ comments. Because most of our classes will involve reading and discussing passages from the assigned texts, the student should bring the appropriate readings to each class. Frequent class discussion will foster a classroom environment that will be far more interesting and rewarding than one in which the instructor simply lectures every day. Questions posed in class should be written down as they will be helpful in studying for the quizzes and exams.
ELECTRONIC DEVICES SUCH AS CELL-PHONES, BLACKBERRY DEVICES, LAPTOP COMPUTERS, I-PODS, EARPHONES, ETC., WILL NOT BE USED DURING CLASS WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL BY THE INSTRUCTOR. STUDENTS WHO VIOLATE THIS BAN WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE CLASSROOM AND MAY BE DROPPED FROM THE COURSE BY THE INSTRUCTOR.
THERE ARE 500 POSSIBLE POINTS IN THIS CLASS.
There will be 11 quizzes given throughout the semester. Only 10 of these quizzes will count toward the student’s final grade. Although the instructor will drop the student’s lowest quiz score, one should keep in mind that the remaining ten quizzes comprise 20% of the student’s final grade in the course. The quizzes will consist of 3-10 short answer questions to be completed at the beginning of class on the dates specified in the class schedule below. Each quiz will cover the class lectures and assigned readings from the preceding week as well as readings assigned for the day of the quiz. Make-up quizzes will be given only with adequate documentation that the absence was unavoidable. The make-up quizzes will be significantly more difficult than the original. It is in the student’s best interest to avoid make-up quizzes if at all possible. The instructor reserves the right to change the quiz schedule.
There will be 1 short essays (900-1000 words) assigned on the date specified in the class schedule below. The Essay will be handed in at the beginning of class, two weeks after the assignment is made, on the due date given in the schedule below. An essay will be accepted up to three (weekend days included) days after the due date, however, a late essay will be docked 10 points for each day they are late. The 1000-word limit will be taken seriously. Please provide a word count on the first page of your essays. Any paper exceeding the 1000-word limit will be docked one letter grade. Any evidence of plagiarism will be treated in accordance with university and departmental policies and procedures. If a word count is not included the paper will be docked 10 points.
There will be 2 examinations in this course—a midterm examination and a comprehensive final examination to be given on the date assigned by the university. Please see the class schedule below. Students will be expected to bring bluebooks to both exams. Make-up examinations will be given only with adequate documentation that the absence was unavoidable. The make-up exams will be significantly more difficult than the original. It is in the student’s best interest to avoid make-up exams if at all possible. Students who fail to bring a blue book to class on the day of the exam will be docked 10 points. Students are encouraged to form study groups as soon as is possible to study for the exams. Students should use their quizzes, syllabus and class notes as study guides for the exams. Each exam is worth 150 points each.
There are 500 possible points in this class.
Final course grades are based upon the required written assignments, quizzes, and exams, as well as the regularity and quality of class participation, less any penalties due to extended unexcused absences. The instructor will not give a formal grade for class participation, although he reserves the right to raise a student’s grade if he judges that student’s participation to have been exceptionally good. Grades will not be lowered merely for lack of active class participation.
450-500 = A
400-449 = B
350-399 = C
300-349 = D
299 and less = F
The Department of Political Science Statement on Academic Integrity
Cheating will not be tolerated in class. There are many types of cheating. The NIU Undergraduate Catalog states that "Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written whole or in part by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy materials from books, magazines or other sources without identifying or acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. If any student engages in plagiarism, the student may be subjected to sanctions ranging from a lowered grade on the assignment to academic dismissal (following judicial proceedings) at the discretion of the instructor. If any student aids another student in cheating or engaging in plagiarism, both students will be held responsible for the behavior."
The instructor will make every reasonable effort to be available to you. If you cannot come during his scheduled office hours, please e-mail him to schedule a mutually convenient appointment. His office number, phone number, and e-mail address are at the beginning of the syllabus. If you call during his office hours and are unable to reach him, try to call again after a few minutes. If he is still unavailable, please e-mail him and he will get back to you promptly.
The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with
documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some
impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should
notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of
Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu
Such petitions will be granted rarely and only in
extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for
documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the
normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a
university office or official, the matter will be left to the instructor’s discretion.
All requests for incomplete must be submitted in writing to the instructor by
2. Good Note Taking--Good note taking is important to your success in this class. Learn to listen carefully to the arguments made and write them down as best you can. Review your notes after class to see if they make sense. By reviewing them soon after they are taken, sometimes you can remember things that will make sense out of what is confusing. Get together with other students periodically to go over one another’s notes. If you got 50% of the lecture and your study partners got 50%, perhaps between you, you will have 75%. What remains unclear can be discussed with the instructor. Be sure to write down the questions asked by the instructor and those asked by other students. If you write down their questions, as well as their answers, you will benefit.
* The following schedule is meant to serve as a broad outline of the course. The instructor reserves the right to make reasonable adjustments to the schedule if necessary.
