Valencia Community College
Osceola Campus

American National Government
Course Syllabus POS2041

Summer 2011 Full Term
Monday 6- 9:20 pm

Three credits are earned upon completion of this course;
there are no prerequisites.


The theory, organization, principles and functions of national government,
stressing relationships of individuals to all levels of government in the political system.
This course includes activities designed to ensure or enhance competence
in the basic use of computers.

TEXT American Government & Politics Today Schmidt, Shelley, and Bardes 2009-2010 Alternate Edition

Computer Based Learning Activity

To demonstrate competence with the basic use of computers
the College's US Government (POS2041) course is designed
to include a formal 'computer-based' learning activity. For this
particular course the following assignment(s) assessment and
percentage of final grade protocols have been established:

Description of assigned computer-based learning activity

Students will be required to download the mid term exam and study guide
from the internet web site on which it is posted. They will also be required
to locate one scholarly article from a website to which they are referred,
and another from professional scholarly journals in political science located
on VCC library data bases, and to submit via email their critical reviews of
those articles. Thirdly, students will be required to prepare a legal brief of
a supreme court decision by accessing the web site.
Laptops may be used in class but only for class-related activities.

Description of impact on percentage of final course grade

The critical reviews, web projects, and the case brief
each constitute 1/7 of the course grade the student earns in this class.
The mid term and final are each also 1/7 of the final grade.
Computer based skills thus are involved in well over half of the total final course grade.




Ron Ziegler, Political Science
Office Hours: by appointment/available for consultation before/after each class session


Human beings naturally live in groups. An effective government is necessary in organizing and maintaining order in a society of people, although it's function is not to control them. There must also be an agent whose function it is to maintain smooth market operations as to the allocation of natural resources. Government is also important in settling conflicts and disputes which arise in society. A citizen of a particular society must know and understand the operation of the government; it's primary function is to safeguard their natural rights as citizens. U.S. Government I is a required course designed to acquaint students with their political system.


5/9 Introductions, syllabus, grading criterion/causes of economic crisis(Fahrenhype 911)

5/16 read ch 1 factors in the current economic crisis (The Great Global Warming Swindle)

5/23 read ch 2 amer system, const, and federalism (on Che, etc)

5/30 Memorial Day read ch 3 amer system, const, and federalism

6/6 read ch 4,5 app A civil rights and liberties(Fiscal Policy)

6/13 read ch 6,7 political socialization (Booms and Busts)

6/20 read ch 8,9 interest groups, parties, elections, media(Keynesianism)

6/27 read ch 10 congress districting Mid Term Due this week (Free to Choose - Markets)

7/4 Independence Day read ch 11 presidency and bureaucracy

7/11 read ch 12 job of congress (Fed)

7/18 read ch 13 united nations (Free to Choose - Laissez Faire)

7/25 read ch 14 imf (CIA Part 1)

8/1 Final Exam, etc due(CIA Part 2)
























The grade each student earns in this class will be the average of grades earned
on several different instruments, each constituting 1/7 of the total grade:

Mid Term
Critical Article Reviews
Case Brief
Class Participation
Web Projects



Mid Term
Go Here
Study Guide for Case Law on Mid Term
Go Here
Final Exam
Go Here

































Article Reviews (one of these should be done every week and submitted as a set with the final exam)

First Review

Go to or and search out one of the political science articles which is of interest to you to read, review, and write a 500 word critical analysis about it.

Second Article Review

Similarly select and treat an article or piece from either of the following:

The von Mises Institute

The Ayn Rand Institute

Third Article Review

Select one article from one of the following and comment on it in a like manner:


Walter E. Williams

Thomas sowell article

Or select one writing from the following to read on which to comment(in Spanish):

Fourth Article Review

You are going to do the same thing with one article which you select from VCC Library
media bank resources taken from any one of the following professional journals:

The American Political Science Review
The Journal of Politics
Political Research Quarterly
Political Science Quarterly
American Politics Quarterly
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Political Theory
Foreign Policy
Foreign Affairs
American Journal of Political Science
Political Behavior
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Policy Studies Journal
Policy Studies Review

You will have to include a proper citation with your comments(article title, author, publication, issue, and date) You will find selected articles from some of these journals if you google the journal itself, but be sure to select a complete article to write about so you have enough to get your teeth into.










