GOV 310L • American Government
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course introduces you to the government and politics of the United States (a lot) and the state of Texas (some). What is politics and how do you, the citizen, fit into the political world? The course concentrates on the political philosophy and political history of the United States and Texas. The course also takes a critical look at the institutions and processes of American and state government as they have developed up to this day. What ideas about politics and government have been most relevant to understanding the United States as a representative democracy? What events, documents, and political realities lie behind the development of the United States from thirteen states on the Atlantic coast to its emergence as a superpower? And at present, what political processes and principal policies characterize the governments of the United States and of Texas? Course lectures will be supplemented by guest lectures and videos. Class attendance and participation is expected, and students may be called upon in class. The required course packet, in addition to the text, contains documents and readings from the founding, American history, Supreme Court cases, and scholarship in political science. The packet is supplemented by a text on writing and a political novel.
There are three tests and a final exam. The first three tests are worth 15 percent and the final exam makes up 25 percent of your grade. The tests combine multiple-choice questions with essay questions. You are also responsible for periodic quizzes (five in all) on the assigned readings and lectures (2 percent each, adding up to 10 percent of your grade). You are also required to participate in class and/or on the Blackboard discussion board with respect to course materials, lectures, current events, and other relevant items.
Thomas Dye, Politics in America, Seventh Edition. Pearson/Prentice Hall. 2007. Packet of course readings.