The books listed below contain many of the readings for the course.

[Dahl] = Dahl, Robert A. How Democratic is the American Constitution? 2nd ed. Yale University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780300095241.

[Kernell] = Kernell, Samuel, and Steven S. Smith, eds. Principles and Practice of American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings. 4th ed. CQ Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781604264630.

[Mayhew] = Mayhew, David R. Partisan Balance: Why Political Parties Don't Kill the U.S. Constitutional System. Princeton University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780691157986.

The table below features these, as well as other readings that are required for the course.

In Part V: Substantive Debates, readings marked with an asterisk (*) are required only for students who choose that lecture as the topic of their final paper.

Unlike many courses, in this course it is imperative that you come to each class meeting having carefully read all the assigned texts. To incentivize you to do so, a short closed-book reading quiz will be administered at the beginning of each class. The quizzes are designed to be very easy for those who have done the reading but difficult for those who have not.

Part I: Foundations

Course Introduction

  • Recitation Assignments
  • Writing Self-assessment
Noel, Hans. "Ten Things Political Scientists Know that you Don't." The Forum 8, no. 3 (2010): 1–19.

Analytic Foundations

  • Power
  • Collective Goods and Collective Action
  • Civic Culture
  • Institutions

Note: The readings for this session introduce some of the core theoretical and analytic foundations of political science. The ideas introduced here will be referenced throughout the course. The pieces by Gaventa and Pierson are particularly dense (but rewarding!) and may require more time to digest than the other readings.

Gaventa, John. Chapters 1.1–1.3 in Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. University of Illinois Press, 1982. ISBN: 9780252009853. [Preview with Google Books]

[Kernell] Olson, Jr., Mancur. Chapter 1–1: Excerpt from "The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups."

[Kernell] Hardin, Garrett. Chapter 1–2: "The Tragedy of the Commons."

Ostrom, Elinor, Joanna Burger, Christopher B. Field, et al. "Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges." Science 284, no. 5412 (1999): 278–82.

[Kernell] Putnam, Robert D. Chapter 1–3: "The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life."

Pierson, Paul. "Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics." American Political Science Review 94, no. 2 (2000): 251–67.

3 The American Political Tradition

de Tocqueville, Alexis. "Democracy in America." Chapter 7 in American Social and Political Thought: A Reader. Edited by Andreas Hess. New York University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780814736579.

Lipset, Seymour Martin. "American Exceptionalism—A Double-Edged Sword." Chapter 8 in American Social and Political Thought: A Reader. Edited by Andreas Hess. New York University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780814736579.

Wood, Gordon S. Excerpt from "The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787." Chapter 2 in The Enduring Debate: Classic and Contemporary Readings in American Politics. 7th ed. Edited by David T. Canon, John J. Coleman, and Kenneth R. Mayer. W. W. Norton and Company, 2013. ISBN: 9780393921588.

Kloppenberg, James T. "'A Nation Arguing with Its Conscience': Deliberative Democracy, Philosophical Pragmatism, and Barack Obama's Conception of American Governance." Harvard Magazine, November-December 2010, 34–40.

Smith, Rogers M. "Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal, and Hartz: The Multiple Traditions in America." The American Political Science Review 87, no. 3 (1993): 549–66.

4 The Constitution I

[Kernell] Madison, James. Chapter 2–3: "Federalist No. 10."

[Kernell] ———. Chapter 2–4: "Federalist No. 51."

Hardin, Russell. "Why a Constitution?" In The Federalist Papers and the New Institutionalism. Edited by Bernard Grofman and Donald Wittman. Agathon Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780875860855. [Preview with Google Books]

[Dahl] Chapters 1, and 2.

5 The Constitution II [Dahl] Chapters 3–7.
Part II: Institutions
6 Congress I: Ambitious Politicians Mayhew, David R. "The Electoral Incentive." Chapter 1 in Congress: The Electoral Connection. 2nd ed. Yale University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780300105872.
7 Congress II: Internal Organization

[Kernell] Aldrich, John H., and David W. Rohde. Chapter 6–3: "Congressional Committees in a Continuing Partisan Era."

