Introduction to Political Theory

Plato, The Republic

1. How does Socrates show the contradiction in Thrasymachus’s argument that justice is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger?

2. Explain why art works in the best interest of the weak?

3. “Will a man do better working at many trades or keeping to one only?” What was the conclusion?                               

4. What was the example of well-bred dogs used to illustrate?

5. Why did Socrates believe it necessary to censor literature?

6. How will rulers, auxiliaries, and the whole community be convinced that the assigning/selection of individuals into their respective roles/classes is just?

7. Could an artisan who became emboldened by some advantage aspire to be a Guardian? Why or why not? What is the possible ramification?

8. What was the final conclusion concerning the management of social affairs which belong to a man or woman? What does this say about the equality of women?

9. What is the role of officers in regards to child rearing?

10.What unions were considered incestuous and banned?

11.What is the effect of eliminating the “mine” factor?

12.What would happen to the individual who left the cave and returned?

Aristotle, Politics

1.            Aristotle laid the foundation for which important branch of political science?

2.            For Aristotle, what did it mean to be considered a “citizen?”

3.            In regards to justifying slavery, describe his example of animals in relation to men.

4.            In regards to property, discuss why it should be in a certain sense common, but, as a general rule, private.

5.            What does Aristotle mean when he says: “No one, when men have all things in common, will any longer set an example of liberality……”

6.            From a class perspective, why is a democratic state which is based on liberty considered unjust by Aristotle?

7.            What is the fundamental reason for why most governments are either democratical or oligarchical?

8.            Why should a ruler invent terrors?

Machiavelli, The Prince

1.             What is the only kind of strength that Christianity teaches?

2.            During a time of peace, a prince should practice the exercise of war in what two ways? Elaborate on them.

3.            Why will liberality injure a prince?

4.            Is it better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved? Why?

5.            Describe the relevance of the centaur parable. How does this parable connect with the fox and the lion?

6.            A prince must have two kinds of fear. What are they and how does the prince defend against them?

7.            What happens to a prince who disarms his subjects?

8.            What is the best fortress? Why?

9.            What is the best and worst stance a prince should take when two neighboring powers come to a blow? Why?

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

1.             What does Hobbes mean when he states: “where no law, no injustice?”

2.            What is the fundamental difference between jus and lex?

3.            What must a subject do in regards to the 2nd law of nature (i.e. by all means to defend ourselves) to fulfill the 1st law of nature?

4.            What is the only way to erect a common power which will be able to defend and provide security and safety to the people?

5.            List and explain only 4 of the Rights of the Sovereign.

6.            In essence, by saying: “I authorize, or take upon me, all his actions,” what effect does this have on Leviathan’s subjects.

7.            What happens when the soul of the Leviathan has departed?

8.            Why is Leviathan not subject to civil laws?

9.            Explain the relationship between the law of nature and civil law.

10.          Why is it important for the Leviathan, acting as the judicature, to be the final interpreter of the laws of nature?

11.           Why does Hobbes have an issue with Christians following the law of God?

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government

1.             What are the only two reasons why one man may lawfully do harm to another?

2.            What does Locke grant as the proper remedy for the inconveniences of the state of nature?

3.            All men will remain in a state of nature unless what happens?

4.            Is there a fundamental difference between a state of nature and a state of war? If so, what?

5.            What was Locke’s view on slavery?

6.            If the earth and everything on it is the common property of humankind, how does one come upon individual property?

7.            Can any one person engross as much property as he wants (i.e. greedy)?

8.            Explain what the fundamental difference is between a civil society and state of nature?

9.            What has to occur before men are taken out of a state of nature and placed into a commonwealth?

10.          What is the first and fundamental positive law of all commonwealths?

11.           What happens when taxes are levied on the people without their consent? How did this philosophy translate into the colonists declaring their independence?

