Welcome to the Course!

This is a course on the government, politics, and political history of our two North American neighbors—Canada and Mexico. The borders between the United States and these two countries are two of the longest international borders in the world. The two countries constitute America's two largest international trading partners (even ahead of third-place China). The cultural influences of each of the three nations on the other two is increasing constantly, yet most Americans know little about the politics of Canada and Mexico.

The two nations pose a sharp contrast in cultures, political systems, and political histories. Canada presents us with a constitutional monarchy and a system of parliamentary or responsible government. Like Britain's and many other European (and Asian) nations' governments, it differs significantly from the institutional design of the government of the United States and yet is undoubtedly a liberal democracy. Canada has a multi-century history of democratic and liberal government. It is one of the most economically prosperous nations in the world. We shall begin the course with our study of Canada, which is also celebrating its 150th birthday this year.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Mexico's government, like that of the United States, is a "presidential system." Like France's and Russia's governments, which are also presidential systems, Mexico's government has several significant differences from the United States system. Unlike its northern neighbors, Mexico's claim to "democracy" is not as old or as substantial as Canada's and America's; in fact, some have argued that Mexico only became a working "democracy" in the 1990s and is still feeling its way toward becoming a developed, liberal democracy. Its political history is full of violence, civil turmoil, and revolutionary activity. Though rich in natural resources, its wealth has not been as equally distributed among its population. Mexico is considered a "Third world" country, though it certainly has many of the characteristics and amenities of First World or G-20 nations. We will study Mexico in the second half of the course.

This site is where to look for your assignments and any relevant information about the course.


For the Week of May 1st:

Chapter 2 of NAFTA at 20 AND your completed paper for Friday.

I spell out the formal requirements in the "Memo: General Requirements for Research and other Papers in Politics" in the Useful Links section of the main webpage. Review the memo down through the six rules regarding "Specific Guidelines for Research Papers." As explained in class, I am making these changes to the general rules that you will find there:

Regarding the rules on the memo, please note that 30% of the grade is based on the writing, and that includes how well you do the footnotes and citations. Majors must use Chicago Style, as per the memo. As upperclassmen, you should know this stuff by now. PROOFREAD carefully or suffer the consequences.

For the Research Paper: A Hard Copy is Due in class on Friday, May 5th, by 3:30PM. No exceptions, no emailed copies.







Here is a CRS paper of Fast Track Procedure.

Very light reading this last week, but there will be a quiz each class. For Tuesday, please read just the first chapter of the NAFTA handout that I gave you on Friday. Extra copies are in the rack on my office door. Brandan, Andrea, Vince and Frances will present papers. Aishah, Daniel, and Devin will present on the second chapter of the handout for Friday, so it would be well for you three to complete your research papers by Thursday so you can write your short presentations for Friday.

For the Week of April 24th:

For Tuesday, please read the rest of chapter 10 on Mexico's political economy. Julie, Joumana, and Mary will present. The remaining seven students who have not yet given a second presentation will present on the NAFTA readings during the final week of class.

The mid-term will be held on Friday. If you have conscientiously kept up with the readings, you should be in pretty good shape for preparing for the exam.

To prepare for the exam, this Mexico Vocabulary List contains most of the terms, events, dates, individuals that we have studied over the past six weeks. The contents of the list should be pretty familiar to you by now. You certainly do not have to know each of the presidents in order or what each of the election law reforms mandated, but you should have a pretty good idea of who the most influential twentieth (and twenty-first) century presidents were and when they governed; you should have a pretty good idea of the effect and general trend of development of Mexican election law that the various reforms accomplished over the past fifty years. Regarding history and dates, you can pretty much ignore the historical figures of Mexico before the 20th century (except, maybe, Porfirio Diaz and Benito Jaurez), but you should have an idea of the importance of the dates listed in the 19th century.

The twentieth century is a different story. Mexico is almost universally hailed as an "emerging democracy" whose political future looks bright but is still not completely certain. We have focused on the long rule of the PRI and its antededents in the twentieth century and the reasons—political and economic—for its downfall. We looked in some detail at the techniques used by the PRI to stay in power for seventy straight years. The authors argue that the economic crises in the second half of the twentieth century undercut the legitimacy of the PRI and led to the legislative actions by the PRI that further led to the strengthening of opposition parties and the eventual minority status of the PRI (and the other parties) that has continued into the twenty-first century. You should be able to describe and explain these aspects of modern Mexican politics and government.

