Wednesday, May 23, 2012

4 and 5 review

ESSAY.  Write your answer in the space provided or on a separate sheet of paper.
1)  What is the Supreme Court's current stance on the death penalty? Do you agree with it? Do you think that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment? Explain. For what crimes, if any, is the death penalty justified?

2)  Describe the significance of the Supreme Court rulings in Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright. Do you think the Court was properly enforcing provisions of the Bill of Rights in these cases or overreaching? Explain.

3)  Compare and contrast the civil liberty issues involved in the different types of speech such as obscenity, libel, symbolic speech, commercial speech, and speech over the public airways.

4)  How and why have the provisions of the Bill of Rights been incorporated into state laws? Do you think this is an infringement on the rights of the states, or appropriate to protect national civil liberties in all cases? Explain.

5)  Present the argument that the extension of defendants' rights have hurt the police and benefited criminals. What specific court decisions have extended defendants' rights and how?

6)  How have issues like prayer and Bible reading in public schools been settled by the Supreme Court, and why? How high would you construct the "wall of separation" between church and state, and why?

7)  Describe the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights in regard to those brought before the criminal justice system. Why do you think the Bill of Rights is so explicit in these matters, and do you approve these safeguards? Explain.

8)  Explain how the Bill of Rights was extended to the states. Cite key Supreme Court cases to illustrate your answer.

9)  Describe the Supreme Court's decisions regarding freedom of expression. How have the Court's decisions protected or extended democracy? Limited democracy?

10)  Explain the two facets of the freedom of assembly. What restrictions have been put on the right to assemble?

11)  Why have flag burning and wearing a black armband been protected by the Court? Do you think this is appropriate or not? Explain.

12)  The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Under what circumstances has the Supreme Court decided that it is constitutional to abridge freedom of speech and press? Give examples of specific cases to illustrate your answer.

13)  How would you characterize the first ten amendments to the Constitution? Why, taken together, are these so significant? Do you consider them too narrow, too broad, or about right? Explain.

14)  Describe the significance of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling? Did the Court overstep its authority, or did it properly extend the right of privacy in this case? How have later Court decisions changed Roe? Explain.

15)  One of the greatest debates concerning Americans' civil liberties lies in the area of privacy rights. How does the right to privacy relate to the issue of abortion? Explain how the courts have dealt with this issue.

16)  Should freedom of assembly include the right of groups like the American Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Brigade, and similar groups to march and hold rallies? Explain your answer and why others might argue otherwise.

17)  How have civil liberties affected democratic government in the United States? What are the basic conflicts between civil liberties and democracy?

18)  How has the Court dealt with obscenity cases and the very definition of obscenity? Should obscenity be protected as freedom of expression, or should local communities be allowed to set standards of what is and is not obscene? Explain.

19)  What is the establishment clause and the free exercise clause? What controversies have arisen in the United States over the issue of freedom of religion, and how have they been resolved?

20)  Describe the various ways in which the Constitution protects the rights of the accused through the stages of the criminal justice system. Give examples of how these protections have been challenged in the courts.

21)  Discuss recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the rights of homosexuals. To what extent have these decisions expanded equality to homosexuals? What social factors limit the likely expansion of equality to homosexuals?

22)  Explain how civil rights laws expand both the scope and power of government, citing specific court decisions and federal laws as evidence.

23)  What was so dramatic about the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education? How did the decision affect schools in its immediate aftermath? Should the Court have been more aggressive, or less? Explain.

24)  Describe the three eras that delineate African-Americans' struggle for equality in America. Explain how the roles of the court and Congress changed through the three eras.

25)  The equal protection clause has been used extensively. Describe its significance, and how courts have used it to rule on matters related to racial and gender equality. Do you approve of this use of the clause? Explain.

26)  What were the views and conceptions of equality during the early years of the American republic? What does the Constitution say about equality and civil rights?

27)  Although the Fifteenth Amendment specifically guaranteed the right to vote for African Americans, what legal devices did southern states use to get around it? How and when were these devices removed? Explain.

28)  Describe the historical development of Supreme Court decisions regarding free press/fair trial, and obscenity, citing specific court cases. What are the main features of the Court's current posture in this area?

29)  Explain why the text concludes that an expansion of individual freedom may require an expansion of the scope of government.

30)  Explain how the freedoms of speech and press have been compromised in the name of public order and the right of a fair trial.