12.          Why does the system of the social contract protect a state from rebellion?

The Scientific Method

Ch. 2 – Theories

1.         According to Machiavelli, in order “to accomplish anything good,” a Prince had to do what?

 2.         Why was Easton’s model looked upon in some cases as “departing from reality?”


3.         Who was the writer in the fourth century B.C., who arrived at the same conclusions as Hobbes and Machiavelli? What were the conclusions?



Ch. 4 (Scott & Garrison) – “Some Quantitative Methods…”


1.         What are relationships between variables called? Explain the different types.


2.         What is the difference between a multigroup design v. factorial designs?


“The State of Political Science”


1.         Why are the teaching obligations of political science more trying than other simple disciplines?


2.         Describe the two areas of importance for elevating the quality of political science?


3.         What has been the central issue between empirical and theoretical work? What is the solution?


4.         What impact has political science had on employment?


“Storming the Palace in Political Science”


1.         What is “hegemonic?”


2.         What is the central argument behind the “Perestroika Movement?”


3.         What did the Association do after they received a letter of complaint?”


“Perestroika: For An Ecumenical Science of Politics”


1.         In what two ways have the “hard scientists” forced conformity?


2.         What are the reasons why the “hegemonic project of the hard sciences” should be stopped?


3.         What will ecumenical science do for political science?


4.         Explain what Kasza meant when he mentioned “sine qua non.” 


“Introduction: The Evidentiary Base For Policy Analysis:”

1.         What was Frank Fisher’s argument in regards to “facts?”

 2.         What did Lin state about the “standards” used by positivists and interpretativists?


“Bridging Positivist and Interpretivist Approaches………”

1.         What was Lin’s overall conclusion, “if one’s resources permit,” of the discussion between positivist and interpretivist approaches?

 2.         According to Lin, why is it complicated to understand the standards necessary for evaluating the validity of positivist and interpretivist work?

 “Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose..”

1.         According to Johnson, how is Mixed Methods Research “formally defined?”

 2.         According to Johnson, what is the difference between a mixed-model and a mixed-method?

 3.         What is contingency theory?


“Introduction to the Scientific Method”


1.         What are the four steps of the scientific method?


2.         Give an example of a theory which had to be discarded in the face of experimental evidence?


3.         What is the most fundamental error in applying the scientific method?


4.         List the linear scheme of the four points/steps of the scientific method.


“Voting Propensity Study”


1.         What scientific question was I attempting to answer? What was the overall goal?


2.         What was interesting about my findings?


3.         Explain the phenomena with people who are highly interested in politics.


4.         Explain Downs’ theory as it relates to voter participation.




 Regimes and States


Ch. 6 – Regimes

1.         Who was the most celebrated advocate of civil disobedience, and describe their method?


2.         Who reaped the biggest benefits of the Bush administration’s tax cuts and “deals” in 2001? 


3.         What is the fundamental difference between a totalitarian and authoritarian regime?


4.         In regards to population groups, what percentage of the population do Shia Muslims, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds constitute?


Ch. 4 – States

1.         What are the differences between an effective, weak, and failed state?


2.         According to Aristotle, what constitutes a legitimate government?”


3.         What is the fundamental difference between a unitary state and a federal nation?


“Imperialism: Part Two of the Origins of Totalitarianism”
Note: If you are actually reading from the book on reserve in the library you need to read pgs. 267-269. Stop at section I - "The Nation of Minorities and the Stateless People.". Skip to section II - "The Perplexities of the Rights of Man." and read pgs. 290-302. If you are reading from the packet on reserve then read packet pgs. 75-76. Stop at section I. Skip to section II and read pgs. 87-93.

 1.         What affect or central role did “Hatred” have on political life?

 2.         What was the impact of “denationalization” being a new element of disintegration?


3.         In regards to the Rights of Men, why were “no special laws” deemed necessary? Explain.


4.         What happened to human beings who lacked their own government and had to fall back upon their minimum rights?


5.         What is the inherent problem within the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?


6.         What was Slavery’s fundamental offense against human rights?


7.         What was Slavery’s crime against humanity?


8.         When do we become equal as members of a group?   


Federalist No. 47 and No. 51

1.         What is the fundamental reasoning behind incorporating the doctrine of Separation of Powers?


2.         What did Montesquieu say about legislative and executive powers being united in the same person or body, and what did he mean by this? 


