Activity 7 Interest Groups and Political Parties Discussion Activity
Threaded Discussion: 5 Points
NOTE: You must include references to the textbook in all of your coursework: discussion activities and writing assignments. For example, if you were writing about the Bakke case, in which the Supreme
Court declared that racial quotas in public school admissions were unconstitutional, you would cite the textbook in this way (Sidlow & Henschen 119).
Please scan various news sources and look for articles on interest groups or political parties in the American system. Once you have found a substantial story on the issue, please respond to the questions
• Summarize your take on the issue.
• How does it relate to the Unit 4 concepts?
• Develop a question that you will post on the threaded discussion that either extends the discussion or queries others for another perspective on the debate about the topic. Once you have submitted
the posting, please respond to at least two other comments or questions that fellow students have placed on the thread.
Unit 4 Interest Groups and Political Parties
Your To Do List
• Required Readings:
o Sidlow and Henschen, Chapters 6 and 7
o Instructor notes on of American government literatures and concepts:
? Jeffrey H. Birnbaum’s “Under the Sun.”
? Kevin W. Hula’s Lobbying Together (1999).
? Interest Group Models.
? Richard Valelly’s “Who Needs Political parties?”
• Supplementary References (optional):
o John H. Aldrich’s Why Parties? (1995).
o Party Control of Congress Since 1900 [Appendix D].
o E.E. Schattschneider’s Party Government (1942).
o Joseph A. Schlesinger’s Political Parties and the Winning of Office (1994).
o Daniel M. Shea and John C. Green’s (eds.) The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary American Parties (1996).
• Course Work
o Activity 7
o Activity 8
The right to organize is protected by the Constitution. Special interests significantly influence American government and politics. Some citizens feel that this influence is too great and jeopardizes representative
democracy, while others maintain that interest groups are a natural outgrowth of democracy and our pluralistic tradition of government. This unit will discuss the types of interest groups, how they shape policy
and how interest groups have been regulated in recent times. The second part of the chapter looks to examine the role of political parties in American democracy. Political parties have continued to serve as
major vehicles for citizen participation in our political system. Political parties provide a way for the public to choose who will serve in government and which policies will be carried out. In looking at political
parties, it will be vital to study America’s two-party system, what parties do in our system, the role of third parties and how parties are structured.
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