Monday, April 30, 2012

Unit 1 Review

1 . What are the major functions performed by all governments? Give examples of how these functions are performed in the United States.

2.     Describe the five principles of traditional democratic theory, as identified by Robert Dahl. Under what circumstances would the reality of democratic politics fall short of each of these ideal principles? Provide specific examples in your answer.

3.     Compare and contrast the three leading contemporary theories of how American democracy works. Which do you think most accurately describes the reality today? Explain.

4.     Discuss the political differences between young people and older adults. What might account for these differences? And what are the implications of these differences for democracy in the United States?

5.     Discuss the differences in political involvement between young people and older adults. How might youth involvement be increased in our democracy?

6.     Describe the major elements of the Madisonian model as embodied in the Constitution. Why did the Founding Fathers make this model so fundamental to the document?

7.     Explain how the colonial experience and the ideas of John Locke influenced the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

8.     Explain what the founders intended the scope of the new United States government to be. Has the structure created by the founders actually limited government-or made it more accessible to citizens?

9.     Evaluate the democratic nature of the original and current Constitution with its amendments. Does the Constitution, with its checks and balances and separation of powers facilitate or impede effective policy making? Use relevant examples.

10. Identify and explain the formal method of amending the Constitution. Give examples of both successful and unsuccessful amendments.

11. What were the personal characteristics of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention? What were their basic philosophical views and how did these views affect the document they ultimately approved?

12. What was the significance of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution? Were they intended to extend or to limit the power of the central national government? Explain.

13. Summarize the major arguments of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist. What were the major political compromises and manipulations used to ensure ratification of the constitution?

14. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the national government under the Articles of Confederation. Would you call the Constitution an improvement? Explain.

15. Describe the founders’ attitudes toward democracy. What specific features of the Constitution reflect this sentiment?

16.  What was the economic condition of the country at the time of the Constitutional Convention? What were the major economic issues at the convention and how were they resolved? Why were economic issues so important to the founders?

17. Some argue that the Constitution has been “democratized” over the years. Explain what is meant by “democratization”, and give examples using references to relevant Constitutional amendments.

18. Describe American federalism and contrast federalism to unitary government. For a country like the United States, is federalism an appropriate system? Explain.

19. Define what is meant by “fiscal federalism”. How is it manifested through the federal grant system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the different types of grants?

20. Explain what happened in the Sup0reme Court cases of McCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden? What is the importance of each case to the distribution of powers between the states and the national government?

21. List some of the powers specifically granted to the state governments by the Constitution. List some of the powers specifically denied the states by the Constitution. Do the powers granted and denied seem wise? Explain

22. How was the issue of slavery resolved at the Constitutional Convention? Was this necessary for national survival? Explain.

23. Describe some of the key checks and balances in the United States government as established by the Constitution. Does this lead to more smooth and efficient government? Why or why not?

24. Describe the major features of the Articles of Confederation and explain why the Articles failed.

25. Describe the federal system as formulated in the original design of the Constitution. Explain how federalism has evolved or changed since the writing of the Constitution, particularly in terms of the establishment of national supremacy.

26. How can the constitution be amended? Is the process meant to encourage or discourage changes? Explain and evaluate.

27.  Discuss how federalism creates a more democratic political system.

28. Describe which groups in society the Federalists and Anti-Federalist represented. How did the political views of the Federalist and Anti-Federalists differ?

29. What are the advantages and disadvantages to democracy under a federal system? If you were drafting the Constitution today, would you opt to continue federalism or try something else? Explain.

April 30

finish Chapter 5
Review Chapter 1-3

Monday, April 23, 2012

essay prompts

2003_3 15.1 p. 469
 Using the data in the graph above and your knowledge of US politics, perform the following tasks.
(a) Identify two trends in the graph
(b) Explain how each of the following contributes to the difference between the federal and the state and local lines in the graph.
      1 Block grants
      2 Federal mandates

 2003_4 Both party leadership and committees in Congress play key roles in the legislative process. a) Define two of the following elements of the congressional committee system and explain how each influences the legislative process.
     1 Specialization
     2 Reciprocity/logrolling
     3 Party representation on committees
b) Identify two ways party leadership in Congress can influence the legislative process, and explain how each way influences the process

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

gov prompts

1. Asignificant feature of the electoral college is that most states have a winner-take-allsystem.
(a) Describe the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college.
(b) Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college affects how presidential candidates from the two major political parties run their campaigns.
(c) Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college hinders third-party candidates.
(d) Explain two reasons why the electoral college has not been abolished.