3.         What happens to the minority when the “majority is united by a common interest?”


Individuals and the Constitution


Ch 5 – Rights

1.         What is judicial review?

2.         What does it say about countries that keep changing their constitutions?

3.         What was one of the biggest violations of minority rights committed by the U.S.?

“Anti-Terrorist Legislation: Threat to Civil Liberties or….”

1.         What was Barr referring to when he stated: “inherently problematic and ought to be viewed with concern if not alarm?”

2.         What does Section 213 “specifically” do?

3.         Why did Barr mention the Japanese internment incident?

4.         What did the Patriot Act do that was “absolutely critical to our national security?”

5.         What is the Attorney General required to do every six months?

Roe v. Wade (1973)
Read the "Syllabus" then click on Blackmun's Opinion. Skip Sections III & IV and read sections VII - XII. Lastly, click on "Rehnquist's Dissenting Opinion" and read its entirety.

1.         What was the only condition which originally justified an abortion in Texas?

 2.         What 3 reasons were reviewed which historically explain why criminal abortion laws were enacted in the 19th century?

 3.         Upon what rights did the majority of the Supreme Court find that abortion was protected? Where are these rights found in the U.S. Constitution?

 4.         What major points does Justice Rehnquist raise in his dissenting opinion?

“Our Class-Biased Bill of Rights”

1.         Describe why the Bill of Rights can be looked upon as a “negative” document. What is meant by this statement?

 2.         What was determined about “procedural guarantees and restrictions on the right of the authorities to intrude upon one’s life?

 3.         The rights guaranteed in our constitution were most needed for what? Who would benefit and why?

 4.         Explain the contradictory convictions about the place of liberty in the American people.

5.         Cite a major factor which explains whether the commitment the American elite make towards civil liberties is a principled one or not.

 6.         It is remarkable that the Bill of Rights should have come to be perceived as an instrument of democracy. However, it is more of a device that has done what?

 7.         What is the major reason why the real, functional core value of American society is not a civil liberty at all but, rather, an equality of opportunity?

“Economic Bill of Rights (2nd Bill of Rights)”

1.         List the 8 Economic Bill of Rights.

2.         Why are these rights important?

"Our Broken Constitution"

1.         What is Levinson’s argument in regards to approval ratings? Theoretically, what should happen?

2.         How does Levinson feel about presidential vetoes? Why?

3.         What are the two issues that Levinson identifies in regards to Supreme Court Justices?

“Public Divided on ‘Pro-Choice’ vs. ‘Pro-Life’ Abortion……”

1.         Nearly ___ Americans think abortion should either be limited to only a few circumstances or illegal in all circumstances. Just ___ think it should be legal in all or most circumstances.

 2.         In regards to “importance of abortion as an election issue,” what is the consensus?

 3.         Who sees the partial-birth decision as a step on the path toward a complete reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973)?

 4.         What was Gallup ’s root question measuring abortion attitudes?


Political Ideologies

Ch. 3 – Political Ideologies

1.         According to Adam Smith, what is “the true wealth of nations?”

  2.     Because Marx only said that socialism would be much better than capitalism; its precise working he left vague. This vague analysis enabled a wide variety of socialist thinkers to do what?

 3.         What is the difference in the beliefs between the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis?


John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty

1.         What is the harm principle?         

2.         How do children fall under the harm principle?

3.         What is the implication of silencing opinions that you may believe to be false?

4.         What did Mill imply when he stated: “Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action?

5.         What is the only way in which an individual can know all of the facts about a particular subject?

6.         How did Mill feel about Socrates being found guilty?

7.         Why did Marcus Aurelius persecute Christianity? Compare or contrast him to Hobbes.

8.         What is the real advantage which truth has? What is Mill positing here?

9.         Mill mentions the Socratic dialectics to illustrate the loss of questioning a learner’s consciousness. How were the dialectics vital?