Krehbiel, Keith. "A Theory." Chapter 2 in Pivotal Politics: A Theory of U.S. Lawmaking. University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780226452722. [Preview with Google Books]

8 The Presidency

Moe, Terry M., and William G. Howell. "Unilateral Action and Presidential Power: A Theory." Presidential Studies Quarterly 29, no. 4 (1999): 850–73.

[Kernell] Baum, Matthew A., and Samuel Kernell. Chapter 7–4: "How Cable Ended the Golden Age of Presidential Television: From 1969 to 2006."

9 The Bureaucracy

[Kernell] Moe, Terry M. Chapter 8–1: "The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure."

[Kernell] Lewis, David E. Chapter 8–3: Excerpt from "The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance."

10 The Judiciary

Martin, Andrew D., Kevin M. Quinn, Theodore W. Ruger, et al. "Competing Approaches to Predicting Supreme Court Decision Making." Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 4 (2004): 761–7.

Graber, Mark A. "The Nonmajoritarian Difficulty: Legislative Deference to the Judiciary." Studies in American Political Development 7, no. 1 (1993): 35–73.

[Kernell] Rosenberg, Gerald N. Chapter 5–4: "The Real World of Constitutional Rights: The Supreme Court and the Implementation of the Abortion Decisions."

11 Federalism

[Kernell] Buchanan, James M. Chapter 3–1: "Federalism as an Ideal Political Order and an Objective for Constitutional Reform."

Robertson, David Brian. "Federalism and Race." Chapter 4 in Federalism and the Making of America. Routledge, 2011. ISBN: 9780415879194.

[Kernell] Kettle, Donald F. Chapter 3–2: "Federalism: Battles on the Front Lines of Public Policy."

Part III: Mass Behavior
12 Citizens and Politics

Bartels, Larry M. "Homer Gets a Tax Cut: Inequality and Public Policy in the American Mind." Perspectives on Politics 3, no. 1 (2005): 15–31.

[Kernell] Schudson, Michael. Chapter 10–3: "America's Ignorant Voters."

13 Public Opinion

[Kernell] Asher, Herbert. Chapter 10–1: "Analyzing and Interpreting Polls."

Berinsky, Adam J. "Assuming the Costs of War: Events, Elites, and American Public Support for Military Conflict." The Journal of Politics 69, no. 4 (2007): 975–97.

14 Parties and Partisanship

[Kernell] Aldrich, John H. Chapter 12–1: Excerpt from "Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America."

Downs, Anthony. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy." Journal of Political Economy 65, no. 2. (1957): 135–50.

Bartels, Larry M. "Beyond the Running Tally: Partisan Bias in Political Perceptions." Political Behavior 24, no. 2 (2002): 117–50.

15 Political Choice

Quattrone, George A., and Amos Tversky. "Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice." American Political Science Review 82, no. 3 (1988): 719–36.

Jacoby, William G. "The American Voter." Chapter 15 in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior. Edited by Jan E. Leighley. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780199235476.

[Kernell] Bartels, Larry M. Chapter 12–2: "Partisanship and Voting Behavior."

Jessee, Stephen A. "Partisan Bias, Political Information and Spatial Voting in the 2008 Presidential Election." The Journal of Politics 72, no. 2 (2010): 327–40.

16 Campaigns and Elections

Sides, John, and Jake Haselswerdt. "Campaigns and Elections." Chapter 11 in New Directions in Public Opinion (New Directions in American Politics). Edited by Adam J. Berinsky. Routledge, 2011. ISBN: 9780415885294.

[Kernell] West, Darrell M. Chapter 11–3: Excerpt from "Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns, 1952–2008."

Issenberg, Sasha. "How President Obama's Campaign Used Big Data to Rally Individual Voters," MIT Technology Review, December 19, 2012.

17 The U.S. in Comparative Perspective In lieu of assigned readings, students should select one of the substantive debates in Part V and skim the readings pertaining to that debate. This is to help students decide on a topic for their final paper.
Part IV: American Politics as a System
18 Political Participation

Gerber, Alan S., Donald P. Green, and Christopher W. Larimer. "Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment." American Political Science Review 102, no. 1 (2008): 33–48.

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader."The Big Tilt: Participatory Inequality in America." (PDF - 1.4MB) The American Prospect 32, May/June 1997, 74–80.

