|Political Studies 100
Professor Dana Ward
The major goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the relationship between Congress and the presidency. To reach that goal we must first acquire an understanding of each institution, including the different constituencies served, varying organizational structures, and the often overlapping responsibilities with which each institution is charged. Particularly with Congress, an understanding of the historical roots of present organizational structures is essential. To a large extent Congress is an on-going body that remains unchanged from election to election. The presidency, on the other hand, undergoes fundamental change with each new administration (with the large exception of the executive bureaucracy), and each administration undergoes its own developmental process. Thus, the goals, values and character of each chief executive add considerable variation to the office of the president.
Given these different contexts, the course will focus on the roots of present operating procedures. We will pay considerable attention to the committee system, the electoral connection, and the legislative process. At the end of the course you should have an extensive knowledge of basic operating procedures in Congress, legislative terms, and the precise means by which a bill becomes a law. You should understand the different institutional responsibilities attached to Congress and the presidency and the basic ways in which the presidency has developed and been organized. The history of particular administrations, the personality of recent presidents, the powers of the president, executive leadership and policy making will be the major foci of our study of the presidency. Finally, throughout the course we will concentrate on the relationship between Congress and the president.
A. READINGS: The dates on the syllabus are the due dates for the readings listed under each section. It will require roughly three hours to complete each reading assignment. All readings are required and MUST be read BEFORE the date on the syllabus. This point cannot be over-emphasized. Classroom discussion is an extremely important part of this course. Therefore it is essential that you keep up with the reading requirements. This is not a course from which you will benefit if you are in the habit of putting off reading until forced to read by exam deadlines.
The following books have been ordered for sale at the Huntley Book Store and are required reading. Most of the books are also on reserve at Honnold.
B. PARTICIPATION: All students are required to participate in the congressional simulation during the week of March 31. The simulation will require substantial time commitments, mostly during the evening of that week. There will be no class meetings during the simulation week. FAILURE TO PARTICIPATE WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC FAILURE IN THE COURSE.
The simulation is a fun, but intense, experience. It will take place between March 31 and April 4. Three different classes will be participating in the simulation: ours, a class from CMC and a class from Pomona. Each class will play the roles of Democratic Senators, Republican Senators, and the Clinton administration. Besides the roles of Senators and the administration, there will be roles for the press, lobbyists, and perhaps constituents. The lobbyists will be pitted against each other. There may be lobbyists from other classes representing opposing sides of an issue. The job of the lobbyist will be to persuade the Senate to pass budget legislation favorable to their cause. All roles will be assigned during the third week of class and require extensive research on the particular Senator, Executive officer, lobbyist, or journalist you will play. The role assignments can be found here. The Simulation Rules can be found here.
In addition, all students will be responsible for two five minute presentations, one covering "This Week in Congress" and one covering "This Week at the White House". Each Thursday, the first twenty minutes of class will be devoted to current events on Capitol Hill and in the Oval Office. You will up-date on-going stories in the news and keep the class informed of important pending legislation and events. There are five main purposes to this exercise: 1) To familiarize yourself with useful sources on Congress and the president, e.g., CQ's Weekly Report, The National Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and The Washington Post; 2) To keep yourself and the class up-to-date on current issues; 3) to provide an opportunity to sharpen your organizational and oral skills; 4) to provide a forum for discussion of topical issues; and 5) to promote classroom cooperation. The students reporting on Congress and the students reporting on the White House will have to consult with each other to insure a coherent ten minutes and to avoid redundancy. I strongly encourage you to subscribe to The New York Times. I will pass out information on discount subscriptions during the first week of class.
C. EXAMS: There will be two graded exams. The first exam will be given March 12 in class and will constitute ten percent of your final grade. The second exam will be given April 30 and will constitute ten percent of your final grade. The focus of the exams will be on basic facts and concepts. There will be short answer questions in which you will demonstrate basic familiarity with terms, concepts, operating procedures and the like.
D. PAPERS: There are two required papers. The first paper is due March 24 and will constitute 20 percent of your final grade. It should be a five to seven page paper on a topic of your choice, but you must clear your topic with me. The second paper is due on the last day of class, May 7, and should be ten to twelve pages in length. The second paper will focus on the relationship between Congress and the president during a post-war administration of your choice (i.e., from Truman through Clinton). While the paper is not due until the end of the semester, you should begin working on it tomorrow. Decide which administration you will analyze and begin reading background material now. If you wait until the last half of the course you will be too busy and will do an inadequate job. This is a paper you should be thinking about for three months, not three days. The final paper will constitute 30 percent of your final grade.
