Prof. Michael Fitzgerald
"Nineteenth Century American Politics:
The Emergence of Mass Participation"
OFFICE HOURS: Monday 2-3, Tuesday 2-3, and Thursday 3-4 and by appointment in Holland
It should be possible to confer with me immediately after class.
PHONE: x3162 (or leave message with dept. secretary at x3167). My home phone is 663-6041,
but don’t call me at home unless it is reasonably urgent and can’t wait.
E-MAIL: fitz. I check my messages every weekday at least once, and sometimes on weekends. If
there is some sort of confusion regarding assignments, textbooks, or whatever, let me know
immediately. Also, e-mail me if you want to talk something over, but didn't want to bring it up in
class. (By the way, if you do want to reach the whole class, "history-370" should do it--feel free
to speak your piece if you want to respond to something in class).
REMEMBER TO CHECK YOUR E-MAIL DAILY FOR ASSIGNMENT UPDATES OR
PURPOSE: This course examines the evolution of national politics, as America shifted from an
elitist vision of the founding fathers, to a politics premised on popular participation and mass
merchandizing of parties.
Note: most professors think themselves to have an outstanding virtue. Here’s mine: I don’t mind
it if people speak their minds, disagree with each other or with me. This topic tends to be value
laden and political, but that’s acceptable, makes the subject more lively. If students disagree, it
means the professor is doing the job right, that students are thinking independently. So speak
your mind, but don’t necessarily expect me to agree with you either: I have a professional
obligation to tell you what I think.
Parsons, The Birth of Modern Politics
Altshuler and Blumin, Rude Republic
Dew, Apostles of Disunion
Summers, Party Games
Goodwyn, Populist Moment
CLASS ASSIGNMENTS: Four papers of four pages or so each, plus final. Class participation,
as reflected in attendance and class discussion, will count for much of the grade. Attendance in
class is expected, as is intelligent participation based on the readings. More than three absences
in a semester would ordinarily suggest a problem. AND YOU NEED TO SHOW UP ON TIME,
IF 8 AM IS AN ISSUE DROP THE CLASS.
You will also be required to see portions of several episodes of the PBS series on the Civil
Rights Movement and other films which will be shown in class.
Note: The reading load is heavy, so get used to it now. If you do not do the readings by the date
specified, you will be unable to say much on the subject matter--and your grade depends in large
part upon this. So, speak up when appropriate, and I tend to call on people when it seems useful;
we will avoid having the same few people do all the talking.
I should also point out that the subject matter overlaps with a good deal of American political
history during the Eisenhower (1953-61), Kennedy (1961-63), Johnson (1963-69), and Nixon
(1969-1974) presidencies. If I assume knowledge which you don't already have, feel free to stop
me and ask for further information. I'm pretty easygoing about answering questions, but it is up
to you to stop me from "going over your head." (You can, however, ask questions via e-mail if it
is easier, or if you want to ask anything else.)
APPROXIMATE READING SCHEDULE--Additional class handouts or online assignments
will be distributed periodically. THIS ISN'T A CONTRACT, I CAN CHANGE
ASSIGNMENT OR READING DATES AS BECOMES NECESSARY.
Sept. 13, 15, 17, 20—Read Parsons, The Birth of Modern Politics
Sept. 22, 24, 27, 29 and 1 Oct.—Read Altschuler & Blumin, Rude Republic
Oct. 4—No Reading—First Paper Due
Oct. 6, 8—Dew, Apostles of Disunion
Oct. 11—Black Popular Politics in an Era of Ideology—Read Fitzgerald, other readings to be
Oct. 13—No Reading—First Online Assignment Due
Oct. 15—The Era of Machine Politics--Start Summers, Party Games
Oct. 18—Fall Break
Oct. 20, 22, 25—The Era of Machine Politics, continue Summers, Party Games
Oct. 27, 29, Nov. 1, 3—Corporate Politics and the Farm Revolt, Read Goodwyn, The Populist
5 Nov.—“Final” Exam
8 Nov.—No class meeting, individual meetings with students
10 Nov.—Class meets—Progress Reports
12 Nov.—No class meeting, individual meetings with students—PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE
15 Nov.—Class meets—Progress Reports
17 Nov.—No class meeting, individual meetings with students
19 Nov.—Class meets—Progress Reports
22 Nov.—No class meeting, individual meetings with students
24, 26 Nov.—Thanksgiving Break
29 Nov.,--Class meets, Progress Reports
1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13 Dec.–Class meets, Oral presentations of findings
FINAL EXAM—Paper Due—11 AM, SATURDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2010
Grading: The first paper counts for 20%, the short research assignment for 10%, “Final” Exam is
20%, Term paper 30%, and class attendance and participation counts for the rest. Participation
means showing up on time, having read the material, and having something interesting to say
about it. More than three absences over the course of a semester is a problem.
I should also call your attention to the beefed-up campus anti-plagiarism policy. Faculty are now
obliged to pursue such issues aggressively. See the official policy on this,