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All students should have taken Pol Sci 101 American Politics, or the equivalent.

Course requirements and grading

Final grades for this class will be composed as follows:

  • 30% total from short-essay assignments due every week or two. These essays are designed both to focus your reading and to prepare you for class discussion on the due dates.  Late essays will be penalized 2 points per weekday (out of 20 possible), down to half-credit.
  • 40% from two in-semester, in-class, closed-book exams, each consisting of a few short essay-questions.
  • 20% from a brief final paper project on an assigned topic, addressing the material covered during the last month or so of the course and integrating it with all the previous material. As a rough guide to expectations, his paper should be roughly double the length of a weekly essay. Further instructions to follow.
  • 10% from class attendance and participation.
    • Showing up consistently is worth about 5 or 6 of 10 points; consistently improving the overall quality of class discussion earns 10/10.
    • So your plan should be: (1) show up; (2) have some thoughts when you walk in; (3) speak up appropriately as you are able.
    • Speaking up "appropriately" includes, of course, demonstrating respect for others at all times.

Click here for instructions on weekly essay assignments.


Required textbooks, available at Campus Store

  • Bruce Ackerman, We The People. Volume 2: Transformations. Harvard University Press (1998).
  • Richard P. McCormick, The Presidential Game. Oxford University Press (1982).