We have also traced the socio-economic history of Mexico during the twentieth century and its roots in colonial and nineteenth century Mexico. We looked at the paradoxical ("janus-faced") characterizations of Mexico as one of the leading economies in the world as well as a kleptocracy or narco-state with half of its population in poverty and no effective rule-of-law. Mexico is almost universally hailed as a developing, but not yet "developed" state. You should be able to give an account, citing relevant details, of Mexico's current socio-economic condition.

For the Class of April 21st:

Please read (1) pages 197 to 202 of chapter 10 and (2) chapter 11. You may begin with the first fullo paragraph on page 197 of chapter 10. Forrest, Eric, Nate, and Caitlin will give papers.

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

For the Week of April 10th:

Please read chapter 12 for Tuesday. Nick, Kevin, and Elizabeth will present one page papers on the problems of drug-trafficking, corruption, and victims' rights, respectively. The class will begin with a quiz.

I have a sign-up sheet with times for Tuesday; I will be available in the early afternoon on Wednesday after my faculty meeting in the morning. Meet with me about your paper, if you have not done so already.

For the Week of April 3d:

For Friday, please read chapter 7 and study the chart of election results that I handed out a couple of weeks ago.

The schedule for the rest of the semester looks something like this: next Tuesday, chapter 12 on the rule of law in Mexico. When we return from break, I would like to study one or two more chapters: either chapter 10 on mexican political economy or chapter 14 on Mexican-U.S. relations (or even chapter 11 or poverty, and social inequality)—we can do one or two of these chapters. That places the second mid-term on April 25th or 28th with the remaining classes on NAFTA and three student presentations per class for the rest of the semester. We can discuss this tomorrow.

As announced, I also would like you to show me some progress on your research tomorrow in the form of a short (one- or two-paragraph summary) of a second scholarly source and a few photo-copied pages from that source that you must hand in. (If you have met with me already about the paper, I may well have waived that requirement for you.) If you have not yet met with me, please plan to do so. Please do not sign up for tomorrow (Friday) between 1:00 and 2:00, however; I have a rescheduled tutorial during that time. Thanks.

The reading assignment for the week is to finish chapters 6 and 7. Since we already started on chapter 6, please finish it and read up to page 129 in chapter 7 (descriptions of the political parties) for Tuesday. We will finish reading chapter 7 for Friday. I will assign—alphabetically—two or three presentations on materials from chapters 6 & 7 for Friday. For example:

I will add some more questions for all of you to consider (perhaps for research papers). As indicated in the syllabus, each of you will make one more class presentation this semester.

Since the readings assignments are small this week, I would like each of you to identify a second scholarly source by Friday. I put up a sign-up sheet for appointments to discuss your research questions. Please be sure to sign up this week or early next week. I will have time for severasl appointments Wednesday as well.

Twelve Mexican states held elections on Sunday June 5th, 2016. Commentaries are here (Baker Institute) and here (Time) and here (LA Times).

For the Week of March 27th:

As I indicated on Tuesday, the assignment for Friday is (1) chapter six of the text and (2) copies of a few pages (including the first or title page) of a scholarly book or journal related to the research question that you described last week; attach to the article/book pages a couple of typed paragraphs indicating that you have read a substantial portion (at least a dozen pages) of the scholarly source you are submitting. I also have a sign-up sheet on my door for appointments tomorrow about your research questions. Making an appointment does not absolve you of the assignment to hand in the material in (2) above. If your question related to Mexico, may I suggest the endnotes of the textbook as an excellent source of scholarly sources.

The average grade on the last quiz was 4.87 out of 10, and that is the highest average on any of the quizzes so far; there will be more quizzes. I can honestly draw only two conclusions from these results: (1) most of you are not reading the assignments or (2) your reading comprehension is so poor that you really are not ready for a college level, much less upper-division college, class. This also makes me very skeptical about the upcoming paper. I will be asking for evidence of your progress on the research over the next few weeks until the paper is due.

