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 Constitutional Underpinnings (5-15%)


Constitutional Democracy


1. Distinguish between direct and representative democracy.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

Direct democracy is a system of government in which members of the polity meet to discuss all policy decisions and then agree to abide by majority rule. Representative (indirect) democracy, on the other hand, gives citizens the opportunity to vote for representatives who will work on their behalf.


2. Explain the interacting values that comprise the democratic faith, such as popular

consent, respect for the individual, equality of opportunity, and personal liberty;

and examine how democratic values may conflict with one another.

A1-Conner Trebour

Popular consent and respect for the individual sometime clash because instead of relying on popular vote or consent, people respect and elect individuals to represent them.

Equality of opportunity is something that compromises democratic faith by pulling down the importance of qualification for offices. Such as age and nationality restrictions.


3. Analyze the interrelated political processes that comprise democracy.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Free and fair elections, majority rule, freedom of expression, and the right to assembly and protest all are interrelated in comprising democracy.

4. Identify the interdependent political structures that make up the American system

of democracy.

A1-Joey Evans

The interdependent political structures that comprise the American system of democracy are personal liberty, equality, popular consent, majority rule, popular sovereignty, civil society, individualism, religious faith, and religious freedom. All of these factors make the American system unique and what is has become known as in today's world.


A2-Sean McKeown

The United States government is divided into 3 separate parts in order to ensure that no branch becomes more powerful than the others. The Legislative branch of the federal government drafts the laws and bills. The Executive branch carries out these bills and laws. And the Judicial branch decides on the constitutionality of the bills when they are sent to the highest court, The Supreme Court.

5. Discuss the educational, economic, social, and ideological conditions conducive

to establishing and maintaining democracy.

A1-Frank Hargrove

Education is extremely important in democracy.  A strong educational system where people educated in various areas is extremely important. Having a understanding of history and how different events have affected various places is very important in being able to understand the benefits of a democracy.  Social and ideological conditions conducive to a democracy is were people believe in change through peaceful protest and involvement in the political process.


6. Trace the historical roots of the American Revolution.

A1- Megan Harvey

In 1763, King George III declared in the Proclamation of 1763 that no English colonists could settle west of the Appalachian Mountains.

In the mid-to late 1760s, there was a lot of tension between the English monarchy and the English colonists in America.

King George passed many acts that tried to weaken the power of the English colonists to act as an independent country including the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act, the Quartering Act, and the Tea Act.

In 1773, the English Colonists were so fed up with these acts that they took part in the Boston Tea Party where they were boycotting British taxes

In response to the Boston Tea Party, King George passed the Intolerable Acts which banned trading in the colonies. Then in 1775, the American Revolution began with the battles of Concord and Lexington. 


7. Explain the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

A1-Tim Chester

-Unicameral legislature, weak central government

A2-Granville Boush

The articles created no separate executive department to carry out and enforce the acts of Congress and no national court system to interpret the meaning of laws. To make a change to the Articles, it had to be decided unanimously by all states. Also, 9 out of the 13 states had to approve any major law before it was passed. There was no standing army to protect the nation. Each state could create its own foreign policy, including the passage of treaties. Each state could create its own money and it might not be accepted in other states. The war left a huge debt, but the Articles didn't allow congress to collect taxes, only to ask for money from the states. The central government could not regulate commerce between the states.


8. Discuss the impact of the Annapolis Convention and Shays Rebellion on the

calling of the Constitutional Convention.


A1-Chloe Spencer

Shay’s rebellion proved that the Articles of Confederation didn’t work


9. List the major issues on which the delegates to the Constitutional Convention had

consensus as well as those issues on which the delegates had conflicts and


A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention agreed on the fact that a stronger government was definitely necessary. They were also fearful of the corrupting influences of power, having just broken apart from British rule. They had conflicts however over whether or not to have each state represented proportionately to its population or to have each state represented equally. They also disagreed over how slaves would be represented.


10. Debate the arguments against ratification.

A1- Holly Zajur

For Ratifying:

The principal arguments in favor of it were stated in the series written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay called the Federalist Papers, although they were not as widely read as numerous independent local speeches and articles.

Against Ratifying:

Anti-Federalist Papersàcontain warnings of dangers from tyranny that weaknesses in the proposed Constitution did not adequately provide against, and while some of those weaknesses were corrected by adoption of the Bill of Rights

A2-Evan Mcgill

Well, they were afraid it wouldn’t work, and didn't want to much power to go to the Federal government. Patrick Henry did not particularly like the idea of the Constitution because originally it did not have a Bill of Rights in it. The founding fathers didn't want people to have to many rights.


11. Summarize the steps involved in ratifying the Constitution.

12. Discuss the major challenges for the American system of constitutional


A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -There is a multi party system.

     -Radical Influences

     -Population growth

     -Widening gap between rich and poor



The Constitution


1. Explain the various ways the framers tried to limit government, including

federalism, free elections, and checks and balances.

2. Describe the concept of separation of powers and its relationship to checks and


A1- Jay Morgan

Separation of powers forms the cornerstone of the constitutional framework envisioned by the Founding Fathers to ensure a form of government in which no individual or group ever becomes too powerful. For example:

Congress legislative branch can pass laws, but the president executive branch can veto them.

Congress can override the president's veto.

The Supreme Court judicial branch can declare a law approved by Congress and the president unconstitutional.

The president can appoint judges to the Supreme Court, but Congress must approve them.


A2-Parker Jenkins

Separation of powers believes in the equal allocation of constitutional authority between the three branches of government. The concept of Checks and Balances state that each has a role in the actions of other branches. Also each branch is politically independent of others. These two ideas are directly related; while Separation of powers is the overall belief of governmental equality, the idea of checks and balances is what keep the branches independent and able to maintain their own power.


3. Define judicial review.

4. Explain how the case Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial


A1-Clare Driggs

In the case of Marbury v. Madison, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was declared unconstitutional. This was the first thing that the Supreme Court had ever declared unconstitutional. Because of this, they decided to create judicial review, which allowed the court to oversee and nullify the actions of the other branches of the government.


5. Explain how the checks and balances system has been modified by the rise of

national political parties, creation of an independent regulatory commission,

changes in the electoral system, changes in technology, and in international


6. Contrast the British and American political systems.


The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution and the US does. Instead, the UK has various Acts of Parliament which can be changed by a majority in Parliament. In Britain, it is a rare occasion that politicians fight each other on subjects relating to the acts. However, in the US politicians constantly relate back to the Constitution in an argument. The flag is a very big part of politics in the United States and in Britain, it isn’t. Democrat and Republican political parties dominate the US. In Britain, Conservative and Labour are the political parties. Also, American elections depend on many hours of public broadcasting. Europeans cannot buy broadcasting time.


7. Explain the process of the impeachment and removal power.

8. List presidential practices, and discuss how such practices have evolved.

A1-Conner Trebour

The president has the power to:

·         appoint and remove agency heads

·         reorganize the bureaucracy

·         make changes in budget proposals

·     ignore initiatives from the bureaucracy

·     issue executive orders

·     reduce an agency's budget

The president also has the huge power of bully pulpit.

These practices have evolved greatly with technology.

·         These decisions are more likely to be swayed and made based on public opinion now a days because the president wants to please the people.

·         He also is more visible and therefore has an increased power of bully pulpit because the ease of being able to speak on a news station to the entire country.


9. Explain the two methods for proposing and for ratifying amendments to the


A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   Two- stage amendment process: proposal and ratification

-   1) Amendments can be proposed by (a) a vote of 2/3s of the members in both houses of Congress OR (b) a vote of 2/3s of the state legislatures specifically requesting Congress to call a national convention to prose amendments

-   Amendments must be ratified by legislatures in 3/4s of the states

-   2) National constitutional convention called by Congress at the at the request of 2/3s of the state legislatures (this method has never been used)

-   Amendments must be ratified by conventions in 3/4s of the states

A2-Matt Mitchell

2 Methods to Propose and Ratify Amendments:

·         2/3 of both houses vote in support of the amendment

·         National Convention supported by 2/3 of the states


10. Explain various theoretical perspectives relating to the Constitution.

A1-Joey Evans

Some perspectives relating to the Constitution are the theory of republican government, democratic theory, and pluralism. The theory of republican government is based on the election of a head of state, and a country run like a republic. The democratic theory states that all citizens have an equal say in decisions that affect them. Some say that, ideally, popular sovereignty is the basis for this form of government. Finally, classic pluralism is the view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of government, but that many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence.


A2-Sean McKeown

·         Democratic theory

o    the theory that the power for the government comes from the people that are governed

·         Pluralism

o    a participatory type of government in which the politics of the country are defined by the needs and wants of many. Political pluralism is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is similar to the government of the United States of America.

·         Elitism

o    is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight or those who view their own views as so; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.



1. Define federalism and its constitutional basis between the national and state


A1- Ashley Fleetwood

The term "federalism" is used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionality divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is the balance of power between the national government and the state government, and the reserved powers to each of those governments.

A2-Frank Hargrove

Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national government.


2. Examine various interpretations of federalism, such as dual, cooperative, marble

cake, competitive, permissive, and "New Federalism."


Dual Federalism- the belief that having separate and equally powerful levels of government is the best arrangement

Cooperative Federalism-the relationship between the national and state governments that began with the New Deal, states began to take a secondary, cooperative role in the scheme of governance

Marble Cake Federalism- the metaphor in the way the nature of the federal government changed after the New Deal from Dual Federalism to Cooperative Federalism

Competitive Federalism- regional or local governments compete with other regional or local governments to result in the best society

Permissive Federalism- the federal government is supreme, therefore the states only have the powers that the federal government allows them to exercise

“New Federalism”- Federal/state relationship proposed by Reagan administration during 1980s;  hallmark is returning administrative powers to the state governments


3. Identify and describe alternatives to federalism.

A1-Tim Chester

parliamentary system, which our mother England uses every party is represented by the percentage of voted they get

A2-Granville Boush

Alternatives to federalism include: the unitary system which is a government in which all power is centralized and the Confederal system, a government in which local units hold all the power.


4. List advantages of federalism as they relate to the needs of a heterogeneous


5. Examine powers of the national government, powers reserved for the states, and

concurrent powers shared by the national and state governments.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

Powers of the national government are printing money, regulating interstate and international trade, making treaties and conducting foreign policy, and declaring war. Powers reserved for the states are the power to issue licenses, the regulation if intrastate businesses, and the responsibility to run and pay for federal elections. Powers shared by the federal and state governments (concurrent powers) are collecting taxes, building roads, operating courts of law, and borrowing money.


6. Identify limits and obligations on both national and state powers.

A1- Holly Zajur

National Powers:

obligationsà protect life, liberty, and property; act with the nations best interest; taxation; international affairs; protect states from violence and invasion; military

limitsà system of checks and balances; no mix between religion and government


State Powers:

obligationsà law enforcement; local elections; representation in the senate

limitsàcant tax the national government


7. Describe the federal systems found in Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

8. Discuss the changing role of federal courts in national-state relations, especially

following McCulloch v. Maryland.

A1-Evan McGill

The state of Maryland had a desire to limit the powers of the federal government. A tax was placed on all notes the originated with banks chartered outside of the state. The Second Bank of the United States, a federal entity was the target of this attack. When James McCulloch refused to pay the tax and the court eventually went before the Supreme Court. The Court decided that the Second Bank of the United States was "necessary and proper" for the federal government to exercise its duties. Therefore, the bank was constitutional and the state of Maryland could not tax its activities.This landmark case declared that the United States government had implied powers as well as those specifically listed in the Constitution. The decision provided the avenue for the federal government to expand or evolve its powers to meet an ever-changing world.


A2-Scott Edelstein

From 1787 to 1861, federal-state relations and slavery were the great issues. The Court asserted its right to impose binding interpretations of federal law upon state courts. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) upheld the supremacy of the federal government in a conflict with a state over a matter not clearly assigned to federal authority by the Constitution. Although federal preeminence was written into constitutional theory, it was not until after the Civil War that the theory applied in practice.


9. Describe the expanding role of the federal courts in reviewing state and local

government activities through the Fourteenth Amendment, federal mandates, and

federal preemption.

10. Explain the historical growth in national governmental powers relative to the

states, including the debate between the centralists and decentralists.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -Over the years the national government has been growing in power, the states are losing it every year

     -The framers did not want there to be a strong Executive branch, they really didn’t want it at all and they wanted people to have the power

     - Centralist = powers all centralized in the Federal Government
     -Decentralist = powers spread amongst everyone, more referencing the power belongs to the people and the states

     -the decentralists would be very unhappy with how the government is being run because there is too much power taken from the people


A2-Parker Jenkins

As many issues have risen into the national scope, the government has seen the need to either regulate or control these issues. It is much easier to have one institutional change through congress that effect all of the states instead of different states taking varying courses of action to rid of an issue. The conflict between centralists and decentralists arises with how much power is reserved for the national government. While centralist ideals have been becoming stronger in recent years, the constitution was written with more decentralist ideas. This shift in power to the national governments has been caused by an increased dependency on our government to provide for us, and take care of us.


11. Identify and describe four types of federal grants, and state the goals of federal


12. Examine the politics of federal grants, including how the battle over the

appropriate level of government to control the funds tends to be cyclical.

A1- Jay Morgan

Understanding the dynamics of policy distribution requires an appreciation of federal grant programs that have achieved a prominent place in nearly all areas of domestic policy. This analysis of the allocation patterns under six federal programs shows that local governments exert important influences on the distribution of federal grants and that the distributional patterns and their determinants vary over time.

A2-Clare Driggs

Federal grants are gifts of money given from the federal government to the states. There are two types of grants. Categorical grants have strict provisions from the federal government on how they may be spent. Block grants permit the states to experiment and spend the money how they see fit.


13. Analyze the impact of federal mandates on state and local government.

14. Identify and describe new techniques of federal control.

15. Examine reasons for the growth of big government and reasons why Congress is

pressured to reduce national programs.

16. Discuss why federalism has grown increasingly complicated, with changing

political power distribution, and the reemergence of the states.

A1- Megan Harvey

Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between U.S. governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national government. This has made federalism increasingly complicated. Dual federalism and cooperative federalism have become two major types of federalism. The first, dual federalism, holds that the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. In this theory, parts of the Constitution are interpreted very narrowly, such as the 10th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause. In this narrow interpretation, the federal government has jurisdiction only if the Constitution clearly grants such. In this case, there is a very large group of powers belonging to the states, and the federal government is limited to only those powers explicitly listed in the Constitution.

The second, cooperative federalism, asserts that the national government is supreme over the states, and the 10th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause have entirely different meaning. A good illustration of the wide interpretation of these parts of the Constitution is exemplified by the Necessary and Proper Clause's other common name: the Elastic Clause. Dual federalism is not completely dead, but for the most part, the United States' branches of government operate under the presumption of a cooperative federalism.

A2-Conner Trebour

Federalism has grown increasingly more complicated because of the increase in population in the U.S.

The number of state (from reemergence) and local governments have hugely increased since the creation of the country.

This has created complications in jurisdiction issues, in funding issues from the federal government and in the area of governing every American.

Also, many new organizations and agencies have  formed and this creates issues with power distribution.

Many political partied have reshaped and reformed how the party runs and this also changes the political power within each party and therefore the whole country.



Institutions of Government (35-45%)




1. Assess the factors that go into redistricting, reapportionment, and gerrymandering,

and their impact on House elections.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Factors: population, community distribution, party alliance. Gerrymandering causes House elections to be less competitive, offering a significant advantage to the incumbent whose party is in charge of redrawing district lines.


2. Describe the professional qualifications and profile the typical member of


A1-Joey Evans

There are many professional qualifications of a U.S. Congressman. Most have a law degree, are wealthy, usually Caucasian, age 40-60, come from a political background, married, and Christian.


A2-Sean McKeown

The typical member of congress is usually a lawyer so that they have experience in the legal matters of law and in many cases they will work as clerks for the courts or work under previous members of congress. Experience is essential in order to get voted into office.


3. Explain the importance of bicameralism.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   The Great Compromise resulted in the creation of an upper house, the Senate, and a lower house, the House of Representatives. Any two- house legislature is called a bicameral legislature

-   Each state is represented in the Senate by two senators, regardless of the state’s population. Number of representatives each state sends to the House is determined by that state’s population

A2-Frank Hargrove

Bicameralism is the practice having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses.  In the United States this is important going back to the Great Compromise were small state would like the Senate because of equal representation with all houses while big states would like the House being seats were down by population size of state.  

