Political Science 261, Section 10

Principles of American Government National and State

3 Credit Hours/Fall 2006


Location: AB1, Room 317

Time: MWF 3:30 4:50

Instructor: Kevin Wooten

Office: AB1 - 319

  *Office Phone: 294-4042

  *Email: klw007@shsu.edu (this is the best way to contact me)

  *Office Hours: Mon./Wed./Fri/ 11:00 am 12:30 pm or by appointment


Course Description:

This course deals with the origin, development, and Constitution of the American governmental system, citizenship and civil rights, suffrage, the national party system, the national executive, organization of congress, national judiciary, federal-state relations, and the Constitution of the State of Texas. This will be a lecture-based class in which class participation and discussion is encouraged. There will be two multiple choice exams and a comprehensive final exam.


Course Objectives:

Develop a meaningful understanding of the roots and purpose of the American governmental system. Develop an understanding of your rights as a citizen, including your civil rights and their limits. Develop and understanding of the three branches of government and how they work in conjunction with each other, as well as the checks and balances between them. Develop and understanding of the Constitution and government of the State of Texas .


Required Textbook:

•  Patterson, Thomas E. The American Democracy Texas Edition, Seventh Edition. Boston : McGraw-Hill, 2005. ISBN 0-07-322651-3


Attendance Policy: Attendance will be taken. Absences in excess of five for the semester will result in a decrease of the final grade of one (1) point for each absence. For example, a person with a final average of 82 with 8 absences would receive a final grade of 79 for the class. Tardies will be recorded. When calculating grades, the first three tardies will count as one absence. Thereafter each tardy will be considered an absence.


Grades: Grades will be based on two (2) exams during the semester and a comprehensive final exam.

  Exam #1   30%     A = 90 -100

  Exam #2   30%     B = 80 - 89

  Exam #3   30%     C = 70 79

   Class Assign.   10%     D = 60 - 69

  Total     100%     F = 00 59

Academic Dishonesty: All students are expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of dishonesty in any phase of academic work will be subject to disciplinary action. The University and its official representatives may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student accused of any form of academic dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating on an examination or other academic work which is to be submitted, plagiarism, collusion, and abuse of resources materials.


Email Etiquette: All email correspondence must be sent to klw007@shsu.edu. All emails must contain the full name of the student within the body of the email. The email must also designate the class (days/time) which you are enrolled. If both items are not included in the email, the email will not be answered.


Classroom Behavior: All participants in the classroom experience (instructor and students) are expected to treat each other with respect. This includes allowing the instructor to present material to the class without unnecessary interruptions (including arriving late to class), as well as respecting the opinions and views of other students. Laptop computers and recording devices are acceptable to use in class as long as it does not interfere with other students. Turn off cell phones before entering class.


Americans With Disabilities Act: Students with disabilities that might affect their academic performance are expected to visit the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities located in the Counseling Center . They should then make arrangements with their individual instructors so that appropriate strategies can be considered and helpful procedures can be developed to ensure that participation and achievement opportunities are not impaired. All disclosures of disabilities will be kept strictly confidential. NOTE: No accommodation can be made until the student registers with the Counseling Center .


Religious Holidays: Students desiring to absent himself/herself form a scheduled class in order to observe a religious holy day(s) shall present to each instructor involved a written statement concerning the religious holy day(s) within three weeks (21 days) of the first scheduled class day. . The instructor will notify the student of a reasonable timeframe in which the missed assignments and/or examinations are to be completed.


Tentative Course Outline:


Chapter 1 American Political Culture: Seeking a More Perfect Union

Chapter 2 Constitutional Democracy: Promoting Liberty and Self Government

Chapter 3 Federalism: Forging a Nation

Chapter 4 Civil Liberties: Protecting Individual Rights

Chapter 5 Equal Rights: Struggling Toward Fairness


Exam #1


Chapter 6 Public Opinion and Political Socialization: Shaping the People's Will

Chapter 7 Political Participation and Voting Expressing the Popular Will

Chapter 8 Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns Defining the Voter's Choice

Chapter 9 Interest Groups: Organizing for Influence

Chapter 10 The News Media: Communicating Political Images


Exam #2


U.S. Congress/Texas Legislature

U.S. Presidency/Texas Executive

The Federal Bureaucracy

U.S. Federal Judicial System/Texas Judicial System


Final Exam (Date and time of Final will be posted later in the semester)


I have read and understand the information in the syllabus.




Print name