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POS 101 R. R. Pope

Citizens & Governance Summer 2000

1st EXAM

1. Which of the following is the best (most complete) statement of the basic goal of this course?

  1. Assist students in understanding American politics, including why we frequently fail to elect the best possible candidates to public office..
  2. Provide students with an understanding of the relationship between "human nature" and government, especially with regard to the limits human nature puts on our prospects for developing an ideal government.
  3. _X_ Provide students with a basic understanding of the "possibilities of politics," that is, what seems to work best and what doesn't work, as well as what appears to be realistically possible given past experience and the apparent "limitations" imposed by "human nature."
  4. Provide a clear and specific set of guidelines for developing the best possible political system, taking into account past experience, human nature, and available resources.

2. Which of the following is most clearly an example of "politics at work"?

  1. A discussion among students of the merit-or lack of merit-of the political science class they are taking.
  2. A U.S. Senator discussing with his wife and young children what they can look forward to doing on their vacation to Disney World..
  3. _X_ Management of a family owned business discussing whether or not to expand into a new market; the children want to take the risk, but the father has serious misgivings.
  4. The members of a chess club discussing their club's prospects for winning an upcoming tournament.

3. Which of the following, if any, does not qualify as a type of "government"?

  1. The elected leadership of a trade union.
  2. The board of directors of a theater company.
  3. The leaders of a drug cartel.
  4. The "village council" in a small community.
  5. _X_ All of the above can be considered examples of "government."

4. Based on the class discussion, which of the following, if any, is a reasonable explanation for the existence of government?

  1. Government exists only because some people have a compelling need to control the lives of other people.
  2. Government's primary function is to protect the property of the rich against the demands of the poor.
  3. Over time government makes it possible to fully solve society's problems.
  4. _X_ Government appears to be necessary to provide a reasonable degree of security and order in society.

5. Which of the following, if any, is not a fair statement to make about "political anarchy"?

  1. If it is in fact possible, it could well be the most "democratic" political system yet devised..
  2. It probably isn't possible because human nature seems to require some sort of "structured control"before society can function reasonably effectively.
  3. It has never been successfully implemented on any significant scale.
  4. _X_ All of the above are reasonable statements concerning "anarchy."

6. It is reasonable to assume from the article, "Tribal Divisions Extend to the U.S.," that the author probably would not agree with which, if any, of the following?

  1. We human beings are capable of unspeakable brutality toward people that we consider to be "outside" of our group.
  2. Both some blacks and some whites in the U.S. are promoting attitudes toward people of the opposite color that could eventually make the type of large scale brutality that is occurring in other parts of the world possible here.
  3. From the argument presented, one might conclude that we human beings are bad enough to make something like what happened in Kosovo possible to begin with and, at the same time, good enough to make the effort to bring the brutality to an end possible.
  4. _X_ The author would probably agree with all of the above.

7. Based on the discussion of "human nature" in this class, which of the following, if any, is a reasonable statement? Human nature is

  1. to a significant extent assumed to be genetically determined, that is, "changing the environment" won't fundamentally change at least some basic aspects of human behavior.
  2. assumed to include both "positive" and "negative" components.
  3. assumed to place limitations on what can be expected of government.
  4. _X_ All of the above are reasonable statements.

8. Assuming that the view of human nature discussed in class is reasonably accurate, which of the following, if any, is probably not realistic?

  1. Making significant improvements in the old U.S. welfare program.
  2. Reducing crime in places like Washington, DC, which regularly wins the title of "murder capitol of the U.S."
  3. _X_ At long last electing a president who will not have any major personal or political shortcomings.
  4. Working out, in theory at least, a political, social, and economic system that is significantly better than the current American system.
  5. All of the above are clearly realistic.

9. All three articles on the class web site on the subject of perception mention the "halo effect." Based on these articles, which of the following, if any, is it not correct to say about the "halo effect"?

  1. It involves our perceptions of a person, for example, being influenced by the combination of his or her best features, such as their sense of humor and how well they dress.
  2. It can result in our coming to incorrect conclusions about a person.
  3. It can be difficult to change an incorrect impression of someone that is based on the halo effect.
  4. _X_All of the above can be said about the halo effect.

10. According to the lecture (and the readings), our perceptions of the world around us are imperfect/inaccurate because of which of the following-if any?

  1. We can be misled/tricked and confused, and we can fail to perceive all the relevant aspects of reality.
  2. We are guilty of selective perception and/or selective attention at least a part of the time.
  3. Reality is more complicated than we often realize.
  4. _X_ All of the above are reasonable statements.
  5. None of the above fits with what was covered in the lecture and/or the readings.