Please read chapter five of the text for Tuesday.

For the Week of March 20th:

The assignment for Friday is chapter four, a very short chapter on the period from 1968 to 2000. This chapter traces the path of the PRI's attempts to bolster its legitimacy after the 1968 massacre, attempts that in the end assured the PRI's fall from power.

You must also hand in, for a grade, a typewritten QUESTION (and rationale) that you want to make the basis for your research paper. The research is your attempt to answer the research question. Your thesis will be the answer that you came up with through your research. Any question based on Canadian or Mexican history or system of politics/government is possibly acceptable. Your question must also include a well-reasoned rationale or reason why you think it is an important question that can be answered through research. I will help you develop your question, but I must first see evidence that you have some considered interest in pursuing an appropriate question.

Please read chapter 3 of the Edmonds-Poli and Shirk text. (If you have not been outlining or taking notes on the assigned readings—in this and every other college class—please start doing so now.) Mary, Brandan, Andrea, and Vince will make one-page presentations to the class on the following questions and topics:

  1. Question: (1) Who were the major rebel figures in the Mexican Revolution and (2) what distinctive goals or purposes did each one have? (3) Were these different goals reconciled into a unified regime after the revolutionaries were successful? (This covers material in chapter 2 from 1910 to no later than 1924.)
  2. Question: (1) What was the Cristeros Rebellion, its causes, and its result? (2) What were the similarities (and significant differences, of course) to the conflict in the earlier War of Reform; i.e., was it a further instance of the same conflict that was at the heart of the War of Reform? (This covers material in chapters 1 and 2. Focus on the similarities, if any; not the obvious differences.)
  3. Question: (1) According to the text, chapter 2, how did the PNR (the National Revolutionary Party) reflect the goals of the Mexican Revolution? (Did it reflect the goals?) (2) Was the PNR essentially a liberal party or a progressive party? (3) Were its purposes successfully pursued by presidents Calles and Cardenas?
  4. Question: (1) How did the National Revolutionary Party (the PNR) evolve into the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)? Explain. (2) What is corporatism? (3) How did the PRI and its predecessors use "corporatism," as explained in the text, to consolidate its political power? This takes you into chapters 2 & 3.

You all should be prepared to contribute to the discussion of these presentations. Quiz will depend on your performance on Friday's quiz (not looking too good at this point).

We will also discuss the research papers this week. On Friday, each of you must hand in a short, one or two paragraph, question about Canadian or Mexican politics or political history, or a question comparing Canadian to Mexican politics or political history. Research begins with a question that you would like to answer, not a topic that you would like to write about or a point that you would like to prove. What would YOU like to know more about in connection with Canada's or Mexico's politics?

For the Week of March 13th:

We meet next on Tuesday the 14th and begin the study of Mexican government and political history. Much different story. Please read chapters 1 and 2 of Edmonds-Poli and Shirk's text. There will be a quiz.

Mexico History Timelines

Mexico Historical Timeline (History Channel)

Mexico Historical Timeline (MexicanHistory.org)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Wikipedia)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Dates and Events)

Mexican Constitutions


Mexico City Webcams


Mexico Historical Timeline (History Channel)

Mexico Historical Timeline (MexicanHistory.org)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Wikipedia)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Dates and Events)


Historical Maps (University of Texas, Perry-Casteñada Collection)

Mexico, 1819

Mexican News Sources

Mexico Gulf Reporter Site for current Mexico news.

El Universal Site for current Mexico news.

The Financial Times Site for current Mexico news.

Banderas News Site for current Mexico news.

The News Site for current Mexico news.

