310.Syllabus.2008 - Introduction to American Government GOV...

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1 Introduction to American Government GOV 310L --- Fall 2008 The University of Texas at Austin Professor David L. Leal Class location: UTC 2.102A Office: Batts 3.140 Class hours: MWF 2-3pm Phone: 471-1343 Office hours: MWF 1-2pm Email: [email protected] Unique #: 39300 Teaching Assistants Christian Sorace Office Hours: TBA Office: Batts 1.118 Email: [email protected] Eric Svensen Office Hours: TBA Office: Batts 1.118 Email: [email protected] Course Description This course will introduce you to the United States national government. We will cover U.S. political history, the institutions of government, elections and public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues. The class begins with the development of democracy in America and the adoption of the Constitution. We continue with a discussion of U.S. political traditions, including federalism. The class then examines public input into the political system, particularly public opinion, individual and group participation, and the political parties. Public input is nowhere better exemplified than in congressional and presidential elections, which are separately discussed. In fact, the main textbook of the class argues that American government can only be fully understood by understanding the central role of elections. We then explore the basic institutional building blocks of government – the Congress, presidency, bureaucracy, media, and courts. We continue by studying fundamental civil liberties and civil rights, followed by the central policy issues that face policymakers today. The class will also make comparisons throughout between American government and Texas government.
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310.Syllabus.2008 - Introduction to American Government GOV...

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