4. List differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate.


House of Representatives:

435 voting members (apportioned by population)

Two-year terms

Initiates all revenue bills

Initiates impeachment procedures and passes articles of impeachment


•100 voting members (two from each state)

Six-year terms (one-third up for reelection every two years)

Offers “advice and consent” on many major presidential appointments

Tries impeached officials

Approves treaties

Differences in Operation

House of Representatives:

-   More centralized, more formal; stronger leadership

-   Committee on Rules fairly powerful in controlling times and rules of debate (in conjunction with the Speaker of the House)

-   More impersonal

-   Power distributed less evenly

-   Members are high specialized

-   Emphasizes tax and revenue policy


Less centralized, less formal; weaker leadership

No rules committee; limits on debate come through unanimous consent or cloture of filibuster

More personal

Power distributed more evenly

Members are generalists

Emphasizes foreign policy

Changes in the Institution

House of Representatives:

-   Power centralized in the Speaker’s inner circle of advisers

-   House procedures becoming more efficient

-   Turnover is relatively high, although those seeking reelection almost always win


  Senate workload increasing and institution becoming more formal; threat of filibusters more frequent than in the past

  Becoming more difficult to pass legislation

  Turnover is moderate


5. Identify and define the basic functions of Congress.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.


A2-Tim Chester

Congress is the law making body, representation. Constitute services, and oversight


A3-Granville Boush

Congress has six basic functions, which include lawmaking, service to constituents, representation, oversight, public education, and conflict resolution. Lawmaking is the most obvious and important function of Congress. The idea for most legislation comes from outside, but Congress is solely responsible for approving legislation. Service to constituents is an important aspect of getting reelected and is accomplished mostly by acting as an ombudsperson and doing casework. A member can represent their constituency by being a trustee, who uses theft own judgment, an instructed delegate, who uses the constituents’ judgment, or a politico, who uses both approaches depending on the issue. The overnight function is to make sure that the laws passed are enforced and administered the way in which they were intended. The public education function is an important part of helping to set the public agenda, which primarily occurs with the media. See Chapter 10. The final function is to resolve conflicts in society, which primarily arise because of scarce resources and differences in ideology.


6. Identify the major leadership positions in the House and Senate.

7. Examine the political environment in the Senate.  Explain why some consider the

job of U.S. senator to be more prestigious.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The Senate is considered to be more prestigious than the House because it has longer terms (6 years), smaller size (two per state), and statewide constituencies. The political environment is less partisan than that of the House, and has a more collegiate, deliberative feel.


8. Indicate the role of unlimited debate and the filibuster in Senate proceedings.

A1- Holly Zajur

Unlimited debate and filibuster in senate proceedingsà filibusters have been a tool available to U.S. Senators during Senate floor discussions on legislation and appointments since the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have valued the filibuster as a means to bring compromise and bipartisanship to bitter and divisive debates. The word, filibuster, refers to a political delaying tactic such as a long speech used by politicians to delay or prevent the passage of legislation. The older meaning of filibuster refers to the illegal act of plundering or piracy; of capturing a ship and its cargo and holding it for ransom.


9. Explain the role of and procedures used in the Senate confirmation powers.

10. Distinguish between Congress as a law-making institution and as a representative


A1-Scott Edelstein

Representative government serves two purposes. One is to make the law responsive to the values and interests of the people. The other is to allow representatives, through the people they represent, to make laws. Congress is always serving two, not wholly compatible, purposes—representation and lawmaking. Members of the House and Senate serve individual districts or states, yet they must act collectively to make law. Collective action on divisive issues entails bargaining and compromise—among the members of each house, between the House and the Senate, and between Congress and the president. For compromise to be possible, at least some members must retreat from their commitments to their individual state or district. Determining who must compromise—and how to get them to do so—is the guts of legislative politics. The process can be messy, even ugly. It is not too surprising that “Congress bashing” is one of the constants of American politics.

Representation in Congress takes several forms. The most obvious type is that provided by each member for his or her district or state. Members of Congress are expected to be representatives of their constituents back home.


11. Distinguish between the delegate and trustee roles of legislators.

12. Analyze the types of pressures and influences a member of Congress is subject to

in the decision-making or law-making role.

A1-Evan McGill

Members of Congress have a variety of ways they can make decisions. They look to their party, to the constituents, to colleagues, to interest groups, and to people on their staff. The political party a member of Congress is affiliated with is a major decision making technique and they also look to the people they represent to help them make a decision. Colleagues and staff members help members of Congress to think of other ideas and more information.


A2-Parker Jenkins

A member of congress is put under a great deal of scrutiny and pressure when voting for a bill. Pressure from the President, other members of congress, and from one’s own party are just a few places a member of congress can expect to come under analysis by others. Also how you vote can be a huge factor in reelection, because your voting record is not private and an opposing candidate can use that against you.


13. Evaluate the impact and power of congressional staff.

14. Trace the pathway of a bill through both houses of Congress.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer



-Bill is introduced                                                       -Bill is introduced

-If approved it is sent to the Senate committee           -Sent to the House committee

-Referred to a subcommittee                                        -Referred to a subcommittee

-Reported by full committee                                        -Reported by full committee

-Full Senate debates and votes on bill                         -Rules committee

                                                                                     -Full House debates and votes on bill

-Conference committee                                                -Conference committee

-Senate approval                                                           -House approval


The president then takes control of the bill and will either sign the bill, veto the bill, wait ten days and allows it to become a law, or wait 10 days and uses the pocket veto. 

A2-Clare Driggs

A bill must be presented by a member of Congress. It is presented to both houses in the exact same form. There are many stages in the process and it can be stopped at any one. It is sent to a committee after being presented to Congress. In the committee it is sent to a subcommittee, who then has a hearing for it. At this stage they can change things about the bill. They present it to the full committee where they can again change it, markup. In the House it is now sent to the Committee on Rules. It is then sent to the floor of the Senate or the House. Here it is debated, amended, and voted on. If both houses do not consider it simultaneously, it is then sent to the other. After both houses have considered it and made changes, the bill goes to the Conference Committee to combine all the amendments. To finally be passed, the Senate and the House must approve it in identical form. To become a law it must go to the president for the final stage.


15. Analyze the importance of committees and subcommittees with particular focus on their chairs and the process by which they are chosen, especially the impact of seniority.

16. Explain why so many congressional incumbents win.

A1- Jay Morgan

They win more because they typically have more money, time, visibility and campaign visibility.


17. Explain how the congressional impeachment process works by referring to

Clinton’s impeachment.


The Presidency


1. Evaluate what the public expects of the president in the "unwritten presidential

job description."


A1-Conner Trebour

-     The president is expected to:

-          listen to his constituents (all Americans)

-          listen to his cabinet

-          react appropriately to any event good or bad that happens to the country

-          take action after a tragic event such as a natural disaster and help those effected

-          have the best interests of the country in mind at all times

-          always be thinking about how to improve the country.


2. Describe the office of the presidency as established in the Constitution.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president and charges him with the execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances.


3. Explain the positive qualities that the public wants their president to have.


A1- Megan Harvey

The public looks for a leader who is trustworthy and dependable. Usually, a Presidential candidate has some background in politics already. A candidate must have self restraint, moral judgement, the ability to make decisions on a positive ground without reaching extreme solutions, a strength in character and the ability to compose themselves in public. A candidate is personable and people find it easy to relate to them.


A2-Joey Evans

The public wants their President to be charismatic, intelligent, moderate in political views, good leader, in times of crisis to be strong, genuine, and to act in the interest of the people. All of these things equate to being a good leader, and thus a good President. The people want someone who will represent their best interests and be moderate, willing to listen to all parties.


A3-Sean McKeown

The public want their president to represent their country well, and they want somebody that they can relate to. The public does not want a millionaire making decisions fro the big businesses, they want decisions made for the everyday individual.


4. Explain why the media and the president are so often in conflict.

A1-Frank Hargrove

The media and the President are so often in conflict because they are the two groups that have huge control and power over what the people hear on TV. The media obviously control a lot but the President can decide when he wants to make a speech and everybody will watch.


5. Evaluate why Congress and the Supreme Court have often been willing partners

in the expansion of presidential power and identify factors that have strengthened

the presidency.


-   Congress has willingly handed over its authority over to President in times of crisis or simply when it was unable to meet public demands for solutions.

-   Congress has done this because they now that they have ultimate power of the president, since it can impeach and remove him from office.

-   The Supreme Court has allowed this because a president’s authority is limited by the formal powers enumerate in Article II of the Constitution and by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of those constitutional provisions.

Factors that Have Strengthened the Presidency

• Must Meet Demands on Booming Industry

• Congress forces the President to carry out its laws

  Action taken by President during emergencies or war


6. Identify and summarize roles of the president.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

President’s Powers:

-   Power to appoint with advice and consent of the Senate - can appoint ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, judges of the supreme Court,

-   convene congress- must inform Congress periodically of the “State of the Union”

-   make treaties with foreign nations but must be approved by at least 2/3s of the members of the senate

-   to veto- the authority to reject any congressional legislation

-   preside over military as commander in chief - can declare war


A2-Tim Chester

chief of military, leader of the country, chief legislator, leader of his party


A3-Granville Boush

a. Chief of State

Roles: This role requires a president to be an inspiring example for the American people. In some nations, the chief of state is a king or a queen who wears a crown on special occasions, celebrates national holidays, and stands for the highest values and ideals of the country. As the American Chief of State, the president is a living symbol of the nation. It is considered a great honor for any citizen to shake the president's hand.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Awarding medals to the winners of college scholarships.

•Congratulating astronauts on their journey into space.

•Greeting visitors to the White House.

•Making a patriotic speech on the Fourth of July.

b. Chief Executive

Roles: The president is "boss" for millions of government workers in the Executive Branch, deciding how the laws of the United States are to be enforced and choosing officials and advisers to help run the Executive Branch.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Appointing someone to serve as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

•Holding a Cabinet meeting to discuss government business.

•Reading reports about problems of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

 c. Chief Diplomat

Roles: The president decides what American diplomats and ambassadors shall say to foreign governments. With the help of advisers, the president makes the foreign policy of the United States.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Traveling to London to meet with British leaders.

•Entertaining Japanese diplomats in the White House.

•Writing a message or a letter to the leaders of the Soviet Union.

 d. Commander-In-Chief

Roles: The president is in charge of the U.S. armed forces: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The president decides where troops shall be stationed, where ships shall be sent, and how weapons shall be used. All military generals and admirals take their orders from the President.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Inspecting a Navy yard.

•Deciding, in wartime, whether to bomb foreign cities.

•Calling out troops to stop a riot.

 e. Chief Legislator

Roles: Only Congress has the actual power to make laws. But the Constitution gives the president power to influence Congress in its lawmaking. Presidents may urge Congress to pass new laws or veto bills that they do not favor.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Inviting members of Congress to lunch in the White House.

•Signing a bill of Congress.

•Making a speech in Congress.

 f. Chief of Party

Roles: In this role, the president helps members of his political party get elected or appointed to office. The president campaigns for those members who have supported his policies. At the end of a term the president may campaign for reelection.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Choosing leading party members to serve in the Cabinet.

•Traveling to California to speak at a rally for a party nominee to the U.S. Senate.

 g. Chief Guardian of the Economy

Roles: In this role, the president is concerned with such things as unemployment, high prices, taxes, business profits, and the general prosperity of the country. The president does not control the economy, but is expected to help it run smoothly.

Examples of Behavior in Roles:

•Meeting with economic advisers to discuss ways to reduce unemployment.

•Meeting with business and labor leaders to discuss their needs and problems.


7. List the functions of the vice president.

8. Examine two constitutional amendments that significantly affected the vice-presidency.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

1) The vice-president shall replace the president in cases where he is not able to execute the duties of the office due to illness, resignation or death.

2) He shall vote to break any ties in the Senate.

Since its conception, the role of casting a tie-breaking vote in the Senate has been exercised 242 times.

His title shall be President of the Senate, a hollow title because he has no duties except for the two stated above.  Traditionally the vice president is not present while the senate is meeting. reportedly there have been occasions in the past where he was asked to leave.  He may be assigned additional duties by the president but, as the Constitution assigns no executive powers to the vice president, in performing such duties he acts only as an agent of the president.

A2-Marybeth Lawrence

The Twelfth Amendment ensured that electors would have to cast separate votes for the president and the vice president instead of just filling out one ballot with two votes. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment provided clarity regarding the selection of a new vice president should the position become vacant. This amendment also permitted the vice president to assume the presidency temporarily in the event of a presidential disability.


9. Evaluate the constraints on the ability of the president to act, such as the media

and international pressures.

A1- Holly Zajur

constraints on the ability of the president to act à

International/ Military Pressuresà Though constrained by various other laws passed by Congress, the President's executive branch conducts most foreign policy, and his power to order and direct troops as commander-in-chief is quite significant (the exact limits of what a President can do with the military without Congressional authorization are open to debate).

The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as Checks and Balances. For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries, but these appointments must be approved by the Senate.

Mediaà has so much control and influence over the populations that they can make the president look as good or bad as they like, giving them the control of the publics opinion of the president


10. Debate whether the powers of the presidency are both too powerful and too weak.

11. Discuss the presidential legacy of Bill Clinton.

A1-Scott Edelstein

One option that Clinton can claim as his legacy is the tremendously strong economy. Clinton entered the White House while the economy was in a recession. When he leaves office, the country will be coming off one of its largest economic booms in history.

Another option for Clinton’s legacy would be foreign affairs. For most of his first term, Clinton seemingly fumbled through many hotspots, failing in Haiti and Somalia. The violence in the Balkans and the United States’ confused stance on it only further proved Clinton’s inadequacies in foreign affairs. Into his second term, however, Clinton made some very important decisions, namely his appointments of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state and the hard-nosed William Cohen as secretary of defense. Thanks to them, Clinton’s foreign affairs record has been tremendous, with successes in helping create peace in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

One cannot ignore the complicated nature of Clinton’s character nor his constant battle with scandal. As mentioned before, Clinton seems to epitomize a duality. Here is a man that was on top of everything, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Yet he fell in the eyes of Americans and the world with the emergence of the Monica Lewinsky fiasco. It all culminated in 1998 with Clinton’s impeachment by the House and his trial in the Senate. 


12. Discuss what factors make for a “great” president and what factors contribute to

a failed presidency.


Congressional – Presidential Relations


1. Explain those factors that promote both cooperation and conflict within the

congressional-presidential relationship.

A1-Parker Jenkins

Congress and the president revolve around each other in policy making, and differ in the power reserved to the president and divided government. While it is best for both parties to cooperate on legislation and policy making it is very rare. Presidents take full advantage of a favorable party balance in Congress to push their agenda and enact the reform that they want. With a divided government this is much harder, and gridlock is very common between Democrats and Republicans. Also the conflict between whether the president has, “general and undefined power”. There has been a rise of presidential power in the last decade because of a struggling economy and multiple wars. Presidents are turned to in times of struggle to make the right decisions quickly, for the people. This takes a lot of power away from Congress.


2. List specific reasons why some presidents are more effective with Congress than


3. Explain what the president tries to accomplish in his State of the Union Address.

A1-Evan McGill

The president tries to tell the nation the state of the United States and what they have accomplished and what the nation is going to accomplish in the next year. The president gives the speech every year at the beginning and he also outlines the legislative agenda for the year.

A2-Clare Driggs

The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the president to outline his legislative agenda (for which he needs the cooperation of Congress) and his national priorities. It is a way for him to communicate with Congress and citizens, informing them on the state or condition of the country, at the same time in a public way.


4. Explain why members of Congress have different political perspectives from that

of the president.

5. Discuss why most presidents seem to have greater legislative success when their

own party controls both houses of Congress.  Conversely, explain how divided

government is often preferred by large numbers of the American people.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

The president is elected because the people like his ideals and what that person stands for. Some people may also vote based on their political party. When the president has full control over both houses of the Senate, meaning they are both of the president’s party, they can get more laws passed. If the houses are divided they will argue all the time because they have different ideas and nothing would get done. If the president and houses are of the same party it is a more harmony oriented government system and more people should want that. Divided government can seem more appealing to the people because they want to elect people who they think will best represent them as a state or district. If the person they want to elect is of a different party than the president, they don’t care because they want to have the right person representing them. They may also believe that with a divided government more people will have different opinions and that would be good to get new laws passed.


6. Explain the reasons why Congress and the president have clashed over the war

powers issue. Also, be able to discuss the content of the War Powers Resolution.

7. Explain why confirmation politics can become destructive and even mean-

spirited at times.

A1- Jay Morgan

The outreach to Senators to gauge their thoughts on the critical traits present in any picks is one of any number of spoken and unspoken rules that must be followed to ensure that the eventual nominee has the best chance at confirmation possible. It can be destructive because very mean things are said.

