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Syllabus

Poli 110 (fall 2018)

Professor Adam Brown (about me)
Email: brown@byu.edu
Office phone: (801) 422-2182
Course website: https://adambrown.info/p/courses/2018/fall/110
Last syllabus update: July 6th, 2018

My office location: 772 SWKT
My office hours: See grid below.

Teaching assistants. Forthcoming.

What's this course about?

Here is the course description for Poli 110 found in the BYU catalog: "Origin and development of federal Constitution; national, state, and local governments and politics." Let's unpack that.

You learned in high school about our basic governmental structure. You know that we have a federal system. You know that the federal government is divided into three branches: judicial, legislative, and executive. You know that Congress is bicameral, and that it takes a 2/3 vote to override a presidential veto. You know all these basic facts. If you've forgotten any, they are easy to look up. They are also reviewed in your textbook, of course.

My goal is not to rehash these familiar facts. Rather, my goal is to help you understand how these basic facts influence how politics operates. How would policy outcomes be different if the president lacked a veto, or if we elected the vice president separately from the president, or if we had a nationwide referendum process? You will learn that institutional structure has important consequences. An excellent way to appreciate those differences more fully is to compare the federal government's structure to a state government's—in this case, Utah.

In addition to studying the American Constitutional structure, we will also discuss how individual Americans interact with their government. Who votes, and why does it matter? What do political parties and interest groups do, and why does it matter? How does citizen participation in national politics differ from participation in state and local politics?

Of course, before we get to any of that, we will consider the American founding. What was so flawed about our first constitution—the Articles of Confederation, drafted during the Revolution—that we decided in 1787 to draft a new constitution? Why do we need a Constitution at all? How has the Constitution evolved over time, particularly with respect to federalism, civil rights, and civil liberties? What lessons about American constitutionalism can we learn by considering the 50 state constitutions alongside the federal constitution?

Those are the three main fields of study within American politics: political development (how we got where we are), political institutions (how the rules and structure matter), and political behavior (how individuals act in political settings). We will consider these questions mostly at the national level but with frequent comparison to state and local governments.

This brief introductory course will not be able to cover everything, of course. It will, however, provide enough information about these three topics to enable you to thoughtfully and effectively engage politics throughout your life.

Learning outcomes

The political science department has established specific learning outcomes to ensure that all our graduates grow spiritually and intellectually. We have developed a narrower set of learning outcomes for Poli 110 that contribute to these departmental goals. By the conclusion of this course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Analyze current events in American politics using political science concepts.
  • Describe the most important Constitutional provisions in American national and state government and how they have changed over time.
  • Assess the functions and interactions of American political institutions at the national and state levels.
  • Explain the role individuals play in American national and state government and what factors influence their behavior.
  • Evaluate how you as an individual can effectively participate in the political process.

This course also meets university-level learning outcomes and therefore provides general education credit. Because we will discuss the scientific methodologies, theories, assumptions, and models used in political science research, this course satisfies the general education requirement in social science. And because of our substantive focus on American history and politics, this course partially satisfies the general education requirement in American heritage. Refer to the university's general education foundation documents for more information about the social science and American heritage requirements.

What books do we need?

Required: Kernell, Jacobson, Kousser, and Vavreck. The Logic of American Politics. 7th or 8th edition.

  • I will place several copies of this book (various editions, mostly 7th) on 3-hour course reserve at the library in case you cannot afford yet another book.
  • I draw exam and quiz questions exclusively from the 8th edition. Little has changed since the 7th (or even 5th and 6th) editions. Still, if you purchase an earlier edition, then you accept the (low) risk that the exam will ask you about something not covered there.
  • The syllabus gives page numbers from both the 7th and 8th editions. If you use a 5th or 6th edition, you will need to figure out how to convert page assignments.
  • Amazon links: 8th edition, 7th edition, 6th edition, 5th edition.
  • Check out the study resources at the book's website. It's really good.

Required. Brown, Utah Politics and Government: American Democracy among a Unique Electorate. I wanted to call it Politics among a Peculiar People but the press thought that might offend somebody. (Clearly the editor was not Mormon.) Oh well.

  • I will place several copies of this book on 3-hour course reserve at the library in case you cannot afford yet another book.
  • I don't want your money. I wrote this book to improve this course, not to line my pockets. I asked the press to waive my royalty for BYU students, which saves you 30%, but you must buy the book directly from the press (online or 800-848-6224) and use discount code 6UTPO. Unfortunately you cannot get this discount at the BYU store. Also available (without the discount) at Amazon.
  • Why this book? Poli 110 addresses national, state, and local politics. Though many of you will settle outside Utah after graduating, understanding Utah politics will prepare you to understand state and local politics in any US state. It will also provide a helpful comparison to the national political system. And, of course, this book helps satisfy BYU students' natural curiosity about Mormonism and politics, both today and in the past.

Required: An iClicker. You must have your own. You cannot share an iClicker with another student; it will be linked to your BYU identity. (Buying a used iClicker is fine; once you link it to your BYU identity, past registrations will be overridden.) Your iclicker MUST be registered (see below) or you will receive no credit for taking quizzes.

  • You may purchase either the original iclicker (like this) or the iclicker+ (like this). I cannot say with certainty that the iclicker 2 or other products will work with my receiver. The original iclicker sells pretty cheap (used) online these days.
  • You will use your iClicker to take in-class quizzes. If you do not have your iClicker with you on a day that I give a quiz, or if your batteries die, you will not receive credit for that day's quiz. No exceptions. Always have your iClicker with you, and change your batteries around the middle of the semester. (I drop your lowest quiz scores, as discussed elsewhere in this syllabus.)
  • Important! You must register your iClicker online if you wish to receive credit for quizzes! Visit BYU's iClicker registration page and enter your iClicker number. Note that some BYU instructors use a different registration method, which will not work for this course. Double check by re-registering your iclicker at the link I have provided.
  • Also important! You must attend the section you are registered for. You will not get credit for quizzes if you use your iclicker while attending a different section of Poli 110.

Required: Follow national news every day from the New York Times.

  • Visit http://www.nytimes.com/newsletters. Find the Morning Briefing. Click "sign up" and enter your email address. (You'll probably want to uncheck the little box letting them spam you about other things.)
  • FYI: The NY Times limits how many stories from its website that you can read each month, but it uses a strange formula. If you do get a message that you've reached your limit for the month, consider purchasing an inexpensive student discount digital subscription. You can also get free access via the BYU library.
  • I have no particular attachment to the NY Times. I encourage you to consume news from a wide diversity of sources. The NY Times email newsletters are simply a convenient way to ensure we all see a common set of stories each day that I can base quizzes on. Quizzes may reflect material from any day's Morning Briefing, not just days when we hold class. The emails you receive are just a quick summary of the day's news; I do expect you to click through and read the actual articles, especially for major stories or stories that are particularly relevant to this course.

General course policies

This syllabus is a plan, not a contract. Anything you read in this syllabus, including due dates, is subject to reasonable change at my discretion. Important changes will be announced in class or by email. That being said...

You are responsible to know all the deadlines, policies, and other information in this syllabus. Review it regularly. Visit me or a TA with questions.

You must check your email daily, including your spam folder. You are accountable for messages I send. Make sure that the email address you have provided to BYU is current. Log into myBYU and check. I will manually import your email from the roster BYU provides me into my website, which will enable you to login to this website and complete online assignments. If your email address changes after the add/drop deadline, send me an email so I can re-sync my website's roster.

Course website. Many course activities require you to log in to the course website using a username and password I will provide to you after the add/drop deadline. (You can change this password if you wish.) Log out every time you finish using the website so that your grades and personal information remain secure. If you ever worry that your account has been compromised, inform me immediately.

Assignments, late penalties, appeals, and other important policies

10% In-class quizzes
21% Debate papers (download instructions and submit online)
20% Midterm 1
20% Midterm 2
29% Final exam (29% = 20% new material + 9% comprehensive)
Bonus Enrichment activities (download instructions and submit online)
Bonus Government meetings (download instructions and submit online)

Missed lectures. If you miss class, you do not need to contact me with an excuse. With a class this size, I do not keep attendance. (If you are ill with more than a minor cold, you owe it to yourself and others to stay home.)

