Political Science

Michigan Academician, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Political Science


Martha Griffiths as Michigan's Premier Politician. Beverly Fish, Wayne State University, Women's Studies Program

Martha Griffiths has long been remembered as a woman of firsts: first Democratic woman elected to Congress from Michigan, first woman to serve as Recorder's Court judge in Detroit, and first woman elected as Lieutenant Governor, in a career covering all branches of government. This paper examines the twenty years' congressional portion. Although she is most noted as the "mother of the ERA," and as the legislator who made sex discrimination illegal through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Griffiths also advocated other reforms, including welfare, the introduction of the first recycling bill, the urging of Congress to create a better Civil Defense system, and in 1970 the co-sponsoring with Senator Edward Kennedy the first legislation for a national health care system. Griffiths was an astute politician who, like Lyndon Johnson, had the ability to push legislation using knowledge of the political system. This paper assesses the strategies used within the male dominated culture, and how she brought change for women in politics.

Creating a Moot Court Class in Michigan. Bradford Winkler, Aquinas College, Department of Political Science

A number of colleagues in Michigan have inquired about adding a program in Moot court for their campuses. Four years ago, Aquinas College initiated such a course and student experience in their undergraduate political science department. Such a program involves students studying two focused constitutional law questions, building legal arguments, delivering legal arguments in a national tournament system, and creating a Supreme Court merits brief. Student evaluations of the course have been outstanding. Tournaments have also been rigorous and as described by students as "a real adrenaline rush." Pre-law students find this course a definitive answer to their question of whether law school is their chosen interest. Come and learn what steps are necessary to create such a program on your campus and the mechanics of the national tournament system. Additionally, a student club has grown from the course. A syllabus of the course as well as texts used will be discussed in this presentation.

The Recantation of Dahlism and the Exhaustion of Pluralist Theory: Dahl, Domhoff, and the Fifty Year Debate. Amy Bromsen, Wayne State University, Political Science Department

Robert Dahl and William Domhoff led decades of competitive discourse over the nature of power between pluralist and power structure theory. Dahl eventually concluded corporate capitalism interfered with liberty. The 1956 publication of C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite sparked debate between power structure and pluralist theorists. Dahl saw a pluralist society in which suffrage could create political equality and democracy in a vastly unequal economic system. Domhoff quantitatively and qualitatively supported Mills' thesis regarding the lack of division between government, corporate, and the military. Power was lodged in large institutions and in an elite, even when such an elite became more diverse. By 1985, Dahl had concluded that corporate capitalism interfered with economic and political liberty, and advocated, a) subordination of the individual right of property to the right of self-government of the group, b) the replacement of corporate capitalism by self-governing enterprises, and c) an admission of the exhaustion of political theory. This paper explores the decades of discourse over the nature of power thematically, i.e. power versus pluralist elites, and the scholarship which resulted.

John Adams as a Conservative and a Republican. Paul J. Cornish, Grand Valley State University, Department of Political Science

Republicanism has been the focus of a considerable body of contemporary scholarship on political theory and the history of political thought. The current study treats republicanism as a more or less coherent family or tradition of political ideas that has classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary adherents. …

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