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American Government & Politics

Department of Political Science Case Western Reserve University

(Revised October 2007) ***The faculty is currently revising this list. The version posted here provides a sense of some of the material that will be included after revision, but some will be dropped and other material added.***

M.A students are expected to be able to explain, critique, integrate, and apply the arguments in the works listed below. Prior to reviewing these materials, students should seek advice about reading efficiently from faculty members in the American Government & Politics subfield.

OVERVIEW READINGS

The Federalist Papers #s 10, 51, 62, 63

Robert A. Dahl. 2002/2003. How Democratic Is the American Constitution? Chapters 1 – 3, pages 1-72.

CONGRESS

Arnold, R. Douglas, The Logic of Congressional Action, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

Aldrich, John H. and David W. Rohde. 2000, “The Consequences of Party Organization in the House: The Role of the Majority and Minority Parties in Conditional Party Government.” Pages 31-72 in Jon R. Bond and Richard Fleisher eds., Polarized Politics: Congress and the President in a Partisan Era. (CQ Press)

Davidson, Roger H. and Walter J. Oleszek, “Congressional Procedures,” The chapter in a recent (Tenth edition or later) ofCongress and Its Members. (probably Chapter Eight)

Sarah A, Binder and Stephen S. Smith, Politics or Principle?, The Politics and Principle of the Filibuster, Brookings Press, Washington D.C., 1997, 1-36.

David W. Brady, John F. Cogon, and Morris P. Fiorina (ed.), Continuity and Change in House Elections, Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder Jr., Money and Office: The Sources of the Incumbency Advantage in Congressional Campaign Finance, Stanford University Press, 2000, 65-77.

David W. Brady and Hahrie Han, Party Polarization in the Post WWII Era: A Two Period Electoral Interpretation, paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association on April 4, 2003, Chicago, Illinois, 1-48.

David Butler and Bruce Cain, Congressional Redistricting, Changing Boundaries: Myths and Realities, MacMillan Publishing Company, NY, 1992, 1-46.

David Canon, Race, Redistricting, and Representation, A Legal Primer on Race and Redistricting, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999, 60-77.

David W. Brady, John F. Cogan, Brian J. Gaines, Douglas Rivers, The Perils of Presidential Support: How the Republicans Took the House in the 1994 Midterm Elections, Political Behavior, Vol 18, No. 4, Dec. 1996, 345-367.

Richard F. Fenno, Jr., U.S. House Members in Their Constituencies: An Exploration, The American Political Science Review, Vol.17, No. 3, (Sep., 1977), 883-917.

Richard F. Fenno, Jr., Congressmen in Committees, Little Brown & Co., 1973, 1-14.

Helen Dewar, An All-Nighter in the Senate; GOP Aims to Call Attention to Blocked Judicial Nominees, The Washington Post, November 13, 1003, A01.

John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morris, Congress As Public Enemy, Introduction: What is wrong with the American political system?, Cambridge University Press, 1995, 1-41.

Jacobson, Gary. The Politics of Congressional Elections. Most recent edition.

Lee, Frances E. and Bruce I. Oppenheimer. 1999. “Electoral Competitiveness, Campaign Fund-Raising, and Partisan Advantage,” and “Senate Strategies.” Chapters 4 and 5 (pp. 83-157) in Lee and Oppenheimer, Sizing Up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation (University of Chicago Press)

David R. Mayhew, Congress the Electoral Connection, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1974, 13-77.

Anthony King, The Vulnerable American Politician, British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 27, No. 1, Jan. 1977, 1-22.

Barbara Sinclair, Unorthodox Lawmaking, Clean Air: An Introduction to How the Legislative Process Has Changed, CQ Press, Washington D.C., 1-50.

Richard A. Smith, Interest Group Influence in the U.S. Congress, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 1995, 89-139.

James L. Sunquist, The Decline and Resurgence of Congress, The President as Chief Legislator, Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1981, 127-154.

PRESIDENCY

Edwards, George C. and Desmond King eds. 2007, The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush, New York: Oxford University Press.

Hargrove, Erwin C. 1984, Presidents, Politics, and Policy, New York: Knopf.

Neustadt, Richard E. 1991 edition, Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership, New York: Free Press.

THE SUPREME COURT

Epstein, Lee and Jack Knight. 1998. The Choices Justices Make. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Books.

O’Brien, David M. Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics. Most recent edition.

Segal, Jeffrey A. and Harold J. Spaeth. 2002. The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model Revisited. New York: Cambridge University Press.

POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS

Baumgartner, Frank and Beth Leech. 1998. Basic Interests. Princeton University Press

Cigler, Allen J. and Burdett A. Loomis. Interest Group Politics. 7th edition.

Hershey, Marjorie and Paul Allen Beck. 2003. Party Politics in America, 10th ed. (Longman)

Mayhew, David. 2004. Electoral Realignments. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Sundquist, James L. 1983. Dynamics of the Party System. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

PUBLIC OPINION

Fiorina, Morris P. 2006. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. 2nd ed. New York: Pearson Longham.

Kellstedt, Paul. 2000. “Media Framing and the Dynamics of Racial Policy Preferences” American Journal of Political Science 44 (2): 245-260

Key, V.O. Jr. Public Opinion and American Democracy

Zaller, John R. 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion New York: Cambridge University Press.

BUREAUCRACY

Pressman, Jeffrey and Aaron Wildavsky. 1984. Implementation 3rd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press

Wilson, James Q. 1989. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York: Basic Books


STUDY QUESTIONS FOR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

These questions are to help you learn the material. Exam questions may differ substantially.

1. To what extent do citizens control their representatives? Why and how?

2. What role(s) do the party organizations play in congressional elections? How does the candidate-centered nature of political campaigns affect the internal operation of Congress?

3. In what sense is the political system “democratic” ― or not?

4. The American President has been called an “elective king,” a “clerk,” and a party leader, among other things. How would you describe the nature and extent of presidential power?

5. How and why has the role of the president in congressional policymaking changed over the course of American history? What are the sources of presidential influence upon Congress?

6. Is the Bush Presidency unique or typical? How so?

7. What is Segal and Spaeth’s critique of the “legal model”? Do you agree or disagree with that critique? What is Segal and Spaeth’s critique of the “attitudinal model?” Do you agree or disagree? How do the attitudinal and legal models differ?

8. Write an essay describing how the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court decide cases, starting with the cases they accept for oral argument and going right through to the announcement of the decision in open court. Then, drawing on Epstein and Knight, explain the political factors that are integral to their decision making.

9. What is party realignment theory? What does it explain? What doesn’t it explain?

10. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the various ways that people participate in American politics.

11. “American politics is driven by those who care enough to participate most actively.” Is this true? If so, what are the effects? If not, what is the alternative?

12. How do political opinions diffuse through large populations? How do individuals evaluate political information in light of their values and predispositions? How are these evaluations converted into answers to poll questions? What role does the mass media play in the formation of public opinion? Considering your answers to these questions, what is the utility of “public opinion” as a concept?

13. How do the constraints on managers in private and public bureaucracies differ? What does this tell you about American government?

14. James Q. Wilson provides a typology of bureaucratic agencies, according to the distribution of the costs and benefits of their programs. What administrative problems are likely to arise in each type of agency? More generally, what can you predict from this typology about the politics surrounding such programs, including the roles of other institutions?

Page last modified: January 23, 2015