  • You are responsible for material you miss. First, get notes from a classmate or two. In a class this large, please do not spam the entire class with a request for notes; ask somebody sitting next to you, or attend a TA Q&A session to meet students interested in studying together.
  • TAs and I are happy to help you catch up on material you missed, but do your part by reviewing notes from a friend, reviewing lecture slides, and reviewing assigned readings before coming to office hours. We gladly answer lingering questions but cannot summarize the entire lecture for you if you arrive unprepared.

Quizzes and enrichment assignments. I regularly give brief quizzes in class. Research shows that frequent low-stakes quizzes dramatically improve student learning. Quizzes will emphasize assigned readings, recent lectures, and current events. You will need an iclicker, as discussed above.

  • Missed quizzes cannot be made up. Recognizing that life happens, I drop your two lowest quiz scores. You do not need to contact me with an excuse; everybody gets two dropped quizzes. It does not matter whether you were ill, traveling, forgot your iclicker (or batteries), playing football, or simply needed a mental health day. Please do not come to class sick; you deserve to take care of yourself, and your peers deserve not to be exposed. Dropping a quiz means removing it from both the numerator and denominator; it does not mean changing it to a perfect score. If you want me to drop more than two quizzes, keep reading.
  • Drop additional quizzes by completing enrichment activities. You will have two opportunities to complete an (optional) enrichment assignment, graded pass/fail. If you complete the assignment satisfactorily, I will drop 3 additional quizzes. Yes, you may earn this bonus twice if you submit both enrichment assignments, for a total of 8 dropped quizzes. I seldom give more than 20 quizzes, so completing this assignment twice drops nearly half the quizzes. Again, it does not matter why you miss (or bomb) a quiz.

Written assignments are not accepted late unless you experience a documented medical or family emergency, which I will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

  • Your written assignments will be submitted and graded online. Assignments are always due by 4:00pm on the last day of the window. The website will accept submissions until midnight, but you are gambling after 4:00pm. If a technical problem with the submission website arises prior to 4:00pm, get in touch with me before I leave for the day and I will either fix the problem or extend the deadline. If a technical problem with the submission website arises after 4:00pm, you are out of luck and will receive a zero on the assignment. Again, I consider all assignments due at 4:00pm even though the website will accept them until midnight.
  • I provide a multiday submission window for each written assignment. Please submit assignments early enough that unforeseen circumstances do not cause you to miss a deadline. That said, if a family or medical emergency arises you should contact me as soon as possible.

Attend government meetings to raise your debate paper scores. I encourage you to attend local government meetings this semester so that you can observe real-world politics in practice. By doing so, you can have your worst debate paper score raised by 15 percentage points, even if that takes your score above 100. You may complete the assignment twice, resulting in a possible boost of 30 percentage points. Here are further instructions.

Grade appeals for written work should always come to me, not to a TA. Allow a 24-hour cooling off period after receiving your grade before appealing, but submit your request within a week of receiving the grade in question.

  • Generally speaking, it is more fruitful to help you improve your performance on future assignments than revisit past grades. You may have these (non-appeal) discussions with TAs or with me. We are happy to discuss your paper with you and suggest ways to improve in the future.
  • It is important to me that grading be fair and consistent, so I will consider appeals when there is demonstrable error by graders or some other palpable injustice. You do not need to send a lengthy justification when requesting an appeal. Simply send me a one-sentence email requesting that I review the grade.
  • My process: Without looking at the original grade or comments, I will refer your essay to another TA. If the new TA assigns roughly the same grade as the original TA, I will not change anything; otherwise, I will adjudicate the discrepancy by reading your paper myself and assigning a new grade. The grade I assign stands, whether it is higher or lower than the grade assigned by the TA. (When there are only a handful of appeals, I will skip the middle step and move directly to assigning a new grade myself.)

Exams and the mercy rule. There are two midterms and a final.

  • Missed exams cannot be made up unless you (1) arrange it in advance for a valid reason (such as a scheduled surgery or university-authorized travel) or (2) have a genuine emergency and contact me as soon as possible to work things out. Each exam will be in the Testing Center for several days, so take them early enough that you have time to react to unforeseen problems.
  • Final exam mercy rule: If you do better on the final than on one or both of the midterms, then whichever midterm you perform worst on will have its weight reduced by 5 percentage points and the final will have its weight increased by 5 percentage points.

Do you have a university-excused absence letter? I treat university travel the same as other excusable absences experienced by your peers, such as illness, personal emergencies, and so on. If you have a letter listing dates you will travel with an athletic team, performing arts group, or something similar, I probably do not need to see it unless (1) official travel will prevent you from taking an exam while it is in the Testing Center or (2) official travel will cause you to miss more iclicker quizzes than you can drop with enrichment assignments. After carefully reading all the policies in this syllabus, visit with me if you have questions.

Do you have an accommodation letter? I want you to have a fair opportunity to succeed. Please read the information under the "equal opportunity" heading below.

Teaching assistants' role

I have hired intelligent, hard working, wonderful teaching assistants. They are all your fellow students. Get to know them. A TA's two main jobs are to serve as a peer tutor and as a grader. Don't forget the "tutor" part. When you have questions about course material, ask them. TAs are, of course, fellow students, and sometimes they will not know the answer. But if they don't, they will either help you find it or else refer you to me. (You are, of course, always welcome to visit me in my office hours with or without seeing a TA first.)

TA Q&A sessions: I have asked the TAs to organize frequent group Q&A sessions. These group Q&A sessions provide a venue to ask questions about concepts that may have been unclear to you. They will open by taking 4-8 minutes to highlight some essential or confusing material from the previous week. They will then display the week's terms and review questions and invite questions or discussion. They will adjourn early if students stop asking questions. Think of these as TA-led study groups. I encourage you to attend. (The specific times appear at the top of this syllabus.)

TA office hours: TAs will also offer one-on-one interaction in office hours. TAs will not accept grade appeals (those should come to me), but this is a good time to discuss your papers or go over any complicated course material. TA office hours are held at the times and places listed at the top of this syllabus.

TAs and the writing process. TAs are an excellent resource for improving the conceptual ideas in your papers. Before writing your final draft, write an outline and discuss your ideas with a TA. When it comes to improving your ideas, a good oral discussion is usually better than bringing in a written draft and asking a TA to read through it. If you're mostly looking for help with grammar or style (not with conceptual ideas), I encourage you to visit the FHSS writing lab or the BYU writing center, which have more resources for that sort of help.

TA boundaries. It is inappropriate to ask a TA on a date or offer any gift (not even cookies) until after final grades are posted. It is also inappropriate to pay a TA for service as your private tutor; their services are free to students in this course.

How hard is this course?

Is this a weeder class? No. A true weeder class ensures that only the "best" students can declare for a certain major. For example, Econ 110 is a weeder class (in every sense of the word) for some business majors; you cannot declare in these majors unless you receive a certain minimum grade in Econ 110 and other courses in the pre-management core. Poli 110 is not a weeder class for any major. It's not even a weeder for political science; you can get a D in Poli 110 and still declare in political science, though I might advise otherwise.

Do I have to be "good" at political science to earn an A? No. You are not competing against a room full of political science experts. In fact, 80-90% of the students who take Poli 110 are NOT political science majors; in any event, majors tend to perform no better than non-majors. Rather, most are students fulfilling general education requirements for social science or American heritage. If you have little or no background with American politics or social science, you are not unusual—but you will need to prepare yourself to master new, unfamiliar material that may be far removed from your usual interests. In general education courses especially, what separates A students from C students is often effort and dedication.

Wait, your grades are based on effort? No. But consider some sage counsel from Thomas S. Monson: "Thinking is the hardest work anyone can do, which is probably the reason why we have so few thinkers.... What the public takes for brilliance is really the result of thorough, painstaking investigation and downright hard work. Were we to be deprived of work, we should be robbed of our greatest field of enjoyment and be forever condemned to mediocrity." (In "Constant Truths," found in Pathways to Perfection.) Those who work hard can usually learn the material and earn a satisfactory grade.

