GOV 312L • Issues and Policies in American Government
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Fulfills second half of legislative requirement for 6 hours of American government. The course seeks an understanding of the basic principles of American government in a close reading of a number of classic constitutional, theoretical, and political texts. The core of the readings are The Constitution of the United States, The Federalist Papers by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, and Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. The meaning of democracy, equality, and liberty in the American system, the constitutional shape these values take, and the effect of these ideas on American life will be the recurring themes of our discussions.
Exams The requirements are designed to give every student, whatever their particular exam-taking strengths or weaknesses, a fair chance to do well. There will be three exams. The exams will deal only with the material covered during that section of the course since the last exam, except that the Constitution of the United States will covered on all three exams. The third exam will be given during the final examination period after classes end, but it will be no longer that the other two (you will simply have more time to complete it if you need it.) Exams will be a mix of essay and multiple choice items, with each student given considerable flexibility as to the exact mix. Writing Assignment Each student will be asked to write a 5-7 page original essay on one of several topics provided by the instructor. The essays will ask you to take a position on one of a variety of issues raised in the course and discussed in the assigned readings Grades will be computed in the following manner: Exam I 25% Exam II 25% Exam III 25% Paper 25%