A2-Conner Trebour

-     Confirmation Politics can become destructive by wasting a lot of time in making decisions and confirming appointments

-     it can become mean spirited when people take a long time to 'confirm; it to waste time and not get the bill passed


8. List reasons why the presidential use of executive privilege, executive orders, and

the veto can promote discord between him and Congress.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Reasons Executive Powers cause Discord w/ Congress:

·         The president can make decisions unchangeable by Congress

·         President can go against the wishes of a Congress controlled by less than 2/3 of the opposite party, and they cannot override the veto

·         Executive orders can put laws into order without requiring Congressional approval


9. Define impoundment, deficits, and continuing resolutions.


A1-Joey Evans

Impoundment- the refusal of the President to spend money that has been appropriated by the U.S. Congress

Deficits- the amount by which a sum of money falls short.

Continuing Resolutions- a type of appropriations legislation used by the United States Congress to fund government agencies if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law by the end of the Congressional fiscal year


A2-Sean McKeown

·         Impoundment

o    Impoundment is the refusal of a President of the United States to spend money that has been appropriated by the U.S. Congress.

·         Deficits

o    A deficit is the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount.

·         Continuing Resolutions

o    A continuing resolution is a type of appropriations legislation used by the United States Congress to fund government agencies if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law by the end of the Congressional fiscal year. The legislation takes the form of a joint resolution, and provides funding for existing federal programs at current or reduced levels.

10. Explain the issues involved in the Clinton impeachment process.

A1-Frank Hargrove

William J. Clinton was impeached by the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in relationship to his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was eventually acquitted by the Senate.


11. Discuss why coalition building is important to a president’s success or failure vis-a-vis Congress.

A1- Megan Harvey

A coalition is a group of individuals and/or organizations with a common interest that agree to work together towards a common goal, often to execute a particular campaign. Coalition goals are as varied as coalitions themselves, but often contain elements of one or more of the following: influencing or developing public policy, usually finding a specific solution to a specific problem, changing people's behavior, or building a healthy community. The benefits of coalition building go beyond increased power in relation to the opposition. Coalition building may also strengthen the members internally, enabling them to be more effective in other arenas.


  Coalition- a group of individuals with a common interest that agree to work together towards a common goal

  very important to a president’s success or failure because coalitions influence many voters’ opinion

  coalitions also can impact the amount of money given to presidential campaigns


The Bureaucracy


1. Describe the size of the federal bureaucracy.

A1-Tim Chester

- the size of the federal bureaucracy grew from 1,000 employees in 1790 to over 2,800,000 in 1979, the number of civilian employees began to decline after the end of the cold war and has since decreased to about 2,600,000


A2-Granville Boush

Although the size of the federal bureaucracy grew from 1,000 employees in 1790 to over 2,800,000 in 1979, the number of civilian employees began to decline after the end of the cold war and has since decreased to about 2,600,000. Federal bureaucrats serve in a wide variety of positions and geographic locations both in the United States and around the world.


2. Define bureaucracy and bureaucrat.

3. Describe who bureaucrats are and what bureaucrats do.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   Who? bureaucrats are career government employees who work in the executive branch in the Cabinet-level departments and independent agencies that comprise more than 2,000 bureaus, divisions, branches, offices, services, and other subunits of the federal government.

-   What they do? More than 15,000 job skills are represented in the federal government. Include FBI agents, foreign service officers, computer programmers, librarians, engineers, plumbers, lawyers etc.

A2-Marybeth Lawrence

They are members of a bureaucracy who are rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedures. They are made to stand between the lawmakers who create public policy and public programs and the people. Therefore, they are able to see both sides of the picture, the political side in D.C. and the practical side in other localities. They help a chief executive officer carry out his or her duties.


4. Describe the formal organization of the bureaucracy.

A1- Holly Zajur

Bureaucracy is a formal organization with defined objectives, a hierarchy of specialized roles and systematic processes of direction and administration.

-Most prominent in the large-scale administration of agencies of the modern state and modern business corporations. 

-Dominant in modern society due to the commitment to the value of rationalization - the organization of social activity so as to most efficiently achieve goals.

-Enable governments to generate, process, distribute, and store information.

-The growth of formal bureaucracy is a phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the modern bureaucratic state is one of mankind's recent accomplishments. For organizations in both the public and private sectors, the bureaucracy represents an important, modern technology of control.


5. Indicate the importance of the informal organization.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

The informal groups in organization increased the cohesiveness which is important to make a comfort environment dominated which lead to increasing the org. productivity. Informal organizations have very loose structures. People can become members freely and sometimes spontaneously; relationships are undefined and the sharing of responsibility and involvement of members will vary considerably.

The best example to give is an organization's football team. One might find a managing director, a manager and a manual worker all on the same team- and we know that relationships between them will be very different than in the office place. So, the football team is an informal organization; the company as a whole is formal since it has increasing levels of power.

The advantages of informal organizations are that they create strong relationships between their members. There is no theoretical "boss" and this makes all members feel like a larger part of the organization as a whole.


6. Explain how the bureaucracy has evolved and the importance and impact of the Hatch Act, old and new.

A1-Scott Edelstein

The original bureaucracy consisted of only three departments. Today the bureaucracy has grown to eighteen hundred departments, agencies, commissions, and government corporations, employing over five million people, civilian and military, and having a budget of one and a half trillion dollars. The bureaucracy first began to grow in response to the Progressive movement's call for greater governmental regulation of corporations. The public's commitment to an activist government reached its peak during the period of the Great Depression and World War II. President Lyndon Johnson's commitment to fight poverty and environmental destruction led to modest increases in the size of the bureaucracy.

Even though the actual size of the bureaucracy has not grown enormously since the World War II, it has resisted attempts to downsize. In fact, the federal budget has grown dramatically. This growth is primarily due to the government's use of transfer payments such as social security and welfare. In addition, bureaucrats themselves have actively resisted the efforts of, for example, President Reagan, to reduce the size of their departments.

As the bureaucracy has grown so has its character changed. Originally, the bureaucracy was staffed by well-educated, white, wealthy, males. During, and for a period after, the presidency of Andrew Jackson, bureaucratic positions were considered "spoils" that the president could give away on a partisan basis. After the assassination of President Garfield, Congress created the civil service. Today, bureaucratic positions are largely removed from politics. Bureaucrats are hired and fired under strict guidelines. In addition, the Hatch Act and its 1993 amendments preclude federal employees from trying to influence elections.


7. List the principles of the formal textbook model of bureaucratic administration.

8. Describe the limitations on bureaucratic power.

A1-Parker Jenkins

Limitations of bureaucratic power often revolve around Congress. The Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 allows Congress to closely regulate the procedures followed by regulatory agencies. Many federal agencies are created to oversee and limit other agencies. Also, administrators are subject to informal political checks.


9. Assess bureaucratic realities including the existence of iron triangles.

10. Analyze how the fictitious George Brown illustrates the dilemmas faced by

bureaucrats in determining accountability and defining the public interest.

A1-Clare Driggs

In the case of bureau chief George Brown, three generalizations about bureaucrats were made. Bureaucrats are people, not robots, and are subject to many influences. Bureaucrats do not respond merely to orders from the top but to a variety of motives. The final one was that Bureaucrats are important in government


11. Debate the need for big government and big bureaucracy, including a discussion

of how to reorganize and eliminate waste in them.

12. Debate the extent to which government should privatize public services.

A1-Evan McGill

           The debate over public and private social services is a constant in the social work profession. To truly understand the debate, the definitions of such agencies must be clear. Barker defines private social agencies as “nonprofit agencies that provide personal social services, mostly to members of targeted groups (such as residents of certain neighborhoods or those of certain religious affiliations, ethnic groups, age categories, or interest groups)” (Barker, 1999). Private services can be “nonprofit,” as Barker alludes to, or can be “for profit” or “proprietary” social agencies Michael Reisch defines public social service loosely in his article “Public Social Services” as “programs made available by other than market criteria to ensure a basic level of health, education, and welfare provision by making use of government resources and money” (1982). While private-sector social workers “are employed by their clients, maintain their own facilities, determine their own intervention methods, and base their activities on the norms of their profession rather than requirements of social service agencies,” public service is constrained by government regulation.

13. Examine bureaucratic accountability to the President and to Congress.

14. Define key terms.


The Judiciary


1. Define judicial review.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -Power of the courts to review acts of other branches of government and the states.

     -This is one of the checks on the power of the judiciary not mentioned in the constitution

A2-Conner Trebour

          the ability of the courts to review bills and decisions from the legislative and Executive branches to make sure that they are constitutional in America

          one of the greatest examples of checks and balances in the United States Government and the greatest check that the Judiciary branch possesses on the other two branches

          Marbury v. Madison established this for the first time.


2. Identify and define eight types of law.

A1-Matt Mitchell

·         Criminal Procedure: consists of a massive overlay of federal constitutional case law interwoven with the federal and state statutes that actually provide the foundation for the creation and operation of law enforcement agencies and prison systems as well as the proceedings in criminal trials.

·         Civil Procedure: governs process in all judicial proceedings involving lawsuits between private parties.

·         Criminal Law: involves the prosecution by the state of wrongful acts which are considered to be so serious that they are a breach of the sovereign's peace (and cannot be deterred or remedied by mere lawsuits between private parties).

·         Contract Law: covers obligations established by agreement (express or implied) between private parties.

·         Tort Law: generally covers any civil action between private parties arising from wrongful acts which amount to a breach of general obligations imposed by law and not by contract.


3. Explain how the adversary system shapes the role of judges and the scope of

judicial power.


A1- Jay Morgan

The Adversary System is a legal system where two advocates represent their party's positions before an impartial person or group of people who attempt to determine the truth of the case. It shapes the role of judges because the judges are usually the people who make up the group.


A2-Joey Evans

The adversary system places an emphasis on the role of judges in the United States. The judges decide which side of the arguing party is right. Without a judge the system doesn’t function. This system also gives the judiciary branch more power because they control the outcome of many important incidents.


A3-Sean McKeown

In order to win a court case it is more important to beat the other side rather than to find the ultimate truth. If you are accused you are innocent until proven guilty and the best way to support your innocence is by planting a seed ofdoubt rather tan showing through facts who is truly at fault.

4. Describe how judges make law.


5. Analyze the role of stare decisis in the judicial system.


  Stare decisis- “let the decision stand”

  In court rulings, a reliance on past decisions or precedents to formulate decisions in new cases.


6. Outline the structure of federal courts, identifying the jurisdiction of each.

A1-Tim Chester

-District Court-local area

-Federal Court-national area

-Supreme Court-the whole country, court of appeals


A2-Granville Boush

The federal courts were established as an independent third branch of

government by Article III of the Constitution, which provides for a Supreme Court

ans “ such inferior courts” as Congress deems necessary. Congress established

federal district and circuit courts with the Judiciary Act of 1789. A major reform

of the system occurred in 1891 with the Circuit Court Act, which established a

permanent appellate court for each circuit. Today, the 94 federal district courts are

grouped into 12 circuits, each with its own court of appeals.

The administrative head of each circuit is the chief judge of the court of

appeals, who achieves this position by seniority. The judicial councils of the

circuits, which include active judges of both the courts of appeals and district

courts, are charged with administrative responsibility for the circuit as a whole,

headed by a chief judge. The chief judge of each circuit and an elected district

judge represent the circuit at the semi-annual Judicial Conference of the United

States. This body, chaired by the Chief Justice of the United States, is convened

for the purpose of determining policy in administrative matters. In addition, the

Conference directs the housekeeping arm of the federal judiciary, the

Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and advises the legislative and

executive branches on matters affecting the judiciary. The Federal Judicial Center,

which is governed by a national board of which the Chief Justice is chairman, is

the research and training arm of the federal judiciary.

The United States Courts for the Second Circuit exercise federal jurisdiction

within the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. The Court of Appeals

sits in New York City. The six districts (the state of New York is divided into the

Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts) each have a district court and

a bankruptcy court, and sit in the locations shown on the map on page 5A. As of

May 1, 2004, the Court of Appeals has 12 active judges in 13 judgeships, 11 senior

judges (nominally retired judges, most of whom carry heavy caseloads) and one

vacancy. The district courts have a total of 57 active judges, 39 senior judges, 45

magistrate judges and 28 bankruptcy judges. There are five district judgeship vacancies.


7. Describe the relationship between federal and state courts.

A1- Megan Harvey

Article III of the Constitution invests the judicial power of the United States in the federal court system. Article III, Section 1 specifically creates the U.S. Supreme Court and gives Congress the authority to create the lower federal courts. The Constitution and laws of each state establish the state courts. A court of last resort, often known as a Supreme Court, is usually the highest court. Some states also have an intermediate Court of Appeals. Below these appeals courts are the state trial courts. Some are referred to as Circuit or District Courts. In Federal Court, Congress has used this power to establish the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, the 94 U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. U.S. Bankruptcy Courts handle bankruptcy cases. Magistrate Judges handle some District Court matters. In State Court, States usually have courts that handle specific legal matters, e.g., probate court (wills and estates); juvenile court; family court; etc. In Federal court, Parties dissatisfied with a decision of a U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Claims, and/or the U.S. Court of International Trade may appeal to a U.S. Court of Appeals. In State Court, parties dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court may take their case to the intermediate Court of Appeals.

In Federal Court, A party may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court usually is under no obligation to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of federal constitutional questions. In State Court, parties have the option to ask the highest state court to hear the case and only certain cases are eligible for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.


8. Describe the roles of federal lawyers, prosecutors, solicitor general, assistant

attorney general, and public defenders.  Also, comment on the role of the Legal

Services Corporation.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

Federal lawyers make arguments for their clients and try to prove that they are not guilty. The prosecutors conduct a case against a defendant in a criminal court. The solicitor general is the law officer directly below the attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, responsible for arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Assistant Attorney Generals report to the Deputy Attorney General or to the Associate Attorney General. This job has no common-law authority and was created out of pure stature. A public defender is a licensed attorney, assigned to represent people who are charged with a crime and who desire legal representation but who cannot afford to hire a privately retained attorney. The Legal Services Corporation is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. It promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for legal assistance for low-income Americans.


9. Describe the process used to select federal judges, including the role of the

president, the Senate, senatorial courtesy, the American Bar Association, and the

Judicial Selection Monitoring Project.

A1- Holly Zajur

Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as stated in the Constitution. The names of potential nominees are often recommended by senators or sometimes by members of the House who are of the President's political party. The Senate Judiciary Committee typically conducts confirmation hearings for each nominee. Article III of the Constitution states that these judicial officers are appointed for a life term. The federal Judiciary, the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts play no role in the nomination and confirmation process. 


10. Analyze the impact of party, race, sex, and ideology on the judicial selection


A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   Ideology: presidents seek to appoint to the Court individuals who share their policy preferences

-   Race: through 2006 only 2 blacks have been appointed. Race was a critical issue in the appointment of Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall

-   Sex: through 2006 only 2 women have served on the Court. Role of gender has decreased in recent years


11. Compare judicial activism and judicial restraint and their relationship to political


A1-Scott Edelstein

Judicial restraint advocates believe courts should uphold all acts of Congress and state legislatures unless they clearly violate a specific section of the Constitution. In practicing judicial restraint, the courts should defer to the constitutional interpretations of Congress, the President, and others whenever possible. The courts should hesitate to use judicial review to promote new ideas or policy preferences. In short, the courts should interpret the law and not intervene in policy-making.

On the other hand, according to the idea of judicial activism, judges should use their powers to correct injustices, especially when the other branches of government do not act to do so. In short, the courts should play an active role in shaping social policy on such issues as civil rights, protection of individual rights, political unfairness, and public morality.


12. Explain how ideology and judicial philosophy affect when sitting judges choose

to retire.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

Judicial philosophy is the set of ideas and beliefs which dictate how Justices and judges of the United States federal courts may rule in many cases. This affects when a sitting judge chooses to retire because they are taking their belief with them and the next judge may not be effected by them. This can change the whole judicial philosophy of the court and its other members.


13. Discuss how partisan politics enters the judicial selection process, the size of the

federal judiciary, and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

A1-Parker Jenkins

Politics is a huge part of judicial selection and appointment. The current president can select a candidate for a vacant spot in the Supreme Court. Policy of that candidate is most important to the president. This process is made simpler when the President and Congress are of the same party, but the president’s nominee is usually admitted and approved to become a Supreme Court Justice. All members of the Federal Judiciary are selected by the president, approved by the Senate. Partisan politics allow for a smoother appointment process of Federal Judges. Partisan politics also affects appellate jurisdiction through the current members of the Supreme Court and which President appointed each judge. This has a huge impact on the decisions made in the Supreme Court because Justices serve for life. 