What is Liberal Education and how does the study of democracy in
Martin Luther King, “The Purpose of Education,” 1948
I. What is American democracy? How American ideas of democracy have both changed and stayed the same over time.
A. Democracy in America before the Constitution: Tocqueville, Democracy in
B. The Declaration of
C. At the Founding: Two kinds of “popular government” and the problem of “faction.”
1. How the Founders distinguished between two kinds of popular governments: “democracy” and “republic.” Federalist #14 in Reading Packet (RP) p.161; Federalist #63 in RP p. 60-61; Federalist #39 in Lawler, pp.45-49.
1/27 QUIZ #1
2. The problem of “faction” in “popular governments” and the Founders’ solution.
Federalist #10 in Lawler, pp.15-21.
D. Jeffersonian Democracy: Thomas Jefferson, Agriculture vs. manufacturing as ways of social life (1782), RP pp.161-162. First and Second Inaugural Addresses (1801, 1805) in RP, pp.3-11. “On Citizenship,” RP pp.33-35.
E. Tocquevillian Democracy:
1. Equality of conditions. DA “Author’s Introduction” pp.9-13; pp. 50-57; pp. 503-506.
2/3 QUIZ #2
2. Majority Rule. DA “The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in
4. Rights. DA “The Idea of
Rights in the
F. Slavery and Democracy:
2/10 QUIZ #3
G. Economic Democracy: The Progressives, the New Deal, and the Great Society.
1. Theodore Roosevelt, “Two Noteworthy Books on Democracy,” (1914) in RP pp.25-27.
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Commonwealth Club Campaign Speech,” (1932) Lawler, pp.188-96.
D. Roosevelt, “Message on the State of the
4. Lyndon B. Johnson, “The Great Society” (1964) in Lawler pp. 206-10.
H. Civil Liberties Democracy:
I. Civil Rights Democracy:
Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech (1963) in RP pp. 30-33.
2/17 QUIZ #4
II. What political institutions enable American democracy to exist?
A Voting: If “everyone” must have a right to vote in
order to be a democracy, when did
1. Who did the original Constitution provide could vote? For what offices? United States Constitution, for Congress: Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 and Section 3, Clause 1 in Lawler pp. 405-06; For President: Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, Lawler p.411; for the Supreme Court, Section 2, Clause 2, Lawler p. 412-413.
2. What are voting and elections for? How important did the Founders think that the right to vote is? Federalist Papers #52 in RP p.38-39.
3. Who should have a right to vote? Federalist Papers #39 in Lawler pp.45-46.
4. What is “universal suffrage”?
b) DA “Universal Suffrage” pp. 58-60 [esp. 59 bottom to 60 top], 196, 240.
5. Voting and Equality (of social conditions) and voting. Review Tocqueville, DA pp.50-57, 503-506.
a) Extending the right to vote to women.
The argument from rights. “The Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments
2) The argument from practical considerations. Jane Addams, “Why Women Should Vote,” (1910) in RP pp.47-49.
3) Is voting a right of democratic citizenship? Minor v. Happersett (1875) in RP pp.49-52.
4) U.S. Constitution Amendments XIV, Section 1 (1864) and XIX (1920) in Lawler, p.419, 421.
2/24 QUIZ #5
b) Extending the right to vote to blacks.
2) Lyndon B. Johnson, “Address on Voting Rights,” (1965), in RP pp.52-58.
c) Extending the right to vote to 18 year olds.
6. Are there any principled limits on the right to vote consistent with democracy, in terms of either
rights or practice?
a) DA pp.197-203.
b) “The Motor-voter Act,” (1994) Carol Moseley-Braun in RP pp.59-60.
7. Who/what should voters have a right to vote for (directly)?
a) The Constitution’s answer: they should be able to vote for their representatives, but not directly for laws, RP p. 60-61.
1) Why was the Senate originally selected by state legislatures and why was that changed by the 17th Amendment? Federalist Papers #63, Lawler pp.84-86.
Why is the President elected through the
“Electoral College” rather than through “direct popular election”?
3) Why is the Supreme Court appointed rather than elected? Federalist Papers#78, Lawler pp. 120-126.
b) The Progressives’ answer: voters should be able to legislate directly (initiative and
referendum) because representation has failed.
1) Theodore Roosevelt, “The Heirs of Abraham Lincoln” (1913) RP pp.154-160.
2) Theodore Roosevelt, “The Recall of Judicial Decisions” (1912) RP pp. 61-68.
c) Constitutional limits on citizens’ right to vote for representatives.
1) Fixed terms of office / progressive arguments for recall / “term limits.”
Constitutional requirements to hold office: age, residency,
3/3 QUIZ #6 (You should be forming study groups for the midterm exam).
B. Representation, Political Parties and Interest Groups:
a) Federalist PAPERS #10 in Lawler pp. 18-21 (read only the second half or 10); #57, pp. 79-81; #71 pp. 87-88; #52 in RP pp.38-39.
b) DA p.173, 174-79.