31)  Describe the Supreme Court decision in the Scott v. Sandford case and explain its significance. After the Civil War, what laws were passed to undo the Dred Scott case and provide greater rights for African Americans? Why did these prove insufficient? Explain. 

32)  What is the purpose of affirmative action programs? Analyze arguments for and against the use of affirmative action programs in both the public and private sectors. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekend practice exam for students taking test

Take this practice test, and see me monday at lunch with any questions about the test....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

continuing review.

We will discuss these in class today.

Practice Test tomorrow.

1)  How have the Internet and cable television impacted American politics?

2)  Most describe government and election news coverage as superficial, narrow, and limited. Explain what factors contribute to these tendencies in news coverage in the United States. Who do government officials and candidates blame for the nature of news coverage? Who do journalists blame?

3)  How do the news media shape what people believe about the American political system? Give examples from research in this area.

4)  Compare and contrast the two major party platforms on the following issues: abortion, the environment, health care, taxes, defense spending and education.

5)  Present evidence to support the argument that political parties have waning influence on American politics.

7)  Describe what lobbyists do, and how effective they are. Toward whom is most lobbying directed, and why? Explain.

10)  Describe the powers of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips. What limits to their leadership powers exist in their respective parties?

11)  Some founding fathers feared that the president might become a monarch if given too many powers. Comment on the argument that the presidency can be a threat to democracy. What implications might a powerful president have for the size of government in America?

12)  Describe the major strengths and weaknesses of the president in his role as chief legislator. What factors strengthen his ability to pass legislation he prefers? What factors weaken his ability to pass legislation?

15)  Describe the purpose of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What factors made it a successful case of implementation? Why are laws and regulations seldom this successful? Explain.

16)  What is an independent regulatory agency, and what does it do? Briefly name two or three examples of such agencies. How do they differ from Cabinet departments in terms of presidential control? How do they differ from government corporations? Are these differences appropriate? Explain.

17)  Explain how the courts have affected the policy agenda throughout American history, citing specific court decisions as examples.

18)  Describe the typical participants and types of cases involved in the judicial system.

20)  Describe how Social Security is funded and why the text describes it as "living on borrowed time." Why are the possible scenarios for its future? What do you think will happen, and why?

21)  What role does the government play in providing health care in the United States? What are Medicare and Medicaid, and why are they significant? To what extent is health care rationed in the United States?

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

23)  Explain how the media determine what is news, and how it is presented to the public.

24)  Do parties keep their campaign promises? For what purpose is a party platform, and how well does it predict the policies the party attempts to carry out when its candidates win office? In your opinion, are America's two political parties sufficiently different, or too much the same? Explain.

29)  Who are the bureaucrats and how do they become government workers? Compare and contrast the theories on what bureaucrats do and how they behave.

30)  How are court decisions translated into actual policy? What elements of the population are involved in judicial implementation, and how might implementation be hindered or helped? Use examples to illustrate your answer.

32)  Compare and contrast entitlement and means-tested social welfare programs in the United States Which one is more costly? Popular? Why?

33)  Describe the development of health management organizations in the United States. What are the key characteristics of HMOs? What problems did they solve? What problems have they created?

34)  How does the term interdependency explain the nature of the international economy? What are the major features of American international economic policy?

35)  Has the increase in information technologies in society created a more informed citizenry? Why or why not? What claims do the commercial media make regarding why citizens are or are not informed?

36)  Some political scientists talk about a party dealignment in process today. What is meant by this, and what evidence do they give for it? How does party neutrality fit into this argument? Explain.

37)  Explain what factors work to make an interest group successful.

38)  How important is party membership to a senator or member of the House in casting a vote? Are votes on some issues more or less likely to follow party lines? What other factors influence how an individual legislator casts a vote?

39)  List and briefly describe the Constitutional powers of the president. Which are the most important, and why?

40)  Describe the role of incrementalism and uncontrollables in the budget process and what alternatives have been offered for each. Is incrementalism necessary for an efficient bureaucracy? In what sense are uncontrollables "really" uncontrollable? Why, or why not?

Monday, May 7, 2012

unit 2, conclusion

ESSAY.  Write your answer in the space provided or on a separate sheet of paper.
1)  Explain why the family is central to individuals' political socialization. Describe how patterns of party identification across generations are consistent with this, using evidence from the National Election Study. 