2016 Federal Budget. (Business Insider commentary)

2017 Federal Budget. (Wall Street Journal commentary)

Government and Elections

Mexican Elections

Mexico's Civil Law System

The Mexican Legal System (University of Arizona)

2015 Federal Budget: Analysis

2015 Federal Budget: Analysis

The 63d Legislature (2015-2018) of the Mexican Congress

2012 Mexican Senate (Wikipedia)

2015 Chamber of Deputies Elections (Wikipedia)

Mexico-Canada trade

For the essays, you should be familiar with (1) the major events in Mexican history that directly affect the political institutions of the country, in particular the events leading up to the 1857 constitution, the Porfiriato, the causes and effects of the Mexican Revolution; (2) the PRI and how it operated during the period in which it was in power; (3) the causes and the nature of the transition of Mexican government from a one-party dominant system to a functioning democracy of the presidential form in the latter twentieth century, including the major political reforms that took place from the 1970s to 2014. These were the main themes that we repeated multiple times over the past two weeks. Master as much detail as possible.

For the Week of February 27th:


The eighty-minute, closed-book exam will consist of three sections: (1) definitions, (2) an essay question about Canadian government, and (3) an essay question about Canadian political history.

I will put eight (8) terms/topics on the exam, most of which are on the first list of twenty on the "Canadian Political Vocabulary" link; all of which have been amply covered in the assigned readings. You must give substantial definitions/discussions of four or five of them. The discussions should explain what the term or terms mean and also, in particular, what each term's significance is for Canadian politics. A one- or two-sentence definition will not do. Show me that you know the significance of these terms and topics in Canadian government.

One of the two essay questions will be based on a discussion of one of the "Mega-Terms" in the second short list on the Canadian Political Vocabulary link. Clearly, these terms focus on an overview of how Canadian government, and responsible government systems generally, operate. Since this topic seemed new to most of you, and since the responsible government system is one of the two dominant constitutional designs in today's world (the other being the presidential or separation of powers design that we have in the United States—and Mexico), this question will give you a chance to demonstrate how well you understand responsible government.

The second essay question will focus on Canadian history that was assigned from the Riendeau text and that is significant because of its reflection or, or influence on, the Canadian political system. This topic may not be on the third part of the "Canadian Political Vocabulary" list, so be sure to read the assignments that you may have missed.

For the Week of February 20th:

Oh, Praise Be!

My dreams fulfilled at last!

[Almost] all the quiz have passed!

Your performance on that excruciatingly difficult quiz has me waxing poetic.

Canadian National Elections

2015 House of Commons Election

Canadian Provincial Elections

For Friday, please read chapters 17-19 of the Riendeau text. We will also go over the CA 1867 and CA 1982 in the Canadian Regime.

After looking at the amount of material that remains to be covered and the dreadful performance on quizzes, I have decided not to rely on independent reading of the remaining chapters of the two texts. So the reading assignment for Tuesday is the following: chapter 7 as announced with student reports; chapter 9, pages 175 to the end of the chapter; and chapter 10, pages 204 to the end of the chapter. The assignment for Friday will be chapters 17-19 of the Riendeau text.

For the Week of February 13th:

Please read chapter 6 of The Canadian Regime. I am sure that after I grade your latest quizzes, I will realize that you do not need another quiz this week. But maybe you should prepare anyway.

Exam is February 28th. Readings until then will be chapters 7, 9, & 10 in The Canadian Regime and chapters 17-19 in A Brief History of Canada. Basic terms for the exam can be found on this Vocabulary List.

First things first. Here is the article I was struggling to access in class:

Long Live the Queen!

For Tuesday, please read chapters 11 and 12 of the Riendeau text. We will also discuss chapter 5 of The Canadian Regime. Chapter 4 discusses federalism in Canada, and chapters 11 and 12 recount the early decades of the Dominion and its struggles to build a "nation" out of multiple units (a la Chief Justice Marshall and Alexander Hamilton's Federalists to build a nation in the first decades of the new American republic).

For the Week of February 6th:

For Friday, please the rest of ch. 3 and all of ch. 4 on federalism. You may also start chapter 11 of Riendeau, which concerns the period of nation-building after the confederation and reflects the context in which Canada first addressed the issues posed by a provincial federation.

Please read the following from Malcolmson et al, The Canadian Regime: Chapter 2 (The Constitution); Chapter 3 (Responsible Government), sections 3.1 and 3.2.

"Hudson's Bay may buy out Macy's". Told ya.

