"So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual
animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the
most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to
kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent
conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has
been the various and unequal distribution of property."
Federalist Paper #10
This class is supported by Supplemental Instruction and a
Supplemental Instructor (SI). Each week the SI will conduct
three hours of study sessions at no additional charge. The
SI will run each study session with the aim of reviewing the
material presented in class and from the textbook. The
Supplemental Instructor is Zoe Fox. Her email is email@example.com.
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND DESCRIPTION
This course is an introduction to United States government.
The course includes a framework for understanding United States
government and politics, the constitutional basis for United States
government and politics, the processes of United States government
and politics, the institutions of United States government and
politics, and the policies of United States government. The basic
objectives of the course are for the student to:
1. Gain an awareness of the principles that guided the founders of
the U.S. and the manner in which our definition of these principles
have changed over the years.
2. Understand the basic structure of the U.S. government.
3. Develop an awareness of the political process and its impact on
4. Become aware of the ways in which government affects/is affected
by its citizens.
5. Think in political terms as part of the process of becoming a
more effective citizen.
6. Develop independent critical thinking skills.
7. Understand the theoretical nature of what government is.
8. Critically explore such concepts as republic, democratic theory,
The course will begin with a theoretical overview of politics.
This beginning will include a discussion about what the very nature,
role, and functions of government are. We will explore the
difference between the political, economic, and normative sphere of
action and how they interact to create politics.
In the second part of the course we will look at the evolution of
the U.S. political system through the lens of political
history. The objective here will be to discover what we have
and how we got it.
Next we will focus on the political process by looking at public
opinion, interest groups, political parties, elections, voting, and
the media. In the process we will explore such concepts as
single member district representation, republic, proportional
representation, and campaign financing.
Then we will look at the institutions of the U.S. government, namely
the Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the federal
We will conclude the semester by examining foreign policy.
While this is primarily a lecture course, the class may also include
videos, transparencies, role-playing simulations, internet
activities, writing assignments, and classroom discussions.
Students must attend and participate regularly.
It is not
the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have
done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is
actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes
short again and again, because there is no effort without
error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do
the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows
in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the
worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so
that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know
victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
STUDENTS ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES
Students with Disabilities: Each ACC campus offers support services
for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities.
Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations
through the Student Accessibility Services Office on the campus
where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students
are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the
Voicemail is abused. Most voicemail that is left is trivial or deals
with trivial matters. Most people who leave voicemail ramble. It is
not a good thing to waste people's time. I will check it, but it is
better to see me in person concerning any issue before or after
class, during office hours, or by appointment.
I do not like email. I realize that we live in a society where
people consider email to be a normal means of communication and I
will check it, but it is better to see me in person concerning any
issue before or after class, during office hours, or by appointment.
I will not respond to email addresses that are
clearly not your own. In other words if you are using your
parent's email, then I will not respond to any emails from such
addresses.For example if your name
is John Smith and I receive an email that looks like the
I am sending this to you per your request.
then please do not expect a reply from me.
If you do not have your own email address and
you are incapable of getting one, such as one provided by ACC,
then you will just need to see me during office hours or after
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
PERSONAL EMAIL, MESSAGING, and FACEBOOK
Do NOT ever message or text the professor using Facebook, his
personal email address, or his personal cell phone for questions
related to the class. You should view Facebook, personal
email, and the personal cell as means of contacting the professor
for Austin School business, personal matters, or political activism
POLICY ON ATTENDANCE and WITHDRAWAL
Each student is expected to attend and participate in each class
meeting and to complete the assigned reading PRIOR to each
class. Attendance is a direct component of the final grade
(see Classroom Participation and Attendance below). In
addition absences limit the student's opportunity to participate
fully and will almost certainly impact the student's essay
performance. Should it be necessary to miss a class a student
should contact other class members for copies of the notes and
materials covered in that class. Attendance is required on
test days. Should you miss a test day there will be NO makeup
exams, instead your final grade will be based on the tests
taken. Should you miss two or more exams you should consider
dropping the course rather than suffering a failing grade.
Cell phones and text-messaging devices must be turned off and should
not be in evidence in the classroom unless you have prior approval
from the instructor. Texting under the desk rarely conceals
the activity and usually reflects poorly on the texter. Late
arrivals and early departures are disruptive so please be on time
and plan to stay the entire period unless you have previously spoken
to the instructor. Excessive tardiness or failure to follow
class policies on cell phones may result in the student being
dropped from the course. Do NOT get up during class to throw
The professor reserves the right to withdraw (drop) anyone from the
class for any reason. This does not mean that you will
automatically be withdrawn if you are failing or if you are not
attending class. If you wish to drop the course please make
sure to do so yourself. The instructor will not do it for you.
