Politics 100

Introduction to American Government

This assignment is based on your case, "Values Versus Interests: The U.S. Response to the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Answer the following question: Did President Bush do the right thing with regard to China policy after the massacre? Be sure to consider the importance of public opinion and the actions of Congress in your answer.

This assignment may not exceed two word processed pages.

Assignment 1: Values Versus Interests

Short Assignments


Assignment 2

This Internet assignment seeks to acquaint students with interest group politics and strategies. Students are required to use the Internet to find the homepage of a typical (or not so typical) interest group. Some you might look up include:

·   The National Rifle Association
·   The National Organization for Women
·   Americans for Tax Reform
·   U.S. Student Association
·   Greenpeace
·   Christian Coalition of America
·   Planned Parenthood
·   American Association for Retired Persons
·   UNITE (Textile Labor Union)
·   National Taxpayers Union
·   National Association of Manufacturers
·   National Beer Wholesalers Association

Next, identify such issues as who this organization proports to represent and what key issues it is currently working on. You should also use search engines or links to find other groups working either for or against that issue/issues. Finally, identify the strateigies used by the organizations in order to futher their own interests. Do they form PACs, use outside strategies, inside strategies (see NYT articles), use the mass media? How do they operate? Write up your findings in no more than two typewritten pages.


Assignment 3: Getting to Know You

This Internet assignment aims for you to "get to know your representative". First, Find your Representative in Congress by linking here. follow the directions on putting in your zip code and you can learn who he/she is. Next, click on their name to go to their home page. There you will find biographical information and usually information on what committee and subcommittee assignments your Congressperson holds, what issues they are working on, bills they are sponsoring, etc.. How long have they served in Congress? Is their seat safe? How would you know? (You can also find committee assignments by looking at  Congress.org and searching the capital directory with you member's name). Note these pages will try to make your member look good.

Next, let’s see where they get their campaign money from. Go to the  Center for Responsive Politics to see where the money came from.(Again, follow directions and be sure to key in the 2006 or 2008 race). Be sure to look at things like sector or industry to get a sense of the origin of the money. Is there a link between donors and committee assignments?

Finally, see how various groups "grade" you representative's voting record. Note that various organizations are themselves more liberal or conservative and rate the representative accordingly. Does your rep. appear to be more conservative or liberal? How would you describe their voting record? Lately this site has been down. If it continues to be unavailable, go to the scorecard of a liberal group, Americans for Democratic Action ( http://adaction.org ) and click on voting record for house and senate (by state to find your rep). This group gives what it calls the "Liberal Quotient" or measure of how liberal members are. Next go to the America Conservative Union ( www.conservative.org/ ,) a conservative organization. Look through the house vote by state to again see how conservative they rate members. Alco check out the League of Conservation Voters' scorecard

Report your results in no more than two word processed pages.