Valencia Community College
Osceola Campus

American National Government
Course Syllabus POS2041

Fall Term 2008
Monday/Wednesday 1:30-2:45 or 3-4:15

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 individual 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.

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.

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 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.





















week of 8/25 Introductions, syllabus, grading criterion

week of 9/1 ch 1, 2 amer system, const, and federalism

(Monday 9/1 is Labor Day)

week of 9/8 ch 3, App A & C amer system, const, and federalism

week of 9/15 ch 4, 5 civil rights and liberties

week of 9/22 ch 6 political socialization

week of 9/29 ch 7 interest groups (Fahrenhype 911)

week of 10/6 ch 8, 9 parties and elections, media (The Great Global Warming Hoax)

week of 10/13 ch 10 congress (Fiscal Policy)

week of 10/20 Mid Term Due (Booms and Busts)

week of 10/27 ch 11 presidency (Keynesianism)

week of 11/3 ch 12 bureaucracy (Free to Choose - Markets)

week of 11/10 ch 13 judiciary, App B (Free to Choose - Laissez Faire)

week of 11/17 ch 14 domestic and economic policy (Fed)

week of 11/24 ch 15 foreign policy and defense (CIA part 1)

week of 12/1  Review(CIA part 2)

week of 12/8 Final Due





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 Review of One Article from ejps and scholarly journal
Eyes on the Prize Submission
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 before the midterm, and the other before the final)

go to and scroll to the Tables of Contents
at the bottom of the page and search out one of the political science articles

which is interest to you to read, review, and write a 500 word critical analysis about it.
You will email this to the instructor at

You will 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.
















eyes on the prize

This video history of the civil rights movement is available for viewing in the media center. Students will have to arrange to view each of the six segments of the tape series, each of which is about one hour long, and then select any twenty of the following to write about based on having watched the series (the assignment is due with the final):

1. Emmet Til
2. Rosa Parks
3. Martin Luther King, Jr.(role in Montgomery Improvement Assoc)
4. Little Rock Central
5. Orval Faubus
6. Albany Movement
7. Laurie Pritchett
8. Bull Connor
9. Letter from the Birmingham Jail
10. Jim Clark
11. March on Washington
12. Civil Rights Act of 1964
13. Voting Rights Act of 1965
14. Sit-Ins
15. CORE
16. SNCC
17. Freedom Rides
18. SCLC
19. 16th St Baptist Church
20. Aubrey Lucy
21. James Meredith
22. Ross Barnett
23. George Wallace
24. Brown vs Board of Education
25. Thurgood Marshall
26. Freedom Summer
27. Byron dela Beckwourth
28. Schreoner, Goodman, and Chaney
29. Edmund Pettus Bridge
30. Selma to Montgomery March
31. Elijah Muhammed
32. Medgar Evars
33. Chicago Open Housing Marches
34. Stokley Carmichael
35. H. Rap Brown
36. Huey P. Newton
37. Watts
38. April 4, 1968
39. Feb 21, 1965

40. White Citizens Councils

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:

find the link to US Supreme Court

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 submitted each month of the term - the order in which you do them

does not matter)

Project 1) 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)



Project 2) 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 President Bush's 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)



Project 3) New Media

Find each of the following on line:

The Drudge Report

World Net Daily


Fox news network

copy and paste the front page of each to an email which you send to instructor at



Project 4) 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?

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.

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 beforehand.






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 1984, 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
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, 20, Sarah, 18 (currently serving in the U.S. Navy), and Kalani, 15, 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.

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