PO200 American National Government

for FA 2004

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COURSE TITLE: American National Government

COURSE DESCRIPTOR: A survey of the functions and processes of the three branches of American national government.







FACULTY PARK EMAIL ADDRESS: bond.faulwell@park.edu

OTHER FACULTY EMAIL ADDRESS: bfaulwell@kc.rr.com; bo92445@msn.com


DATES OF THE SEMESTER/TERM: August 23 - December 10

CLASS SESSIONS DAY:  Tuesday - Thursday

CLASS SESSION TIME: 1:00 - 2:15 pm





The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.



Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: A survey of the functions and processes of the three branches of American national government. The changing roles of the branches and their relationship to the public will be emphasized.


FACULTY’S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: We will learn through discussion and dialogue.  It is critical that all assigned material be read so that students can actively participate in discussions.  Questions will be posed to require students to think about issues.  The Socratic dialogue will be used to demonstrate the relevance of American Government to today's issues.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: The objective of the course is for students to understand the American political system.  We will begin by examining the historical, social, and philosophical influences on the creation of the American state.  We will focus on the Constitution. Next we will examine the impact of the people on American government, including interest groups, political parties, and the media.  We then move to an analysis of the three branches of government and their current interrelationship.  Finally, we will discuss the process of policy development and implementation.


At the end of the class, the student should be able to explain not only the formal structure of American government, but also be able to analyze and explain critically how policies and decisions of government are developed.


COURSE TEXTBOOK: Schmidt, Steffan C., Shelley, Mack C., and Bardes, Barbara A., American Government and Politics Today, Belmont, CA, Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004.


ACADEMIC HONESTY: “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism-the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work-sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


ATTENDANCE POLICY: Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “F”.  An Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.


LATE SUBMISSION OF COURSE MATERIALS: Late work will not be accepted.  Assignments are provided in the syllabus and may be turned in advance if a class is to be missed or may be e-mailed. If there is a significant illness, death in the family or similar event which impacts your ability to attend class and meet course requirements, I must be notified ahead of time (Telephone or e-mail).


COURSE ASSESSMENT: Students will be assessed on mastery of the course content through examinations, short papers, and class participation.


CLASSROOM RULES OF CONDUCT:  Computers make writing and revising much easier and more productive.  Students must recognize though that technology can also cause problems.  Printers run out of ink and hard drives crash.  Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of technology.  Be sure to save copies of your work to disk, hard drive, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.


Honest disagreement and differences of opinion on issues are critical to the American system.  All individuals are expected to treat each other with respect and encourage classmates to articulate their views.


DISABILITY GUIDELINES: Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: www.park.edu/disability



Week                                      Topics                                                 Assignments


Aug 23                                     Introduction to Course


                                               Government in Today’s World               Ch. 1;  Declaration of Independence (pp. 579-580)


Aug 30                                     Constitutional Democracy                     Ch 2; Federalist 10,51 (pp. 585-591)


Sep 8                                       Constitutional Democracy                                            

                                                Federalism                                            Ch. 3


Sep 13                                     Civil Rights and Liberties                       Ch. 4; “Military Tribunals and How Other Countries

                                                                                                            Deal With Terrorists.” (CD)


Sep 20                                    Civil Rights and Liberties                        Ch. 5; Plessy v. Ferguson; and Brown v Topeka

                                                                                                            Board of Ed (CD)

                                                                                                            Constitution Work-sheet Due


Sep 27                                    Opinion and Participation                       Ch. 6; Be a Critical Consumer of Polls & The Issue of

                                                                                                            Push Polls (CD)

                                                                                                            Unit 2 Paper Due


Oct 4                                       Interest Groups                                    Ch. 7; The Gun Control Issue (CD)


Oct 11                                     Political Parties                                     Ch. 8; What If the Legislative and Executive Were Always

                                                                                                            The Same Party? (CD)


                                                Elections                                               Ch. 9


Oct 18                                     Elections

                                                The Media                                            “Being a Critical Consumer of the News” (CD)


Oct 25                                                                                                 Examination

                                                The Congress                                       Ch. 10; Is Partisanship Threatening Our Government (CD)

                                                                                                            Unit 3 Paper Due


Nov 1                                      The Congress                                                  

                                                The Presidency                                     Ch. 11; “Laws Congress Never Makes” (CD)


Nov 8                                      The Presidency

                                                The Bureaucracy                                  Ch. 12; The Pendleton Act (CD)

                                                (Veteran's Day - no Class Nov 11)


Nov 15                                    The Judiciary                                        Ch. 13; “Global Views: Judicial Review” (CD)


Nov 22                                    Domestic Policy                                    Ch. 14; “Welfare Reform Act” (CD)


                                                (Thanksgiving - no classes Nov 24)                                     

Nov 29                                     Domestic Policy                                   Unit 4 Paper Due


Dec 6                                       Foreign & Defense Policy                     Ch. 15

                                                                                                            Unit 5 Paper Due 



GRADING PLAN:   There will be a Constitution Worksheet and a final. The examination and Constitution Worksheet will each count 20% of the final grade (40% of the total).  The final examination will be worth 30% of the final grade. 


American democracy requires a knowledgeable electorate.  Knowledge for the average citizen can best be gained by reading newspapers and news magazines.  To support the student in his/her reading, the student will submit a current news article for each of the first four parts of the textbook. The article must be accompanied by a brief (approximately two typewritten pages) analysis of how the article illustrates information covered in class.   Each article will count 5% of your final grade (i.e., 20% for all the articles).


Factors such as class participation, contribution to the class (i.e., respecting others’ability to participate) and attendance will count for 10 % of the final grade.