Citrin, Jack, Eric Schickler, and John Sides. This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader."What if Everyone Voted? Simulating the Impact of Increased Turnout in Senate Elections." (PDF) American Journal of Political Science 47, no. 1 (2003): 75–90.

Broockman, David E. This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader."Distorted Communication, Unequal Representation: Constituents Communicate Less to Representatives Not of Their Race." (PDF) Working paper, 2013.

19 Politics and Policy

Wlezien, Christopher. "The Public as Thermostat: Dynamics of Preferences for Spending." American Journal of Political Science 39, no. 4 (1995): 981–1000.

Campbell, Andrea Louise. "Policy Feedbacks and the Impact of Policy Designs on Public Opinion." Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 36, no. 6 (2011): 961–73.

[Kernell] Stimson, James A., Michael B. MacKuen, and Robert S. Erikson. Chapter 10–2: "Dynamic Representation."

20 Political Geography

[Mayhew] "Introduction."

[Mayhew] Chapter 1: "The Electoral Bases."

[Mayhew] Chapter 2: "President and Congress."

21 Parties and the U.S. Political System

[Mayhew] Chapter 3: "House and Senate I."

[Mayhew] Chapter 4: "House and Senate II."

Part V: Substantive Debates
22 Polarization and Extremism

[Kernell] Fiorina, Morris P. Chapter 10–4: Excerpt from "Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America."

[Kernell] Jacobson, Gary C. Chapter 11–2: "Party Polarization in National Politics: The Electoral Connection."

Groseclose, Tim, and Jeffrey Milyo. "A Measure of Media Bias." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 120, no. 4 (2005): 1191–237.

Mann, Thomas E., and Norman J. Ornstein. "Let's Just Say It: The Republicans are the Problem," Washington Post, April 27, 2012.

23 Money and Organized Interests

[Kernell] Wright, John R. Chapter 13–2: "The Evolution of Interest Groups."

[Kernell] Hall, Richard L., and Frank W. Wayman. Chapter 13–3: "Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees."

Ansolabehere, Stephen, John M. de Figueiredo, and James M. Snyder, Jr. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 17, no. 1 (2003): 105–30.

*Lindblom, Charles E. "The Market As Prison." Journal of Politics 44, no. 2 (1982): 324–36.

24 The Politics of Economic Inequality

Bartels, Larry M. "Economic Inequality and Political Representation." Chapter 7 in The Unsustainable American State. Edited by Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond King. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780195392142. [Preview with Google Books]

Soroka, Stuart N., and Christopher Wlezien. "On the Limits to Inequality in Representation." PS: Political Science & Politics 41, no. 2 (2008): 319–27.

Stimson, James A. "Perspectives on Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age." Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 1 (2009): 151–3.

Hacker, Jacob S., and Paul Pierson. "Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States." Politics & Society 38, no. 2 (2010): 152–204.

25 Race and Racism

Key, Jr., V. O. "Of The South." Chapter 1 in Southern Politics in State and Nation. New ed. University of Tennessee Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780870494352.

Valentino, Nicholas A., and David O. Sears. "Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South." American Journal of Political Science 49, no. 3 (2005): 672–88.

Kuklinski, James H., Paul M. Sniderman, Kathleen Knight, et al. "Racial Prejudice and Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action." American Journal of Political Science 41, no. 2 (1997): 402–19.

Tesler, Michael. "The Spillover of Racialization into Health Care: How President Obama Polarized Public Opinion by Racial Attitudes and Race." American Journal of Political Science 56, no. 3 (2012): 690–704.

*Friedman, Milton. "Capitalism and Discrimination." Chapter 7 in Capitalism and Freedom. 40th anniv. ed. University of Chicago Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780226264219. [Preview with Google Books]

26 Immigration and Multiculturalism

Huntington, Samuel P. "The Hispanic Challenge,", March 1, 2004.

Citrin, Jack, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami, et al. "Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?" Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 1 (2007): 31–48.

Hainmueller, Jens, and Michael J. Hiscox. "Attitudes toward Highly Skilled and Low-skilled Immigration: Evidence from a Survey Experiment." American Political Science Review 104, no. 1 (2010): 61–84.

*Putnam, Robert D. "E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century—The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture." Scandinavian Political Studies 30, no. 2 (2007): 137–74.