POS 2041 Honors (3 credit
hours), Spring 2021
Professor Michael D.
Office Hours: Wednesdays 9 – 11
am (EST) / 1400 – 1600 UTC on Zoom
Request an appointment using
My office is in 208 Anderson Hall, which is a beautifully refurbished
on University Avenue just northeast of Smathers Library and across
University Avenue from
What is democracy, and how democratic are American
political institutions? How do political institutions help
classical political questions? What is political power, and how
concentrated is it in the United
States relative to other democracies?
How resistant to change is the United States Constitution, relative to
other national constitutions? Are American political parties
relatively strong or weak, and what
difference does that make? Why are we have an Electoral College, and
who benefits from it? Can Congress effectively represent and
effectively legislate at the same time? What is the role of an
unelected judiciary in a democracy? Are federal bureacrats responsive
to political institutions?
We will address these and other questions through a survey the
foundations, political linkage institutions, and governmental
in the United States. Our discussions will include some historical
comparisons and contrasts to other countries' political systems, and
on current developments. We also expect to host some guest speakers,
who will offer their perspective on how and why various instituions
work the way that they do. By the end of the course, students
should be able to critically evaluate claims about the U.S.
system using empirical evidence.
Objectives and Student
the end of this course, students will be expected to have achieved the
learning outcomes in content, communication and critical thinking:
Content: Students will
acquire a basic knowledge of the component elements of a democracy,
structural foundations of American politics, including the
Constitution, the fragmentation of political power
(horizontally and vertically), America's political culture, economic
development, and the role of the US in the international system;
the multiple dimensions of public opinion, and which parts of
opinion are reflected through linkage institutions, including the
media, interest groups, social movements, political parties, and the
electoral system;institutions of Congress, the presidency, the
judiciary, and the
will communicate knowledge, ideas and reasoning clearly and effectively
in written and oral forms
- Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through
and a midterm and final assessment.
will analyze information carefully and logically from multiple
reflect how well a student communicates during class.
- Some weekly assignments and class discussion will be used to
assess how well students apply general principles to current issues and
debates in American politics.
Our normal rhythm will be
- On Thursday, I will preview the next
week's topic, readings, and assignments.
- On Tuesday, I will usually lecture to introduce a topic, and sometimes discuss New York Times or Wall Street Journal articles that reflect how current events are related to our discussion.
weekly assignment and/or quiz will be due at 7:25 am on Thursdays on Canvas. It
will cover the major concepts in the text and
other readings. This is intended to ensure that
students are keeping up with the lectures and readings, and are
prepared for discussion on Thursday.
- Thursday will be partly
lecture but mostly a discussion of the assigned readings (including
those from The New York Times
or the Wall Street Journal).
Students are expected to have read and
reflected on the readings by the beginning of class on Thursday, and
come to class ready to discuss them. On some Thursdays, we will have
guest speakers by Zoom.
This is a Hy-flex class, meaning that there are concurrent
face-to-face and online sections which will meet on Tuesdays 2 (8:30 -
9:20 am) and Thursdays 2-3 (8:30 - 10:25 am).
The face-to-face section (Section
101H/Class 17732) will meet in FLI 0117.
The participation portion of
your grade for this class will be calculated on the basis of your
and the quality of your participation in class discussion.
Some class meetings will be designated as Zoom only. On those
dates, the instructor
will not be in the classroom, and students enrolled in the face-to-face
section are expected to participate by Zoom. Those dates are
In response to COVID-19, the following
requirements are in place to maintain your learning environment and to
the safety of our in-classroom interactions.
- Tuesday, January 12 - First day of class
- Tuesday, January 19 - No Zoom meeting; asynchronous lecture only
- Thursday, February 18 - Guest Speaker
- Thursday, March 4 - Guest Speaker
- Thursday, March 18 - Guest Speaker
- Thursday, April 1 - Guest Speaker
- Thursday, April 8 - Guest Speaker
- If I am "not cleared" for campus on a class day, I will
email the face-the-face section by 7:15 am to tell you that class will
be held only on Zoom on that day. Please make a habit of checking your
ufl.edu email before departing for campus in the morning.
are required to wear approved face coverings at all times on campus,
including during class and
within buildings. Following and enforcing these policies and
all of our responsibility. Failure to do so will lead to a report to
of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
course has been assigned a physical classroom with enough capacity to
physical distancing (6 feet between individuals) requirements. Please
designated seats and maintain appropriate spacing between students.
not move desks or stations.
supplies are available in the classroom. You are expected to wipe down
prior to sitting down and at the end of the class.