2. The First Amendment includes two clauses relating to the freedom of religion.
(a) Select one of the following cases and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the United States Supreme Court based its decision.
• Engel v. Vitale (school prayer)
• Lemon v. Kurtzman (state funding for private religious schools)
(b) Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected in (a).
(c) Select one of the following cases and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the Supreme Court based its decision.
• Reynolds v. United States (polygamy)
• Oregon v. Smith (drug use in religious ceremonies)
(d) Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected in (c).
(e) Many of these decisions have caused controversy in the United States. Describe two ways in which other political institutions might limit the impact of Supreme Court decisions.

3. Conflicts between Congress and the President over war powers have their origin in the United States Constitution. In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in an attempt to clarify the balance of powers between the two branches of government.
(a) Describe the primary constitutional conflict between Congress and the President over the decision to go to war.
(b) Describe two provisions of the War Powers Resolution that were designed to limit the President’s power over war making.
(c) The War Powers Resolution has received mixed reviews, but Congress has other powers over war making. Other than the constitutional power that you described in (a), identify and explain two other formal powers Congress has over war making.

4.The framers of the United States Constitution created a federal system.
(a) Define federalism.
(b) Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the federal government relative to the states.
• Categorical grants
• Federal mandates
• Selective incorporation
(c) Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the states relative to the federal government.
• Welfare Reform Act of 1996
• Block grants
• Tenth Amendment

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For Thursday.

Next 6-7 pages of Lineberry, Chapter 4.
Make sure that you have all of these questions answered: We'll finish our discussion tomorrow.

1) Explain the role of interest groups in shaping environmental policy in the United States

2) Describe some of the key laws passed by Congress in the past three decades to protect the environment. How effective have these laws been> what is the significance of the environmental impact statement? Explain.

3) Does democracy really have anything to do with the international relations and the foreign policy of the U.S.? In what ways has foreign and defense policymaking affected the scope of the American government?

4) Describe the U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. How are these policies similar ad different to previous U.S. Foreign policies?

5) Describe the containment doctrine pursued by the U.S. during the Cold War, where it led the U.S., its cost, and its effect on the American society. In retrospect, what were the strengths and weaknesses of the policy? Explain.

6) Describe the rules of detente in the 1970s, and why President Ronald Regan initiated a different policy when he took office. How do Conservatives and liberals differ the legacy of Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union? What do you think? Explain.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

essay prompts

2006-1 While interest groups and political parties each play a significant role in the United States political system, they differ in their fundamental goals.
(a) Identify the fundamental goal of interest groups in the political process.
(b) Identify the fundamental goal of major political parties in the political process
(c) Describe two different ways by which interest groups support the fundamental goal of political parties in the political process
(d) For one of the forms of support you described in (c), explain two different ways in which that form of support helps interest groups to achieve their fundamental goal in the political process.

2006-2 In recent decades, entitlement programs have constituted a substantial portion of the United States federal budget. Social Security is the largest entitlement program in the US. From the information in the chart above, and your knowledge of the US government and politics, perform the following tasks.
(a) define entitlement program
(b) What is the primary source of revenue for the Social Security program
(c) Identify one threat to the future of the Social security program should the trends depicted in the chart continue
(d) Describe on demographic trend that threatens the future of the Social Security program and explain how it is responsible for the threat that you identified in (c )
(e) Explain how any one of the trends in the chart above would change if the age of eligibility for social security were raised.

2006-3 The United States congress and the president together have the power to enact federal law. Federal bureaucratic agencies have the responsibility to execute federal law. However, in the carrying out of these laws, federal agencies have policy making discretion.
(d) Explain two reasons why Congress gives federal agencies policy making discretion in executing federal laws.
(e) Choose one of the bureaucratic agencies listed below. Identify the policy area over which it exercises policy-making discretion and give one specific example of how it exercises that discretion.
a. Environmental Protection Agency
b. Federal Communications Commission
c. Federal Reserve board
(f) Describe two ways in which Congress ensures that federal agencies follow legislative intent.

2006-4 The framers of the US Constitution created a legislative system that is bicameral. However, it is not just bicameral; the framers also established two houses of distinctly different character and authority.
(d) Discuss two reasons why the framers created a bicameral legislature.
(e) Identify one power unique to the House of Representatives, and explain why the framers gave the House that power.
(f) Identify one power unique to the Senate and explain why the framers gave the senate that power