American National Government Fall 2011 Dr. Smith
Readings for Wednesday • Please read syllabus. • Janda Chapter 1&2, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (Appendix)
Learning Objectives Part I • Upon completion of this course, students will be able • to discuss and critically analyze political events in the United States government. • to understand and interpret the United States Constitution and apply it to the present.
Learning Objectives Part II • students will be able to assess the 2010 and 2012 Presidential Elections without resorting to partisan bickering. • students will be able to identify and explain the role of formal and informal institutions and their effect on policy. • have a better understanding of why our national government works and why the American system of government is unique.
American Government at a Diverse University • St. Edward's is quickly becoming an international university with students from many different nations and American States. Each student brings a different level of knowledge and understanding about American Government to this class. I have designed the course curriculum to help those students who have the least knowledge about American Government.
Topics We Will Cover • The origins of American government • Formal participants in government (Congress, President, Voters, Judiciary, Bureaucracy) • Informal participants in government (Media, Interest Groups, Political Parties)
Information from the Syllabus • 7th Brief Edition • Grading/Tests • Academic Integrity • Readings
Office Hours • A chance to discuss course content • Many Opportunities • When? • Monday and Wednesday 8:00-10:30 • Tuesday and Thursday 8:00-12:00 • And by appointment
Government and Politics • Government (noun) • Politics (verb)
What Makes for A Democracy? • Elections at Regular Intervals • Elections are Free From Corruption and Secret • Elections offer voters a choice • Elections have the Power to Remove officials • Elections have the Power to Remove HIGHEST Official • Most people can vote
How Many Election Terms
Plurality • What is it • Where do We see it
Majority • What is it? • Where We See it
Extraordinary Majority • What is it? • Where do we see it?
Unanimity • What is it • Where do we see it
Social Contract Theory • The State of Nature • What is it?
"Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? We stay together, we survive."Gladiator, 2000
The Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes) The Movie (1989) The Book (1651)
Hobbes and Social Contract • The Role of Government • What You Get • What You give up Better to be alive than dead
John Locke • Hobbes is wrong • Government should protect natural rights • Governments that do not provide this, get removed
The Declaration of Independence Foundations of American Government
The Social Contract With Britain • Benefits of Being with Britain • Costs of Being With Britain • Under the social contract with Britain what was missing?
The Colonists asked: Is it Better to Cooperate or Defect? "We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately."- Ben Franklin
The Declaration of Independence • The Result of A Failed Social Contract • Aims of the Document
The Declaration • Breaks the Social Contract. • An expression of the arguments in support of separation from Great Britain.
What Else • Declaration of War • Long, Long, Long list of Grievances • Begging for Alliances
THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION • THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT A SOCIAL CONTRACT (1781-89) • How did it work
Why Else • No Power to Tax • No power to call the militia • States began to fight each other