11. Which of the following, if any, is not an example of selective perception?

  1. A professor tells a generally good student that the paper he has just turned in is not well written, but instead of recognizing the validity of the comments, the student decides the professor is being excessively critical.
  2. Even though economists argue that the tax cut George W. Bush is promising if he is elected President is excessive, Bush's supporters still believe that "their man" has the best possible plan for the economy.
  3. Possibly because of the fact that you generally do good work, your boss doesn't seem to notice that the latest report you gave him is not well argued-much to your relief.
  4. Because he does not "look like a mayor," it appears likely that the best candidate in the upcoming election won't win. His supporters are afraid that a lot of people won't recognize that he in fact has a lot of relevant experience and a lot of good ideas.
  5. _X_ All of the above probably involve at least some selective perception.

12. According to the lecture, we largely acquire our basic political views-through which we then "filter" relevant information for the rest of our lives-

  1. when we are in college.
  2. when we are in high school.
  3. after we leave home.
  4. _X_ before we start school
  5. None of the above.

13. Which of the following is an example of "selective attention"?

  1. At a party the person you are talking to begins to criticize a political leader you happen to admire. You excuse yourself from the group.
  2. You turn on the radio in your car to a station where a commentator you generally don't agree with is on the air. You turn down the volume and return to your attempt to remember what it was you were supposed to get at the store-but forgot.
  3. You are invited to a roundtable discussion on reforming the campaign finance laws, but because you find "politics" boring, you decline to attend.
  4. _X_ All of the above can reasonably be considered to be examples of "selective attention."

14. With reference to "political culture" as discussed in this class, which of the following is not a reasonable statement-or at least is the least reasonable statement?

  1. Differences in political culture can help to explain different attitudes toward "individual rights" in Russia, China, and the U.S.
  2. Russian opposition to the NATO bombing of Serbia can be explained to a significant extent by Russian political culture.
  3. _X_ It should be possible to accurately predict what another country will do in specific situations once we have a clear idea of the nature of their political culture.
  4. Russians and Americans have different attitudes and/or behave differently in a number of areas because of "cultural differences."

15. According to Robert Bierstedt in his essay "On Power,"

  1. power is involved in most social relations, including love, but probably not, for example, in a casual conversation at a party.
  2. while prestige may be frequently connected with power, it can exist independently of power.
  3. force and authority are closely related to power.
  4. _X_Bierstedt argues all of the above.

16. Which of the following, if any, is not an example involving a significant element of "power" as defined in this class?

  1. A young lady attempting to convince her boyfriend to help her with her homework in return for her helping him clean his apartment.
  2. _X_ Two good friends deciding whether to go fishing or water skiing.
  3. A police officer giving a young driver a ticket for speeding.
  4. A school board deciding whether or not a group of students should be expelled for fighting at a basketball game.
  5. All of the above involve a significant element of power.

17. Which of the following is the best example of "influence" as discussed in this class?

  1. A political science professor encouraging his students to work on their writing, pointing out that poor writing will adversely affect their grade.
  2. A police officer informing a group that is blocking traffic the consequences they will face if they don't move on.
  3. Your boss explaining to you why he disagrees with what you want to put into a report that top management has requested.
  4. _X_ A judge attempting to convince a group of reporters that a very unpopular decision he has just handed down is in fact the best possible decision.

18. Which of the following, if any, is not important to the preservation of democracy?

  1. Protecting the right of even unpopular groups to organize and present their views.
  2. Trying to make sure, for example, that voters in Chicago aren't pressured to vote for Democratic candidates.
  3. Protecting a reporter's right to collect information on what elected officials are doing.
  4. Protecting the right of "preacher Dan" to express his views on the "sinful nature" of ISU students.
  5. _X_ All of the above are examples of things that are important to the preservation of democracy.


19. Which of the following is essential to democracy-and isn't an exaggerated statement?

  1. More than one political party so that competitive elections are guaranteed.
  2. Formal "separation of powers," so that elected officials can't ever abuse their power.
  3. Freedom of the press so that we will always know exactly what those "political crooks" are doing.
  4. _X_Freedom of association and assembly so that people can band together to try to bring about changes in the system.
  5. All of the above are at least exaggerations.

20. It can be reasonably argued that democracy is the best system so far devised because

  1. it is based more on persuasion than force-which in turn encourages creative contributions to society.
  2. it encourages widespread participation in decision making-which increases the odds that good, or at least reasonably decent decisions will be made most of the time.
  3. it at least attempts to protect the rights of minorities-which may in fact have positive contributions to make to society.
  4. through competitive elections it provides the opportunity to "throw the bums out" when current officials aren't providing effective leadership.
  5. _X_ All of the above can reasonably be considered "strengths" of democracy.


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