14. Explain how cases reach the Supreme Court.

15. Discuss the role of briefs and oral arguments in a Supreme Court case.

A1-Clare Driggs

Briefs are the summaries of the arguments and the legal foundation for them made by both sides of a case and submitted to the Supreme Court. The court can also receive amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs from interest groups. These try to sway a justices one way or the other and are often very influential. The Court hears oral arguments for the cases it has chosen to take. In oral arguments, lawyers for each party have a half-hour each to stand before the nine justices and present their arguments. The lawyers are also allowed to ask questions during this 30 minutes.


16. Describe how the Supreme Court acts in conference.

17. Describe the importance of written judicial opinions.

18. Describe the powers of the chief justice.

19. Explain what happens to a case after the Supreme Court has ruled.

A1-Evan McGill

The case can’t be changed ever. It is a law that the case can’t be changed over time.

A2-Conner Trebour

-          This decision is final,

-          supreme court decision set precedents and change or uphold federal laws or acts.

-          It can not be appealed


20. Debate the proper role of the courts.

A1-Matt Mitchell

The role of courts should be to uphold the law and the elements of the constitution, but the justices should make certain not to stray too far from public opinion to avoid going completely against the people’s wishes.


21. Analyze the relationship between the Supreme Court and the people.


A1- Kelsey Schaefer

The Supreme Court is the most respected and trusted party of the judiciary. The people always want this court to do the right thing because they are the most elite. The Court itself is very secret and no TV cameras are allowed in to see cases. The public is very disconnected from the court but the judges are always looking for some public opinion. They want to keep the people’s respect so they have to consider the public opinion in their decisions.


A2-Joey Evans

The relationship between the Supreme Court and the people is an interesting one. The court tries to make unbiased decisions for every case, but either way they decide some group of people will heavily criticize them. They can hardly ever satisfy all of the public. Often times the people try to influence the decisions of the courts to make it sway in whichever direction they chose. Although for the most part the Court disregards what the people say and continue to make fair rulings.


A3-Granville Boush

Court decisions have been criticized for failing to protect individual rights: the Dred Scott (1857) decision upheld slavery; Plessy v Ferguson (1896) upheld segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal; Kelo v. City of New London (2005) was criticized by prominent politicians, including New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, as undermining property rights. A student criticized a 1988 ruling that allowed school officials "to block publication of a student article in the high school newspaper.”  Some critics suggest the 2009 bench with a conservative majority has "become increasingly hostile to voters" by siding with Indiana's voter identification laws which tend to "disenfranchise large numbers of people without driver's licenses, especially poor and minority voters", according to one report. Senator Al Franken criticized the Court for "eroding individual rights." However, others argue that the Court is too protective of some individual rights, particularly those of people accused of crimes or in detention. For example, Chief Justice Warren Burger was an outspoken critic of the exclusionary rule, and Justice Scalia criticized the Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush for being too protective of the rights of Guantanamo detainees, on the grounds that habeas corpus was "limited" to sovereign territory.


A4-Sean McKeown

The supreme court rarely deals with the every day people of the united states, unless they are facing a law that a citizen challenges as unconstitutional. By keeping the supreme court divided from the people , the supreme court does not have to worry about re-election and appeasing the will of the people instead of making the correct decisions



Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (5-15%)


First Amendment Freedoms


1. Explain the Nationalization of the Bill of Rights through selective incorporation.

A1-Frank Hargrove

The incorporation of the Bill of Rights (or incorporation for short) is the process by which American courts have applied portions of the U.S. Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to the 1890s, the Bill of Rights was held only to apply to the federal government. Under the incorporation doctrine, most provisions of the Bill of Rights now also apply to the state and local governments, by virtue of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.


2. Define the Establishment Clause, including what it does and does not prohibit; and the

prevailing doctrine.

A1- Jay Morgan

The establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.


•Establishment Clause- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, the First Clause in the First Amendment

  It prohibits the national government from establishing a national religion.

  It does not prohibit direct funding of core religious activities by an arm of the state.

  It does not prohibit students from attending parochial or private schools.


3. Describe the three-part test created in Lemon v. Kurtzman to determine if a statute violates the Establishment Clause, and identify and describe various tests advocated by various judges to interpret the establishment clause.

A1-Tim Chester

-The purpose of the Lemon test is to determine when a law has the effect of establishing religion

A2-Granville Boush

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971),[1] was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Pennsylvania's 1968 Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which allowed the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to reimburse nonpublic schools (most of which were Catholic) for the salaries of teachers who taught secular material in these nonpublic schools, secular textbooks and secular instructional materials, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The decision also upheld a decision of the First Circuit, which had struck down the Rhode Island Salary Supplement Act providing state funds to supplement salaries at nonpublic elementary schools by 15%. As in Pennsylvania, most of these funds were spent on Catholic schools.

The Court's decision in this case established the "Lemon test", which details the requirements for legislation concerning religion. It consists of three prongs:

1.The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;

2.The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;

3.The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

If any of these 3 prongs are violated, the government's action is deemed unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The act stipulated that "eligible teachers must teach only courses offered in the public schools, using only materials used in the public schools, and must agree not to teach courses in religion." Still, a three-judge panel found 25% of the State's elementary students attended nonpublic schools, about 95% of those attended Roman Catholic schools, and the sole beneficiaries under the act were 250 teachers at Roman Catholic schools.

The court found that the parochial school system was "an integral part of the religious mission of the Catholic Church," and held that the Act fostered "excessive entanglement" between government and religion, thus violating the Establishment Clause.

Held: Both statutes are unconstitutional under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, as the cumulative impact of the entire relationship arising under the statutes involves excessive entanglement between government and religion.


4. Explain how and when tax funds may be used to fund educational programs at church-related schools.

5. Analyze the disputes that arise between the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The Establishment clause prohibits the government from creating an official or established church. The Free Exercise clause prohibits the government from interfering with the majority of the practices of any religion. An example of a dispute between the two would be a military chaplain for troops stationed overseas would violate the Establishment Clause, while other may suggest that failing to provide a chaplain would result in a violation of the Free Exercise clause.


6. Assess how the Supreme Court altered the interpretation of the free exercise clause in the compelling interest test, Employment Division v. Smith (1990), and how the Religious

Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was explicitly designed to reverse that Court decision.

A1- Holly Zajur

Supreme Courts alteration of the free exercise clause in Employment Division v. Smith (1990)

In its decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed prior case law which held that a government may not "substantially burden" an individual's free exercise of religion unless the government can establish that the burden is the "least restrictive means" of furthering a "compelling governmental interest." The Supreme Court, however, also carved out a major exception to that rule – "neutral laws of general applicability" need not be justified by a "compelling state interest" even if they substantially burden the exercise of religion.

A2- Megan Harvey

Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), is a United States Supreme Court case that determined that the state could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote, even though the use of the drug was part of a religious ritual. Although states have the power to accommodate otherwise illegal acts done in pursuit of religious beliefs, they are not required to do so. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, is a 1993 United States Federal law aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person's free exercise of their religion. The bill was by member from California and New Jersey on March 11, 1993. The law reinstated the Sherbert Test mandating that strict scrutiny be used when determining if the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment guaranteeing religious freedom, has been violated. In the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Congress states in its findings that a religiously neutral law can burden a religion just as much as one that was intended to interfere with religion.


7. Distinguish among belief, speech, and action.

8. Define the following historic constitutional tests on freedom of speech issue:  bad tendency test, clear and present danger test, and the preferred position doctrine.

A1-Scott Edelstein

-          In U.S. law, the bad tendency principle is a test, which permits restriction of freedom of speech by government if it is believed that a form of speech has a sole tendency to incite or cause illegal activity.

-          The clear and present danger test is used in dealing with freedom of speech under the First Amendment.  If someone’s speech is something that can cause danger to people around them, then the First Amendment does not protect it.

-          The preferred position doctrine is one that states that "[f]reedom of press, freedom of speech, [and] freedom of religion are in a preferred position," indicating that certain fundamental human rights have prerogative in court.


9. Identify and define doctrines currently used by the Supreme Court to measure the limits of governmental power on freedom of speech.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

Prior Restraint- Censorship before publication

Symbolic speech- symbols, signs, and other methods of expression generally also considered to be protected by the First Amendment

Libel and Slander, “fighting words”, obscenity, - not protected by First Amendment


10. Explain the prevailing view of the freedom of the press and the Court's position of the press's right to know.

A1-Parker Jenkins

While the courts have protected press’s right to publish, they have not acknowledged a "right to know". This right to know could potentially create a public opinion which would damage a court case and its credibility. The prevailing view of the freedom of the press is that the press does have the right to publish what they want unless it will damage a court case’s integrity.


11. Summarize how the Constitution protects other media.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

The right to freedom of expression is particularly important for media, which plays a special role as the bearer of the general right to freedom of expression for all. However, freedom of press is not necessarily enabling freedom of speech. Judith Lichtenberg has outlined conditions in which freedom of the press may constrain freedom of speech, for example where the media suppresses information or stifles the diversity of voices inherent in freedom of speech. Lichtenberg argues that freedom of press is simply a form of property right summed up by the principle "no money, no voice". The courts have rarely treated content-based regulation of journalism with any sympathy. In Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo,(1974), the Court unanimously struck down a state law requiring newspapers criticizing political candidates to publish their responses. The state claimed that the law had been passed to ensure journalistic responsibility. The Supreme Court found that freedom, but not responsibility, is mandated by the First Amendment and so it ruled that the government may not force newspapers to publish that which they do not desire to publish.

Content-based regulation of television and radio, however, have been sustained by the Supreme Court in various cases. Since there is a limited number of frequencies for non-cable television and radio stations, the government licenses them to various companies. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that the problem of scarcity does not allow the raising of a First Amendment issue. The government may restrain broadcasters, but only on a content-neutral basis.

12. Explain the libel guidelines established by the New York Times v.  Sullivan case.

A1-Clare Driggs

The Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964 said that a newspaper had not committed libel if the newspaper printed an article that turned out to be false but that the newspaper thought was true at the time of publication.


13. List the standards of obscenity as defined by the Miller decision.

14. Compare the changing social and judicial interpretations of obscenity and pornography.

15. Assess the problems involved in regulating "fighting words."

16. Describe the impact of time, place, and manner regulations on the freedom of assembly.

A1-Conner Trebour

-     If a meeting or protest is going on and disturbing the public and disrupting others day than it is usually contained but if it is not doing anyone any harm, there are very little if any regulations.

-     It also depends on how friendly the protesters are being. If they are violent, it is put to a stop.


17. Explain the significance of sunshine laws, the FOIA, and the electronic FOIA.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Freedom of information legislation comprises laws that guarantee access to data held by the state. They establish a "right-to-know" legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions.


18. Summarize legislative and judicial action toward the regulation of sedition.


A1-Joey Evans

The Sedition Act of 1918 was implemented to forbid the use of “"disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt”. The courts ruled that prior restraint, or blocking something before it is printed, was illegal and violated the first amendment.


A2-Evan McGill

Citizens of modern America almost take for granted the responsibility of the government to guarantee freedom of speech. In reality, the definition of freedom of speech has changed dramatically over the years, with an ever increasing emphasis on protection of free speech, often at the expense of other liberties and rights. Until recently, especially during times of war and crisis when national security is at stake, the government has passed laws that control free speech.Early in U.S. history the government almost certainly did not put high priority on the government's responsibility to protect freedom of speech. John Adams, when faced with an international crisis that threatened war with France, saw that the Sedition Act was passed in 1798, making it a crime to write, utter, or publish anti-government statements with the "intent to defame." The Federalists, who favored strong government authority and emphasized order at the expense of liberty, believed that the First Amendment did not forbid punishing newspapers for libel. The Anti-Federalists did NOT argue that the press should be free of government controls; they protested the act on the grounds that state, not federal government should have control. Thomas Jefferson, a prominent Anti-Federalist, allowed the twenty year limitation of the Act to run out during his presidency, and the Act died during peace time with little protest.Presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, continued to support the government's right to restrict freedom of speech during national security crises through the 19th century and into the 20th. During World War I, the U.S. Congress passed two controversial laws that restricted freedom of speech: The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.The Espionage Act forbid false statements that intended to interfere with the U.S. military forces or materials to be mailed if they violated the law or advocated resistance to governmentThe Sedition Act forbid individuals to utter, print, write or publish language intended to incite resistance to the U.S. government. Under the mandate of the Sedition Act, thousands were arrested and convicted, and some were deported from the country.

A3-Sean McKeown

In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Sedition can be fought in court and there is legislation that makes it illegal

19. Discuss the relationship of the Christian Coalition to a school prayer amendment.

A1-Frank Hargrove

The Christian Coalition kicked off a nationwide campaign to build momentum for a school prayer amendment to the Constitution.  Believed the system was suppressing religion not letting it prosper.

20. Explain the constitutional implications of hate speech on campus.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -Two-thirds of colleges have banned many forms of speech, one being hate speech, and other things that foster hostile or intimidating environments on campus. Some places have set up free speech zones that restrict the time, place or manner of someone’s speech. Some people see this as a violation of the first amendment rights but none of the cases have been heard by the Supreme Court. 


  2/3 of colleges and universities have banned hate speech on campus

   to prevent disruption of university activities, some universities have also created free speech zones that restrict the time, place, or manner of speech

  Free speech zones may imply that speech can be limited on other parts of the campus, which can be seen as a violation of the First Amendment.


21. Discuss how aid may be provided to children attending parochial schools.

A1-Tim Chester

-The purpose of the Lemon test is to determine when a law has the effect of establishing religion

22. Discuss the rights of Right to Life groups to protest abortion clinics as well as the rights of pro-choice groups to have those clinics protected from violence or harassment.

A1- Jay Morgan

They have the right to free speech. They may protest just as long as it doesn’t get violent.



Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property


1. Explain the meaning of due process.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

Due process is an American legal principle that the government must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person according to the law. It holds the government subservient to the law of the land protecting individuals from the state. It is designed to safeguard the rights of the individual.


2. What are the major naturalization requirements?

A1- Holly Zajur

Major naturalization requirementsà 5 years as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. prior to filing, with no single absence from the U.S. of more than 1 year. In addition, you must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the previous 5 years and resided within a state or district for at least 3 months


3. Describe dual citizenship.

4. Explain how citizenship is acquired and lost.

A1- Megan Harvey

A person is a citizen automatically if they are born in the United States. Also, a person can be a citizen if their parents are citizens in the United States but they are born abroad. A person can also become a citizen if they apply and take a test confirming their knowledge of American history. Loss of U.S. citizenship can result only from the citizen's voluntary actions. This is because termination of citizenship without voluntary action on the part of the citizen would deprive the citizen of freedom of choice and would likely be a denial of due process. This requirement was made explicit by a 1986 amendment of the statute (Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1986). There is no dispute that citizenship will not be lost where the U.S. citizen performs an act of expatriation under circumstances involving duress, mistake, or incapacity negating a free choice. The courts have been very generous in accepting claims of coercion where the U.S. citizen's actions were compelled by fear of injury, retaliation, imprisonment, fine, economic deprivation, and like consequences. Freedom of choice is also negated where the citizen performs an expatriating act after receiving erroneous advice from U.S. government officials. A person who is unaware of a claim to U.S. citizenship at the time that an expatriating act is performed likewise does not have an opportunity to make a free choice.


A2-Scott Edelstein


-          If an individual does not gain U.S. citizenship through either birth or descent, he or she may acquire citizenship through naturalization.  Naturalization involves the acquisition of citizen status through specialized legal processes.  To become a naturalized citizen of the United States, a foreign national first must meet several legal standards: The applicant must lawfully enter the country and gain legal permanent resident status. 

-          After becoming a legal resident, they must reside in the United States continuously for five years (or three years for spouses of American citizens). During that period, they must be physically present in the country for at least fifty percent of the time.

-          A naturalization applicant must be at least eighteen years old.  Parents or adoptive parents can file applications on behalf of children under this age with their petitions.  Most children receive derivative citizenship with their parents, and need not satisfy the five-year residence requirement.

-          The applicant must possess the ability to understand, speak, read, and write basic English.  Certain older applicants may receive an exemption from this requirement if their residence is of long standing. 

-          Applicants must also demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history, politics, and government.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) administers an examination to applicants that they must pass to qualify for naturalization.  Applicants may take the exam more than once if required.