10.       What are the defects, errors, problems, etc. that persist in the doctrines of Christianity?

11.       What is Mill’s solution to produce a regeneration of mankind?   

Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto

1.         How did feudal society come to be replaced by the bourgeoisie?

 2.         How does the bourgeoisie infringe on Locke’s definition of acquiring property?

3.         What is the critical element contained in the Socialist and Communist writings? Explain.

Power and Social Class

“Some Principles of Stratification”

1.         In what two levels does a society use to motivate individuals in order for society to be a functioning mechanism?


2.         What is the difference between the roles of religion and government in a society?

3.         What is the most extreme concentrated form of “ownership of production goods” in regards to the “rights over the labor of others?” Also, what impact does it have in regards to stratification?


“The Higher Circles”


1.         Who are the “big three” (i.e. three enlarged and centralized domains) that Mills is referring to, and what are their roles in regards to modern life? What is analogous among the “big three?”


2.         As the three domains become enlarged and centralized, the consequences of its activities become greater, and its traffic with the others increase as well. Why?


“The Mass Society”


1.         The most important feature of the public of opinion is the free ebb and flow of discussion. Why?


2.         When does public opinion exist?

3.         What was the primary task of public education? However, in time, where did it shift and why?


4.         According to Mills, the task of liberal education was to do what? Was liberal education successful in accomplishing the task, and if not, why?


" Seneca Falls Declaration”


1.         This document is very similar to what other document? Why?

2.         How has HE framed the laws of divorce?

“The Woman’s Bible”

1.         Why are so many distinguished women afraid to assist Stanton in the writing of the Woman’s Bible?

2.         What were the points of belief (or disbelief) did Stanton have in terms of God? This belief made her affirm her position that emancipation is impossible.

3.         For Dietrick, what was most interesting about the creation stories?

4.         What was Stanton’s analysis/conclusion in terms of some “wily writer”?

5.         What was the controversy surrounding the name “Eve,” according to Blake? Was this name translated properly?

6.         What is the problem in the translation of “obey” and “defer,” and why are these terms important in terms of subjection?



“The Subjection of Women”
Found in the John Stuart Mill chapter


1.         How did the system of inequality between men and women arise?


2.         How did men turn the whole force of education to affect their purpose?


3.         Describe how a wife is worse off than a slave.


4.         When will the moral training of mankind be adapted to the conditions of life for which all other human progress is a preparation? What is Mill postulating?


“Public Statement directed to MLK by Eight Clergymen”


1.         How did the Clergymen feel in regards to how “honest and open negotiations” should be handled?


2.         When rights are consistently denied, what should be done?


“Letter From Birmingham Jail”


1.         What was Dr. King’s response when asked: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth?”


2.         What were the adverse things pointed out in King’s frustration to “those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’”


3.         For Dr. King, “a law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that…….”                      


4.         What was the “logical assertion” proposed by Dr. King in response to the Clergymen stating that the actions of the civil rights marchers, “even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence.” Also, what was Dr. King’s final conclusion?


5.         Dr. King addressed two major disappointments that he felt compelled to confess to the clergymen – one dealt with his disappointment of the white moderate, what was his other disappointment?


6.         Why was it that Dr. King could not join in on the “praise of the Birmingham police department?”


 “I Have a Dream”


1.         How did Dr. King respond to the question: “When will you be satisfied?”


2.         What did Dr. King mean when he said: “In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check?”


Law School Admissions: The Case For/Against Affirmative…..”


1.         According to Justice Powell, what is “educational autonomy?”


2.         How does Justice O’Connor define “quota?”


3.         How does the Law School show that it seriously weighs many other diversity factors besides race that can make a real and dispositive difference for non-minority applicants?