- Practice physical distancing when
entering and exiting the classroom.
- Regular testing for COVID-19 (at
two-week intervals) is required by UF for students attending
- Do NOT attend the face-to-face
if you are marked "Not Cleared" on One.UF . If you are marked "Not
Cleared," you may attend the Zoom meeting of the class.
you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (Click
here for guidance from the CDC on symptoms of coronavirus), please use the UF
Health screening system and follow the instructions on whether you are
attend class. Click
here for UF Health guidance on what to do if you have been exposed to
experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
materials will be provided to you with an excused absence, and you will
given a reasonable amount of time to make up work. Find
more information in the university attendance policies.
The online section (Section
101I/Class 17733) will meet on Zoom only.
- Students registered in the online section are not permitted to join the face-to-face section in the assigned classroom.
- The participation portion of
your grade for this class will be calculated on the basis of your
and the quality of your participation in class discussion.
- Since the pedagogical approach of
this course depends heavily on student engagement and interaction, you
required, at a minimum, to participate in class activities and
discussions through the audio
function of Zoom. Your video presence is invited as well.
Resources and Readings
Some readings will be accessible online through links
and Benjamin Page. 2019. The
Struggle for Democracy: 2018 Elections and Updates Edition
Edition; ISBN 9780135246849). This text argues
that policy results
of structural, political, and governmental effects. Greenberg and Page
also argue that American democracy is evolutionary, and offer
comparisons to other political systems. This text
is available as an e-text or in paperback.
REVEL electronic package
Higher Education includes access to Revel (an electronic package to
accompany the Greenberg and Page text) at no additional cost to
students. It is also available as a stand alone product (without
the printed text) for $70. Revel is
not required for this class, but you may use it as a study guide (or
just as an electronic version of the text) if you wish. Revel
includes the entire textbook (in both text and audio), plus some videos
and simulations, short quizzes, key word reviews, and chapter exams to
help students prepare for exams. If you wish to use Revel, here
is how to register:
- Visit this link: https://console.pearson.com/enrollment/jjt2fc
- Sign in with your Pearson Account. You can either: sign in with
an existing Pearson username and password OR create a new Pearson
account if this is your first Pearson digital product.
- Choose your course under 'My Courses' and choose an access
option: redeem an access code that you got with the purchase of the
textbook or you may purchase access online. There is a free trial if
you are waiting for financial aid.
may wish to bookmark https://console.pearson.com
to easily access your
materials. Pearson recommends using the latest version of Chrome,
Firefox, or Safari with this digital product.
Revel is not required for this course. No extra credit for doing the
assignments in Revel, and no penalty for not doing them. But some
students may prefer the convenience of an electronic text,
and find the extras and assignments interesting or helpful as a
Kollman, Ken, ed. 2019.
in American Politics: Analysis and Perspectives. Fifth Edition. New
York: W. W. Norton. (ISBN: 9780393679168; paperback)
This collection of classic and contemporary essays elaborate on themes
discussed in the text, and make either normative, legal, or empirical
arguments about some aspect of the American political system.
I will assign articles from The New York Times or The Wall
Street Journal that are relevant to the
topics that we are discussing. Those articles may be discussed in
lecture or in discussion section, and should be considered required
reading for an upcoming test or discussion section. Announcements
and links will be
provided on Canvas. UF students have free digital
subscriptions to both (courtesy of the Provost's Office and Student
- For access to the NYT subscription, go to my.ufl.edu. After
signing in, click on “Main
Menu,” then click on “Quick Links” and finally click on “NY
Times.” From there, simply follow the directions. Please use your
ufl.edu email address when signing up.