Do you curve grades? I never curve grades down, but I curve them up if necessary. My curving process ensures the top third earns at least a B+ and the next third earns at least a B-. (Most of the bottom third earns something in the C range; lower scores are rare for students who attend regularly and complete all assignments.) These are floors, not ceilings; I will give more than a third of you a score above B+ if you earn it, and I have indeed taught the occasional section of Poli 110 that exceeds these floors, making curving unnecessary. Most often, however, I do wind up applying a curve. These practices ensure that my final grade distribution broadly resembles distributions found in other large introductory courses in the social sciences, with an average grade around a B-.

How much time should students spend on this class? As the BYU catalog states, "The expectation for undergraduate courses is three hours of work per week per credit hour for the average student who is appropriately prepared; much more time may be required to achieve excellence." Elsewhere, the catalog defines an A as "excellent," a B as "good," and a C as "satisfactory." Thus, an "average student" (29 ACT, 3.85 high school GPA) who is "appropriately prepared" (took standard coursework on US history and government in high school) should plan to spend 9 hours per week to "satisfy" (a C) course requirements. To "achieve excellence" (an A), "much more time may be required." More generally, an average student enrolled in 15 credit hours should plan to spend 45 hours on school each week to maintain a B or C average. Time in class counts toward the 45 hours, of course—but plan on more time out of class than in.

How can I improve my grades?

Performing well requires, first, comprehending the material, and second, retaining what you have comprehended. Comprehension and retention require different strategies. Though reexposure (reviewing notes, re-reading books, attending review sessions) boosts comprehension, research demonstrates that it does little to boost retention. To boost retention, you must practice retrieval. Read on for further tips.

Improving comprehension of lectures.

  • I use PowerPoint primarily to give a general outline and to display visual aids. I do not transcribe my lecture onto slides. You must attend every class and take notes. Rather than transcribe the entire lecture, outline it and write down the most important points.
  • I encourage taking notes by hand. If you choose to use your laptop anyway, be sure to turn off your wifi and close all other programs to minimize distractions.
  • Put your phone away during class.
  • If you must miss a lecture, follow the "missed lecture" suggestions elsewhere in this syllabus to catch up.
  • Consider taking STDEV 109 ("Effective Study and Learning") to improve your note-taking and listening skills.

Improving comprehension of readings.

  • Stay current. The reading load is tough but doable if you stay current, but you will have a hard time catching up on 400 pages if you procrastinate a month's reading.
  • Use the reading load planner so you don't get caught off guard by heavy reading days.
  • Study someplace where you can concentrate without distractions.
  • Textbooks and scholarly books aren't written like novels, so don't read them the same way.
    • First, skim. Start by reading the introduction and conclusion carefully. Then, read the headings, boldfaced/highlighted text, boxes, tables, figures, and the first paragraph under each heading. If provided, look through the chapter's terms list and review questions and quiz yourself on them, even though you will not know most answers at this point. Spend only a few minutes on these initial steps, just long enough to get a vision of where the chapter is going and to prime your mind about what will be most important.
    • Next, read. If you skimmed first, you will be able to read quickly. Speed up for easy material and slow down for hard stuff.
    • Then, skim again. When you are done, flip through the chapter; stop at each heading and try summarizing in your mind the main point of each section. End by re-reading the introduction and conclusion and, if provided, quizzing yourself using the textbook's terms list and review questions.
  • Occasionally I assign brief non-textbook readings. For these, focus on finding the central point. For a 2-3 page reading, you should usually be able to summarize the main point in 2-3 sentences. Longer or more detailed readings may have a handful of points you should remember.
  • Consider taking STDEV 205 ("Success in College Reading") or STDEV 305 ("Advanced Strategies for College Success") to learn speed-reading and other skills.

Improving retention Research is clear: Retrieval aids retention far more than reexposure does. Retrieval means forcing yourself to try remembering something; reexposure means reviewing your notes or re-reading a book. Retrieval boosts learning even more when you retrieve regularly. Your study should include only enough reexposure to ensure comprehension; after that, emphasize retrieval over reexposure as your study strategy.

  • Raise your hand often in class, both to ask questions and to participate in discussions. Speaking in class means formulating ideas in your own words, a powerful retrieval exercise.
  • Use the terms list and review questions to quiz yourself. Do not check yourself against your notes until you have finished going through all the terms and review questions for a particular day.
  • Use the textbook's website frequently. It has flashcards, practice quizzes, and other good study resources. The flashcards in particular can help you focus on key concepts. Repetition is the mother of learning.
  • Without looking at the terms list or review questions, write down 5 things you learned after each lecture or after each reading assignment. Do this after allowing an hour or two to pass, which will make retrieval more difficult and therefore more effective.
  • For readings that lack a terms list or review questions, write your own.
  • Set up a schedule to repeat these retrieval exercises. For example, a couple hours after each lecture, take 10 minutes retrieving information from that day's lecture and readings, 10 minutes retrieving information from the previous day's lecture and readings, and 10 minutes retrieving information from the lecture before that. This schedule will lead you to review everything three times, dramatically boosting your retention later on.
  • Power tip: Meet with 2-3 friends at the same time every week in one of the library's study rooms. Discuss all the review questions and terms—both those I provide, and those you prepare yourselves. Explain each out loud in your own words. Argue about what was most important. Find any other strategies you can think of that help you practice retrieval rather than mere reexposure.
  • Some of these tips are drawn from Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.

Improving your writing. When writing in the social sciences, you must take a side and defend it. A persuasive paper will have (1) a central claim, clearly stated as you open and close; (2) logical arguments (reasons) that support your claim; and (3) compelling evidence that supports your reasons. This advice is especially relevant to your debate papers.

  • Read the assignment instructions carefully before beginning and again before submitting. For assignments you complete more than once, review the instructions each time.
  • Outline your argument before you write it out. Then, show your outline to a friend, a TA, or me and invite a counterargument to help you identify weak points in your own argument. Visiting office hours for this exercise well ahead of the due date will provide more time for you to reflect on and improve your argument.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read your work out loud into the mirror. Don't let typos, errors, or awkward phrasing obscure your ideas. Visit the BYU writing center for help with grammar and style. Spelling and grammar always matter.
  • Finish writing a day before turning an assignment in. That gives you time to step away from it, sleep on it, and then re-read your prose with fresh eyes.
  • Read the information below about plagiarism carefully. Unintentional plagiarism caused by sloppy notetaking is still plagiarism.

General suggestions

  • When you have questions, ask. Take advantage of Q&A sessions and office hours. Group Q&A sessions can be even better than one-on-one office hours, since they give you a chance to meet other students who might be interested in putting together a study group.
  • Take breaks from school—short breaks each day, and longer breaks once a week. Your mind needs to rest. Sometimes "we have to forego some good things… to choose others that are better" (from Elder Oaks, "Good, Better, Best"). Higher education is good, but don't forget to leave time for things that are better. Socialize with friends and neighbors; take a walk; go to church; serve others.
  • Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat nutritious food, and develop healthy sleep habits. Those who take care of their bodies "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge" (DC 89:19). Your mind will not function as well on artificial stimulants as on appropriate food, exercise, and sleep.

A matter of a few degrees

Consider a true story as related by Dieter Uchtdorf:

In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus....

By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.

It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees....

Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways...

Although he told this story to make a different point, we can also apply this story to the university setting: Good grades don't go to those who never make mistakes, but to those who recognize when they go off course and take prompt corrective action. If an exam or paper early in the course comes back with a lower score than you hoped, then read and apply the study tips listed above. Visit with me or a TA for further help. Every semester, students visit me shortly before the final asking how they can raise their grades, but if you wait until the volcano has already filled your windshield, it may be too late.

Plagiarism and cheating

While all students sign the honor code, there are still specific skills most students need to master over time in order to correctly cite sources, especially online sources, as well as deal with the stress and strain of college life without resorting to cheating. As your professor, I will notice instances of cheating on exams or plagiarizing on papers. Even if the plagiarism was unintentional, it will have serious consequences for your grade. General information about the honor code can be found at http://honorcode.byu.edu. Details about Academic Honesty are found in the university catalog

Writing submitted for credit at BYU must consist of the student's own ideas presented in sentences and paragraphs of the student's own construction. The work of other writers or speakers may be included when appropriate (as in a research paper or book review), but such material must support the student's own work (not substitute for it) and must be clearly identified by appropriate introduction ("According to so-and-so...") and punctuation (such as quotation marks) and by footnoting or other standard referencing. Take care with your notetaking to track sources and to differentiate quotations you have jotted down from paraphrases you have written. Unintentional plagiarism caused by sloppy notetaking is still plagiarism.