Case Brief

Select a Supreme Court decision which is of interest to you from the text and submit the assignment by the time of the mid term

Go to the following web site or google the case you have selected: and find the link to US Supreme Court cases
You will be shown several ways to find cases; try several of them

You may also google any case and one of the hits will be the actual text of the decision.

Prepare a paper which includes the following:

1) The name of the case
2) The date it was decided by the Supreme Court
3) The facts of the case
4) The issue being decided
5) The decision of the court
6) The legal reasoning behind the case
7) The justice who wrote the decision
8) The vote
9) The concurring and dissenting decisions
10) Indicate whether the decision is still law of if it has been overturned



Web Projects

(one of these should be done every week and submitted as a set with the mid term exam)

First Project/ New Media

Find each of the following on line:

The Drudge Report

World Net Daily


Fox news network

Write a one paragraph description of each


Second Project/ Elections/FEC

Go to

what does it tell you about campaign finance reports and data?

what does it tell you about reporting and compliance?

Go to

what agency is this webpage?

what kinds of information could you learn from this webpage?













Third Project Legislative Branch

Locate the official website of the United States Congress

Identify each of the following:

Speaker of the House

Majority Leader of the House

Majority Whip of the House

Minority Leader of the House

Minority Whip of the House

the number of members who are Republicans

the number of members who are Democrats

the name of the member of Congress whose district you live in

and the committees that member serves on in the Congress

(look at the state district map at

President of the Senate

President pro temp of the Senate

Majority Leader of the Senate

Minority Leader of the Senate

the Florida members of the U.S. Senate and their party affiliation

Which Florida House District do you live in, and what is the name of the Representative

elected from that district?

Which Florida Senate District do you live in, and what is the name of the Representative

elected from that district?

(use to search out this information)



Fourth Project/ Executive Branch

Go to

a) click on 'other offices'

list five of the agencies of the Executive Office of the President

tell one duty of each

name the current official serving in that position

b) click on Cabinet

name each department, one duty of each, and the current head of each

c) click on Federal Agencies and Commissions

list five independent regulatory commissions

five government corporations

five executive/administrative agencies

(and identify the primary task of each)

Class Participation

You will receive a grade based on two factors, your preparation and participation
in class activities and discussions. This will be primarily structured around your
attendance at class sessions and your ability to maintain proper decorum in that
setting. There is a strong statistical correlation of attendance, preparation,
and participation with grades which students earn, and this grade is also intended
to reinforce the practicality of regularly being in class. It is often not possible to make
up work that is missed in a class built around discussion. While the instructor will
work with the student who may have to miss a session, that should be avoided
to as great an extent as possible. Students must be courteous in the usage of

their computers and other electronic devices during class. Laptops are not to be

used for non-class related activities during class time.

Contacting Instructor

You may contact the instructor through email at
or by calling at 321-805-2507 (cell). You may leave a voice mail.
If necessary, I will contact you as necessary. If you have to miss a class,
it is advisable that you contact the instructor with that information before hand.

About Your Instructor

Ron Ziegler taught high school in Detroit, Michigan from 1967 until his retirement in 1999. During those years, he also taught adult education classes with the Cass Outreach program, and Kettering, Hazel Park, and Monroe/Bedford adult ed programs. Since 1982, he has taught political science, history, and economics at Detroit College of Business/Davenport College, Wayne State University, Macomb Community College, Monroe Community College, Florida Metropolitan/Everest University, Keiser University, and Valencia Community College. He earned his Bachelors degree in education and political science from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1968, where he also was awarded a Masters degree in political science in 1980. He completed work on his PhD in political science and history there as well. He lives with his three children, Alexander, 22, Sarah, 20, and Kalani, 18, in Kissimmee, to which they relocated following his retirement on thirty plus years of teaching with the Detroit Board of Education and following the passing of his wife in 1998.




Intellectual Honesty and Integrity

It is absolutely essential that each student maintain the highest standards
of scholastic integrity. That does not mean that students should not or may
not work together on some of their work in this class, but what is finally submitted
must be your own effort. Anything else is unacceptable. Any assignment on which
such standards are found to have been breached will be assigned a failing grade
without recourse of altering that grade. Plagiarism is unacceptable.

If you work with someone on any aspect of the course, submit your own work,

and keep in mind that the grade you receive will be based on your work. Thus,

taking someone else’s ‘advice’ could adversely impact your grade.