POLITICAL SCIENCE 3111
These outlines contain copies of the overhead slides and transparencies that will be presented in this course. The slides and transparencies present an outline of the lectures. These outlines are meant to help students follow the argument of the lectures, take further notes and review for examinations. They are not meant to be a substitute for the lectures. Because of the compressed nature of these notes, students will not find the material understandable without having attended the lectures. Nor will they find the readings very helpful in understanding these notes, since the lectures contain a great deal of original analysis and terminology that is not found in the readings.
Various changes in the content of the course will occur as a result of the development in my own ideas and in response to the questions and concerns of students. Thus I will undoubtedly be making some changes in the transparencies I present in the course of the semester. And I will not necessarily follow the order of the transparencies found here. Moreover, there will also be class discussions or lectures that are not outlined here. Students are responsible for knowing all of this material.
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The United States Congress is in many respects the focal point of domestic policy making. While the President is sometimes (but, as we shall see, not always) the initiator of new policies, the Congress must pass the legislation which transforms policy ideas into practical programs. And in doing so, Congress shapes these programs to serve its own as well as the President's ends. While bureaucrats carry out public policies, they receive funds to do so from the Congress and are usually careful to keep Congressional priorities in mind. While the courts often do more than interpret laws, their decisions (and the freedom they have in making those decisions) are shaped by the actions of the Congress. As an institution made up of 535 members, the Congress is often unwieldy and indecisive and is sometimes difficult to understand. The will of the people is not always represented in the Congress. But, because of its size and the different constituencies Representatives and Senators come from, the Congress does represent a wider array of political beliefs and interests, and political practices and processes, than any other institution in America.
This course will study the range and variety of Congressional institutions and practices. Our main concern will be to understood how the nature of the Congress helps determine what public policies are adopted in America and who benefits from these policies. We will pay particular attention to how changes in Congress over time have shaped public policies and what the likely consequences of various proposed reforms of the Congress would be.
We will begin with an analysis of two views of democracy and the conception of the Congress supported by each view. This analysis will provide us with two different standards by which to judge how effective Congress is. After an overview of policy making by Congress, we turn to analysis of congressmen and their constituents and try to determine why some people are elected to Congress and who they represent. Then we will consider the various activities of Congressmen and the policy and voting choices they make. Next we turn to the internal distribution of influence in the Congress especially as it is reflected in the Congressional committees and the party leadership and in the relationships between the Congress and the executive branch. Finally we will try to reach some conclusion about how the nature of the Congress shapes public policy in America, for good or ill.
The course will consist of both lectures and class discussions. The success of our discussion rests very heavily upon student preparation. Students will be expected to read and be prepared to discuss the assigned material.
There will be two in-class essay examinations. A list of questions from which the examination questions will be selected will be made available to students one week prior to each examination. The mid-term examination will be held on October 10. There will be a comprehensive final examination on Friday, December 16 from 12:00 to 3:00 PM. One question on the final examination will ask you to discuss how accurately the movie, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, portrays the Congress. We will watch this movie in class on December 5 and 7.
Students will also be required to write a major research paper of about 20 to 30 pages in length which will be due the Monday of examination week. The paper should be a case study of how a bill became a law. Students will be required to conduct original research using congressional documents such as hearings, committee reports and the Congressional Record.
The final grade for students who write a research paper will be determined according to the following formula:
Mid-term examination 25%
Research paper 35%
Final Examination 40%
Active participation in class discussions will improve your final grade by up to one-half of a letter grade or 5 points on a hundred point grading scale.
We will read most of the following book, which is available at the bookstore: Edward V. Schneier and Bertram Gross, Congress Today. The other readings will be available in a course packet at Copywrite.
The information presented on overheads in class and additional handouts will be available during the first week of classes in a separate course packet at Copywrite.
Students have the responsibility to know and observe the requirements of The UNCC Code of Student Academic Integrity. This code forbids cheating, fabrication or falsification of information, multiple submission of academic work, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials, and complicity in academic dishonesty. Any special requirements or permissions regarding academic integrity in this course will be stated by the instructor, and are binding on the students. Academic evaluations in this course include a judgment that the student's work is free from academic dishonesty of any type; and grades in this course therefore should be and will be adversely affected by academic dishonesty. Students who violate the code can be expelled from UNCC. The normal penalty for a first offense is zero credit on the work involving dishonesty and further substantial reduction of the course grade. In almost all cases the course grade is reduced to F. Copies of the code can be obtained from the Dean of Students Office. Standards of academic integrity will be enforced in this course. Students are expected to report cases of academic dishonesty to the course instructor.
Conceptions of Democracy and the Role of Congress
Congress and Public Policy: An Overview
James Q. Wilson, Political Organization, chapter 16.
The Electoral System and It's Impact on Congressional Elections
Congress Today, pp. 23-51
Ideology and Party in the Public and Congress
Congress Today, pp. 127-136
Paul Luebke, Tar Heel Politics, chapter 2
Nelson W. Polsby, "Coalition and Faction in American Politics: An Institutional View"
The District's Connection to their Representative and Senator
Congress Today, pp. 61-77, 85-92
Richard F. Fenno, "U.S. House Members in Their Constituencies: An Exploration"
How Voters Decide
Congress Today, pp. 77-85
Interest Groups, Person Power and Money
Congress Today, pp. 111-126, 148-160
Party and the Nomination Process
Congress Today, pp. 51-60.
V. O. Key, Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups, chapter 16
General Elections: Party, Ideology, Incumbency
Congress Today, pp. 92-97
The Aims and Roles of Representatives and Senators
Congress Today, pp. 244-250
The Policy Stands of Representatives and Senators
Congress Today, pp. 97-100
The Internal Organization Of Congress: An Historical Overview
Congress Today, pp.
173-176; chapter 9, pp. 244-257; chapter 11
The Rules Today: Formal and Informal
Congress Today, chapter 8
and chapter 9, pp. 229-243; 12
Congress Today, chapter 8;
chapter 9, pp. 229-243; chapters 13, 14
The Party Leadership
Congress Today, pp.
188-189, 274-288; chapter 15
The President vs. Congress: Initiation, Innovation and Influence
Congress Today, chapter 15,
THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN
Congress Today, chapter 18