Substituting another person's work for the student's own or including another person's work without adequate acknowledgment (whether done intentionally or not) is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a violation of academic, ethical, moral, and legal standards and can result in a failing grade not only for the paper but also for the course in which the paper is written. In extreme cases, it can justify expulsion from the university. Because of the seriousness of these consequences, students who wonder if their papers are within these guidelines should visit the Writing Lab or consult with their professor or TA. Useful books to consult on the topic include the current Harbrace College Handbook, the MLA Handbook, and James D. Lester's Writing Research Papers.

Counseling and stress management

Most lifelong mental illnesses emerge in adolescence and early adulthood—the typical college students' age. If you experience frequent sadness, worry, fear, inability to focus, nightmares, forgetfulness, or extreme mood changes; if you are withdrawing socially by avoiding friends and social activities; if you experience significant changes in sleeping habits or eating habits; if you are abusing alcohol, prescription medications, or other substances; or if you are thinking about hurting yourself, then please talk to somebody. You may find that all is well, but please find out.

Mental health concerns and stressful life events can affect students' academic performance and quality of life. BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 1500 WSC, 801-422-3035, https://caps.byu.edu) provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as stress management services. These services are confidential and are provided by the university at no cost for full-time students. For general information please visit https://caps.byu.edu. For more immediate concerns please visit http://help.byu.edu.

Equal opportunity

Disabilities: Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (801-422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 801-422-5895, D-282 ASB

Going beyond the boilerplate language above: If you have a disability, please visit the University Accessibility Center to receive an accommodation letter. Then, contact me to inform me of the accommodation letter and to request specific accommodations based on it. The letter will not disclose the disability and I will not ask. I will work with you to identify appropriate accommodations supported by the letter. If you wish to discuss accommodations, I am happy to schedule an appointment at any time, including outside office hours if needed.

Discrimination and sexual misconduct: In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "sexual misconduct" prohibited by the university. University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of sexual misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of sexual misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day). BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by sexual misconduct, including the university's Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university's Title IX Coordinator.

Reading schedule

Dates and deadlines are subject to change. "Terms" are intended to focus your exam preparation. The terms listed here are in addition to those listed in your textbook. "Readings" are required; please tell me if a link is broken. "Resources" are not required, but you may find them interesting.

You can also view the reading schedule in calendar format.

