House Bill 2504

Spring 2011 Course Syllabus

GOVT-2301-02 (Introduction to American Government I)

Faculty Information
SemesterSpring 2011
InstructorTriebel, Mavis T.
Phone(409) 984-6332
Liberal Arts
Chair:Barbara Huval
Telephone:(409) 984-6330
Hours:Before and after class or by appointment.
Building:Educational Annex (PAEA)
Room #:109
Course Information
Course ID #10045
Course Subject-Number-SectionGOVT-2301-02
Course TitleIntroduction to American Government I
Course Description A study of the national and Texas constitutions; federalism, political socialization and participation; public opinion and interest groups; parties, voting and elections.
Course Prerequisites Sophomore standing; basic skills competency in reading and writing.
Required Textbooks Politics in America, Texas Edition, 2009, Eighth Edition

        Thomas Dye with Tucker Gibson, Jr., & Clay Robinson

Learning Objectives Upon completion of this course you should be able to do the following: (federal and state)

1. Identify the role of constitutional government in society.

2. Identify the difference between political parties and interest groups.

3. Differentiate the difference between democracy and other forms of government.

4. Analyze liberal and conservative policies.

5. Identify the impact of the media on political institutions.

6. Relate the theoretic study of politics to the electoral process.

7. Experience the process of voting. (when possible)

8. Communicate with an elected official through letter writing.


Text:        Politics in America, Texas Edition, 2009, Eighth Edition

        Thomas Dye with Tucker Gibson, Jr., and Clay Robinson

Unit I. The Context of American Democracy

        A. Politics: Who Gets What, When and How, Chapter 1

        B. Political Culture: Ideas in Conflict, Chapter 2

C. Social and Economic Milieu of Texas Politics, Chapter 19

Unit II . The Constitutional Context

        A. The Constitution: Limiting Governmental Power, Chapter 3

                                        Test I: Feb. 22, 2011

        B. Federalism: Dividing Governmental Power, Chapter 4

        C. The Texas Constitution, Chapter 20

        D. Local Governments in Texas, Chapter 25

Unit III. Group Politics

        A. Interest Groups, Chapter 9 and Chapter 21, pp. 717-724

                                                Test II: April 5, 2011

        B. Political Parties, Chapter 7 and Chapter 21, pp. 724-737

Unit IV. Public Opinion, Political Participation, and Elections

        A. Opinion and Participation, Chapter 5

        B. Mass Media, Chapter 6

        C. Campaigns and Elections, Chapter 8 and Chapter 21,pp.737-748

                                FINAL: Friday, May 17, 2011, 9:00 a.m.*

*The final schedule shows your final to be from 8:00-10:30 a.m. However, you will be given 8:00-9:00 a.m. to study for the final and the test will begin at 9:00 a.m. in PAC 136.


         M. TRIEBEL – 2301-2302

Your project for Government 2301-2302 will be to write a letter to an elected official in the U.S., Texas, or local government. Address a concern that you have in regard to governmental action or perhaps you wish to praise a previous act or one under consideration currently.

YOU MAY EXPRESS YOUR OPINION IN WRITING THIS LETTER BUT YOU MUST use proper research methodology in writing your letter. If you refer to a newspaper article, give the proper bibliographical information so the reader knows to what you are referring. Do not ramble; be specific. Use facts from newspapers, magazine articles, speeches, etc., to give credence to your letter. You might include a copy of the article, if you wish. YOUR OPINION is appropriate after the proper factual introductory material. If your concern is a personal problem, be sure to include all the facts.

Use proper form in writing your letter. A copy of a sample business letter is attached for your reference. Use the proper title in addressing your elected official as well. A properly completed letter will be more effective.

The letter should be single-spaced, typed, ready to mail, and at least one and one-half page long. You must also give me a stamped, addressed, unsealed envelope to the elected official. I will mail the letter after reading and recording the grade. If you receive an answer, I would like to read it. If you wish to keep a copy of your letter, make it before turning it in. You will receive 15 points or none. If the letter complies with outlined requirements, you will receive all the points. If it fails to meet the stipulated requirements, you will receive zero (0). Your letter will be returned to you, if it is not suitable for mailing.

THIS IS A REQUIRED PROJECT. IT IS NOT OPTIONAL. IT MUST BE TURNED IN TO ME BY YOUR CLASS TIME,– May 2 or 3, 2011 at your class date. None will be accepted late.

REMEMBER:        1. This project is required.

                2. Letter is to be l.5 pp. long

                3. Typed, single-spaced

                4. Signed, dated

                5. Addressed envelope with stamp

Due: May 2 or 3, 2011, at class time

Rev. 11-17-10

(Sample letter)

                                        1234 Main Street (Your address)

                                        Port Arthur, TX 77642

                                        December 1, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

In an article in The Port Arthur News, March 1, 2010, p. 10, (copy attached), reference was made to abortion statistics. The author remarked that "....."