For the Week of January 30th:

For Friday, please read chapters 9 and 10 of the Riendeau text. Nick, Kevin, and Alsa will present short one-page, double-spaced papers on the 1837 rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada (I think Nick is Upper and Kevin is Lower, but I might have that mixed up. Go with what I assigned in class, or email each other to get it straight). Alsa will tell us about the role of John Macdonald, George Brown, and George Etienne Cartier in the Grand Coalitionand the subsequent formation of the Confederation. Be sure to have a copy of your presentation for me.

By now, all of you should have secured a book (I have a few more for sale on Tuesday) or ordered one. We can begin going full steam! This week we will study chapters 6, 7, 9, and 10 of the Riendeau text: please read chapters 6 and 7 for Tuesday and chapters 9 and 10 for Friday. Next week we will start with chapter 2 of The Canadian Regime and chapter 11 of Brief History.

Canada, 1867 Map

U.s.-Canada Reciprocity Treaty of 1854: Background; the treaty

Canada, 1849 Map

Durham Report and the Act of Union of 1840

Whips and Votes in UK and Canada

Canada after the Constitutional Act of 1791; map of British North America thereafter

Quebec Act of 1774

Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act of 1774

North America after the Proclamation of 1763

North America after the Proclamation of 1763

For the Week of January 23d:

For Friday, please read chapters 3 and 4 of the Riendeau Brief History of Canada. That will be the last handout. Please come on Friday prepared to buy texts.

The readings this week are from the Roger Riendeau Brief History of Canada. Chapters 1 & 2 for Tuesday; chapters 3 & 4 for Friday. For those of you who have not yet purchased a copy of the text, I handed out chapters 1 & 2 in class. Extra copies are available in the rack on my office door (Ireton G107). I will hand out one more set—chapters 3 & 4—on Tuesday. If you have not yet bought Riendeau's text, come to class with $8 in cash and buy one on Tuesday. Please bring exact change.

For the Class of Friday, January 20th (yes, we will have class):

Please read the short handout from Charles Hauss on presidential and parliamentary systems of government. I will also bring copies of the textbook for you to buy. Bring cash (I don't take checks or VISA). Cost will be $8 or $9 each. (Haven't figured it out yet.) I might not have enough for everyone on Friday; they are arriving daily. I will have a handout for Tuesday's assignment.

Material from past semesters.

Here is the up-dated vocabulary for the final.

For Monday, I would like each of you to bring me a list—precise descriptions of the reforms in a carefully and chronologically organized listing—of the congressional/electoral reforms of the past few decades in Mexico that made the transition in Mexican politics possible. THe main reforms took place in the 1970s, the 1990s, and the past ten years. They should have been covered in your papers for Thursday, but not all of them were, so provide a typed list of them on Monday. In addition to the congressional/electoral reforms, also include the major changes in the behavior and power of the Mexican courts. All of this is covered in last weeks readings, but some is also covered in the CMP chapter 5 handout that I gave you on Thursday.

  1. Briefly (two or three sentences each) describe what you think is most politically important about each president--how he got the nomination, his personal interest, political problems (Cite page numbers--e.g., PM, 196. or CMP, 83.)
  2. Briefly describe what you believe is the most significant historical event that occurred during the twelve, not six, years that you are covering and how it affected the presidencies
  3. Most importantly, briefly but carefully spell out the politics/constitutional reforms that each president proposed during his term.
  1. For the first, what did the president do immediately preceding his candidacy for president? Or why was he selected to be a candidate by his predecessor? Something like that.
  2. For the second, the historical event can either be just that--a catastrophe, war, riot, discovery--or can/should be the nature of Mexico's economy when the president assumed office--prosperity, recession, depression, and so on.
  3. For the third, what specific reforms did the president propose and what happened to them. For this item, you must go through chapters 7 & 8 of PM to find Camp's references to the reforms. I MUST SEE MATERIAL FROM CAMP'S BOOK (PM) FOR THIS.

The links right below on this webpage to the constitution of 1917 and its subsequent amendments will be helpful to you here.

I hope the exam was not too bad. If you've read all of the assigned material, you should do fine on the exams. I look primarily for evidence that you have read the material. The better you understand it, the better the grade.

