LAH 350 (30295) / GOV 37OL (38845) / HMN 350 (40015) Fall 2017
Money in American Politics
This course explores the nature and consequences of money in American politics and why, at this point in history, we find ourselves embroiled in the most significant debate over campaign finance reform in over thirty years. The debate goes to the heart of the U.S. Constitution, pitting the First Amendment rights of speech and assembly against the perceived fairness and efficacy of a republican government awash, some claim, in increasingly unaccountable money.
Campaign finance issues lie at the crossroads of a bewildering number of analytical perspectives. We (must) examine the work of historians, social scientists, legal scholars, and interested parties on all sides of the debate in an effort not only to assess current policy debates but also to understand how we got here.
The objective of the course is not to persuade you of any particular point of view but, rather, to arm you with the substantive knowledge, theoretical foundation and analytical tools needed to be resolute in whatever conclusions you draw from this experience.
This course is an honors seminar. As such, there is a premium on preparation and participation. Final grades are based on class participation, two tests and two class projects:
• Participation: 10%
• Projects: 35%
• Tests: 55%
Grades will be based on the +/- scale.
• Kuhner, Timothy K.. Capitalism v. Democracy. Stanford University Press. 2014
• Mutch, Robert E. Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform. Oxford University Press. 2014
• Post, Robert C. Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2016
• Samples, John. The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2006
All other readings, of which there are many, are linked in the weekly reading assignments posted on Canvas.