  • Unit 1. Introduction to political science
  • Tue, Sep 4th, 2018. Course overview. What is politics? Why study American politics? What is political science?
    Termspolitics; policy; false consensus bias; American politics; comparative politics; international relations; political philosophy; methodology; political institutions; political behavior; political development; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    26 pages
    • Carefully read all preceding information in this syllabus.
    • Review BYU's mission and aims
    • Doctrine and Covenants 88:74-80 [1 page]
    • Logic 8e pp 1-8, 25-30 (7e 1-8, 31-35) [14 pages]
    • Utah pp xiii-xix [11 pages]
    • Start the semester right by getting a couple days ahead on readings.
    • Use the reading load planner and due date calendar to plan your semester (but remember that a syllabus is a plan, not a contract, and I may make changes as the semester proceeds).
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Throughout this syllabus, readings are listed on the day they are due. That is, you should read the materials listed above before coming to class.
    • I will often use this space to write questions or notes that help you understand the purpose and relevance of non-textbook readings. (For textbook readings, rely on the review questions and terms at the end of each chapter.) Each day, as you check your reading assignments, do not overlook these study tips.
    • BYU Mission, Aims, DC 88: Why have you chosen to study at BYU? Why do you suppose that a school with BYU's mission and aims requires this course? How will "a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms" help make you "prepared in all things" (DC 88)? Review the "what's this course about" and "learning outcomes" sections at the top of this syllabus as you consider your answer.
    • Logic: 8e gives pagination for the 8th edition, while 7e gives pagination for the 7th edition. If you are using an older edition, see the "what books do we need" heading. Remember that there is a study site.
    • Utah: What evidence suggests that Americans underestimate the importance of state politics? What might change this?
    • Why a Utah book? Poli 110 addresses American politics at the national, state, and local levels. Understanding Utah politics will (1) prepare you to engage state and local politics wherever you may settle and (2) help you better understand national politics. Moreover, since this book is written in my voice you may find it a more useful resource than Logic for understanding concepts from lecture.
  • Thu, Sep 6th, 2018. The logic of politics. What is politics? Why can voluntary action produce undesirable results? What are the tradeoffs of governmental involvement?
    Termscoordination problem; prisoner's dilemma; chicken; free rider problem; tragedy of the commons; transaction costs; conformity costs; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    24 pages
    Resources
    FYI
    • Logic: Remember that there is a study site.
    • DC 134: It's as interesting to notice what is NOT said as it is to reflect on what IS said. You'll notice, for example, that there is no judgment made between monarchy and representative democracy. What about this section (whether inclusions or omissions) do you find most unexpected?
    • Bednar: Elder Bednar explains why two priesthood holders may have the same authority but different power. Why might two presidents have the same authority but different power?
    • If you have just added the class, be sure to go back and read the materials from the first day. If you use the reading load planner, you will notice that I assign heavier reading loads during the first two-thirds of the course and lighter loads near the end. I have frontloaded readings in this manner because you will be much busier in all your classes later in the semester than you are now. But this frontloading means you should take care not to fall behind at the beginning of the course.
  • Unit 2. Political development: Forming a union
  • Tue, Sep 11th, 2018. The Constitution. How do institutions matter? What influenced the framers' thinking and interests? What was wrong with the Articles of Confederation? Why is it hard to know the founders' intent? Why was compromise important in drafting and ratifying the Constitution? How was the Constitution inspired?
    DUERegister your iClicker. You must register your iClicker online if you wish to receive credit for quizzes! Visit BYU's iClicker registration page and enter your iClicker number if you haven't already. You must click the link provided; if your other courses have used a different iClicker registration link (and many do), I won't have access to that information.
    Termsinstitutions; Newton's laws; original sin; home rule; Articles of Confederation; confederation; Shays's rebellion; aristocracy; Virginia Plan; New Jersey Plan; three-fifths compromise; plural executive; separation of powers; federal division of powers; popular sovereignty; rule of law; Bill of Rights; Federalist; Antifederalist; ratification; Federalist Papers; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    46 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 33-41 (7e 39-47) will be review. Skim, focusing on key terms.
    • Review the 1776 Declaration of Independence [4 pages]
    • Logic 8e pp 42-47 (7e 48-53) [6 pages]
    • Review the 1777 Articles of Confederation [8 pages]
    • Logic 8e pp 47-54 (7e 53-60) [6 pages]
    • Review the 1787 US Constitution and all amendments [22 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Many browsers choke on large PDFs. If clicking a particular PDF (such as those assigned for today) doesn't seem to work, try right-clicking and choosing "Save link as" to download the file to your device rather than opening it directly in the browser window. Also, some versions of Safari do a particularly poor job with large PDFs, so switch browsers if needed.
    • Declaration of Independence: Pay special attention to the first two paragraphs and the final paragraph.
    • Articles of Confederation: What flaws may have led to a desire to write a new constitution? For example, take note of what sort of national executive and judiciary the AofC created. Also, compare section II in the AofC to Article 6 (second paragraph) of the Constitution, and compare the powers delegated to Congress in the AofC to those listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. There are many other such differences you may notice.
    • Constitution: I will regularly assign brief sections of the Constitution throughout the course. For now, focus on the big picture, comparing it to the Articles of Confederation and to the principles in the Declaration of Independence. Look for anything that surprises you.
    • If you haven't listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, let me just say... dude. Here's your preview. (If you look up the album, be aware that there are two versions: Explicit and non-explicit.)
    • Learn more in Poli 202, "Western Political Heritage"
    • Learn more in Poli 365, "Early American Political Thought"
  • Thu, Sep 13th, 2018. Continued.
    DUEGet your password. You will need a username and password for this website to submit assignments. Look for the "login" link at the top of the page. (On mobile devices, expand the menu to see it.)
    Readings
    40 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 54-72, 79 (7e 60-79), special attention to Fed. 10 and 51 [18 pages]
    • Logic 8e table 2.3 on p 72 (7e table 1.1 on p 24). Read pp 72-78 (7e 24-31) only if the table is unclear. [1 page]
    • Oaks (1992), "The divinely inspired Constitution" [8 pages]
    • Lee (1992), "The Constitution and the Restoration" [8 pages]
    • Utah pp 11-15 [5 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    • Brutus (1787), Anti-federalist #3, November 15, 1787 [5 pages]
    • Madison (1787), Federalist #10 (Appendix 4 in Logic) [4 pages]
    • Madison (1787), Federalist #51 (Appendix 5 in Logic) [3 pages]
    FYI
    • Federalist 10 and 51 address concerns about representation and factionalism raised by the antifederalist Brutus. Federalist 10 presents the proposed union's vast size as a safeguard against factionalism, turning Brutus's argument on its head; since larger unions have more factions competing for influence, Madison argues, it is less likely that any one faction will dominate. Federalist 51 emphasizes the proposed Constitution's checks and balances, both horizontal (executive-judicial-legislative) and vertical (federalism), to argue that the Constitution will effectively prevent any narrow interest from taking over the whole thing. To go the extra mile, click "show additional resources" for the full text of these essays, and also of the Brutus essay they respond to. To what extent do these two essays fail to address some of Brutus's concerns?
    • Oaks: Memorize the five points Elder Oaks identifies as inspired. Re-read the Constitution to see what he omits. He stresses that this is merely his opinion, not an apostolic pronouncement. Thus, reflect: What might you add to, remove from, or change in his list?
    • Lee: Rex E. Lee was BYU president when he delivered this address. He previously served as Solicitor General of the United States and in other influential positions. One of his sons serves on the Utah Supreme Court, another in the US Senate. Pay special attention to his defense of judicial review (under "Genius Features") and to his discussion of the Constitution as "divinely inspired" (under "The Constitution's Significance for Latter-day Saints").
    • Where do Oaks and Lee agree and disagree? How would you resolve these disagreements?
    • Utah: Why does the Utah Constitution receive so many more amendments than the US Constitution? Because the US Constitution is so much harder to amend, we rely on judicial reinterpretation rather than formal amendments to keep it modern. Should the US Constitution's amendment process be simplified to look more like Utah's?
    • Learn more in Poli 365, "Early American Political Thought"
  • Tue, Sep 18th, 2018. Federalism and centralization. What is federalism? Why has power grown more centralized (or nationalized) over time?
    Termsstate; unitary; confederal; federal; dual federalism; shared federalism; centralization; supremacy clause; necessary and proper clause; commerce clause; McCulloch v Maryland; Gibbons v Ogden; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    38 pages
    • Utah pp 17-23, 30-31, 134-8 [13 pages]
    • Logic 8e pp 86-96 (7e 85-95) overlaps lots with Utah. Skim.
    • Logic 8e pp 96-118 (7e 96-118) has less overlap [23 pages]
    • US Constitution, Articles IV and VI, Amendments 9-11, 16-17 [2 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • In addition to office hours, this week TAs will begin holding weekly group Q&A sessions. Scroll all the way up to the top of this syllabus to see the schedule. I encourage you to pick one of the weekly times and attend, even when you don't have a ton of questions. These are usually small groups, so you can think of them as group study sessions with TAs present. (Avoid coming late, as the sessions will adjourn once people stop asking questions.)
    • Utah: If you are interested in national parks and other public lands, read the unassigned portions of chapter 3 also. Ch 3 key concepts: shared federalism, dual federalism, Tenth Amendment, matching grant (Medicaid), block grant (TANF), Tea Party, Patrick Henry Caucus. How does Utah's distinctive history shape state-federal relations? How might state-federal relations be different in California, New York, or Texas? Ch 9 key concepts: unitary governance, political subdivisions, Dillon's rule, preemption laws.
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 325, "Politics of Wilderness, National Parks, and Public Lands"
    • Learn more in Poli 420, "Constitutional Law: American Federal System"
  • Unit 3. Political development: Rights and liberties
