Overview of Exam Format and Coverage
Exams in Political Science 201 cover lectures and assigned reading from American Government and Readings in American Politics. Exams are closed-book in format.
The emphasis will be on theoretical concepts and major features of American politics and government rather than on details such as names and dates. In American Government, focus your studying on concepts and features of politics identified by headings and section titles, rather than on memorizing every key term. In Readings in American Politics, focus on identifying the main thesis of each author.
Exams will entail a set of short answer questions. You will need a suitable writing instrument, no blue book or scantron required.
1. According to Lowi, Ginsberg, and Shepsle in American Government , institutions matter in politics. Two ways they matter are through agenda power and veto power. What is the difference between these?
Agenda power refers to the ability to present and defend certain topics for consideration, and to control the flew of deliberation. Veto power refers to the ability to stop a bill from being passed by not signing off on it. Agenda power is the power to start, and veto power is the power to finish.
2. In the excerpt Presidential Power and the Modern Presidency printed in Kollman, what does Richard Neustadt argue is the source of presidential power?
Neustadt argues that the power of persuasion and bargaining is the true source of Presidential power in the United States. In the Constitution, the presidency is really very weak compared to Congress. Neustadt argues that the way some presidents have so much power is their ability to persuade and bargain. A president may use the force of his personality or his charm to get people to do what he wants. Or he may use his influence, personally and of his office, to give certain players what they want and then have them do what he wants in return. But when is most effective, says Neustadt, is for the President to make the other fellow think that what he wants to do is the same as what the President wants.
3. In American Government, authors Lowi, Ginsburg, Schepsle, and Ansolabehere write about the expanding power of the judiciary. What do they mean?
The Supreme Court has becoming increasingly liberal since the 1930s by deciding on a number of different cases such as desegregation, apportionment, abortion, and voting rights. However, no matter how liberal the Courts have been, the judiciary has attempted to expand its power beyond what is written in the Constitution.
4. In the US Supreme Court case, Gonzales vs. Raich (2005), the Court used which of these cases as a key part of their argument on whether the federal government could ban medical marijuana?
A. Elastic Clause
B. Establishment Clause
C. Interstate Commerce Clause
D. Necessary and Proper Clause
E. Supremacy Clause
5. The Equal Rights Amendment, passed by Congress in 1972, and later ratified by the states, banned gender discrimination in America.
6. Which of the following best describes the Articles of the Confederation?
A. A powerful first constitution that provided significant powers to the federal government.
B. A limited document that established a weak Congress that relied on the cooperation of the states.
C. A strong agreement amongst the states the vested significant power in Congress, but a limited role for the president.
D. An important document that marked the political independence of the United States from Great Britain.
E. A document that still exists between states that establishes regulations for how states interact with one another.