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

Summer 2007

GOV F310L • American Government

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
86015 MTWThF
8:30 AM-10:00 AM
MEZ B0.306
Brian Arbour

Course Description

Government is famously defined as "the monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a society." Thus, the study of government is the study of force and power. In this course, we ask questions about who has power in American government, how much power do they have, and what limits are there on this power? To do this, we examines the basic structure of American and Texas governments, and look at the attitudes of the American founders toward the power held by government and how those attitudes affected the structure they set up for our government. Then, we examine the consequences of this system, examining how power is employed in the institutions of American government, and then in the relationship between the masses and the elites who try to influence them. Our study will also try to connect our study of the principles of American politics with its current practice. We will discuss the current state of American politics, with a particular eye to examine who has power, how they achieved that power, and how that power is restricted, if at all.


Fiorina, Morris P. Paul E. Peterson, Bertram Johnson &William G. Mayer. The New American Democracy. 5th Edition. A.B. Longman-Pearson. N.B. You much purchase your own copy of your textbook. Both new and used copies are available at the University Co-op. You should also be able to find copies of the book (again, both new and used) online. The Texas Politics website. Online at


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