  • Thu, Sep 20th, 2018. Civil rights. How are the terms "civil rights" and "civil liberties" used differently? Why did the same northern Republicans who enacted the 13th-15th amendments tolerate segregation and Jim Crow? Why did the 1960s civil rights movement need to follow successful 1950s civil rights litigation? How did the civil rights movement of the 1960s overcome free rider problems?
    Termscivil rights; civil liberties; procedural equality; substantive equality; 13th amendment; 15th amendment; Civil Rights Act; Voting Rights Act; Plessy v Ferguson; NAACP; Brown v Board of Education; segregation; Martin Luther King; busing; affirmative action; de facto; de jure; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    32 pages
    FYI
    • Debate 1 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Tuesday, September 25th.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
    • What is the "purpose" mentioned in DC 101:80? (Verse 79 contains the direct answer, although verses 76-78 are relevant.)
    • Consider watching Lincoln, which depicts just how difficult it was to end slavery. Though Congress is very different now, Lincoln also accurately depicts the 19th-century Congress.
    • In "Race and the Priesthood," take special note of this statement: "Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church." And later in the essay: "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form." If you ever hear somebody bring up old LDS racial teachings, point them to this disavowal and to the 9th article of faith.
    • The Charlottesville rally and violence are part of a long-suppressed white supremacy movement that has increasingly emerged from the shadows since 2016. Read the LDS statement and Trump's remarks about these events. Reflect on the extent to which race and racism continue to influence modern American society and on what, if anything, should be done.
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Tue, Sep 25th, 2018. Civil liberties. What are the rights and duties of an American citizen? How have your liberties evolved over time? When are restrictions on free speech permissible?
    DUEDebate 1. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termscivil liberties; ex post facto laws; bills of attainder; habeas corpus; 14th amendment; selective incorporation; 1st amendment; freedom of speech; pure political speech; symbolic speech; speech accompanied by disruptive conduct; incitement; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    26 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 172-82, 196-210 (7e 174-84, 198-12) [25 pages]
    • Logic 8e pp 182-92 (7e 185-95) overlaps lots with lecture material. Skim.
    • US Constitution, Amendments 1 and 14 [1 page]
    • I will try to start the next lecture today if possible, so read ahead if you can.
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYI
    • By now you've seen me direct you to "skim" a portion of the textbook several times. As a memory jogger, I defined "skimming" under the "How can I improve my grades" heading above.
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Wed, Sep 26th, 2018. Reminder.
    FYIPeer reviews for Debate 1 are now open. Submit online by Thursday, September 27th.
  • Thu, Sep 27th, 2018. Religious liberty. What was the framers' experience with religious freedom? When can free exercise be limited? When is prayer allowed in public schools?
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 1. Submit online.
    TermsToleration Act; establishment clause; free exercise clause; theocracy; de jure establishment; de facto establishment; incidental burden; Lemon test; neutrality test; Main Street Plaza; school prayer; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    23 pages
    Resources
    • Clark (2005), "'The only game in town': An ACLU perspective," from God and Country: Politics in Utah [16 pages]
    FYI
    • We will spend as much time as necessary finishing up. I will leave any remaining time available to answer review questions for the midterm exam.
    • Utah: Council of Fifty, Brigham Young as Governor, Utah War (Johnston's Army, Camp Floyd, Alfred Cumming), Camp Douglas, People's Party, Liberal Party, twin relics of barbarism, Edmunds-Tucker Act. How might the 19th century LDS experience have been different if the 14th amendment and the judicial doctrine of selective incorporation had been in place?
    • What lessons about modern religious liberty do we learn from the early LDS experiences you are reading about today? How might the lack of a 14th amendment (as of 1843-4) have limited President Van Buren's ability to help the Saints?
    • DC 134 is presented as a declaration, not a revelation, so consider: How might this declaration have been written differently if it had been adopted in 1844, 1857, 1890, or today rather than in 1835?
    • Garr: Why did JS mount a long-shot bid for president? What were some key parts of his platform?
    • Learn more in Poli 336, "Government and Religion"
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Tue, Oct 2nd, 2018. Woohoo! There is no class today. Take the test.
    DUEMidterm 1. Take it in the Testing Center between Friday, September 28, and Tuesday, October 9. The Testing Center will charge you a $5 late fee after 2pm Tuesday. Bring a pencil. Check the Testing Center hours before you go.
    FYI
    • This portion of your midterm is multiple choice. (The midterm also has a take-home written portion that you already completed: Your first debate paper.) Expect 100 questions, drawing evenly on lecture and readings. Past experience suggests that most students will take 60-80 minutes on this test, though you may take as long as you wish (until the Testing Center closes).
    • The Testing Center imposes the late fee, not me. Save yourself some money and take it before the fee starts.
    • I write new questions every year, making it hard for me to predict what the average score will be. If the testing center tells you that you scored 60% on the exam, don't assume you failed; I may need to drop some questions or apply a curve, but I cannot make those decisions until the test closes and I review scores.
    • If you have questions about whether I curve grades, how you can raise your grade, or the course's overall difficulty level, read through the syllabus once again. It's all covered there. If you have questions, come ask me.
  • Unit 4. Political behavior: Public opinion and voting
  • Thu, Oct 4th, 2018. How voters decide. What are the major candidates and themes of recent elections? How informed are voters? How committed are voters to their party? How do voters select a candidate? Does democracy work? Which explanation of vote choice makes the most sense to you?
    Termssubstance; style; always shuck your tamales; Iran hostage crisis; Columbia model; sociological model; cross-pressure; opinion leader; minimal effects hypothesis; Downsian model; rational choice model; economic model; calculus of voting; information shortcut; endorsements; Michigan model; psychological model; funnel analogy; partisanship; perceptual screening (also called "selective perception" or "motivated reasoning"); all terms from textbook
    Readings
    30 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 397-414 (7e 398-417) [18 pages]
    • Utah review pp 8-11, then read pp 32-38 and 45-49 [12 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYI
    • Utah: Why did Utah experience such wild partisan swings after statehood? Why did a religious-partisan cleavage emerge in the 1970s? In Utah, how does religion compare to ideology as a predictor of partisanship? What would it take for Utah to become a competitive state? What would it take for Mormons to become a competitive demographic? More generally, how does all this help you understand the links among issue positions, ideology (liberal vs conservative), and partisanship (Republican vs Democrat), and what do you learn about how voters learn and decide?
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
    • Learn more in Poli 324, "Political Psychology"
  • Tue, Oct 9th, 2018. How voters decide, continued.
    Readings
    25 pages
    • Logic 8e 414-31, 439-41, 447-52 (7e 417-434, 442-446, 454-458) [25 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYIEnrichment 1 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Thursday, October 11th.
  • Thu, Oct 11th, 2018. Public opinion polling. How can you assess a poll's trustworthiness?
    DUEEnrichment 1 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termspopulation; sample; random sample; sampling error; margin of error; convenience sample; self-selection bias; non-response error; response rate; measurement error; double barreled question; social desirability bias; Bradley effect; framing; priming
    Readings
    17 pages
    FYI
    • I highly recommend reading all of Joel Best's short and very readable book (Damned Lies and Statistics), not just the except I have assigned. It will dramatically increase your confidence when you hear statistical arguments on the news or in political discourse.
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
  • Tue, Oct 16th, 2018. Turnout and engagement. Why do some people vote but others don't? Does it matter who votes? Why do Americans flunk civics quizzes? How does political knowledge relate to turnout? What can states do to influence turnout? Which mobilization tactics are most effective?
    Termscalculus of voting; civic duty; information costs; civic knowledge; byproduct theory; issue public; participation costs; motor voter; absentee voting; mobilization; GOTV; social pressure; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    31 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 441-47 (7e 446-454) [7 pages]
    • Utah pp 39-40 (including chart on p 41) [2 pages]
    • Popkin (1993), The Reasoning Voter, ch 2 [22 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYI
    • Government meeting 1 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Thursday, October 18th.
    • Utah: Why has turnout in Utah moved from above average to below average? What could turn this around?
    • The Popkin reading is background for the lecture material on civic knowledge, the byproduct theory, and issue publics. It is skimmable.
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
    • Learn more in Poli 324, "Political Psychology"
  • Thu, Oct 18th, 2018. Constitution Day lectures (no class).
    DUEGovernment meeting 1 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Readings
    FYI
    • BYU celebrates the September 17, 1787, signing of the Constitution with an annual lecture. I am assigning you a few past lectures to watch today on your own time. I schedule this at the mid-point of the semester to give you a small break and to remind you of some of the themes we discussed earlier in the course. The videos are on YouTube, so watch them at 2x speed if you like as long as you can still follow along.
    • Beeman goes through the personalities and contributions of several key founders. He also emphasizes several points I discuss in class: The united states becoming the United States, the importance of compromise, the improbable odds, the severity of the disagreement between Virginia and New Jersey plans, etc.
    • Griffith gives a wonderful overview of the different ways that judges read the Constitution, showing, for example, how the originalist and "living Constitution" approaches differ. (We will return to these approaches later when discussing the Supreme Court). Pay special attention to his discussion of the Second Amendment and Commerce Clause.
  • Unit 5. Political behavior: Political parties and interest groups
  • Tue, Oct 23rd, 2018. Political parties. Why can there be only two major parties? Why do we have these two parties? What do the Republican and Democratic coalitions look like today? How do presidential nominations work? What makes horse race polling during multicandidate primary elections so unreliable?