For Monday, we will begin the study of Mexican government the way we began the study of Canada, but with only one day of Mexican political history. Please read (1) the two chapters from Contemporary Mexican Politics that I handed out in class and (2) chapter 2 of Roderic Camp's Politics in Mexico. For Thursday we will turn to Mexico's current governmental system and recent political developments: chapters 7 & 8 of Camp's text. Since you just spent quite a bit of time on the exam, I will not assign a presentation for Monday; we will have a short quiz. You will have a presentation for Thursday on the political system.



I'm making some progress with translations of the Mexican constitutions!

Mexico City Webcams

Mexico Vocabulary Lists


Mexico Historical Timeline (History Channel)

Mexico Historical Timeline (MexicanHistory.org)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Wikipedia)

Mexico Historical Timeline (Dates and Events)


Historical Maps (University of Texas, Perry-Casteñada Collection)

Mexico, 1819

Mexican News Sources

Mexico Gulf Reporter Site for current Mexico news.

El Universal Site for current Mexico news.

The Financial Times Site for current Mexico news.

Banderas News Site for current Mexico news.

The News Site for current Mexico news.

2016 Federal Budget. (Business Insider commentary)

2017 Federal Budget. (Wall Street Journal commentary)

Government and Elections


Mexico's Civil Law System

2015 Federal Budget: Analysis

2015 Federal Budget: Analysis

The 63d Legislature (2015-2018) of the Mexican Congress

2012 Mexican Senate (Wikipedia)

2015 Chamber of Deputies Elections (Wikipedia)

Mexico-Canada trade


I have finally put together these Canadian Political Vocabulary terms that you should be familiar with for the exam. I edited my original lists with specifically this 2016 summer session and what we have focused on over the past three weeks in mind. There are three lists: one with twenty terms from the Malcolmson-Myers Canadian Regime book; one with "Mega-Terms" on Canadian government that were discussed in Malcolmson-Myers, in Bothwell, and, especially, in class; and one with terms and topics taken primarily from Bothwell.

Regarding the first list from Malcolmson-Myers: all but one of the twenty come from the assigned chapters. I added the terms "single member plurality system (SMP)" and "proportional representation (PR) system" from the unassigned chapter 9 because we discussed these terms in some depth in class this week. Malcolmson-Myers uses these terms in chapter 10, but you will find the nice, complete definitions of them on pages 163-171 of chapter 9. These concepts are important for understanding both Canada's and Mexico's regimes.

Finally, I tailored the list of historical terms to what was assigned this summer, and I further weighted it with people and events form the late twentieth century. Several of these topics we only mentioned in class—we did not thoroughly discuss the development of the Reform Party or the aftermath of the defeat of the Meech Lake accord—but Bothwell's book contains clear and complete accounts of these political facts that any student of Canada should be familiar with. I will put five of these terms on the exam; you must discuss one of them. I will lean toward the modern terms, but will include one or two from 18th or 19th century Canadian history, if that is what captured your fancy. Be sure to finish reading the assigned pages from Bothwell if you have not done so already! (Hint, hint.)

The second twenty-five point essay will focus on macro historical-political trends and themes that are important for understanding Canadian politics. I mentioned a few last evening: Canada's ties to the United States and its ties to England over the past two hundred and fifty years (the North-South versus East-West axis of Canada that we discussed and the Bothwell repeatedly refers to); the tensions between the English and the French in Canada throughout history and their frequent attempts to come to some sort of agreement or compromise resolution of this issue; the main domestic and international issues facing Canadian governments over the years, especially in the twentieth century; the change in the Canadian political parties and party divisions over the years and the reasons for those changes. I will ask you a question (maybe give you a choice: don't know yet) that focuses generally on one of these topics and let you provide facts and details from your reading to support your answer and demonstrate your knowledge.


Canada vocabulary lists

Parliament Hill Webcam


Canada Historical Timeline (Dates and Events)

Canada Historical Timeline (Canadian Press)

Canada Historical Timeline (CanadaHistory.com)


Historical Maps of Canada(edmaps.com)

Historical Maps (Canadian Geographic)

Historical Maps (Library and Archives Canada)

Maps of Amerindian and Inuit communities: (Province of Quebec); Algonquians (native-languages.org

Geography: Canadian Shield

Canadian News Sources

National Post.