4.         How long does Justice O’Connor expect that the use of race will no longer be necessary?


5.         What were the main reasons, especially in regards to the actual student, why Justice Thomas dissented?


6.         How does Justice Thomas show that in recent years there has been virtually no change in the proportion of law school applicants in regards to LSAT scores?


Political Culture & Public Opinion


Ch. 7 – Political Culture

1.         How did Hobbes, Hegel, and Burke use the concept of civil society?

2.         In the 1960s and 1970s, why did U.S. surveys show a sharp decline in trust in government?

3.         Uniformly, what affect does education have on individuals?

Ch. 8– Public Opinion

1.         What did a 2000 U.S. poll discover in regards to public opinion?

2.         Briefly explain the two general ways to measure social class.

3.         Briefly describe Gabriel Almond’s three American public opinions.

“Bowling Along: America’s Declining Social Capital”

1.         Though voter turnout was a relative high point in the early 1960s, what was the trend of voter turnout by 1990?

2.         Why are parent-teacher associations an important form of civic engagement? What has been the trend according to Putnam?

3.         What factor is implied for the reason why more Americans are not neighborly (i.e. socializing with their neighbors)?       

4.         Describe the impact that public policy has had on social capital?

“Perhaps We Bowl Alone, But Does It Matter?”

1.         How does Everett Ladd debunk Putnam’s argument? Give specific examples (i.e. membership, bowling leagues, etc.).

2.         What is the entirely different villain for the decrease in social capital? Explain the example which was used?


3.         What does de Waal say about networks? Why?

“Tuning In, Tuning Out…..”
If you are actually reading from the book on reserve in the library you need to read pgs. 38-68. If you are reading from the packet on reserve then read packet pgs. 247-264.

1.         What was the strongest correlate that Putnam had ever discovered for civic engagement, and how did this translate into college life?

2.         What was the prominent suspect (or culprit) for the decrease of social capital? Why?

3.         What factor comes in second as a predictor of all forms of social engagement? Why?

“Does Television Erode Social Capital?”

1.         What evidence has shown the declining confidence in American government is well-established?

2.         Based on data from 1974-1994, what did the General Social Survey conclude?

3.         Why does Patterson feel that the press is unsuited to the new powers which it has acquired?

4.         What affect does watching network news, reading a daily newspaper, and listening to talk-show radio have on political participation? Which variable was

most significantly associated with activism? Explain.

5.         What was the overall conclusion on the amount of television viewing? Does it support Putnam’s thesis? Why?  


Ch 12 – Elections


1.         Describe Down’s Theory of Voting


2.         What adverse effect could racial minorities pose in regards to voting?


3.         Which presidents were rewarded by being re-elected based on the job they had done in office?


“Why Is Voter Turnout Low?”
If you are actually reading from the book on reserve in the library you need to read pgs. 22-34. If you are reading from the packet on reserve then read packet pgs. 277-283.


1.         What are the implications of the logic associated with the cost-benefits framework?


2.         What was the most theoretically rich aspect of the Verba et al. study (1995)?


3.         What was the fundamental difference between the Verba et al. findings and the studies conducted by Milbrath 1965; Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980; Rosenstone and Hansen 1993, etc.?


4.         What did Putnam find when he studied and compared various age groups during the early 1970s?


5.         Why are major reforms unlikely to increase voter turnout?


“An Economic Theory of Democracy”


1.         What are the main steps for rationally deciding how to vote and then vote?


2.         Regardless of how much data (or information) a rational decision-maker may have to employ, it really does not matter? Why?


3.         What happens when citizens rely on others to report events to them?


4.         The making of any decision presupposes what? At the very least, what?


5.         Explain the marginal cost-return principle of economics?


6.         What is meant by “free” information? What are some of the sources to acquire it?


7.         Discuss “free” information in terms of acquiring it through informal contacts.


8.         What are the “free” data sources which a rational man is likely to use? Which type is most likely employed and why?


