The textbook offers an excellent daily news feed of newspaper articles on current events at the text’s website. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/we-the-people9/essentials/news.aspx Pick three of these five articles. To earn the credit, you will need to review these articles and find examples of themes raised in my lectures, class readings (the text book), or forum discussions.
When you have found such an example, describe how the article offers evidence of the phenomenon raised in the class discussions (or discuss how the article offers evidence that contradicts such a phenomenon). These descriptions can be brief –- no more than 150 words each. Total three descriptions, one for each article.
The forum questions post online:
1. The ratification of the U.S. Constitution highlighted debates in governance that remain in today’s politics about the size, scope, and power of the federal government. Why did the anti-federalists object to the Constitution? How did the Federalists respond to these concerns? In your opinion, and based on your answers to the first two questions, who had the better arguments and why?
2. Since the 1960s, civil rights protections (implementation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protections of the laws”) have extended well beyond the initial restrictions on racial discrimination. What groups were spurred on by the civil rights movement to seek equal rights protections and what sorts of remedies have they sought from the federal government? In your opinion and based on the answers to the previous questions, do you think that the remedies that these groups are seeking will reduce discrimination in our society? Why?
3. Parties and interest groups are active in ways that were not anticipated in the Constitution. They aggregate and shape public opinion around specific policies and agendas. How do parties differ from interest groups? What are the important roles that parties play in structuring the political process in the United States? In your opinion, how do parties shape the policy making process (offer specific examples)?
4. Although the founders anticipated that Congress would be the central branch of the federal government, most 20th Century presidents came to dominate Congress in a wide range of policy areas. What are specific ways in which Congress exercises its checks and balances over the Executive Branch? In your opinion, should a modern state limit the president only to the powers enumerated to him/her in the U.S. Constitution? Why?
5. Among the unalienable rights the authors of the Declaration of Independence held to be self-evident was the “pursuit of happiness.” Despite this goal, government efforts to ensure that all have the opportunity to succeed have often been controversial. What forms of assistance does the federal government provide to ensure the economic security of all Americans? How are these programs paid for? In your opinion and based on your answer to the previous question, does the federal government have a responsibility to ensure that all can compete in U.S. society? What sorts of programs can best achieve this objective?
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