National NewsWatch Good site for current Canadian political news.

National Post

Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa newspaper.

Toronto Globe and Mail. National newspaper.

Calgary Herald; Calgary Sun.

Government and Elections

2014-2015 Fiscal Year Federal Budget; Analysis; Projected surplus

Canadian Elections

Provincial elections.

Canadian History, Maps, Documents

Canadian Laws Canada Department of Justice

Canadian Supreme Court

Constitutional Documents McMaster

Constitutions and Other Legal Documents Solon.org

Canadian Parliament Web Site (the "Reference Material" link is particularly useful)

Keep your responses short and to the point. Let your fellow students know what they should know about each term or distinction or issue for the exam. You should be able to cover all three of your questions in a total of one full page, not more. (Typed, double-spaced.) We will ask you questions to fill in any gaps your paper might leave.

As I explained in class, the mid-term will consist of three parts: a list of eight political or governmental terms (taken from this list, with which I am still tinkering) from which you define/identify/explain five terms (five at 10 points each=50 points); an essay question on the Canadian political/governmental system (25 points); and an essay question tying Canadian history to Canadian politics (25 points).

Stages of Economic Union

Please read chapters 5-8 of Bothwell's Penguin History of Canada. As explained in class, each student should focus on one of the chapters:

  1. The Royal Proclamation of 1763, the reasons for it and its major effect
  2. The Quebec Act of 1774, reasons (causes) and effects
  3. The Declaratory Act of 1778, reasons, etc.
  4. The effect of the American Revolutionary War on British North America (i.e., Canada)
  5. What was the Treaty of Paris?
  1. The Canada Act of 1791
  2. The War(s) of 1793-1815, the causes and effects on Canada
  3. John Simcoe and the founding of Upper Canada (what was "Upper Canada"?)
  4. The Response(s) of the people of Lower Canada (what was "Lower Canada") to the French Revolution
  5. The causes of the War of 1812 and its effect on relations between the United States and Canada
  6. What was the Treaty of Ghent?
  1. What were the main forces of social and economic change in the period of 1815-1840?
  2. What, according to Bothwell, was the fundamental constitutional problem in British North America?
  3. What happened to American-Canadian relations after 1815?
  4. What and who were the causes of the 1837 rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada?
  5. What did the 1840 Act of Union do?
  1. How did the British Empire fundamentally change after 1840?
  2. What was "responsible government" and how did it change the government(s) of Canada?
  3. How did Canadian domestic (internal) politics and policies change in the 1840s and 1850s?
  4. What effect did the American Civil War have on the Canadian colonies?
  5. What was the initial result and the later, ultimate result of the Confederation Act of 1867?

Keep your answers to each question to a paragraph of three or four good sentences that provide essential information. Because history is concerned with explaining how particular events were caused by preceding events and individuals, and how each event then contributes to the causes of later events, it would be a good thing for each of you to read at least the chapter preceding the one assigned to you. You need not use any materials other than the Bothwell text, but feel free to look up dates, maps, and terms that are not fully explained in the text. One to one-and-a-half typed pages will be long enough. Read it and hand it in to me at the end of class.

Materials from Past Semesters:

>Results of the October 19th Canadian Election

>Canadian Parliamentary Elections,

>Results of the June 7th Mexican congressional elections

>Commentary on the 2015 Mexican Elections Here and Here

Canada's election is on Monday, October 19th. Check out the polls.

Boy, were those British polls ever wrong! Results

And how about the June 10 Mexican congressional elections, a la Wikipedia!

Greece, Canada, and Proportional Representation

Regarding our discussion last class on the disparity between the percentage of votes a party gets in the election and the percentage of seats it wins in the legislature—House of Commons or House of Representatives—often called the swing ratio, take a look at this article from The Nation magazine. According to the article, the Republicans won about 52% of the congressional vote in 2014 but won a total of 57% of the seats in the House; this was a disparity or swing ratio of 5%. In the 2012 election, the Republicans won only 48% of the congressional vote but won almost 54% of the seats (not a "lopsided majority" but about a 6% disparity). A look at this article from Rasmussen Reports takes the analysis a step further. "Rasmussen "Generic Congressional Ballot." The column on the right lists the weekly results for the past few months. Check out the results for early November 2014 and for early November 2012 and compare those numbers to the actual results of the 2014 and 2012 elections to the United States House.

