550: Introduction

History 550: Politics and Public Policy, Fall 2022

Course Introduction

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


Purchase at bookstore: Story and Laurie, The Rise of Conservatism in America, 1945-2000 (2008)

Most of the readings will be in photocopied documents, which I will give you at no charge. On the syllabus I call these 550 Readings Packet.

I also have curated a collection of links to good sources of news and opinion on my nifty Current Events Guide. Check it out.

Also, see some links to recent politics and policy stories of interest here and a longer list of generally older articles here .


Find reading assignments by using navigation bars (Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4) at the top and bottom of this page and of every other page of this syllabus. You will notice in the menu bar above that there are a number of pages offering guidance for students in my courses. Everyone should read my Course Requirements page and the History Department statement on plagiarism on the Writing History page (plagiarism may be grounds for dismissal from the school). A popular page among my students is the Paper-Writing Guide.


Daily readings: You will need to be able to follow the syllabus which is posted on this website. Units are numbered sequentially. Your next homework assignment will be the next unit on the syllabus after the one we just did.

The syllabus includes a "question focus" with each reading assignment, designed to stimulate questions about the readings. Active learners don't just sit down and read. They read to answer questions. Before you begin each reading assignment, take a moment to develop some questions to guide your reading.

I've put wide margins on most of the photocopies so that you can take notes there: summaries/outlines, questions, reactions.

EXPECTATIONS: These are outlined on my Course Requirements page. Also:

Writing: You will write a series of op-ed style essays on topics connected to assigned readings. Read some op eds in real newspapers to see how it's done.

Presenting: There will be a Research/Presentation on a public policy issue. Here's a list of policy issues you might choose to study in depth for this project. Your final will be delivery of a PowerPoint presentation on the issue you choose.

Showing up: Most important, please show up on a daily basis and participate in the class. That means completing assigned work on time, arriving to class on time, marking up your readings and having them in front of you during discussions, and joining productively in the conversation. Treat classmates with respect. Take care of the fundamentals. As coach Belichick says, Do your job.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4