2)  How do the American people feel about the scope of the federal government? What does it mean to say that the Americans are ideological conservatives and operational liberals? How have public attitudes on the size of government changed over time, and how does it affect public policy? 

3)  What is the effect of ideology on public opinion in America? Do people really think in ideological terms? Does the liberal-conservative dimension adequately capture how Americans feel about political issues? 

4)  Explain how public opinion is measured. What factors affect the accuracy of public opinion polls? 

5)  Present a critique of public opinion polling. What effect might public opinion polls have on the democratic process in the United States? 

6)  Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the present primary and caucus system of selecting national convention delegates. Would you favor a move to a different system, or prefer to keep the process as is? Be specific, and explain. 

7)  Explain how a political action committee works. How are political action committees regulated? Evaluate the influence of political action committees. 

8)  For what purpose do America's major parties hold national conventions? How have they changed over the last few decades, and why? Are they still worth holding? Why, or why not? Explain. 

9)  Why does the text refer to George W. Bush's first term as polarizing, and how was this reflected in the 2004 election results? 

10)  How does the voter turnout rate in the United States compare to the other industrialized nations of the world? Why is this so? What evidence is there that easing voter registration would increase turnout? Would you take any specific steps to raise voter turnout? Explain. 

11)  Compare and contrast the different agents of political socialization. What effect do they have on political learning? 

12)  Compare and contrast the presidential elections of 1800, 1896, and 2004. What factors made each election unique and important? What were some of the major changes between these elections? 

13)  To what extent does political participation reflect a bias in favor of the privileged? Should this matter? Why? 

14)  Comment on some of the many ways in which elections have changed throughout American history. Give examples to illustrate your answer. 

1. The judicial branch is designed to be more independent of public opinion than are the legislature or the executive. Yet the United States Supreme court rarely deviates too far for too long form prevalent public opinion.
a. Describe two ways in which the United States Supreme Court is insulated from public opinion.
b. Explain how two factors work to keep the United States Supreme Court from deviating too far from public opinion.

2. The power of the federal government relative to the power pf the states has increased since the ratification of the constitution.
a. Describe tow of the following provisions of the Constitution and explain how wach had been used over time to expand federal power.
          - the power to tax and spend
          - the "necessary and proper" or "elastic" clause
          - the commerce clause
b. Explain how one of the following has increased the power of the federal government relative tot he power of state governments.
          - American with Disabilities Act
          - Civil Rights Act of 1964
          - Clean Air Act

3. Initially, the U.S. Constitution did little to protect citizens fro actions of the states. In the twentieth century, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution to protect the rights of citizens from state governments in a process referred to as incorporation.
a. Define selective incorporation,
b. For two of the following, explain how each has been incorporated. Each of your explanations must be based on a specific and relevant Supreme Court Decision.
          - Rights of criminal defendants
          - Frist Amendment
          - Privacy rights

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chapters 6,9,10 review, 1 of 3

1) Describe what is meant by the melting pot.  What does minority majority mean and why is it likely to be increasingly significant in American society?  How will it change America? Do you think it will have any effect on the quality of life in the US? Explain.

2) Describe how public opinion polls make our system more democratic.  What are the potential problems with relying on these polls?

3) Define protest and why it is employed in the political process.  What is civil disobedience?  Should it be tolerated in American politics or strictly curtailed?  How can civil disobedience be defended?  Explain.

4) Present a critique of public opinion olling.  What effect might public opinion oplls have on the democratic process in the US?

5) Describe the major influences on one's political socialization, and how this comes about.  From your own perspective, which influences do you thiink contributed most to your political attitude today? Explain.

6) Describe "graying of America"

7)  Explain why the family is central to individuals' political socialization.  Describe how patterns of party identification across generations are consistent with this, using evidence from the National Election Study.

8)  Describe President Rean's view on the scope of government in America.  To what extent are these views reflected in American public opinion.

9) How do the American people feel about the scope of government in America.  To what extent are these views reflected in American public opinion?

10) What is public opinion, and why is so much time and effort spent on measuring it in the US?  What techniques are used to obtain an accurate reading of public opinion? Are public opinion poll results generally accurate?  Explain.

11)  What have public opinion polls tod us about the extent of political information among the American people?  Comment on the implications this holds for democracy in the US.