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

Spring 2005

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies in American Government - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36250 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
MEZ B0.306

Course Description

Fulfills second half of legislative requirement for 6 hours of American government. Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing.

Americans are often said to be obsessed with their Constitution. So be it; but then it behoves us to know something about it. The approach taken in this course is to return to the early debates surrounding its writing and ratification. We make no use at all of textbooks; instead we study the political thinking of the early Americans in their own words. Equal attention is given, on the one hand, to those who wrote the Constitution and argued for its ratification, and on the other, to those who argued against it or demanded sweeping changes in its content. This is not a history course or a political science course in the ordinary sense. Think of it as a course in early American political philosophy. As a "substantial writing component" course, it also puts heavy emphasis on the development of skills in interpretive reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing.

Grading Policy

Three take-home essays (6 pages each) - 75%, weighted equally Sixteen short answer format quizzes - 25% Analytical Outlines (not checked) Also, excessive absences hurt grades; good class participation helps in borderline cases; and I do report scholastic dishonesty.


The following required books have been ordered. Each book must be purchased. Bring the books we are using at the moment to class. Ralph Ketcham, ed. "The Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention Debates." George W. Carey and James McClellan, eds. "The Federalist." Herbert J. Storing, ed., with Murray Dry. "The Anti-Federalist."


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