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Bryan · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2018
  • Section 365 CRN-12733
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/27/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 08/13/2018

Meeting Times


  • Monday, Wednesday, 5:40 PM to 6:55 PM, A Building 106

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Christine Blackburn

Office Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM


Government 2305 is a study of the organization, functions, and administration of the several branches and agencies of the national government, including a study of the federal constitution. The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of these subsystems. 48 contact hours. Credit: Three semester hours.


Student must be college reading ready according to Texas Success Initiatives Standards (TSI). Please see the Catalog section under Texas Success Initiative.

Core Curriculum Statement

Through the Texas Core Curriculum, students will gain a foundation of knowledge in human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning. For details relating to this core course, please see:


Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States.

Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system.

Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in both theory and practice.

Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.

Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system.

Analyze the election process.

Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics.




  • EDITION:   11E
  • ISBN:   9780393622850


Course Requirements

Attendance (10%): Attendance is mandatory and your attendance will be recorded daily. Your grade will be based on the number of days you are in class divided by the total number of class days. I understand there will be times that you will be unable to attend class. Because of this, you will not be penalized for up to two (2) unexcused absences. If you miss more than 2 days, however, you will be penalized for all of the days that you missed. If you must be absent due to an extracurricular activity, you must let me know five (5) days in advance of the absence and it will not affect your grade. 

Participation (30%): Throughout the semester there will be a number of in-class assignments which will require you to work in groups and to debate important issues related to the course topic for the week. Additionally, there will be 4 homework assignments throughout the course of the semester where you will investigate public policy issues.

Readings: You are expected to complete the assigned reading by the date listed on the syllabus.

Quizzes (10%): There will be a total of five (5) quizzes scheduled throughout the course of the semester. Quiz questions will be based on both the assigned readings and class lectures. Each quiz will contain 10 multiple choice questions.

Exams (50%): There will be three (3) exams throughout the course of the semester. The third exam, or the final exam, is cumulative. The format for the exams will be multiple choice.



Your final grade is based on the following:

Attendance:                10% (100 points)
Participation:               30% (200 points)
Quizzes:                      10% (100 points)
Exams:                        50% (600 points)
Total:                           100% (1,000 points)

Blinn College Policies

All policies, guidelines, and procedures in the Blinn College CatalogBlinn College Board Policies, and the Blinn College Administrative Regulations are applicable to this course.

Specific information on civility, attendance, add/drop, scholastic integrity, students with disabilities, final grade appeal, alternative retailers, campus carry and proctoring arrangements and cost.

Notice of any action taken under these protocol and procedures, by Blinn College or its employees, may be delivered by hand, through the U.S. Postal Service, or electronically to the student’s Blinn Buc e-mail account. Notice shall be deemed received upon actual receipt, on deposit in the U.S. Mail, or upon entering the information processing system used by Blinn College for Blinn Buc e-mail accounts, whichever first occurs.

Course Policies


WEEK ONE (8/27 & 8/29): Course Overview and Political Culture

  • Review Course Requirements
  • Read Chapter 1

WEEK TWO (9/3 &9/5): The Founding & the Constitution

  • Read Chapter 2

WEEK THREE (9/10 & 9/12): Federalism

  • Read Chapter 3
  • Quiz #1 on 9/12

WEEK FOUR (9/24 & 9/26): Civil Liberties

  • Read Chapter 4
  • Homework Assignment Due 9/26

WEEK FIVE (10/1 & 10/3): Civil Rights

  • Read Chapter 5
  • Quiz #2 on 10/3

WEEK SIX (10/8 & 10/11): Public Opinion & Exam #1

  • Read Chapter 6; Exam Review 10/8
  • Exam on 10/10

WEEK SEVEN (10/15 & 10/17): The Media & Political Participation

  • Read Chapter 7 & 8
  • Homework Assignment Due 10/17 

WEEK EIGHT (10/22 & 10/24): Political Parties

  • Read Chapter 9
  • Quiz #3 on 10/24

WEEK NINE (10/29 & 10/31): Campaigns, Elections, Groups & Interests

  • Read Chapter 10 & 11

WEEK TEN (11/5 &11/7): Congress

  • Read Chapter 12

WEEK ELEVEN (11/12 & 11/14): The Presidency

  • Read Chapter 13
  • Quiz #4 on 11/14

WEEK ELEVEN (11/19): The Federal Courts

  • Read Chapter 15
  • Homework Assignment Due 11/19

WEEK TWELVE (11/26 & 11/28): The Economy & Exam #2

  • Read Chapter 16; Exam Review
  • Exam #2 on 11/28

WEEK THIRTEEN (12/3 & 12/5): Social Policy

  • Read Chapter 17
  • Homework Assignment Due 12/5

WEEK FOURTEEN (12/10 & 12/13): Foreign Policy

  • Read Chapter 18
  • Quiz #5 on 12/13

WEEK FIFTEEN (12/17 & 12/19)

  • Final Exam TBD