Summary/Analysis Paper Instructions for The People's Choice


American Government, Fall 2010


Quiz & Discussion:  M/W Class 11/29; Wed Night Class 12/1


Paper Due: M/W Class 12/6; Wed Night Class 12/8


This paper should include your responses to the book The People's Choice. The paper should include a summary and analysis of the readings and should answer ALL of the Questions for Consideration.  Feel free to comment on other information from the book and the paper should also make links to lecture (especially information about the Electoral College).  Direct quotes must have quotation marks and the page number on which they appear should also be included (see instructions on the back of this page).  These papers must be typed, double-spaced, and well written (correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.).  There is no page requirement, but it will probably take at least 1,000 words.  Make sure to include a title page and follow the other technical details (five points) and staple the pages together. Do not buy a cover for the paper.


The easiest way to organize this paper is to answer each question in its own paragraph or series of paragraphs.  If you would rather write an essay that incorporates some of the answers to the Questions for Consideration, that is fine.  The layout/organization of this paper is entirely up to you.


The quiz over the book will be the first 15 minutes of class on the date of the discussion.  The quiz will be open note and open book.  Students may use any hand written (not photocopied or typed) notes they have written to help with this quiz, but may not share notes written by others.


For question #4, on how the Electoral College works, you may want to visit:



Questions for Consideration


1.     Describe the characters Ted Block, Al DeRossa, Sharon Kramer, Dorothy Ledger, Reverend W. Dixon Mason, and Walter York.   Who were they?  What role did they play in the story?

2.     How were members of the media (journalists, TV news anchors, radio personalities) portrayed in the book?  Describe some characters/events that show how the author portrayed the media.

3.     How were politicians and political insiders portrayed in the book?  For example, who was Jack Petitcon and what kind of "back-room" deals was he involved with?  Were politicians & insiders shown to be positive/negative?  Explain.

4.     In the end, who became President?  How did this come about?

5.     Based on lecture, the web site listed above, and information from this book, describe how the Electoral College works (try to avoid simply quoting the website).   What changes, if any, would you make to the way in which we elect our Presidents?  Explain.

6.     What are the strengths/weaknesses of this book as a source which describes politics in the United States and how the Electoral College works?  (For example:  What was the author's background?  Was the book believable/credible?  Why/why not?  What sources were used to write the book?  Was the book easy/hard to follow?  How was it organized?  Was it informative?  Was it well written?)




Citation Format Style


1.     Italicize the titles of books or ships.


2.     Spell out all numbers between zero and nine.


3.     Watch verb-tense; usually past tense is best to use while writing, but the paper may be written using either past or present tense.  Just make sure to be consistent.


4.     Try to avoid over-use of quotations, but any quotation longer than four lines should be indented five spaces and single-spaced (rather than double-spaced).   If/when this is done there is no need for quotation marks.


5.     A source MUST be cited and/or included in the bibliography when a:


a)     Direct quote is taken from a source.

b)    Series of sentences or a paragraph are paraphrased.  For example, if some words are changed around there must be an in-text citation and an item must be included in the bibliography.

c)     Source is consulted (even if nothing is quoted or paraphrased) it must be included in the bibliography


6.     When providing a citation within the body of the paper the in-text citation style is used.  Citation examples are below:


a)     Example of how a direct quote or paraphrase taken from the book you are assigned to read should be cited (only the page number is needed): 


“The Geneva Accords of 1954 reflected these influences” (41).


b)    Example of how to cite a direct quote taken from a website (for a website only the author is needed): 


“On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South” (White House).


7.     If a source other than the book that is assigned is used, a bibliography is required.  The bibliography page should be the last page of the paper and entries should be organized in alphabetical order according to author (not numbered).  Entries should also be single-spaced within the entry and double-spaced between each entry.  


a)     For websites, include the author (if one is listed), the title, the complete URL address of your website and the date it was accessed.


White House. “Abraham Lincoln.”

     Accessed 20, May 2010.