    Termsparty-in-government; party-as-organization; party-in-electorate; major party; minor party; Duverger's law; majoritarian; proportional; wasted vote; Ralph Nader; election of 2000; realignment; party system; Republican; Democrat; King Caucus; nominating convention; primary; 1968 Democratic convention; pledged delegate; superdelegate; open primary; closed primary; semi-closed primary; runoff; Howard Dean (2004); John Kerry (2004); Hillary Clinton (2008); Barack Obama (2008); Mitt Romney (2012); all terms from textbook
    Readings
    32 pages
    • Logic all of ch 12 but especially pp 479-87, 499-503, 506-8, 509-12, 514-15, 519-20 (7e 485-92, 504-9, 511-13, 514-17, 518-19, 524-25) [22 pages]
    • Utah pp 40-45, 157-61 [10 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Debate 2 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Thursday, October 25th.
    • Utah: caucus-convention system, party delegate, direct primary. Why do we see more factionalism among Utah Republicans than among Republicans nationally?
    • Learn more in Poli 150, "Comparative Government and Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 316, "American Political Parties"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
  • Thu, Oct 25th, 2018. Continued.
    DUEDebate 2. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Readings
    20 pages
    • Logic: Glance over the chapter on political parties again, including the bits I did not assign last time.
    • Read the preamble to the 2016 Republican platform and Democratic platform Then, in each platform, read the first full paragraph under each heading or subheading [20 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYILearn more in Poli 316, "American Political Parties"
  • Fri, Oct 26th, 2018. Reminder.
    FYIPeer reviews for Debate 2 are now open. Submit online by Tuesday, October 30th.
  • Tue, Oct 30th, 2018. Catch up if needed.
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 2. Submit online.
    FYIIf we are behind, we will meet today to catch up. Otherwise, there will not be class today. Take a sanity day. This is the most intense part of the semester for many students, so take a little time not only to catch up but to take care of yourself.
  • Thu, Nov 1st, 2018. Yay! (No class)
    DUEMidterm 2. Take it in the Testing Center between Thursday, November 1, and Monday, November 4. The Testing Center will charge you a $5 late fee after 11am Monday. Bring a pencil. Check the Testing Center hours before you go.
    FYI
    • This portion of your midterm is multiple choice. (The midterm also has a take-home written portion that you already completed: Your first debate paper.) Expect 100 questions, drawing evenly on lecture and readings. Past experience suggests that most students will take 60-80 minutes on this test, though you may take as long as you wish (until the Testing Center closes).
    • The Testing Center imposes the late fee, not me. I find it foolish to pay to take a test; please take it before the fee starts.
    • I write new questions every year, making it hard for me to predict what the average score will be. If the testing center tells you that you scored 60% on the exam, don't assume you failed; I may need to drop some questions or apply a curve, but I cannot make those decisions until the test closes and I review scores.
    • If you have questions about whether I curve grades, how you can raise your grade, or the course's overall difficulty level, read through the syllabus once again. It's all covered there. If you have questions, come ask me.
  • Unit 6. Political institutions: The legislative branch
  • Tue, Nov 6th, 2018. Introduction to Congress. How can Congress be so unpopular when individual representatives are so popular? How does the structure of Congress influence how we evaluate Congress? How do reapportionment and redistricting work?
    Termstyranny; efficiency; Congress; legislature; legislator; term length; chamber size; reapportionment; redistricting; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    43 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 213-29, 241-47, 252-54, 267-70 (7e 214-31, 242-48, 254-55, 269-71) [28 pages]
    • US Constitution, Article I, Amendments 16-17 and 27 [6 pages]
    • Utah pp 50-58 [9 pages]
    • Glance at Logic Appendix 6 (Congressional partisanship)
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
    • Logic: You will read all of the Congress chapter over the next days. I have assigned it out of order, but if that gets confusing, just read the chapter as written. Portions assigned for this lecture deal with the structure and organization of Congress.
    • Utah: General Session, single subject rule, omnibus bill, interim, party caucus, caucus, leadership, standing committee, staff, professional legislature, citizen legislature. The US Congress is the nation's most professionalized legislature, while the Utah Legislature is among the least. What would happen if we switched that? (Remember the "three s's" of legislative professionalism: Salary, Staff, Session length.) What if the US Congress had a single subject rule?
    • Remember, the Utah Legislature is an entirely separate organization from the US Congress, with different procedures, offices, and rules. Keep them separate in your mind. Throughout our unit on political institutions, contrast what you learn about Utah institutions (the legislature, governor, state courts, etc) and federal institutions (Congress, president, federal courts, etc). Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each set of institutions. What would happen if the federal government were designed like the Utah government—or vice versa? Does it make sense for Utah and the federal government to have different institutions? That is, is one set of institutions clearly superior? Or is one set of institutions more suited to a smaller polity like Utah while another is more suited to a large polity? Keep these questions in mind over the coming weeks.
    • Learn about BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Thu, Nov 8th, 2018. Elections and representation. When do the "best" candidates run? Who serves in office? What creates the incumbency advantage? What is representation? How do Representatives view constituents? How does the Constitutional structure of Congress influence how Representatives behave?
    Termsstrategic entry; amateur candidate; professional candidate; wave election; incumbent; challenger; open seat; incumbency advantage; reelection incentive; advertising; credit claiming; position taking; geographic constituency; reelection constituency; primary constituency; personal constituency (or "intimates"); issue representation (or "substantive representation"); service representation; allocational representation; descriptive representation; delegate; trustee; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    34 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 229-32, 452-58, 462-67 (7e 231-34, 458-64, 466-70) [15 pages]
    • Utah pp 78-87, 96-100, 144-47 [18 pages]
    • Clarifying discussion about campaign finance below [1 page]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Important: Chapter 5 in Utah uses "delegate" in two unrelated ways: The delegate-trustee tradeoff, and party delegates. These are totally different. If you do not understand what a party delegate is from this chapter, see Utah pp 42-43 for a fuller explanation.
    • Utah ch 5: geographic constituency, reelection constituency, primary constituency, party delegate, delegate-trustee tradeoff. The geographic-reelection-primary constituency framework was originally applied for the US Congress; I adapt it slightly in my book for the Utah context but will give the standard version in lecture when discussing Congress. Also, you will read the remaining portions of this chapter when we cover interest groups later in the course, but you may want to read those portions now so that the chapter hangs together. Your call.
    • Utah ch 9: How can you most effectively influence local officeholders? Also, the delegate-trustee tradeoff.
    • These readings contain some discussion of campaign finance issues. For the most part, details about campaign finance law are beyond the scope of this course. Here are some clarifications as far as this course is concerned, though.
    • First, federalism. US law governs contributions to candidates for federal office (Congress/president), while Utah law governs contributions to candidates for state and local office (Legislature/governor/mayor/etc). Thus, discussions of campaign finance in Logic and Utah are discussing different things.
    • Second, legal substance. US campaign finance law is much stricter than Utah campaign finance law. In general, Utah law requires candidates for state office only to disclose their donors; you could give a candidate millions of dollars as long as the candidate provides the proper disclosures to the state. US law likewise requires candidates for federal office to disclose their donors, but then it goes further by limiting those donations. The amount rises with inflation, but in general you cannot give more than a few thousand dollars to any particular federal candidate per election cycle. These contribution limits give rise to two important distinctions you will encounter in Logic.
    • Distinction #1: "Hard money" refers to funds given directly to a federal candidate's campaign (subject to contribution limits). "Soft money" refers to funds given to some outside group that will spend that money independently on behalf of a candidate.
    • Distinction #2: When outside groups spend on behalf of a candidate (rather than give their money to a candidate as "hard money"), it is either a "coordinated expenditure" (outside spending that is coordinated with a candidate's campaign efforts and is therefore legally treated as an in-kind contribution) or "independent campaign spending" (spending by an individual or group in favor of a candidate but without coordinating with the candidate).
    • Logic goes deeper into the weeds of campaign finance law, but if you understand its discussion of these concepts you are doing fine for purposes of this course.
    • Learn about BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Tue, Nov 13th, 2018. Legislating. How does a bill become a law? Who is empowered by the legislative process in the House? In the Senate? How do initiatives, referendums, and recalls differ? How do initiatives get on the ballot?
    Termsbill; law; committee; Speaker; conference committee; Rules Committee; open rule; closed rule; modified closed rule; unanimous consent agreement; filibuster; cloture; initiative; direct initiative; indirect initiative; referendum; legislative referendum; popular referendum; recall; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    30 pages
    • Read carefully: Logic 8e pp 232-41 (7e 234-41, 243) [9 pages]
    • Logic 8e pp 254-67 (7e 255-68) covers material I will lecture on at length; skim it after lecture to be sure you got it all
    • Recommended: Utah pp 58-65
    • Utah pp 65-77 (to contrast Utah Legislature to Congress) [12 pages]
    • Utah ch 6 (to contrast direct and representative democracy) [9 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYI
    • Enrichment 2 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Thursday, November 15th.
    • Utah ch 4: "procedures create power," partisan batting averages, vetting. Compared to the US Congress, the Utah Legislature has less partisanship, more bills passed, fewer "no" votes, and much less vetting time. Why? Would you rather have a legislative body like that Utah Legislature or the US Congress? Why?
    • Utah ch 6: vouchers, direct democracy, initiative, referendum, gun behind the door. Does direct democracy make Utah politics better or worse? Should we have direct democracy at the federal level?
    • Learn about BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship
    • Learn more about direct democracy in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Unit 7. Political institutions: The executive branch
