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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2007

GOV 312L • Issues and Policies in American Government - HON - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38615 MW
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ B0.306
SZB 278

Course Description

Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing and half of the legislative requirement (three of six credit hours).

American political discourse is impoverished. Citizens and politicians have lost the ability to intelligently talk about the fundamental features of American political life. This honors course seeks to address this political and educational pathology by introducing UT's top students to difficult problems of constitutional interpretation. Students are invited to adopt the perspective of one actually responsible for designing or maintaining a polity. From this perspective we address such questions as: How democratic is the American constitution? Must a democratic constitution be capitalistic too? Does separation of powers work in America? How does the Constitution secure rights? Should democratic leaders go outside of the Constitution during national emergencies? Are actions permissible in emergency that would be prohibited in normal times? What is a constitution? Who are "the people" that authorize the Constitution?

Grading Policy

Three short papers and two in-class exams. Active participation in section.


(tentative list): Rossiter, ed. The Federalist Papers Horwitz ed. Moral Foundations of the American Republic Goldwin ed. How Democratic is the Constitution? Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg Dahl, How Democratic is the American Constitution? Stevenson, A Man Called Intrepid a packet of articles and primary sources


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