LATE PAPERS WILL BE DOWN GRADED ONE GRADE FOR EACH 24 HOUR PERIOD THE PAPER IS LATE (e.g., from an A- to an AB). In addition, it is quite likely that I will simply grade late papers without providing my usual commentary.
E. PEER EVALUATIONS: There are two components to peer evaluations. Ten percent of the peer evaluation will be based on the simulation. By the first class after the simulation has been completed, each student will email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) an evaluation of each student's performance in the simulation. Type the name of the student being evaluated, followed by a LETTER GRADE (e.g., A, A-, AB, B+, B, etc.). The evaluators will remain anonymous. The grade given should reflect your judgment of the student's understanding of the role played by the student, the student's knowledge of the budget process and their contribution to the group effort.
The second component of the peer evaluations is your evaluation of each of the other students' contribution to your understanding of Congress and the presidency. Did the student participate actively in class or outside class? How good were the students' oral presentations? In short, how effective was each student's participation in class in terms of adding to your knowledge of Congress and the president? Using the same format as in the simulation peer evaluations, i.e, email me the evaluation. Below the student's name and the assigned grade type as thorough and thoughtful an analysis as possible of the basis of your evaluation, emphasizing strengths and weaknesses and making suggestions for improvement. The second peer evaluations are due May 3 and will constitute ten percent of the final grade.
F. SELF EVALUATIONS: On Monday, January 27, each of you will submit a statement of your personal goals for this course. This statement should be as specific and detailed as possible. Plan your method for meeting the responsibilities of this course, set weekly goals and time schedules, or whatever will help you to think about why you are taking this particular course and how it fits in with your overall learning goals. Then, on the last day of class, you will turn in a self evaluation in which you will analyze how well you met your goals, how your goals changed, and what unforeseen goals emerged. You will then assign yourself an over-all grade based on your performance in this course and that grade will constitute 10 percent of your final grade.
G. There are a number of internet links you will find
useful for preparing papers, presentations, and research on your simulation role.
Over the semester more links will be added, but for now try these links:
A Bill Becomes A Law
Enactment of a Law
Political Science Resources
POTUS (Presidents of the United States Database)
Public Affairs Video Archives (C-SPAN)
The White House
GRADING WEIGHT SUMMARY
First Exam on March 10 10 Percent
Second Exam on April 28 10 Percent
First Paper due March 22 20 Percent
Final Paper due May 5 30 Percent
Peer Evaluations 20 Percent
Self Evaluation 10 Percent
Studying the Presidency
Jan 22: Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 3-28, 61-87.
Jan 27: Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 1-47.
Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 91-123.
The Evolution and Study of Congress
The Evolution of the Presidency
Political Parties, Congress, and the Presidency
Feb 10: Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 163-192.
Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 348-378.
Feb 12: Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 161-220.
Feb 24: Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 107-162.
Congress and the Executive
Mar 3: Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 440-467, 531-554.
Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 273-296.
Mar 5: Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 221-258, 337-367.
The Budget Process
Mar 12: Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 368-403.
Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 333-361.
Mar 24: Davidson, R. & Oleszek, W., Congress and Its Members, pp.
Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 297-331.
Mar 26: Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 124-170.
Mar 31: Simulation
Apr 2: Simulation
The Electoral Connection
Apr 7: Davidson, R. & Oleszek, W., Congress and Its Members, pp. 43-84.
Apr 9: Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 39-76.
Davidson, R. & Oleszek, W., Congress and Its Members, pp. 121-161.
Apr 14: Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 108-160.
The Executive, Congress and the Judiciary
Apr 23: Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 363-387.
Davidson, R. & Oleszek, W., Congress and Its Members, pp. 391-414.
War and Diplomacy
Apr 30: Pious, The Presidency, pp. 439-474.
Nelson, M., The Presidency and the Political System, pp. 555-585.
Judgment and Reform
May 7: Davidson, R. & Oleszek, W., Congress and Its Members, pp. 415-433.
Rieselbach, L. Congressional Politics, pp. 421-450.
Pious, R., The Presidency, pp. 475-495.