If, for any reason, you decide to withdraw from the course you must
complete the required forms in the Admissions and Records
office. Make sure to keep up with the official last day to
withdraw of the semester. This is the same date for the professor to
drop a student, so if you do not drop by this date, there is nothing
that the professor can to do help you. This may not be the same date
for High School students, so be sure to be in compliance with your
Incompletes will not be given to any student for any reason.
If it becomes clear that you will not be able to complete the course
please consider dropping the course by the drop deadline.
Failure to complete the required coursework will likely result in
lower grade or possibly an 'F' grade.
enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
I hope to bring some of that discomfort of thought to the
Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be
administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not
limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and
unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside
work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result
of their thought, research, or self-expression. Academic work
is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken
electronically or on paper, projects, either individual or group;
classroom presentations, and homework.
If a student commits any of these actions, I will seek disciplinary
action in the form of an academic penalty, which will likely include
a course grade of 'F.'
Look, I take this very seriously and it has a real simple
solution. If you want to include text from someone else feel
free to cite the original author. It will strengthen your
argument and suggest that you have done research on the
subject. Otherwise, I am ruthless and will show no mercy when
it comes to plagiarism. Failure to comply with this rule is
almost certain to cause you to fail the course.
one to protect you from A will to survive and a voice of
I'll be the one to protect you
from Your enemies and your choices
son They're one in the same I must isolate you Isolate and save you from
Swayin to the rhythm of the new
world order and Count the bodies like sheep to
the rhythm of the war drums
The boogeymen are coming
A Perfect Circle
CLASS PARTICIPATION and ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Just as each student is expected to attend class, each student is
also expected to participate in the class discussion. This not
only includes preparing for class and listening in class, but also
includes asking questions, answering questions, providing examples,
and expressing opinions. This class will be much more
educational (as well as interesting) in an atmosphere of active
participation and lively exchange of ideas. There will be
numerous opportunities throughout the semester to use current events
to explore and expand upon our understanding of the concepts we are
studying. As a result I also expect students to keep up with
current events. If you are not normally in the habit of doing,
then so you must plan to begin looking at a reliable news
source. The BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/ and Reuters
http://today.reuters.com/news/home.aspx are two examples of the
In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical
thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints.
These differences enhance the learning experience and create an
atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged
to think and learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students
may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the
instructor. It is expected that faculty and students will
respect the views of others when expressed in classroom
situations. Each person has the right to express his or her
opinion. Our Bill of Rights not only guarantees us the right
to express our opinions but also provides us the opportunity to
learn from our fellow citizens as they express their opinions.
CONCEALED HANDGUN POLICY
The Austin Community College District concealed handgun policy
ensures compliance with Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government
Code (also known as the Campus Carry Law), while maintaining ACC's
commitment to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty,
staff, and visitors.
Beginning August 1, 2017, individuals who are licensed to carry
(LTC) may do so on campus premises except in locations and at
activities prohibited by state or federal law, or the college's
concealed handgun policy.
It is the responsibility of license holders to conceal their
handguns at all times. Persons who see a handgun on campus are asked
to contact the ACC Police Department by dialing 222 from a campus
phone or 512-223-7999.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND SCHEDULE
Three exams will be given during this semester as noted on the
Course Schedule. In addition to this your grade will include a
Classroom Participation component and Auxiliary Assignments.
Writing assignments or take home essays will be turned into turnitin.com
(http://www.turnitin.com). Papers handed to the professor
should be assumed lost and NO credit will be received for
them. Never treat a written assignment as a
summarization. You are to ask and answer some question of
political significance. Be creative, but also make sure to
support your thesis and any claims made around it. The class
ID and enrollment passwords are listed below:
LETTER GRADE ASSIGNMENT
Final letter grades will be assigned after determining total points
earned, as follows:
Final Grade Scale
Exams may be conducted as an in class test or as a take-home exam at
the professor's discretion. If an essay is assigned as
take-home, that portion of the exam must be turned into turnitin.com
(see above). The exams will include both objective and essay
There are NO make-up exams. Should you miss an exam your grade
will be calculated as if you took the 2nd and Final Exams,
regardless of which exam you missed. In other words if you
miss an exam the highest grade that you can receive for the class
will be 900 points (unless you make up for it with auxiliary
assignments). If you miss two exams, then the highest grade
that you can receive for the class will be a 70%. Sometimes
things come up in life that we cannot control. The first exam
can serve as a sort of insurance policy, so that you will not be
completely lost should you miss a test.
Arrangements can be made to take the first and second exam in the
Testing Center if the professor is informed of a need to miss the
regularly scheduled exam prior to the exam date. NO
arrangement can take place on or after the date of the test.
Due to Testing Center policy and since a new exam is generated every
semester, NO such arrangement can be made for the Final Exam.