-          Applicants must show their good moral character, and that they sustained this standard throughout their residence in the United States.  While this standard is hard to define, courts have found habitual drunkenness, adultery, polygamy, gambling, and perjury to be inconsistent with good moral character.

-          Applicants must show they are "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States."  This requirement ensures that new citizens generally agree with the philosophical foundation of the community.  Attachment to the Constitution includes a commitment to the Bill of Rights and a belief in representative democracy.  Individuals well disposed to good order and happiness can show they like the United States and believe in its political systems.

-          The applicant must pledge allegiance to the United States, renouncing other national allegiances.  The pledge includes an obligation to support the Constitution and to bear arms on behalf of the United States if required.


-          Natural born US citizens – those people who are citizens by virtue of their birth in the US – can lose their citizenship only through their own actions and cannot be denaturalized.

-          There have been laws dealing with the circumstances that could lead natural born citizens to lose their citizenship.  There has been substantial development in these laws over the years, but as the situation currently stands, to lose citizenship, the person must voluntarily engage in an expatriating act with the specific intention of relinquishing US citizenship.  Also, that act must result in the loss of citizenship under the law in effect at the time of the act.

-          Under the current scheme, there are seven acts that are considered expatriating and will result in the loss of citizenship.

-          1.  Being naturalized in a foreign country, upon the person’s own application made after reaching 18 years of age

-          2.  Making an oath or other declaration of allegiance to a foreign country or division thereof, again, after reaching 18 years of age

-          3.  Serving in the armed forces of a foreign country if those armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the US, or if the person serves as an officer;

-          4.  Working for the government of a foreign country if the person also obtains nationality in that country, or if to work in such a position an oath or other declaration of allegiance is required

-          5.  Making a formal renunciation of US citizenship before a US consular officer or diplomat in a foreign country

-          6.  Making a formal written statement of renunciation during a state of war, if the Attorney General approves the renunciation as not contrary to US national defense

-          7.  Committing an act of treason against the US, or attempting by force or the use of arms to overthrow the government of the US.  Renunciation by this means can be accomplished only after a court has found the person guilty.


5. Identify and describe rights of American citizens.

6. Examine the rights of aliens.

A1-Parker Jenkins

The rights of aliens are limited, and states can only help in times of natural disaster relief, certain nutritional programs, and emergency medical care. Aliens do follow the same laws as Americans and can be deported for breaking a law. Conflicting political pressures are causing more and more legislation to be passed to protect our borders and give jobs back to Americans.


7. Summarize immigration laws for admission to the United States.

8. Examine the political and practical problems caused by the presence of undocumented aliens.

A1-Clare Driggs

The United States has huge boarders that stretch thousands of miles, making it hard to track people as they come over illegally. Employers then hire them because they will work for less money. They are living here using our aid and services, but they are not paying taxes.

9. Examine the constitutional protections of property.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

The constitutional protection of property rights is an important aspect of social governance.  The right to own and use property, to work and to better oneself economically, is one of the core essential human rights.   Besides this aspect of human dignity, constitutional limitations on a governments power to confiscate property, whether by an outright taking of title or by excessive regulation, help create a trust in a government a belief in the "credible commitment" of a government that serves economic growth.


10. Compare and contrast procedural and substantive due process.

11. List three aspects of privacy rights.

12. Analyze the current standing in the courts of the right to privacy, especially in regard to state power to regulate abortions and sexual orientation.

A1-Conner Trebour

-     The right to privacy is recognized by the United States but not clearly defined as to what it encompasses.

-     Abortion is legal by federal law and in all states after Roe v. Wade said it was unconstitutional to ban abortions.

-     Same sex marriages are allowed only in some states.


13. Distinguish between unreasonable and reasonable searches and seizures.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Reasonable search and seizure applies to time when the officer deems somebody to have probable cause of breaking the law. Unreasonable is when there is not sufficient evidence to legally conduct an investigation.


14. Identify and describe the exceptions to the general rule against warrantless searches and seizures.


A1-Joey Evans

There are a few exceptions to the warrantless search rule. One is probable cause: if an officer of the law has good reason to search without a warrant. This is probably the most common of the exceptions to the rule. If given what they think as consent to search, an officer may conduct a warrantless search. Also in emergency situations an officer can search without a warrant.  They may also search a car without a warrant and frisk people if they seem to be acting suspiciously.


A2-Sean McKeown

There are exceptions to the requirement of a search warrant, this is for instance if you allow a police officer to come into your house, than anything in plain sight may be confiscated and you could be charged. Additionally, if you are chased into a building by the police, they have the right to follow oyu in there without a warrant.

15. Explain the exclusionary rule, the right to remain silent, and the Miranda warning.

A1-Frank Hargrove

A rule that provides that otherwise admissible evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial if it was the result of illegal police conduct.  Miranda admitting to raping someone and his case was not handled properly so he got off. He was later killed in a bar fight.


16. Summarize a criminal case in the federal court system, listing the major rights to be protected and the procedures to be followed.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

Fourth Amendment-protects people from unreasonable searches by the federal government

Fifth Amendment-Part of the Bill of Rights that imposes a number of restrictions on the federal government with respect to the rights of persons suspected of committing a crime. It provides for indictment by a grand jury and protection against self-incrimination, and prevents the national government from denying a person life, liberty, or property without the due process of law. It also prevents the national government from taking property without fair compensation.

Miranda rights- States that must be made by the police informing a suspect of his or her constitutional rights protected by the Fifth Amendment.

double jeopardy clause- Part of the Fifth Amendment that protects individuals from being tried twice for the same offense

exclusionary rule- Judicially created rule that prohibits police from using illegally seized evidence at trial.

Sixth Amendment- guarantees to an accused person “the Assistance of Counsel in his defense”

Eighth Amendment- prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments”


17. Specify the connection between the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.

A1-Tim Chester

The due process clause that was located in the 14th amendment made most of the bill of rights applicable to the states


A2-Granville Boush

The debate over whether the Fourteenth Amendment makes applicable against the states all of the protections of the Bill of Rights is one of the most important and longest-lasting debates involving interpretation of the  U. S. Constitution.  The Supreme Court's first interpretation of the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1868, was rendered in The Slaughterhouse Cases just five years later.  By a 5 to 4 vote the Court in that case narrowly interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause, thought to be the most likely basis for enforcing individual rights against states.  In subsequent cases, attention focused on the Due Process Clause.  Beginning in the early twentieth century the Court began to selectively incorporate some of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights while rejecting the incorporation of others.  The Court's test for choosing which provisions--along with all the accompanying baggage of decisions interpreting the federal rights--were incorporated changed over time.  The "modern view," as reflected in cases such as Duncan vs Louisiana (1968) is that provisions of the Bill of Rights "fundamental to the American scheme of justice" (such as the right to trial by jury in a serious criminal case) were made applicable to the states by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment whereas other provisions (such as the right to a jury trial in a civil case involving more than $20) were not made applicable.

Note that there are several possible positions that could be taken with respect to the incorporation debate.  First, one could argue that the Fourteenth Amendment (either through the P & I Clause or the Due Process Clause) made the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights enforceable against the states and no more.  This was the view argued for by Justice Black.  Second, one could argue that the provisions of the Bill of Rights are essentially irrelevant to interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that violations of the Due Process Clause are to be determined by a natural-law-like tests such as "Does the state's action shock the conscience?" or "Is the state's action inconsistent with our concept of ordered liberty"? This is the "No Incorporation" Theory advanced by Justice Frankfurter, among others.  Third, one could take a position such as Justice White did in Duncan that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates certain fundamental provisions, but not other non-fundamental provisions.  This view is often called the "Selective Incorporation" Theory.  Finally, one could adopt either a "Selective Incorporation Plus" view or a "Total Incorporation Plus" (see Justice Murphy's view in Adamson, for example) view.  These views hold that in addition to incorporating some or all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights, the Fourteenth Amendment also prohibits certain other fundamental rights from being abridged by the states.


18. Debate whether the American system of justice is unjust, in that it has too many loopholes, is too unreliable, and is discriminatory.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -The American system of justice is not the best in the world but it is not completely a failure

     -There are many loophole and issues within the system but it is not perfect and it will never be

     -The main problem with the system is that there is too much leeway for the courts, there is always a way to get around something; loopholes, and there is too much room for interpretation

     -For example with hate speech, what is it and how is it truly defined? There is too much room for interpretation there and there is no way to be completely justified in the decision

     -There is also some discrimination going on but that is inevitable in any situation, whether it is intentional or not it will happen one way or another


19. Discuss the role of the Supreme Court in protecting civil liberties and the

constraints on that role.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The willingness of the Supreme Court to protect civil liberties has varied. The Supreme Court acts as the final interpreter of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, they cannot always be willing to protect any and all civil liberties, and there must be numerous constraints. However, during the law century particularly, the civil liberties of individual Americans have been substantially broadened in law. The Supreme Court may interpret various clauses of the Constitution.


20. Discuss the controversy over the death penalty, noting the new variable of DNA testing.

A1- Holly Zajur

Changes have constantly been made to laws to ensure that the death penalty is carried out in a way that is constitutional and doesn’t fall under cruel and unusual punishment.  While it once enjoyed days where it was pretty popular, it now seems to be losing support. There have been a lot of developments in the past few years that suggest the death penalty is on its way out. For example: A number of states, including Maryland, Connecticut, Nebraska, Virginia and Alabama, introduced bills to abolish the death penalty this year. To date, none of these have passed, but it is obviously on lawmakers’ minds. DNA testing makes this issue even more controversial as it was first raised as a device to free wrongly convicted people. However, there is no way to be certain that the samples are correct.

A2- Jay Morgan

The death penalty has been around since 1608. Since then, changes have constantly been made to laws to ensure that the death penalty is carried out in a way that is constitutional and doesn’t fall under cruel and unusual punishment. While it once enjoyed days where it was pretty popular, it now seems to be losing support. There have been a lot of developments in the past few years that suggest the death penalty is on its way out. DNA information determines the precise racial composition of a rapist.

21. Explain the significance of racial profiling.


Equal Rights Under the Law


1. Define human rights and how the Constitution provides for protecting civil rights.

Differentiate between civil rights and civil liberties.

A1-Scott Edelstein

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. Citizens are all entitled to human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

The Constitution protects many civil rights. The First Amendment ensures freedom of religious choice and freedom of speech, but those things are not without limit. You cannot create a religion that allows you to kill someone without civil punishment; you cannot use libelous or slanderous words without recourse.

Civil liberties are your natural rights that come from your humanity. They are your individual rights for example right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, free speech ect. When it comes to civil rights the question is how are these rights implemented into law.


2. Discuss the various ways equality can be conceptualized.

3. Trace the development of the women's liberation movement from before the Civil

War to the present.  Also, explain the importance of sexual harassment.

A1- Megan Harvey

In 1848, the first women’s rights convention was held in New York. In 1855, The University of Iowa became the first state school to admit women. In 1866, the 14th Amendment was passed by Congress stating for the first time that citizens and voters are defined as male in the Constitution. Also in 1866, The American Equal Rights Association was founded to advocate women’s suffrage. In 1868, the National Labor Union supported equal pay for equal work. In 1870, he 15th Amendment received final ratification. By its text, women are not specifically excluded from the vote. During the next two years, approximately 150 women attempted to vote in almost a dozen different jurisdictions from Delaware to California. In 1917, during WWI, women began working many jobs in the heavy industry. In 1917, the first woman was elected to Congress. In 1933, Frances Perkins became the first woman in a Presidential cabinet. In 1957, women and men began voting equally for the first time. In 1978, more women entered college then men. In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Sexual harassment, is intimidation, bullying, and coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In some contexts or circumstances, sexual harassment may be illegal. It includes a range of behavior from seemingly mild transgressions and annoyances to actual sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment distribution in many countries, and is a form of abuse and bullying.


A2-Parker Jenkins

The fight for Women’s rights began with e Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, and continued with the campaign for women’s suffrage around the turn of the century and culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. In the last few decades, the women’s movement has been busy with the Equal Right Amendment, which calls for equal pay, pensions, and opportunities. The most recent Women’s movement issues have revolved around abortion rights. Sexual harassment has been a huge tool for the Women’s Rights Movement to use to gain support and sympathy. Mainly sexual harassment has been widely publicized to force the public to recognize these issues.


4. Summarize the development of the African American struggle for racial justice

from the Civil War to the present.

5. Compare the historical experiences and current demands for equality of women,

Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans.  Also, why have Hispanics

not had more political clout?

A1-Clare Driggs

Women striving for equal rights began at the Seneca Falls Womens’s Rights Convention in 1848. By the turn of the century there was already a campaign for women’s suffrage and the right to vote. The resulted in the Nineteenth Amendment, passed in 1920, which allowed women to vote. Currently women are still dealing with issues such as pay, pensions, sexual harassment, abortion rights, and elections into offices.

            There are 27 million Hispanics in the U.S., making up about 10 percent of the country’s population. They are becoming more active in politics but it is hard for them because they lack ties to the white power structure and English is not their native language. Also, many have a distrust of the political process and the population is young. All of these reasons have prevented a political clout.

            About 40 percent of the immigrants to the United States are Asian. Despite being considered the “model minority.” Asian-Americans are still faced with prejudice, discrimination and barriers to equal opportunity. In 1988, after WWII, $20,000 restitution was given to each surviving prisoner.

            There is a great diversity among Native Americans. There are 2 million today. When the English arrived here and when the country was being established, the Native Americans were treated poorly. They were dominated by the settlers and were forced to change their lives. The Civil Rights Movement led to Native Americans seeking a reassertion of treaty rights and tribal autonomy. Today, most live in poverty and in poor health and so Congress has begun compensating them for part injustices. Native Americans can regulate their own internal affairs, but are subject to congressional supervision.


6. Describe how the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is used

to limit state action that classifies individuals unreasonably.

7. Compare three tiers of tests used to determine whether a law complies with the

equal protection requirement.

8. Define what makes a right fundamental in the constitutional sense.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

Fundamental rights are a generally-regarded set of entitlements in the context of a legal system, wherein such system is itself said to be based upon this same set of basic, fundamental, or inalienable entitlements or "rights." Such rights thus belong without presumption or cost of privilege to all human beings under such jurisdiction. The concept of human rights has been promoted as a legal concept in large part due to the idea that human beings have such "fundamental" rights, such that transcend all jurisdiction, but are typically reinforced in different ways and with different emphasis within different legal systems.


9. Compare disparate impact and intent to discriminate in proving discrimination.

A1-Conner Trebour

-     disparate impact is the speculation that someone was discriminated against for some reason whether it was accidental or on purpose. Usually by an employer or potential employer

-     intent to discriminate is an accusation the the accused knowingly and intentionally discriminated against someone.


10. Define Jim Crow laws.

A1-Matt Mitchell

State and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.


11. Discuss the question raised in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court's

ruling and its effects, and the Court's reversal of Plessy in the 1954 Brown v.

Board of Education of Topeka case.


A1-Joey Evans

The question raised in Plessy v. Ferguson was whether or not separate but equal was an acceptable law. The court said that separate but equal was indeed constitutional and that it was okay for this to be implemented in Louisiana. This was a landmark case that began the massive segregation of the South and much of the North as well. The case was overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In this case the court ruled that a separate school for blacks and whites was unconstitutional especially because they were nowhere near separate and equal.


A2-Sean McKeown

Plessy v. Ferguson stated that separation of the races was acceptable as long as the facilities were equal in quality. Overtime, it became clear that no matter how hard the people may try, the facilities were not and never would be equal in quality. Therefore in the case of Brown v Board of education, this previous ruling was overturned and separate but equal was abolished.


12. Distinguish between de facto and de jure segregation.

A1-Frank Hargrove

The spatial and social separation of populations that occurs without legal sanction.  De jure segregation happens because of a law.

13. Examine the efforts made in the past by state governments to prevent Blacks from

voting, and the steps taken by the Supreme Court to end those efforts.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

The Missouri Compromise (1820)- kept slavery legal in the United States

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)-slaves were not U.S. citizens, and slaves could not bring suits in federal court

Black Codes-Laws denying most legal rights to newly freed slaves; passed by southern states following the Civil War

Jim Crow Laws- Laws enacted by southern states that discriminated against blacks by creating “whites only” schools, theaters, hotels, and other public accommodations

Plessy v. Ferguson- Court found that separate but equal accommodations did not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Thirteenth Amendment- banned all forms of slavery

Fourteenth Amendment- guarantees equal protection and due process of the laws to all U.S. citizens

Fifteenth Amendment- voting rights for blacks

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)- school segregation is unconstitutional

Civil Rights Act of 1964-legislation passed by Congress to outlaw segregation in public facilities and racial discrimination in employment, education, and voting


14. Describe the content and impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A1-Tim Chester

-A landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.