- To activate your Wall Street Journal subscription, go to https://partner.wsj.com/enter-redemption-code/FLA043p2wca
(Thursday, March 11)
|Final Exam (Thursday, April 29, 7:30 - 9:30 am)
|Weekly assignments (usually due Thursdays at 8:25 am)
|Attendance and Participation
Lower boundaries for grades are:
82.97% is less than 83.0%, and is therefore a "B-". "A minimum grade of
"C" is required for general education credit."
Midterm Exam (25%) and Final Exam (30%)
There will be two examinations. Each will
be a combination of true-false justify (short answers) and essay.
Both exams will cover lecture, readings, completed assignments,
and articles discussed in class.
Exams will be administered via Proctor-U, which requires the use
a laptop with a camera.
will only be excused if the student can provide written and verifiable
documentation of illness, bereavement of an immediate family member, or
a conflicting University or legal obligation.
date and time for the final exam were assigned to this class by the UF
Registrar in order to assure that all students have time to prepare for
all of their exams and avoid exam conflicts. Please advise parents,
spouses, fairy godparents, and others who may
making travel plans for you of your final exam schedule. If
you have unavoidable plans that prevent you from taking the final exam
on April 29, you should consider dropping the course or registering for
a different section of the course.
Weekly assignments (30%)
Weekly assignments will generally be due on Thursday before
class, and will often form the basis of class discusion on Thursdays.
Assignments may take a variety of formats, including (1) quiz questions
on the assigned readings, (2) a short reaction paper to one or more of
the readings, (3) a reflection on how a contemporary political issue or
event is related to the readings or lecture, (4) preparation of
questions for guest speakers, or (5) a task that can be completed
online that is related to one or more of the readings or a point made
and participation (15%)
portion of the grade
will be based on the quality of your participation in class
including listening, preparation, quality of contributions,
impact on the class, and frequency of participation. Opinions
held by other students, the instructor, and the guest speakers should
be respected in discussion, and conversations that do not contribute to
the discussion should be held at minimum, if at all. Regular
attendance is expected, in accordance with University
and in the spirit of Honors students helping each other learn through
respectful, engaged, and informed discussion with one another, the
instructor, and the guest speakers.
||Actively and respectfully listens to peers and instructor
||Sometimes displays lack of interest in comments of
||Projects lack of interest or disrespect for others
browsing other materials during class)
||Arrives fully prepared with all assignments completed, and
notes on reading, observations, questions
||Sometimes arrives unprepared or with only superficial
||Little evidence of having completed or thought about
are relevant and reflect understanding of assignments, previous remarks
of other students, and insights about assigned material
||Comments sometimes irrelevant, betray lack of preparation,
indicate lack of attention to previous remarks of other students
||Comments reflect little understanding of either the
assignment or previous remarks in class
||Comments frequently help move class discussion forward
||Comments sometimes advance the conversation, but sometimes
little to move it forward
||Comments do not advance the conversation or are actively
harmful to it
||Actively participates at appropriate times
||Sometimes participates but at other times is
||Seldom participates and is generally not engaged or absent
Grading scale for participation component:
Statement on Students with
- A - Strong in most categories
- B - Participation is strong in some
categories but needs development in others
- C - Need for development in
- D - Typically unsatisfactory in
- E - Unsatisfactory in nearly all.
The University of Florida and the instructor are committed to providing
accommodations for students with disabilities. Students with
disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the
Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, https://disability.ufl.edu/students/get-started/).
The University and the instructor encourage students with
disabilities to follow these procedures as early as possible within the
Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction
in this course by completing online evaluations at https://ufl.bluera.com/ufl/
. These evaluations are important to merit committees and Department
chairs in the evaluations of teaching, to future students who are
looking for good classes, and to the instructor as he revises the
course for future semesters. Evaluations are typically open during the
last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given
specific times when they are open. Summaries of course evaluation
results are available to students at
University Honesty Policy
UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We,
members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold
ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity
by abiding by the Honor Code.” On all work submitted for credit by
students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either
required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received
unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor
specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and
the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any
condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate
personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult the
If a cell phone rings during class, the owner of the cell phone is
obligated to bring cookies (or healthier treats) for the entire class
at a future date to be arranged with the instructor. (The instructor
happens to like Heath Bar cookies from the Publix bakery.)