It should also be noted that there seems to be a high learning curve
on exams in this course. It has been the experience of the
professor that people tend to do poorly on the first exam even if
they ultimately earn an 'A' in the class. The first exam
should be regarded as a lesson in learning how to take exams for
It is perfectly
true that the government is best which governs least. It is equally true that the
government is best which provides most.
CLASSROOM PARTICIPATION and ATTENDANCE
Classroom participation is worth 150 points (one and a half letter
grades). The best way to earn a high participation grade is to
ask questions, answer questions, and contribute insights when
appropriate. This is NOT a license to be obnoxious.In
Attendance will be taken at the start of every class period.
Failure to be on time will mean that you will not be counted as in
attendance. You can miss one class period for free. For
every class period after the first one that you are absent,
you will lose 40 points from your classroom participation
grade. There will be no excused absences. In this manner
you can render your classroom participation grade into a negative
quantity. In other words attendance could turn into a
bottomless pit of grade msannihilation.
Democracy is the theory that the common people
know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. H. L. Mencken
There are six ways to earn these 0-250 points. 1) Lectures: You can attend an Austin School Lecture Series
talk, an Austin School Conference panel, or a speaking event
announced by your professor. If you go to these event to get
credit you must bring back proof that you attended or sign in a
sign-in sheet at the event. Note: these are rare in the
Summer and may not happen at all. Your professor will make
every means to provide you with such opportunities if they arise and
he becomes aware of them. (30 points)
2) 60 Minutes: You can write an 300 word essay about a
political topic from a single story from 60 Minutes http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml.
be. (25 points)
3) Frontline: You can write
a 300 word essay about a political topic from a single story from
subsequent frontline can be turned into the Movie
Review slots on turnitin.com and count as 20 points each. (40
4) Radiolab: You can write
a 300 word essay about any topic from a single story from Radiolab http://www.radiolab.org/.
You may not do more than one Radiolab for credit. (40
6) Movie Reviews: You can
write 300 word film review for up to a maximum of seven of the
following movies: (20-30 points each)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (20)
Letters from Iwo Jima (20)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (20)
Thin Blue Line (20)
Fog of War (30)
A Woman in Berlin (20)
Fail Safe (20)
Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral (25)
The Corporation (25)
The Tillman Story (20)
Hearts and Minds (30)
Battle of Algiers (30)
For options 2 - 6
you must turn in your work to turnitin.com (see instructions above).
HOW TO BEST COMPLETE THIS COURSE
1. Attend all class sessions; if you miss a class get copies of the
handouts/notes from a classmate.
2. Do not miss tests. It may be tempting to miss the first
exam, but don't.
3. Read the assigned material prior to each class session.
4. Study the materials; prepare for and take each exam as scheduled.
5. Complete and turn in all assignments as assigned and on
time. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY REASON
AFTER THE DUE DATE.
6. Contact the instructor if, at any time, you feel your performance
is not up to your standards.
FUNDAMENTAL ACADEMIC FORCES (STRONGEST TO WEAKEST)
1. Writing Ability
2. Reading Ability
3. Critical Thinking and Analytical Sills
If you can master these four forces, then you can succeed in
academia. To the extent possible this class will attempt to
assist in developing all four skills further. However, it
should be obvious that English classes are generally where the above
skills (especially the first two) are formally taught. It is
assumed that you have had English classes and that you will apply
those skill sets developed in such classes to ALL writing
ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE
In the Beginning
8/30, 9/6, 9/11
The Origin of the English
Who controls the past controls the future;
who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
The Birth of a
The Enlgish Colonies
The Declaration of
The Articles of Confederation
Federalist Paper #10
The Early Years
If these observations be just,
our government ought to secure the permanent interests of
the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have
a share in the government, to support these invaluable
interests, and to balance and check the
other. They ought to be so constituted as to
protect the minority of the opulent against the
The Supreme and the Federal
10/23, 10/25, 10/30, 11/1
Ideology & Parties
Chapters 4 and 7
US Foreign Policy
Successful politicians are insecure and
intimidated men. They advance politically only as they
placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise
manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening
elements in their constituencies.
11/27, 11/29, 12/4, 12/6
Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Civil
Chapters 13 and 14
Auxiliary Assignments are due by 11:59 PM to turnitin.com
though they have had no help from the traveler in
solving their problems.
God forbid we should ever be
twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be
all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will
be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the
facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such
misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public
liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and
half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its
liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time
that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let
them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts,
pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a
century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is
its natural manure.
Letter to William Stevens Smith (November 13, 1787), quoted
in Padover's Jefferson On
democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and
murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not
Letter to John Taylor April 15, 1814
Thomas Jefferson (April 13,
1743 - July 4, 1826)
(October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826)
The instructor reserves the right to modify any portion of the
syllabus at any time. The Course Schedule is meant as a guide;
treat the rest as law.