A2-Granville Boush

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973aa-6) is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.


The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called "covered jurisdictions") could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a "device" to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation, though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act's primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.


15. Evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Shaw v. Reno that race

cannot be the sole reason for drawing district lines.

A1-Evan McGill

Shaw v. Reno, was a United States Supreme Court case argued on April 20, 1993. The ruling was significant in the area of redistricting and racial gerrymandering. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that redistricting based on race must be held to a standard of strict scrutiny under the equal protection clause. On the other hand, bodies doing redistricting must be conscious of race to the extent that they must ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act The redistricting that occurred after the 2000 census was the first nationwide redistricting to apply the results of Shaw v. Reno.

16.  Analyze the measures used, especially the commerce clause and the Civil Rights

Act of 1964, to regulate discriminatory conduct by private individuals and groups.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

A state has the power to regulate intrastate commerce in a field where Congress has not chosen to legislate, as long as there is no injustice or unreasonable discrimination in favor of intrastate commerce as interstate commerce. For example, a private person who conducts a business that has a significant effect on interstate commerce in a discriminatory manner is not beyond the reach of lawful congressional regulation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to improve the quality of life for African Americans and other minority groups. It didn’t resolve all problems of discrimination but it did make attempts to lessen racial restrictions on the use of public facilities, provide more job opportunities, strengthen voting laws, and limit federal funding of discriminatory aid programs.


17. Examine Boy Scouts v. Dole.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     - was a case of the Supreme Court of the United States overturning the New Jersey Supreme Court's application of the New Jersey public accommodations law, which had forced the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to readmit assistant Scoutmaster James Dale.

     -While he was a student at Rutgers University, Dale became co president of the Lesbian/Gay student alliance. Then, in July 1990, he attended a seminar on the health needs of lesbian and gay teenagers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -     During the seminar, he was interviewed, and the work was subsequently published.                           ---     He was expelled from Scouting after BSA officials read the interview in a local newspaper and Dale was quoted as stating he was gay.                                                                                                                                      --        -The Supreme Court held that the lower court's decision unconstitutionally violated the rights of BSA, specifically the freedom of association, which allows a private organization to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints."

     -The court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA's "expressive message", and allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.

     - The case was argued on April 26, 2000[1] and was decided on June 28, 2000.[4]


A2- Holly Zajur

Dale became copresident of the Lesbian/Gay student alliance. Then, in July 1990, he attended a seminar on the health needs of lesbian and gay teenagers. During the seminar, he was interviewed, and the work was subsequently published.He was expelled from scouting after BSA officials read the interview in a local newspaper and Dale was quoted as stating he was gay.The Supreme Court held that the lower court's decision unconstitutionally violated the rights of BSA, specifically the freedom of association, which allows a private organization to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.” The court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA's "expressive message", and allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.The case was argued on April 26, 2000and was decided on June 28, 2000.

18. Examine features of Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

19. Summarize the provisions of the Fair Housing Act and Amendments, 1968 and


A1- Jay Morgan

Congress passed the act in an effort to impose a comprehensive solution to the problem of unlawful discrimination in housing based on race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. The Fair Housing Act has become a central feature of modern Civil Rights enforcement, enabling persons in the protected classes to rent or own residential property in areas that were previously segregated. The department of housing and urban development (HUD) is charged with enforcement of the act. It issues regulations and institutes investigations into discriminatory housing practices.


A2-Scott Edelstein

The Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex. Intended as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the bill was the subject of a contentious debate in the Senate, but was passed quickly by the House of Representatives in the days after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The act stands as the final great legislative achievement of the civil rights era.


20. Discuss the controversies caused by the implementation of affirmative action


21. Discuss the Supreme Court rulings in the University of California Regents v. Bakke,

Richmond v. Croson, and Hopwood v. Texas cases.

A1-Parker Jenkins

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States on the permissible scope factors in an admissions program, but only for the purpose of improving the learning environment through diversity in accordance with the university's constitutionally protected First Amendment right to Academic Freedom

City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989) was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the city of Richmond's minority set-aside program, which gave preference to minority business enterprises in the awarding of municipal contracts, was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. The Court found that the city failed to identify both the need for remedial action and that other non-discriminatory remedies would be insufficient.

Hopwood v. Texas (1996) was the first successful legal challenge to a university's affirmative action policy in student admissions since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). In Hopwood, four white plaintiffs who had been rejected from The University of Texas School of Law challenged the institution's admissions policy on equal protection grounds and prevailed.


22. Evaluate the condition of America's African-American underclass a generation

after the Kerner Commission Report.

23. What was the significance of the Bakke decision?  How has admission to public

colleges changed since Bakke?

A1- Megan Harvey

(1978) The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that ruled unconstitutional the use of fixed quotas for minority applicants at professional schools. At issue was a state medical school's affirmative action program that, because it required a certain number of minority admissions, twice denied entrance to an otherwise qualified white candidate (Allan Bakke). Though the court outlawed quota programs on the grounds that they violated the equal-protection clause of the Constitution of the United States. It allowed colleges to use race as a factor in making college admissions decisions. In 1978. Allan Bakke, a white man, was denied admission to a medical school that had admitted black candidates with weaker academic credentials. Bakke contended that he was a victim of racial discrimination. The Court ruled that Bakke had been illegally denied admission to the medical school, but also that medical schools were entitled to consider race as a factor in admissions. The Court thus upheld the general principle of affirmative action.

A2-Clare Driggs

In the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action programs could not use quotas to meet civil rights goals; however, it did say that gender and race could be considered among other factors by schools and businesses practicing affirmative action.

24. What was the significance of Proposition 209 and Initiative 200?


Political Beliefs and Behaviors (10-20%)


Political Culture and Ideology


1. Define political culture. Also, explain where we learn the American political culture.

2. Identify and describe the major values that are shared by most Americans, in the tradition of classical liberalism.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

Classical liberalism is a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, liberty of individuals, including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.

-    developed in the 19th century in Western Europe and the Americas

-    Drew on the ideas of Adam Smith: a psychological understanding of individual liberty, natural law and utilitarianism, and a belief in progress

-    Classical liberals established political parties that were called “liberal” but in the US classical liberalism came to dominate both existing major political parties

3. Assess the relationship between political values and economic change (such as

industrialization and depression).

A1-Conner Trebour

-          Political values are usually formed base on the issues at hand and always the economy.

-          For example, if industrialization is happening, a candidate is going to be more likely to not talk about saving the environment and talk about how good it is for the economy.

-          This shows some values being put aside to accommodate for economic change.

-          And a candidates care for the less fortunate is going to appear greater during a time of depression than growth.


4. List Franklin Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

-Employment, with a living wage

-Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies


-Medical care


-Social security


A2-Matt Mitchell

The Second Bill of Rights included the guarantee of:

·         Employment, with a living wage,

·         Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies,

·         Housing,

·         Medical care,

·         Education, and,

·         Social security


5. Analyze what is meant by the "American Dream" and its impact on American political,

economic, and social life.


A1-Joey Evans

The American dream has been part of the United States forever. People have come to our country for centuries as a land of opportunity. The American dream is a national mantra in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In this way people of our country have often had more hope than those individuals of other countries. The American dream discards skin color, religion, and economic class and allows for all the opportunity at success. This has impacted our society in a great way. People are always willing to spend to try and live the dream which stimulates the economy. People come together who would otherwise avoid each other to try and achieve a common goal: success. The dream impacts politics because it allows for people to have high expectations and hope in the people who run our great country, and if these expectations aren’t met then a new individual will be elected.   


A2-Sean McKeown

The American dream is the idea that an individual that has nothing has the same equality of opportunity to achieve any goal as one that has more money to start out with. This gives the citizens of America a goal to strive for and this is what our country revolves around.

6. Define ideology and identify five schools of political thought.

A1-Frank Hargrove

Five schools of thought would be Liberal, Conservative, Moderate, Libertarian, Socialist, and Moderately conservative.


7. Examine liberalism and criticisms of this school of political thinking.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

•liberalism-a school of political thinking that favors governmental involvement in the economy and in the provision of social services, also believe in taking an activist role in protecting the rights of women, the elderly, minorities, and the environment

•many people who classify themselves as liberal are considered a liberal on social issues, but a conservative on economic or pocketbook issues

•states are not uniformly “red” or “blue”


8. Examine conservatism and cite criticisms of this school of political thought.

A1-Tim Chester

Conservatives are for a not very strong central government but instead strong state and local governments, some think it's bad cause the central government should be the strongest


A2-Granville Boush

Conservatism in the United States is a concept which has evolved over the history of the country, encompassing somewhat different political stances in various eras. The history of American conservatism has been marked by tensions and outright contradictions, with intellectual debates not only between types of anti-communists and anti-statists, but between traditionalist and individualists who affirmed the primacy of religion, politics, or economics. The first sustained political movement that tried to bring together most of the different strands appeared in the 1950s. Before this, however, Allitt (2009) finds that, "Certain continuities can be traced through American history. The conservative 'attitude' ... was one of trusting to the past, to long-established patterns of thought and conduct, and of assuming that novelties were more likely to be dangerous than advantageous."Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and a defense of "Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments." From the late 19th century onward, conservatives have been dedicated to preventing the rise and spread of socialism and communism.


9. Examine socialism, environmentalism and libertarianism in American politics.

10. Explain the distribution of ideologies in the American population and what those ideologies mean to most Americans.  Explain why few Americans consider themselves political extremists.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

Ideologies in the American population are distributed by race/ethnicity, religion, gender, income level, and the region in which a person lives. These ideologies determine whether or not a person is a conservative, liberal, or a moderate. Few Americans consider themselves political extremists because extremists use drastic measures to gain attention and support their various pursuits, some including violence.


11. Compare the differences between liberals and conservatives on tolerance and support for civil liberties.

A1- Holly Zajur

Conservativeà limited role for government in helping individuals; strong sense of patriotism; strong private sector; individual primarily responsible for his or her own well being

Liberalà advocacy of gov action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and toleramce for political and social change; gov should take positive action to reduce poverty, to redistribute income from wealthier classes to poorer ones, and to regulate the economy

A2-Evan McGill

        Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to protect civil liberties and individual human rights. It emphasizes the need for government to solve problems.

Conservatives believe in responsibility, limited government, free markets, indidvidual liberty, and traditional American Values. The role of government should be able to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. 

12. Define and explain the significance of Putnam’s social capital.

13. Assess the impact of September 11 on American political culture.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -Before this day the public did not have a lot of confidence in the government but it was not terrible by any means

     -After the towers were crumbled, the public blamed the government for what happened and that sparked and anti government feeling

     -The people wanted the government to protect them at all times and they had failed

     -Ever since this day in history the people have not believed in the government and its effectiveness as they did many years ago


A2-Scott Edelstein

September 11 provided the focus needed for a renewal of citizenship. Indeed, the events were so uniting that, Putnam claims, Americans became simultaneously more community-minded, more patriotic, and more tolerant of ideological and ethnic differences. In this view, September 11 was a catalyst allowing Americans to resolve the sociological dualism.


The American Political Landscape


1. Define ethnocentrism.

2. Define political socialization and demographics.

A1- Jay Morgan

Political socialization is a concept concerning the “study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and behaviors.” It refers to a learning process by which norms and behavior acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another. It is through the performance of this function individuals are inducted into the political culture and their orientations towards political objects are formed.

A2-Parker Jenkins

Political socialization is a concept that deals with the study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and behaviors. It refers to a learning process by which norms and behavior acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another. It is through the performance of this function individuals are inducted into the political culture and their orientations towards political objects are formed

Demographics are the characteristic of a group of people who live near each other. This is important for policy making and what each district needs. Gerrymandering is common in Congress to create a favorable balance of supporters in each district to guarantee reelection.  

20. Education level is directly related to political behavior, people who have varying levels of education vote differently. Whether it is because those who are educated will make more money and vote for who protects their income, or because uneducated people do not know many of the issues or do not fully understand them. There are always differences between the ways unlike educational levels vote in elections and they vary from candidate.


3. Distinguish between reinforcing cleavages and cross-cutting cleavages.

4. Assess the impact on the development of American democracy of geographic

isolation and a large land area.

A1-Clare Driggs

The United States is geographically isolated from most other counties. This promoted the idea that the United States had a manifest destiny to occupy the large land mass it was on and be a continental nation reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The United States has a copious amount of natural resources, which contributed to its success. Geographic differences produce different regional economic concerns, which in turn influence politics. Sectional differences in the United States are primarily geographic.


5. Evaluate sectional differences in the United States.  Include the sunbelt/frostbelt idea.

6. Examine the effect of state and local identity on politics.

A1- Megan Harvey

Public identity is very important in politics. It helps the candidate gain power and followers if they are well-known in the public eye. This can also be problematic for them, if they are not very popular with the public.


7. Identify and describe the three kinds of places in which Americans live.

8. Examine the impact on American politics of race and ethnicity.

A1-Conner Trebour

·    This was very apparent in the last election. When President Obama won the 'black vote'. This was a big deal at the time.

·    Also, often different races and ethnicity are stereotyped as being lower class or upper class


9. Outline the agenda of the Women's Movement in American politics and the current

gender issues and the impact of sexual orientation as well.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

1848- Seneca Falls- first women’s rights convention

1869- Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association

1890 - National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) formed

1920- the 19th amendment grants women the right to vote

1972- Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or any State on account of sex”


A2-Matt Mitchell

A series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence. Today the biggest issue with women is equality in the workplace, as well as reproductive rights. Sexual orientation is a huge social issue, as the right of gay marriage has been hotly disputed in recent years.


10. Examine the significance of the FAIR ad in Iowa and Proposition 187 in California.


A1-Joey Evans

The significance of the FAIR ad in Iowa was very great. This ad conveyed a powerful message that some thought to be uncalled for. It simply showed a few black and white photos and said: “Welcome to Storm Lake, Iowa, where the meat packing industry replaced native Iowans with thousands of foreign workers and cut wages to half what they used to be. Where Medicaid costs rose 63% and four out of ten schoolkids don't speak English. Where jail costs have risen 62% and where quality of life is but a memory. Ask the candidates if they think one million immigrants a year are too many.” This sparked controversy because it was thought to have portrayed the multitude of immigrants poorly saying that they were the cause of Iowa’s problems. Eventually the state legislature of all levels apologized for this out-of-state special interest group’s actions.  Proposition 187 in California was an attempt by the people to set up a screening process by which they could catch the large numbers of illegal immigrants that used up the states resources like health care and public education. It was given the title “Save Our State” because some people feared that the illegal immigrants were ruining the state and causing them all kinds of fiscal troubles. These immigrants aren’t on record so they don’t pay taxes to use the facilities but still do. Although this bill was shot down for being unconstitutional, many people still feel that something of this nature must be done to preserve the strength of the state.


A2-Sean McKeown

Both of these were propositions and attempts to control the growing immigration problem in American and in proposition 187 it planned to create a state run screening program to find immigrants and deport them.

11. Explain how family structure impacts upon the American political landscape.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

Family structure affects the political landscape because when a politician is running he has to keep his family in mind. Also being portrayed as a family friendly candidate will improve your chances because most families will believe that you have the families best interest at heart because you are a family man yourself.


A2-Frank Hargrove

Often times peoples political beliefs come from their parents. People grow up hearing something and eventually start to believe it.  


12. Identify ways in which religion can be important in American politics.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

  religion of a candidate can usually appeal to a certain crowd of people which affects election results

  usually Christians are conservatives

  Republicans usually have the votes of white Protestants

  Jewish voters tend to favor the Democratic Party


13. Evaluate the impact of religious diversity and of the clustering of religious population groups on politics.

A1-Tim Chester

Most of the time religion tries to stay out of politics but in turn there are some stereotypes with religions and which party they belong to, like Catholics are mostly conservative and Baptists liberal


A2-Granville Boush

The large amount of religious diversity in America pulls religious groups in the directions of the parties that most identify with the needs and issues of the people belonging to the religion. The majority of Americans (76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Non-Christian religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population. Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation. When asked, about 5.2% said they did not know, or refused to reply. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the "Unchurched Belt") report a belief in God, yet in the South (the "Bible Belt") the figure is as high as 86%.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., is the largest Catholic church in the United States.The First Amendment to the country's Constitution prevents the Federal government from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion", and guarantees the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court has interpreted this as preventing the government from having any authority in religion.