Discussion of grades
Please do not phone me to discuss a grade. You are welcome to
call to schedule an appointment, but please refrain from asking about
your grade directly over
the phone. This helps me protect your statutory
rights to privacy, as I am generally unable to verify your identity or
the presence of others
over the phone.
The following is provided
as a guideline
I reserve the right to make adjustments to the calendar if needed,
delay particular assignments, or to change them
optional. I will add links to short articles in the
electronic media from time to time.
Chapter(s)||Readings in American Politics
||Political Power: Who Governs?
- Jane Mansbridge, from "What Is
Political Science For?," American Political Science Review
- Robert A. Dahl, from Polyarchy:
Participation and Opposition
- Brutus, The Antifederalist, No.
- Robert A. Dahl, from How Democratic Is
the American Constitution?
- Mila Versteeg and Emily Zackin, from
"Constitutions Unentrenched: Toward an Alternative Theory of
Constitutional Design," American Political Science Review
an asynchronous lecture will be provided on Canvas
- Christopher Hammons, from "State
Constitutions, Religious Protection, and Federalism," University
of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy
- William H. Riker, from Federalism:
Origin, Operation, Significance
- Pamela McCann, et al., from
"Top-Down Federalism: State Policy Responses to National Government
Foundations: How Well Developed is the United States?
||Public Opinion and Media: Are
If so, is it the Media's Fault?
||5 and 6||
- Katherine Cramer, from The Politics of
Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
- James Campbell, from Polarized: Making
Sense of a Divided America
- Lilliana Mason, from Uncivil
Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity
||Interest Groups: What Accent the
- Ken Kollman, from Outside Lobbying:
Public Opinion and Interest Group Strategies
- Larry M. Bartels, from Unequal
Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age
|Guest Speaker: Ian Rayder
||Social Movements: Grassroots or
||Political Parties and
Why Did Al
Gore Win an Oscar instead of the Presidency?
|9 and 10||
- John H. Aldrich, from Why Parties? A
- Marty Cohen, et al., from The Party
Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform
- Christopher Achen and Larry M. Bartels,
from Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive
|Guest Speaker: State Sen. Keith Perry,
2020 Presidential Elector
||Congress: Do We (Sort of) Love
Congressman, but Hate Congress?
- David R. Mayhew, from Congress: The
- William Bernhard And Tracy Sulkin, from Legislative
- Frances E. Lee, from Insecure
Majorities: Congress And The Perpetual Campaign
|Guest Speaker: US Rep. Debbie-Wasserman
||Presidency: Are there really
- Richard E. Neustadt, from Presidential
Power And The Modern Presidents: The Politics Of Leadership From Roosevelt
- Brandice Canes-Wrone, From Who Leads
Whom? Presidents, Policy, And The Public
- William G. Howell, from Power Without
Persuasion: The Politics Of Direct Presidential Action
||March 30-April 1
|Bureaucracy: Is our Bureaucracy
- James Q. Wilson, from Bureaucracy:
What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It
- Mathew D. Mccubbins And Thomas Schwartz, from
"Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols Versus Fire
Alarms," American Journal Of Political Science
- Susan L. Moffitt, from Making Policy
Public: Participatory Bureaucracy In American Democracy
|Guest Speaker: Kate Higginbothom, FEC
|Judiciary: Do Unelected Judges
- Gerald N. Rosenberg, from The Hollow
Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?
- Marbury v. Madison (1803)
- Lawrence V. Texas (2003)
- Tracey E. George And Lee Epstein, From
"On The Nature Of Supreme Court Decision Making," American
Political Science Review
|Guest Speaker: US Magistrate Judge Gary
||Civil Rights: The Struggle
- Michael Tesler, From Post-Racial Or Most-Racial?
Race And Politics In The Obama Era
- Brown V. Board Of Education (1954)
- District Of Columbia V. Heller (2008)
- Andrew R. Lewis, From The Rights Turn In
Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed The Culture Wars
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or a friend is in distress, please contact email@example.com
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Care Center, 392-1161.
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ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or
Teaching Center, Broward Hall,
or 392-6420. General study skills and tutoring.
Writing Studio, 302 Tigert Hall, 846-1138. Help
brainstorming, formatting, and writing papers.
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Last updated: 22 December 2020
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