GOV 310L • American Government
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Fulfills first half of legislative requirement for 6 hours of American government. Why did the workings of the US Electoral College create problems for certifying the 2000 presidential election winner? Why has the US Constitution endured for more than 200 years when those of other Western democracies have not? Why was state voter turnout in the fall 2002 elections at a historical low, despite record candidate campaign spending? What does this mean for democratic practice? Why are Texas governors' powers weaker than those of most other states' governors? You will learn the answers to these and similar questions in this course. This course introduces you to the historical and cultural foundations of US and Texas government, including civil rights and civil liberties, federalism, and the historical forces shaping the constitutional design of modern day American and Texan political processes. After gaining an understanding of the nature and origins of the American and Texan constitutional blueprints, you will learn about the political processes that accompany them: patterns of participation, interest group politics, political parties, and the political dynamics of campaigns and elections. In the third part of the course, we round out our study of American and Texas politics by learning about the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches in each.
The final course grade is based on three equally weighted exams and two outside assignments. The first outside assignment requires analyzing political editorial cartoons; the second requires designing a series of public service ads aimed at increasing Texas voter turnout.