14. Describe income and wealth distribution in the United States.

15. Analyze how aside from race, income may be the single most important factor in explaining views on issues, partisanship, and ideology.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

People with higher incomes are more likely to be conservative and support issues that oppose government interference in the private sector. Because they have higher incomes, they stress that individuals should be responsible for their own well-being. People with lower incomes tend to lean more left, with support towards government-regulated programs to help remedy the social and economic injustices of the marketplace.


16. Explain what is meant by the post-industrial American society.

A1- Holly Zajur

Post-industrial American societyà If a nation becomes "post-industrial" it passes through, or dodges, a phase of society predominated by a manufacturing-based economy and moves on to a structure of society based on the provision of information, innovation, finance, and services

17. Analyze the reasons why social class appears not to have as strong an impact in

explaining  political behavior in the U.S. as it does in other countries.

A1-Evan McGill

Traditionally, old people are regarded as political objects rather than political subjects. Political parties have not really given special attention to old voters as a political group in its own right. Regarding political engagement among old people, it was widely believed that aging implied disengagement. However, recent authors have suggested that old people constitute a political group with a common agenda and that reaching a certain age provides a base for political mobilization. Consequently, we should expect that old people today are more engaged than before. In the article, political behavior and issue-voting are analyzed from the mid-60s to the beginning of the new century. In order to analyze the development among old people, we analyze the development among old people with respect to turn-out, party-vote, unconventional political behavior.

18. Describe the political agenda of older Americans.

A1-Scott Edelstein

They are focused on keeping entitlement benefits (medicare, social security) as they are. AARP is among the most powerful lobbyist firms in the country, since old people have extremely high voting percentages.


19. Analyze generational and life cycle effects in politics.

20. Examine the relationship between differing educational levels and political behavior.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -People who are well educated are more likely to watch more news coverage of the elections and belong to a certain party

     -They are also more likely to vote because they have been educated on how to register and vote for who they want

     -Less educated people may not understand the political process and they would probably not know how to register or vote

     -The more educated people are the ones more likely to vote in any given election


21. Discuss reasons for the remarkable national unity and identity that exists in a land of such demographic diversity.

22. Distinguish between the melting pot and salad bowl analogies.

A1- Jay Morgan

The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture. It is particularly used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States; the melting-together metaphor was in use by the 1780s.

The salad bowl concept suggests that the integration of the many different cultures of United States residents combine like a salad, as opposed to the more traditional notion of a cultural melting pot.

A2-Clare Driggs

The Salad Bowl and the Melting Pot are both analogies made the unifying effect of the “American dream” and the sense of national unity and identity. The melting pot analogy describes how minorities assimilated, erasing important differences. The salad bowl analogy shows how the different cultures coexisted, while still keeping their own identities.


Public Opinion, Participation, and Voting


1. Identify and define the characteristics of public opinion.

2. Define political socialization and identify sources of our views.

3. Evaluate the impact that public opinion and polls can and should have upon


4. Describe the general public's varying level of interest in politics.

A1- Megan Harvey

The public’s level of politics has dropped over the past years. This is because there has been a shift from political party focus to candidate-focused elections. It is hard to get young people to become interested in politics. Many people feel that they do not have time to register to vote or that voting takes too much time. Also, many people don’t take the time to educate themselves in the election. A lot of senior citizens vote, because they believe a lot of the issues apply to them.

A2-Conner Trebour

·    Many people are becoming more interested in politics because they see it as the future of the country and the direction that the country is heading.

·    Other are becoming less interested in politics because they are fed up with the corruption that they hear of and the unwillingness of some politicians to cooperate 'across the aisle'.


5. Identify the ways Americans can participate in politics and influence government.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Americans typically participate in politics by voting, protesting, signing petitions, joining lobby groups, etc.


6. Explain how candidate appeal played an important role in the 2000 election.


A1-Joey Evans

Candidate appeal played a huge role in the 200 election. With the election being as close as it was in many states the candidates had to be more than just a member of party. Both Gore and Bush tried to move towards more moderate positions while campaigning to try and obtain more votes. They also had to do more to bolster their public image, like hold events and have photo ops. In Florida especially the candidates tried to persuade all types of voters to vote for them as this race was the closest of all. Each candidate tried to appeal to all of their party and the majority of independents to try and secure victory; thus public image and opinion were very important.

A2-Sean McKeown

Bush was seen as more of a common day man than Al Gore. Although Gore may have been more informed and experienced, Bush had the name of his father to run on and he seemed like an average person that the voters could compare themselves to, rather than Gore.

7. Discuss the level of voter turnout in the United States and the factors that may influence turnout.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   about 40% of the eligible adult population in the US votes regularly, whereas 23% are occasional voters and 35% rarely or never vote

-   Turnout is especially important in American elections because candidates are elected in a winner-take all system, where an election’s outcome can be influenced by a single voter

-   Factors:

                education- more educated, more likely to vote

                Income- higher income, more likely to vote (income relates to education)

                Age- higher percentage of citizens age 30 and older vote than do citizens younger than thirty,          voter turnout decreases over the age of 70

                Gender- today women vote at the same or a slightly higher rate than women

                Race- whites tend to vote more regularly than do African Americans, Hispanics, and other              minority groups

                Laziness: - too busy, difficulty of registration, difficulty of absentee voting, number of     elections, voter attitudes, weakened political parties

A2-Frank Hargrove

The level of voter turnout in the United States varies a lot. In Presidential elections a lot of people vote because of all the media coverage. Some people don’t vote because they feel like their vote won't make a difference or they just don’t care.  


8. Explain why voting turnout is so low in the United States.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

  20% of registered nonvoters reported they did not vote in a recent election because they were too busy of had conflicting work or school schedules

  some people say they did not vote because they were ill, disabled, or had a family emergency

  difficulty of registration

  uneducation about the candidates or apathetic about the political process

  difficulty of absentee voting

  number of elections

  voter attitudes

  weakened influence of political parties


9. Describe the demographics of voters.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

a.Non educated people tend to just vote for one candidate over another even if they have no knowledge one of the candidate. (Immigrants, refugees, uneducated Americans, etc.)

-          Follow Parents Footsteps

a.If the parents are very strong one way or another, the child tends to vote the same way, if the parents think that voting is useless, the child will probably think so too.

-          Mass Media

a.Many states know (think they know) the turnout of the election before they have a chance to vote.

b.Mass media about elections is good and bad, it is good because it educates the public about the candidates running, however they predict and say that they know who is going to win the election therefore some people think that it is too late/ doesn’t matter if they vote.


-          Many people have a hard time registering to vote; finding a place, learning how, etc. 


-          Some people are too busy to vote.  They have work, family, jobs, school, or many other things and they do not have the time to register or to vote


A2-Tim Chester

-Breakdown is usually racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and so on

A3-Granville Boush

For a variety of reasons, the likelihood of persons registering and voting is different among various racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. One of the unfortunate consequences of the varying rates is that select population groups in our country are under-represented while other groups tend to be over-represented. Thus, a baseline understanding of how various population groups are registered and vote can be key to executing a quality voter engagement effort.

The U.S. Census Bureau gives some insight into the varying registration and voting rates for various demographic segments of the population. They provide this insight through a supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After every presidential and congressional election year the Census Bureau performs a special survey and creates a useful supplement known as the Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement. The CPS Voting and Registration Supplement , which surveys the civilian noninstitutional population in the United States — both voting and non-voting persons.

Although the supplement captures several interesting socioeconomic rates related to voting, we have decided to present you with several excerpts from the most recent supplement. It is important to note that this particular supplement comes from the November 2004 election. Therefore, the survey was taken after a presidential election and, consequently, the voting rates most likely will not be compatible with the voting rates of off-year elections. Excerpted text from the supplement is italicized below.


10. Debate whether nonvoting is a critical problem for the American political system.

11. Identify and discuss three main elements of the voting choice.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The three main elements of the voting choice are party identification, policy voting, and voters’ evaluation of the candidates. Party identification is important, and the parties tended to rely on groups that lean heavily in their favor to form their basic coalition. Policy voting occurs when people base their choices in an election on their own issue preferences. Voters’ evaluation of the candidates can be altered by appearance, but it is also possible to manipulate a candidate’s appearance by integrity, reliability, and competence.


12. Explain why electoral reform became an important national issue after the 2000 election.

A1- Holly Zajur

Electoral reform as an important issue after the 2000 electionà The election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore.

Bush narrowly won the November 7 election, with 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266 (with one elector abstaining in the official tally).

The election was noteworthy for a controversy over the awarding of Florida's 25 electoral votes, the subsequent recount process in that state, and the unusual event of the winning candidate having received fewer popular votes than the runner-up. It was the closest election since 1876 and only the fourth election in which the electoral vote did not reflect the popular vote.


13. Summarize the key components of the Motor-Voter law.  How has the law affected turnout?


Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media (10-20%)


Political Parties


1. Explain the functions of political parties and the extent to which they are currently being performed by American political parties.

A1-Scott Edelstein

Political parties perform an important task in government. They bring people together to achieve control of the government, develop policies favorable to their interests or the groups that support them, and organize and persuade voters to elect their candidates to office. Although very much involved in the operation of government at all levels, political parties are not the government itself, and the Constitution makes no mention of them.


2. Describe the methods used by parties to nominate candidates and how these methods have changed over time.

3. Compare the American two-party system with the multiparty system.

A1-Evan McGill

A two–party system is a system where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government. As a result, all, or nearly all, elected offices are members of one of the two major parties. Under a two-party system, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority party while the other is the minority party. While the term two-party system is somewhat imprecise and has been used in different countries to mean different things, there is considerable agreement that a system is considered to be of a two-party nature when election results show consistently that all or nearly all elected officials belong to only one of the two major parties, such as in the United States. In these cases, the chances for third party candidates winning election to any office are remote, although it's possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties.

A2-Parker Jenkins

The two party system, winner take all, form of government is better than proportional representation which allows for coalitions to be formed and unbalance the government. The two-party system also forms centrists group and makes it impossible for extremists to win. The multi-party system would also create more of a divide between the people and Congress between the various parties and there would potentially be no clear majority.


4. Discuss factors that are associated with the emergence of third parties and independent candidates.

5. Explain how closed and open primaries work.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -Open: primary election that does not require voters to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote for partisan candidates. In a traditional open primary, voters may select one party's ballot and vote for that party's nomination.

     -Closed: A closed primary is a primary election in which you can only vote for the party of which you are a declared member. Closed primaries

A2-Clare Driggs

Closed primaries are the most common. In a closed primary, voting is restricted to registered members of a political party. Voters may vote only for candidates running for the nomination of their declared party. In open primaries, voters may only vote in one party’s primary, but they may vote in whichever party primary they choose. Voters select party primary in which they wish to participate in the privacy of the voting booth.


6. Trace the development of political parties and the two-party system in America.

7. Explain why the electorate prefers divided government.

A1- Jay Morgan

The populace doesn't really much care for change. At least, not all at once.
Dividing government slows change down, and ensures that when things do change, it is because all want it to change.


8. Identify key characteristics of American political parties today.

9. Define the main function of the national committees and the main job of the national party chair.

A1-Conner Trebour

To find and nominate and campaign and attempt to get elected the best member of their party.


10. Outline party organization below the national level.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Political parties operate at the local level in municipal and county elections (though many cities choose officials — mayors and members of city council — through nonpartisan elections, in which candidates effectively run as independents without party affiliation).

Candidates for state office may be chosen through a primary election, state convention, or caucus process. Although the party's slate, its candidates for office, is listed on the ballot, voters can vote for any candidate they want.


11. Analyze how the public perceives the parties to be different and the role of party platforms in revealing or concealing those differences.

A1- Megan Harvey

The Democratic party was formed in 1825. In economics, the Democrats favor minimum wages and progressive taxation i.e. higher tax rates for higher income brackets. Their symbol is a donkey. For social and human ideas, they believe in community and social responsibility. Democrats believe that abortion should not be illegal. The support for the death penalty is strong among democrats but opponents are a substantial fraction. Their philosophy is liberal. They also tend to support gay marriage. A Democrat may be one who votes or supports the American Democratic political party, aligns with their leadership and donates, volunteers or participates in the party for purposes of governing the society. The Republican party was founded in 1854. Their symbol is an elephant. Their human and social ideas are individual rights and justice based. In economic ideas, Republicans believe that taxes shouldn't be increased for anyone (including the wealthy) and that wages should reflect free market. Republicans believe that abortion should be illegal, many of them support the death penalty, and many oppose gay marriage. Their philosophy is conservative. Republicans may be one who votes for the American Republican political Party, aligns with their leadership and donates, volunteers or participates in the party for purposes of governing society.

A2-Joey Evans

The majority of the public views the parties as being to polarized and partisan. People feel that they disagree for the sake of disagreeing not because they genuinely feel differently about an issue; this power struggle often frustrates much of the public. Most feel that the Democrats are poorer, favor much more government intervention and equal distribution of income, like government programs for the poor and needy, and do not like as much spending on military. The general public probably feels as if the average Republican is a white, wealthy, business man, who favors military spending, and far less government intervention in the economy. Party platforms are specifically designed to let the public know what the goals of that party are. In this way each party tries to appeal to all different types of people by wording their goals in ways that don’t make them seem as bad to people who don’t consider themselves members of that party. The platform controls what information the party reveals and in this way they can either concealing or reveal the parties agenda.


12. Explain the structure and function of parties in government.

A1-Frank Hargrove

The major political parties are organized at the local (usually county), state, and national levels. Party leaders and activists are involved in choosing people to run for office, managing and financing campaigns, and developing positions and policies that appeal to party constituents. The national party organizations play key roles in presidential elections.


13. Examine why parties remain important in the electorate.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

•party in the electorate-the voters who consider themselves allied with a party

•because of restrictive ballot laws, campaign finance rules, and political tradition voters are forced to choose between Democrats and Republicans in the electorate

•dominance of only two parties in the electorate

•each party, Democrat and Republican has a convention where they pick a candidate to run in the  general election


14. Evaluate whether the United States is experiencing party dealignment or realignment.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   realignment occurs when certain elections change the alignment/make up of the parties

-   Dealignment occurs when the parties disappear

-   the US is experiencing party dealignment due to an increase in the importance of issue preferences

A2-Tim Chester

-Party realignment because the major partys are slowing each becoming stronger and eventually going to be no small third parties


A3-Granville Boush

Party identification in the U.S. has a decisive influence on voter

choice. However, the evidence of national elections shows that influence

of partisanship has been weakening in recent decades. In this sense,

when the Republicans repeatedly won the presidency in the 1980s,

scholars have different explanations about partisan change. Some

scholars debate that America is experiencing another party realignment.

Anyhow, other scholars argue that the Republican success is just another

result of party dealignment. By analyzing the theory of party

realignment and dealignment, this study indicates the partisan balance

between Democrats and Republicans in the 1980s was due for

dealignment. Yet, we can not say for sure whether the decline of party

affiliation signals permanent party dealignment. If the parties can

properly change their ways of conducting public affairs and put forward

policy alternatives, they can be as strong as ever. Nevertheless, one thing

is certain, that is, all that occurred in the U.S. represents party decline.

Apparently, the candidate- instead of party- centered age will last for a

while, no matter whether the next political era will be a Democratic or

Republican one.


15. Debate whether political parties are dying.

16. Trace the development of the political parties, especially as a response to changing ideas of party reform.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily campaigns. There was the FECA and the Watergate amendments which basically required a broad disclosure to campaign finances. Then there were the reforms of the 1980’s and 1990’s which imposed strict rules for campaign fundraising. The Bipartisan Campaign Act of 2002 wanted to take big money out of the hand of politics. The DISCLOSE Act of 2010 prohibited government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections.

A2-Marybeth Lawrence

Originally, the Framers of the Constitution disliked political parties and hoped to prevent them, hence why they are not mentioned in the Constitution. Political parties, however, became a mainstay of U.S. elections by the year 1800. Parties arose as a means of uniting those who shared political ideals, enabling them to elect like-minded representatives and pursue similar legislative goals.


17. Examine the problems of soft money and outside issue advocacy as they relate to the principle of accountability.

A1- Holly Zajur

Soft money is also known as monetary contributions by an individual or group to a political party. Soft money differs from directly contributing money to a specific candidate due to the fact that candidates may only receive limited amounts of funding from an individual. Money that is given to political parties is not proven that is being used for election purposes, therefore it is not regulated by the Federal Election Campaign Act. In turn, this money and can be funded at an unlimited amount to political parties.