  • Thu, Nov 15th, 2018. The presidency. What do we expect of American presidents? How are our expectations of presidents at odds with their formal powers? How has the presidency evolved over time? How do presidents compensate for their limited formal powers?
    DUEEnrichment 2 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termsbudget; OMB; veto; veto override; treaty; appointment power; filibuster; chief clerk; Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt; bully pulpit; stewardship theory; Woodrow Wilson; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; negotiation; going public; executive order; signing statement; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    38 pages
    • Logic all of ch 7 but especially pp 277-82, 290-92, 294-302, 306-7, 311 (7e 279-83, 292-3, 296-304, 308-9, 313) [18 pages]
    • Utah pp 112-15, 119-22 (recommended: ch 7) [7 pages]
    • US Constitution, Article II, Amendments 12, 20, 22, 23, 25 [6 pages]
    • Goodwin, "Lessons from presidents," video (19:19) or transcript [7 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    • Logic, Appendix 6 (party control of Congress and presidency)
    • Logic, Appendix 7 (presidential elections)
    FYI
    • If some of Doris Kearns Goodwin's stories sound familiar, that's because she was the consulting historian for Lincoln.
    • Utah: plural executive vs unitary executive, item veto, full/package veto, veto override, appointment power. Governors vary widely in their powers. Should US presidents share their authority with a plural executive? Should they have an item veto, or should the veto override threshold be changed? Should presidents have appointment power that is more restricted, like the Utah governor's? In general, how does this discussion of gubernatorial power in the states shape your perception of presidential power?
    • Learn more in Poli 314, "The US Presidency"
  • Tue, Nov 20th, 2018. Friday instruction. No class.
  • Thu, Nov 22nd, 2018. Thanksgiving. No class.
    Readings
    FYIIt was 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a regular holiday. Celebrations were sporadic prior to that time. There was so much to mourn and worry about in 1863, but Lincoln understood that even in our darkest hours we need to look on high and give thanks. May we all do so this week.
  • Tue, Nov 27th, 2018. The executive bureaucracy. What is a bureaucracy, and why do we need one? How is the bureaucracy structured, and what are its powers? Why and how have we increased bureaucratic independence? How do Congress and the president control the bureaucracy?
    Termsbureaucracy; Executive Office of the President; cabinet department; independent agency; merit system; regulation; implementation; oversight; police patrol; fire alarm; Federal Register; OMB; central clearance; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    21 pages
    • Logic, all of ch 8 but especially pp 319-24, 332, 334-41, 344-45, 349-50 (7e 320-25, 336, 339-46, 349-50, 353-55) [18 pages]
    • Utah pp 50-52 [3 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Government meeting 2 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Thursday, November 29th.
    • Utah: "Working 4 Utah." How would the federal government be different—and how would the federal bureaucracy's role be different—if the US Congress were as jealous as the Utah Legislature of its authority?
    • Learn more in Poli 314, "The US Presidency"
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
    • Learn more in Poli 333, "Politics of Bureaucracy"
  • Unit 8. Political institutions: The judicial branch
  • Thu, Nov 29th, 2018. The judiciary. How is the federal judiciary structured? How are state judiciaries different? How did federal courts acquire the power to strike down laws?
    DUEGovernment meeting 2 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termscommon law; civil law; precedent; stare decisis; statutory law; constitutional law; administrative law; case law; District Court; Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. Supreme Court; trial court; specialty court; intermediate court of appeals; state supreme court; judicial review; Marbury v Madison; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    34 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 356-58, 361-74, 383-94 (7e 360-64, 364-77, 385-96) [27 pages]
    • US Constitution, Articles III, IV, V, and VI [3 pages]
    • Utah pp 123-26 [4 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    FYI
    • Utah: How do state court caseloads compare to federal court caseloads? Why? Utah is one of several states to experiment with specialized courts (e.g. drug courts, teen courts, mental health courts). Should other states try this experiment or not?
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 420, "Constitutional Law: American Federal System"
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
    • Learn more in Poli 364, "Jurisprudence"
  • Tue, Dec 4th, 2018. Continued. How does the Supreme Court operate? How do Supreme Court justices interpret the Constitution?
    Termsdecision to decide; rule of four; writ of certiorari; decision on the merits; amicus curiae; majority opinion; dissenting opinion; concurring opinion; originalism; living Constitution; all terms from textbook
    Readings
    18 pages
    • Logic 8e pp 374-83 (7e 377-85) [8 pages]
    • Utah pp 126-33 [7 pages]
    • Hamilton (1787), The Federalist, #78 [3 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day
    Resources
    FYI
    • Utah: Why do state supreme courts (and the Utah Supreme Court particularly) strike down fewer laws than the US Supreme Court? Understand the merit plan (nominating commission, retention election). What evidence suggests that it is the merit plan rather than partisan agreement that promotes consensus on the Utah Supreme Court?
    • Hamilton defends the Constitution's provisions for unelected judges with lifelong tenure. He argues that these provisions will guarantee judicial independence, which he characterizes as desirable under certain conditions. What are the conditions? Are those conditions met today? If not, would it be better if judges ran in elections as Republican or Democratic candidates?
    • How would American politics change if federal judges were selected using the merit plan? What if judges were elected instead?
    • Consider going back and watching the Griffith lecture that I had you view earlier this semester.
  • Thu, Dec 6th, 2018. Crime and punishment. What are the goals of criminal justice policy? How is justice policy made? Do "tough on crime" laws work?
    Termsdeterrence; retribution/punishment; incapacitation; rehabilitation; restitution; truth-in-sentencing; three strikes; sex offender registry; mandatory sentencing guidelines; parole; probation; legislation by anecdote; crime news script; Ronnie Lee Gardner; death penalty
    Readings
    41 pages
    Resources
    FYI
    • Debate 3 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Tuesday, December 11th.
    • Yes, that's a lot of readings today, but I find them more interesting and worthwhile than most readings we'll cover this semester. Please read them thoughtfully.
    • As you read, ask yourself: What is the goal of criminal justice policy? What are we trying to accomplish when we impose jail time, fines, community service, probation, drug treatment, and other sentences? (There are several possible answers, so don't stop with one.) For example, with the frozen turkey story, how might the outcome have been different if the perpetrator were imprisoned for 25 years? Or what if Ronnie Lee Gardner had enjoyed access to youth court and drug court in his formative years rather than spending so many of those years institutionalized or incarcerated?
    • Since most of you belong to a church that believes in change and redemption, even for murderers and the vilest sinners, take time to ponder: When is rehabilitation most likely to work, and which approaches are most likely to succeed? (I suggest you click each of these links; doing so will help you figure out the relevance of some of the scriptures assigned for today.)
    • If you find the packet about Ronnie Lee Gardner interesting, here's an optional follow-up piece, written a year after the execution, and very much worth reading: "LDS bishop recounts Ronnie Lee Gardner's final days".
  • Tue, Dec 11th, 2018. Catch up if needed.
    DUEDebate 3. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    FYIWe will spend as much time as necessary finishing the previous lecture.
  • Unit 9. Time to declare as a political science major!
  • Wed, Dec 12th, 2018. Reminder.
    FYIPeer reviews for Debate 3 are now open. Submit online by Thursday, December 13th.
  • Thu, Dec 13th, 2018. What have we learned?
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 3. Submit online.
    TermsAll terms from textbook
    Readings
    13 pages
    FYI
    • I am happy to discuss the pros and cons of the political science major with you at any time.
    • I train and supervise BYU's interns in the Utah legislature. Please ask me if you have questions about this internship.
    • Utah: political subculture, Trump's "tremendous problem" in Utah. How will understanding the delegate-trustee tradeoff help you engage officeholders more effectively?
    • Balan discusses how Arrow, Downs, Olson, and Riker changed our view of politics. I taught Olson's free rider problem; I taught a definition of federalism derived from Riker; I taught part of Downs (the calculus of voting, further developed by Riker); though I didn't discuss Arrow explicitly, his contributions shaped this class at many points. This brief writeup therefore presents an excellent summary of much of what you learned in this course, and much of what political science can and cannot do.
    • If America's founders saw our nation today, what would surprise them? What would please or disappoint them, and how might Jefferson/Madison and Hamilton/Adams react differently to what they see? What have we learned since 1787 that they did not know, and which might have led them to change parts of the Constitution? What amendments, if any, would you propose to the US Constitution? And now that we have completed this course, how do you react to the Oaks talk about which fundamentals in the Constitution strike him as inspired—or to Lee's list of genius features?
    • If you are unable to sell your texts, please consider donating them to me. Next time I teach this course, I will place donated books on reserve in the library. You may drop them at my office after taking the final if you wish to donate them.
  • Thu, Dec 20th, 2018. Final exam ends. The final exam will administered IN ROOM TBD throughout finals week. (The Testing Center is administering it, but it uses overflow rooms throughout campus during finals week.)
    FYI
    • Format. The final exam combines a midterm on the last third of the course (100 questions) with a comprehensive section reviewing material from the first two-thirds of the course (40 questions), a total of 140 questions. You already completed the take-home written portion (your third debate paper), so all that remains is the multiple choice section. If you're worried about your grade, don't forget the mercy rule described elsewhere in this syllabus.
    • Scheduling. Please do not ask to take the final examination early. It is against university policy to give final examinations outside of the scheduled final examination period. Do not make any plans that interfere with the final exam schedule. Please do not ask for exceptions except in the most extenuating medical circumstances (such as a baby's due date during finals week). I am not authorized to grant exceptions to attend weddings or other family events.
    • Review opportunities: Regular office hours and group sessions end on the last day of lecture. However, you will have the following review opportunities during the exam period: TBD.