9.         How can the average citizen determine whether or not an expert’s analyses are accurate? Explain.


10.       How is the type of job a person has just as important as formal education in regards to having the ability to make meaningful use of current data?



“An Economic Theory of Democracy” (a Book Review)


1.         The government seeking to maximize votes is unrealistic to Pennock. Why?


2.         What did Pennock mean when he said: “The democratic process does not break down after all. Thus democracy works.”


“The First Seven Years of the Political Life Cycle”


1.         Why is the quest for a mate and a quest for a suitable job incompatible?


2.         Why is full-time and part-time college student’s turnout higher than non-students?


3.         Why is the CPS more advantageous than the NES?


“Young Voters and the 2004 Election”


1.         What was the spark that ignited young adults in the 2004 election??


2.         What were some of the reasons why young voters voted?


3.         Which election year (1972-2004) had the highest turnout among young adults?


4.         Which group was nearly as attentive to the 2004 election as older adults?


“Voting Correctly”
If you are actually reading from the book on reserve in the library you need to read pgs. 139-155 (stop at APPENDIX). If you are reading from the packet on reserve then read packet pgs. 320-329.


1.         How well are citizens in any democracy living up to the classic texts of democratic theory? Why?


2.         Define a correct vote?


3.         What does modern cognitive psychology teach us?


4.         According to predicting “correct” voting, does knowledge really matter?


“Information Effects in Collective Preferences”
If you are actually reading from the book on reserve in the library you need to read pgs. 114-117. From there, skip to the conclusion on pg. 129 and stop once you get to APPENDIX A. If you are reading from the packet on reserve then read packet pgs. 330-334 (stop at APPENDIX A).


1.         What does cognitive psychology tell us about ill informed people? How is this possible?


2.         What does Althaus mean by “information effect?”


3.         What was concluded in regards to the effects of information asymmetries on collective opinion? What did controlling for information effects produce?


4.         According to Converse (1990), what can aggregate opinions tell us?


International Politics

Ch. 17 – Political Violence


1.         Why did Al Qaeda recruit Sunni Muslims?

2.         What is the fundamental difference between a coup and a revolution?

3.         Explain why some argue that the Revolutionary War was not a revolution at all? For some, the American struggle was more of a what?

Ch. 18 – International Relations

1.         Explain the 4 types of National Interests. Also, give examples.

 2.         What is the oldest approach to preserving peace? What are the characteristics of a good diplomat? Why are these characteristics crucial?

  3.         What was the adverse effect of unilateralism, especially in terms of the U.S.?


The City and Man by Leo Strauss


1.         What is unique about the West in regards to culture?

 2.         What was the West’s purpose? How has the West become uncertain of its purpose?

 3.         What does Strauss mean when he says that the modern project has acquired the status of scientific exactitude?

 4.         Where can we find the original form of political science? Why?


The New Science of Politics by Eric Voegelin


1.         What were the fundamental assumptions in regards to the destruction of science caused by positivism?

 2.         What is the consequence of using method as the criterion of science?

 3.         How could the so-called value-judgments become a serious concern for methodologists?     

 4.         What damage is caused due to interpretation?


Political Science and Political Philosophy: Return to the Classics…


1.         How would all political scientists – both political philosophers and empirical researchers – benefit from the training of turn-of-the-century social science?

 2.         Why is the history of political thought invaluable to political scientists?

 3.         How did the refugee scholars challenge their American colleagues?

 4.         Why is it worth revisiting past mistakes?


Why War?


1.         What is Einstein’s solution to the problem? However, why might this solution not be feasible?

 2.         Why does Einstein look to Freud for answers to rid mankind of war?

 3.         How is it possible for a small clique to bend the will of the majority?

 4.         How is killing your opponent advantageous?

 5.         What factors, within a state, make for legal instability? What is the potential danger in the second factor?

 6.         What is Freud’s solution to ending war? Similar or different to Einstein’s solution? What two things are needed to accomplish the task? Are the two things which are needed being fulfilled?

 7.         What are the two most important phenomena of culture?