2. Recent judicial concerns about representation.
a) U.S. Constitution, Amendment 14, Section 1, Lawler pp.419.
b) Chief Justice Warren in Reynolds v. Sims (1964) in RP pp.70-76. Representation is secondary to and derivative from voting rights and voting rights are understood essentially in light of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
c) Dissent by Justice Harlan in Reynolds v. Sims (1964) in RP 70-76. Denies there is any constitutional standard for what constitutes just apportionment.
d) Important terms: representative districts, apportionment.
3/8 REVIEW and CATCH-UP
3/10 MIDTERM EXAM. Be sure to bring BLUEBOOKS.
SPRINGBREAK 3/11 – 3/19
3/20 – 3/22
Hand Back and Discuss Midterm Exam
C. Separation of Powers:
1. What is separation of powers and why is it necessary? Federalist Papers #47 in Lawler pp.21-27.
2. What is separation of powers for?
a) To secure liberty and protect us from tyranny.
1) Federalist Papers #48, #51, #71 in Lawler pp.27-31, 34-38, 87-89.
2) Justice Brandeis in Myers v. U.S. (1926) in RP pp.89-90.
3/24 QUIZ #7
b) To make possible an energetic executive “independent” of the legislature.
1) Federalist Papers #37 in RP pp.90-92 (combining stability and energy)
2) Federalist Papers #70 in Lawler pp.86-87.
3) Foreign Affairs. DA pp.226-30.
c) To make possible an independent judiciary to enforce the Constitution and laws.
1) Federalist Papers #78 in Lawler, pp.120-26.
2) Thomas Jefferson “Against Judicial Review” (1815) in RP pp.92-93.
D. Federalism: What is it and why do we have it?
2. The distinction between “federal” and “national.” Federalist Papers #39 in Lawler pp.45-49.
Important terms: “the federal government,” “the national government,” “the general government,” “sovereignty,” “division of sovereignty.”
3. DA p.62-63; 158-63 and 246, note 1. Important terms: “decentralization,” “federalism.”
4. Ronald Reagan, “The State of the Union Address” (1982) in Lawler pp.60-62.
6. Important terms: decentralization, federalism, federal government, and national government.
3/31 QUIZ #8
E. Religion as a political institution:
1. DA pp. 46-47; 287-90; 290-294; 294-301; 442-444.
2. U.S. Constitution 1st Amendment (1791) in Lawler pp.416.
3. George Washington, “Farewell Address” (1796) in Lawler pp.43-44.
Washington, “Thanksgiving Proclamation” (1789) in RP pp.93-94; James
Madison, “[Repentance and Thanksgiving] Proclamation”
III. Persistent questions about the meaning of liberty and equality in American democracy.
A. Religion as a political problem:
1. Thomas Jefferson, “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” (1786) in RP pp.96-97.
Jefferson, Letter to “Nehemiah Dodge and Others, A Committee of the Danbury
Baptist Association, in the State of
3. Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801) and Second Inaugural Address (1805) in RP pp3-11.
4/7 – 4/10 QUIZ #9
4. Justice Hugo Black, Everson v. Board of Education (1947) in RP pp.99-104.
Reagan, “Remarks at an Ecumenical Breakfast,”
B. Women and democracy in
1. Tocqueville’s view of women’s equality and its consequences for democracy. DA pp.287, 291, 590-603.
2. A contemporary view of women’s equality and its relation to democracy.” Change: From What to What,” Keynote speech by Barbara Jordan to the Democratic National Convention, July 1992 in RP pp. 108-110.
4/14 – 4/17 QUIZ #10
C. Citizenship: What makes one an American? Proposition 187 and the recent immigration debate.
1. Being born here or being naturalized. U.S. Constitution 14th Amendment, in Lawler pp.419-20.
2. Dedication to the proposition that all men are created equal.
a) Abraham Lincoln, Reply to
d) “The Meaning of July Forth for
e) Stephen A. Douglas, Speech
from the fifth debate at
f) Abraham Lincoln, Reply to
4/24 QUIZ #11
D. Affirmative Action: Should constitutional rights belong to individuals or to groups?
1. Robert Goldwin, “Why Blacks, Women, and Jews are not mentioned in the Constitution”(1987) in RP pp.76-85.
2. President Bill Clinton, “Mend It Don’t End It” (1995) in RP pp.163-168.
4. Rep. J.C. Watts (2000) in RP p.173.
4/28 (You should be forming study groups for the Comprehensive final.)
F. Law-abidingness: Should I obey the law?
the Declaration of
2. What is law-abidingness?
a) Is disagreement with the Supreme Court disobedience to the law?
1) Abraham Lincoln, “Speech on the Dred Scott Decision” June 26, 1857 in RP pp.128-130.
Douglass, “The Dred Scott Decision”
3. Why do/should we obey the law?
a) Out of enlightened self-interest. DA pp.235-237.
b) Because it is self-imposed. DA pp.240-41.
c) Out of public spirit. Abraham Lincoln, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions” (1838) in RP pp.137-142.
Disobedience: Is law-abidingness
sometimes neither good nor a duty?
Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from the
5/5 Review and Catch up.
5/8 COMPREHENSIVE FINAL EXAM Be sure to bring BLUEBOOKS.