A story on Britain's absolutely fascinating national election on Thursday. It should be of particular interest to all of you.

Mexico Exam

The exam will consist of three questions. One will focus on the present Mexican government system. The question will have multiple parts to test your knowledge of specific institutions in Mexican government. There may also be a reference in the question to Canada's government, asking you to compare some aspect of the Mexican system to the Canadian.

A second question will solely focus on Mexico's political history and the stages of development of Mexican democracy. The history will primarily be twentieth century history, but you should be familiar with the major phases of earlier Mexican history as well: the independence movement, the liberal movement, and the Porfiriato. In the twentieth century, the Revolution, the consolidation of power by the PRI, and the opening of Mexican government to other parties since the 90s come to mind as events tht you should have some familiarity with. Chapters 4, 6, 7, and 9 of the Contemporary Mexican Politics text recount the twentieth century history from different perspectives. There will be no reference whatever to Canadian history in this question, nor any reference to Mexican history before 1800.

The third question will be a comparison-contrast question between Mexico and Canada. The question may focus on comparable political or social issues facing each of the countries, comparable political or governmental issues or characteristics, or comparable demographic issues. The question will be based on the assigned readings and will focus on issues that anyone who has read the material in the last four months (namely, you!) should be able to discuss with some insight and informed opinion.

The focus of the exam is on Mexico, but you should be taking some knowledge of Canada's system away from the course, too. The exam is aimed at seeing that you do that. I want it to be comparable in difficulty to the mid-term, not more difficult.

I'll see most of you tomorrow between 3:00 and 7:00pm at my office to pick up the exams. I will see a couple of you on Saturday at my office starting at noon. I will not be on campus between Wednesday and Saturday; if you owe me a hard copy of the paper, Wednesday is your last chance to give me one. Otherwise, the grade is zero for the paper.

For Politics majors, all politics papers shall follow the Chicago Manual of Style, presented and explained in Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers, 6th or later ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), and in the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, located in the reference section of the library.

For non-majors, MLA or APA style may be used, but the papers will also be expected to be in proper MLA or APA style.

Specific Guidelines for the Research Papers.

  1. The eight-to-twelve page research paper should typically have at least twenty-five footnotes and should be based upon at least six scholarly or primary sources. Although these are merely rules-of-thumb, I will look very critically at papers with fewer footnotes or sources.
  2. The paper should have a one to one-and-one-half page introductory section that briefly indicates (1) the research question and its basis, (2) the answer to the question that your research has yielded (this is your thesis), and (3) the outline of the argument supporting the thesis that follows in the main part of the paper ("In this paper I will . . . .").
  3. The main body of the paper should be separated into sections, each with its own heading. These sections indicate to the reader the outline of the argument, as indicated in the introduction.
  4. The bibliography page should include enough space for me to write my comments.
  5. The grade will be based upon the substance of the paper (the argument you make), the quality of the sources you use, and the quality of the writing, typically in a 40%—30%—30% proportion.
  6. Each draft of a paper submitted must be typed, double-spaced, and the pages must be numbered.

Mexican Constitution of 1824

As you put together the account, you will come across a significant individual or event in your figure's life that is not satisfactorily explained in the Beezley-Meyer text. This is what you should pursue in another scholarly source. It need not take up much of your paper, but it should add to the discussion something that the rest of the class is not likely to know much about.

The papers should include:

The paper should not be a string of dates and events, but a coherent story of your figure's contribution to Mexican history. The "contribution" also need not be a positive or good contribution: Hitler made a great contribution to European history, but I think if he offered to make it again, Europe should politely decline it. You evaluation of your figure's character should be based on what you have learned about him. It may diverge from the assessment in the book, if the book authors offer an assessment. You must back it up with a rationale.

Each of you named below will present a short three-page seminar paper on one of the following individuals who were important in the above-named eras: