POS 2041- AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Instructor: Sonia King
In addition to the exams, there is an essay assignment. This course is a Gordon Rule course, which is designed to meet the college’s writing requirement. As part of this assignment, students are required to write at least 2,000 words, demonstrating college-level writing skills. The essay topic you select should reflect your understanding and competence in the learning outcomes in this course.
Essay format must be at least 2,000 words, following the Modern Language Association (MLA) writing standards (format and citations).
Essays are due at the class meeting before Thanksgiving Break (Wednesday section: November 17; Monday section: November 22).
A. This paper is insightful. It addresses the assignment in a way that indicates your comprehension of and control over the assignment itself as well as an understanding of the underlying issues. The message is communicated clearly, concisely, and directly. There is a confidence in this writing.
B. The paper meets, and at times, exceeds the basic requirements of the assignment. The paper indicates that you are beginning to think through and deal with major ideas in the assignment. The message is communicated with generally effective clarity, directness, and conciseness.
C. While the paper offers little insight into the greater issues of the assignment, it meets the basic requirements. The message, for the most part, is reasonably clear, concise, and direct, although there are some problems with your writing.
The following are sample essay topics:
- In The Federalist paper number 10, James Madison expressed concern over the possibility that both majority and minority factions would have too much power over the government, and he presented ways of minimizing that danger, including provisions in the U.S. Constitution. Examine how the role of majority rule has evolved in the United States Government.
- Federalism in the United States has been an evolving process and continues to change today. Compare and contrast the different types of federalism that have occurred during the evolution of American Government, explain which form of federalism you believe is the most effective, and why you believe this.
- In the Judicial Branch, there are two forms of judicial interpretation: judicial activism and judicial restraint. Proponents of judicial activism assert that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In contrast, proponents of judicial restraint believe judges should limit the exercise of their power to a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, without reference to other factors. Examine both legal philosophies highlighting the pros and cons of each and argue which philosophy is most favorable for our society.
- In recent times, the expansion of civil liberties has often been in conflict with national security. Examine arguments on both sides, and how the courts and the government stay consistent to the framework of the Constitution when interpreting these contemporary issues.
- In the United States’ political system, linkage institutions, such as elections, connect citizens to the government. Despite low voter turnout, there are additional linkage institutions, or methods, that can connect citizens to their government. Describe these methods, and analyze whether they are more effective in connecting the constituency’s interests to the government, and examine the phenomenon of low voter turnout and how the government can increase citizen participation.
- Individuals often form groups in order to promote their interests. The Constitution contains several provisions to protect the rights of individuals who try to promote their interests in a representative democracy. Explain these provisions, analyze the methods used by interest groups to affect public policy, and explain the impact interest groups have had on our system of governance.