In my opinion ....., etc.

Thank you for taking time from a busy schedule to consider my remarks. Please keep them in mind when appropriate decisions are made. (Use some closing remarks to express your appreciation for considering your remarks.)

                                                                Sincerely yours,

        (Sign here)

        John Doe


(Sample envelope)                                                STAMP

John Doe

1234 Main Street

Port Arthur, TX 77642

                                The Honorable Barack Obama,

                                President of the United States

                                The White House

                                1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

                                Washington, D.C. 20500



President Barack Obama,The White House,1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington,D.C.20500

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, 703 Hart Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510

Senator John Cornyn, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Ted Poe, The House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515


Gov. Rick Perry, State Capitol Building, Austin, TX 78711

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, P. O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711

Senator Joan Huffman, District 17, The Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin,TX 78711

Senator Tommy Williams, District 4, The Texas Senate, Austin, TX 78711

Representative Joe Deshotel, House of Representatives, District 22, Austin, TX 78701

Representative Allan Ritter, House of Representatives, District 21, Austin, TX 78701

Representative Mike Hamilton, Dist. 19, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768

State Board of Education: David Bradley, Dist. 7, 615 N.5th St., Bmt.,TX 77701


Mayor Bobbie Prince, City of Port Arthur, 444 4th Street, Port Arthur, TX 77640

Mayor Becky Ames, City of Beaumont, Beaumont City Hall, Beaumont, TX 77701

Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, City of Bridge City, 260 Rachel Ave., Bridge City, TX 77611

Mayor Brad Bailey, City of Groves, 3947 Lincoln, Groves, TX 77619

Mayor Charles Bilal, City of Kountze, City Hall, Hwy, 69, Kountze, TX

Mayor R. A. Nugent, City of Nederland, 1400 Boston Ave., Nederland, TX 77627

Mayor Sam Kittrell, City of Orange, 803 W. Green, Orange, TX 77662

Mayor Glen Johnson, City of Port Neches, 634 Ave. C., Pt. Neches, TX 77641

SCHOOL OFFICIALS -- To address ISD (school) matters:                

Mr. _______, President, ___________ Independent School District

(Call local school district to ask name and address of president)

        Do NOT write the superintendent. He is “hired” – not elected.


Rev. 11-17-10


Discussion Topics None
Attendance Policy Attendance is required; roll will be taken; and punctuality is expected. You are responsible for all materials covered in class, as well as all outside readings. The reading list will be followed for the basis of lectures (above). Lectures are extremely important in this course because some of the material covered does NOT appear in the text.

        You will receive an "F" after five UNEXCUSED class hours are missed. If you quit coming to class and do not officially drop, you will receive an "F". The administrative details are your responsibility. After three days in which you are tardy to class, the instructor will no longer change absent to tardy.

Determination of Final Grade Test I + Test II + Test III + Project divided by 3 = final grade.

Each test shall be 100 points possible + 15 points possible for project.

Final Exam Date May 17, 2011 - 9:00 AM
Campus Policies
Lamar State College - Port Arthur

Mission Statement

Lamar State College-Port Arthur is an open-access, comprehensive public two-year college offering quality instruction leading to associate degrees and a variety of certificates. The college, a member of The Texas State University System, has provided affordable, quality educational opportunities to residents of the Southeast Texas area since 1909.Lamar State College-Port Arthur embraces the premise that education is an ongoing process that enhances career potential, broadens intellectual horizons, and enriches life. The faculty, staff, and administration share a commitment to a mission characterized by student learning, diversity, and community service. The foundations for student success include compensatory education programs designed to fulfill our commitment to accommodate students with diverse goals and backgrounds, technical education programs that provide for the acquisition of the skills and demeanor necessary for initial and continued employment, and a core curriculum that develops the values and concepts that allow the student to make a meaningful contribution in the workplace or community. Student achievement is measured by the completion of courses and programs of study, successful performance following transfer to a baccalaureate program, and the attainment of individual goals.

Lamar State College-Port Arthur operates in the belief that all individuals should be:

* Treated with dignity and respect;

* Afforded equal opportunity to acquire a complete educational experience;

* Given an opportunity to discover and develop their special aptitudes and insights;

* Provided and opportunity to equip themselves for a fulfilling life and responsible citizenship in a world characterized by change.

 College Grading Scale

Below 59F

(Some specialized programs may have different grading scales)


 Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated.  Please consult the student handbook for consequences of academic dishonesty.  These policies will be strictly enforced.


 Facility  Policies

        No food, drinks, or tobacco products are allowed in the classroom.

        Only students enrolled in the course are allowed in the classroom.

        Cell phones and/or pagers are allowed ONLY on vibrate mode. Leaving the classroom to answer a page or phone call may constitute an absence or a tardy.


 Special Considerations

         The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Special Populations Coordinator, Room 231, in the Madison Monroe Building. The phone number is (409) 984-6241.

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