18. Review the seven categories of party identification.

19. Explain how and why the parties were so evenly divided in the 2000 presidential election.

A1-Scott Edelstein

The presidential election results in 2000 will probably go down in history as the most contested results in American history, especially as the final outcome was so close and had to be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court. The closeness of the result was unprecedented and it was made more controversial by the massive television and media coverage, which it prompted.  The presidential election of 2000 has thus far been the closest set of election results since the Electoral College was established via the Federal Constitution at the end of the eighteenth century. The margin of victory or defeat in terms of the popular votes was a very slender one, with the candidate that gained the most votes actually losing in the Electoral College.


Interest Groups


1. Explain Madison's analysis of the problems of faction and possible solutions.

2. Discuss why Americans organize and join groups so readily.

A1-Parker Jenkins

America is a nation of interests; common groups always look to influence government by forming a group. This is the beauty of politics in America; groups can come together and really make a difference in policy making. Americans are so ready to join a political interest group because they do have a chance to fight for and change what they believe in, this opportunity is hard to find in the world and it is fully taken advantage of. We also join group quickly to protect our families and livelihood.


3. Define interest group and movement.

4. How did anonymous issue ads harm Senator McCain’s presidential candidacy.

A1-Evan McGill

Issue advocacy advertising has been a prevalent feature of political- cal campaigns in American politics. These ads present a candidate in a favorable or unfavorable light and urge voters to support the sponsor- ing organization’s issue position. The amount of money spent on these ads has grown rapidly. During the 2004 presidential election, more than $500 million was spent on issue advocacy television and radio advertising- ing1 and the 2008 election recorded another big surge in issue ads.2Issue advocacy ads are defined as ads sponsored by those other than the candidate that do not use any of the words designated by the Supreme Court to constitute express advocacy. The Supreme Court in its Buckley v. Valeo3 decision differentiated between express advocacy and issue advocacy, elaborating on what it meant by express advocacy: “communications containing ...words...such as: ‘vote for,’ ‘elect,’ ‘cast your ballot for,’ ‘Smith for Congress,’ ‘vote against,’ ‘defeat,’ ‘reject.’”4 The Court stated that the scope of the Federal Election Campaign Act could only apply to such express advocacy communication.5 Communications without explicit exhortations are considered issue advocacy, which is not subject to federal election laws due to the protections afforded political expression under the First Amendment.

A2-Clare Driggs

Two days before the primary elections between McCain and Bush in South Carolina, ads were run and spread quickly, falsely accusing McCain of many unethical and unappealing things. Because of the short time before the primary, even though the rumors were false, McCain did not have time to defend himself, resulting in his lose of the primary.


5. Indicate the most influential economic interest groups, and their primary concerns

relative to government.

6. Discuss the special role played by public interest groups.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -An interest group is an organized group that tries to influence public policy

     -They share one or more common interests or ideals

     -They contribute to the government without nominating a candidate


7. Provide examples of foreign policy interest groups.

8. Provide examples of government interest groups.

A1- Jay Morgan

The Right-to-Know Network
National Right to Life Committee
Common Cause
A2-Conner Trebour

·    Environmental Protection Agency

·    Federal Drug Administration

·    FCC


9. Discuss the factors that make an interest group politically potent.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Monetary incentives, ideological or moral values, political power.


10. Summarize the major techniques of interest groups, including e-mail and litigation.


A1-Joey Evans

Interest groups have many techniques to influence, and achieve their goals. Some of these include direct and indirect lobbying, engaging in election activity, educating various groups of people, and motivating people to help the cause. Each one of these including e-mail and litigation is used in its own way to help the group accomplish its goals.


A2-Sean McKeown

Interest groups have the job of staniding up for certain legistlature n the united staes. For example there is an interest group for almost anything, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of the most famous. These groups fight for the united states to create legislature for their interest and they spread information through emails in order to try to get citizens to contact their congressmen and women

11. Describe who lobbyists are.

12. Explain the functions of lobbyists, include political/substantive information.

A1- Megan Harvey

A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby. Also, governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential. Lobby groups may concentrate their efforts on the legislatures, where laws are created, but may also use the judicial branch to advance their causes. The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, for example, filed suits in state and federal courts in the 1950s to challenge segregation laws. Their efforts resulted in the Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional. At any given time, there are hundreds of cases in state and federal courts in which Advocacy groups are suing in hopes of winning lawsuits to help their members. Court victories, in addition to their legal benefits, can make the headlines and give interest groups a lot of publicity. They may use a legal device known as amines curiae literally "friend of the court," briefs to try and influence court cases. Briefs are written documents filed with a court, typically by parties to a lawsuit. Amines curiae briefs are briefs filed by people or groups who are not parties to a suit. These briefs are entered into the court records, and give additional background on the matter being decided upon. Advocacy groups use these briefs to both share their expertise and promote their positions.


A2-Catherine Cunningham

•lobbyists-interest group representatives who seek to influence legislation that will benefit his or her organization or client through political persuasion

•politically, try to influence the opinions of representatives in Congress

A3-Frank Hargrove

Someone who is employed to persuade legislators to vote for legislation that favors the lobbyist's employer.


13. Describe the growth of PACs and their role in American politics.

A1-Tim Chester

-Political action committee, trying to get people out to vote for their candidate, always showing what the candidate has to offer and what they will do for that specific citizen


A2-Granville Boush

Special interest groups advocate the cause of their specific constituency. Business organizations will favor low corporate taxes and restrictions of the right to strike, whereas labor unions will support minimum wage legislation and protection for collective bargaining. Other private interest groups, such as churches and ethnic groups, are more concerned about broader issues of policy that can affect their organizations or their beliefs.

One type of private interest group that has grown in number and influence in recent years is the political action committee or PAC. These are independent groups, organized around a single issue or set of issues, which contribute money to political campaigns for U.S. Congress or the presidency. PACs are limited in the amounts they can contribute directly to candidates in federal elections. There are no restrictions, however, on the amounts PACs can spend independently to advocate a point of view or to urge the election of candidates to office. PACs today number in the thousands.

"The number of interest groups has mushroomed, with more and more of them operating offices in Washington, D.C., and representing themselves directly to Congress and federal agencies," says Michael Schudson in his 1998 book The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life. "Many organizations that keep an eye on Washington seek financial and moral support from ordinary citizens. Since many of them focus on a narrow set of concerns or even on a single issue, and often a single issue of enormous emotional weight, they compete with the parties for citizens' dollars, time, and passion."The amount of money spent by these special interests continues to grow, as campaigns become increasingly expensive. Many Americans have the feeling that these wealthy interests, whether corporations, unions or PACs, are so powerful that ordinary citizens can do little to counteract their influences.

A survey of members of the American Economic Association find the vast majority regardless of political affiliation to be discontent with the current state of democracy in America. The primary concern relates to the prevalence and influence of special interest groups within the political process, which tends to lead to policy consequences that only benefit such special interest groups and politicians. Some conjecture that maintenance of the policy status quo and hesitance to stray from it perpetuates a political environment that fails to advance society's welfare.


14. Evaluate the impact of PACs on the electoral process, especially campaign finance.

15. Examine reasons for concerns about the power of faction.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

A political faction is a grouping of individuals, such as a political party a trade union, or other group with a political purpose

-    may include fragmented sub-factions, “parties within a party," which may be referred to as power blocs, or voting blocs

-    individuals within a faction are united in a common goal or set of common goals

-    band together as a way of achieving these goals and advancing their agenda and position within an organization

POWER of faction: many fear factions that these groups will become too powerful- many people believe having many small factions is a good thing because then there is less chance that one faction will gain too much power

A2-Marybeth Lawrence

Anti-Federalists feared that the Constitution gave the federal government too much power. They were also concerned about the new executive branch and worried that the office was president was too similar to that of a king. They were concerned that one overall faction could gain control of the central government. Because they had just broken free from the British control, they were scared of someone else gaining too much power and not being able to have individual rights.


16. Discuss the methods used by government to regulate interest groups and their effects.

A1- Holly Zajur

Methods used by government to regulate interest groups and their effectsà Interest group liberalism is promoted by the network of subgovernments (also known as iron triangles). These subgovernments are composed of key interest groups interested in a particular policy, the government agency in charge of administering the policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling the policy. Relations between groups and the government become too cozy. Hard choices about national policy rarely get made as the government tries to favor all groups, leading to policy paralysis. Hyperpluralist theorists often point to the government's contradictory tobacco-related policies as an example of interest group liberalism.

17. Evaluate the effects of campaign-finance reforms on interest groups.  Be sure to include the impact of soft money.

18. Explain why it has been difficult for Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation and the possible effects of the recently enacted campaign finance reform legislation.

A1-Scott Edelstein

It seems to be impossible for the government to limit candidate financing because every time they pass some legislation to fulfill this task, donors manage to get around the limits by donating through third parties that will never be limited from donating to candidates.

Aside from running for reelection, incumbents need some of those powers. They need to be able to mail their constituents surveys and other information without worrying about losing money from their budget. If Congress limited the amount of money they could use to mail (money if they had to pay for their mail), then their constituents wouldn’t receive necessary announcements by mail during the time of their term when they aren’t thinking solely about reelection. The same thing goes for local media. If officials were prohibited from free media, the general public wouldn’t be informed. It’s hard for congress to limit these powers just when they involve campaigning.


19. Explain the issues involved in the Seattle group protests of 1999.

20. List some major environmental groups and explain how they do business.




Campaigns and Elections


1. Assess the impact of the rules of the electoral game on electoral outcomes.

2. Examine the importance of regularly scheduled elections, fixed terms, winner take all, and the Electoral College.

A1-Clare Driggs

Regularly scheduled elections are often considered general elections. They are the elections that consistently take place after a certain period of time, in which state, local, and/or national offices are decided. A Fixed term election is an election that occurs on a set date, and cannot be changed by the incumbent politician. Winner take all system is when the winner of the primary or electoral college vote takes all of the state's convention or electoral college delegates. The Electoral College was created by the framers of the Constitution as a means of insulating the government from the whims of the less educated public. Each state is given a number of electors equal to the sum of its federal legislators (senators plus representatives). These electors then vote of the presidential candidates based on the state’s vote. This institution along with the winner take all system determine the winner of the election, not the popular vote.

3. Compare and contrast House and Senate elections.

4. Identify three stages of the formal process of running for the presidency.

A1-Evan McGill

stage 1: nomination

stage 2: the national party convention

stage 3: the general election


5. Discuss the different procedures used to choose delegates to the national conventions.

6. Analyze how different delegate selection procedures affect candidate campaign strategies.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

    -The delegates are chosen form an elite group whose income and educational levels are far above the average Americans’

     -Most delegates come to the conventions already committed to supporting a specific candidate 

A2-Conner Trebour

Candidates who are selected in a one method are more likely to get support from the people who participated in that selection. This changes how they would campaign.

If a delegate is nominated by his party bosses, then he is more likely to campaign for his party rather than for himself as an individual or for his constituents.


7. Trace the changes in the role of the national party conventions.

A1-Matt Mitchell

Since the expansion in the role of party primaries, the national convention has lost influence because the candidate is virtually decided by the time the party would hold a convention.


8. Describe the process of nomination by petition, as demonstrated by Ross Perot in 1992.


A1- Jay Morgan

Petitions must contain the signatures of at least 5% of the active registered voters of the area of the office. The 5% is based on the total number of registered voters in the area of the office 120 days prior to the election. No petition required more than 10,000 signatures


A2-Joey Evans

The process of nomination by petition is as follows: Petitions must contain the signatures of at least 5% of the active registered voters of the area of the office. The 5% is based on the total number of registered voters in the area of the office 120 days prior to the election. No petition required more than 10,000 signatures. Perot’s followers got petitions signed in all 50 states and this was how he was nominated for the Presidency. This was one of few times that someone has been able to run off of nomination by petition.


A3-Sean McKeown

A nominating petition is required in some jurisdictions in order for an independent or non-major-party candidate to gain ballot access. A certain number of valid signatures is typically prescribed by statute in order for the candidate to get on the ballot. Thus, it is necessary to get an overage of "raw" signatures (perhaps twice as many as the statutory requirement) in order to assure getting on the ballot, as some signatures may be illegible, incomplete, of individuals not registered to vote, or not in the candidate's electoral district, or otherwise invalid. Paid petitioners sometimes assist in gathering signatures.


9. Outline the usual course of the presidential campaign after the close of the conventions.

A1-Frank Hargrove

After the close of conventions candidates usually begin to become more moderate and less extreme trying to get moderate votes.


10. Discuss the most important factors in shaping campaign strategies for the presidential general election.

A1-Catherine Cunningham

•a campaign sloan that Americans will want to identify themselves with

•fund-raising efforts for the campaign made by the finance chair

•public opinion surveys that guide political campaigns made by a pollster

•issues people are concerned with currently

•appealing to a wide variety of people

•positive ads

•free press coverage with paid TV, radio, and mail media

•mail fundraising strategies


11. Explain the role played by debates between the presidential candidates since 1960.

A1-Tim Chester

This helps voters who are on the line to usually make up their mind, the main controversial topics of the time are put on the table and discussed usually in a very hostile manor, usually one candidate will win but it's always usually very close


A2-Granville Boush

During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates (almost always the candidates of the two largest parties, currently the Democratic Party and the Republican Party) to engage in a debate. The topics discussed in the debate are often the most controversial issues of the time, and arguably elections have been nearly decided by these debates (e.g., Nixon vs. Kennedy).

Presidential debates are held late in the election cycle, after the political parties have nominated their candidates. The candidates meet in a large hall, often at a university, before an audience of citizens. The formats of the debates have varied, with questions sometimes posed from one or more journalist moderators and in other cases members of the audience. Between 1988 and 2000, the formats have been governed in detail by secret memoranda of understanding (MOU) between the two major candidates; an MOU for 2004 was also negotiated, but unlike the earlier agreements it was jointly released by the two candidates.

Debates are broadcast live on television and radio. The first debate for the 1960 election drew over 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history. The 1980 debates drew 80 million viewers out of a 226 million. By 2000, about 46 million viewers out of a population of 280 million watched the first debate, with ten million fewer watching the subsequent debates that year. In 2004, 62.5 million people watched the first debate, while 43.6 million watched the vice-presidential debate.


12. Debate the pros and cons of presidential primaries.

A1- Megan Harvey

The open primary could be seen as good for voter participation. First, the open primary allows nonpartisan or independent voters to participate in the nominating process. If these voters are allowed to help select the nominees then they may be more likely to vote in the general election, since one of the candidates could be someone the non-partisan voter voted for. Also, a moderate member of one party may agree more with a candidate for the nomination of another party. This voter will have more of an incentive to participate in the general election if there is a nominee whom he or she agrees with. The open primary could also be viewed as bad for voter participation. Statistics show that voter participation in the United Primaries was higher when people could only vote in the primary for their own party. The closed primary system had more of an incentive for people to join one of the major parties. This led to people being more involved in the voting process. With the open primary, some argue, more voters become independent and are less likely to participate in the nominating or election processes. Opponents of the open primary believe that the open primary leaves the party nominations vulnerable to manipulation and dilution. First, one party could organize its voters to vote in the other party's primary and choose the candidate that they most agree with or that they think their party could most easily defeat. Secondly, in the open primary moderates and independent voters can vote in either party. This occurrence may dilute the vote of a particular party and lead to a nominee who does not represent the views of his particular party.


13. Evaluate the major proposals for reforming the presidential nomination process.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

Quality candidates should be elected in a presidential nomination process, not simply those that are the best known or the best financed. They should be representative of their party and able to win in the general election. Second, a sequential election system in particular allows voters in early nominating events to create information for voters in later states. Third, the nomination system should encourage increased participation so that the electorate is representative. This can be accomplished by using primaries instead of caucuses that allow non-partisans and independents to participate.  Finally, the nomination system should strive for equality among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.


14. Analyze the major proposed reforms of the electoral college system.

A1- Holly Zajur

Major proposed forms of the electoral college systemà PURE POPULARE VOTE- Advantages:  it brings us out of the stone age, it greatly simplifies things, it upholds the principle of "one person, one vote", and it gives us the opportunity to cut the House of Representatives out of the picture.

Disadvantages:  it does little to solve the problems above having to do with a two party system.  Indeed, it makes them worse in one way if the House is cut out: "split votes" can become a real problem.  If two similar candidates divide the vote of those who agree with them, then a dissimilar candidate gets the plurality of the votes even if the electorate sides more with the first pair on the issues.  Recounts in close races would be a real problem to implement.  But perhaps the biggest problem is that a constitutional amendment to elect the president by pure popular vote probably could never be passed, because an amendment requires approval by a large majority of states, and most states would lose power with this change.  Few of the less populous states are going to vote for a change that gives more power to the big populous states like California and New York, and less to themselves.  However, there are those who argue that the "winner take all" system actually gives California and New York more power already; if this is true and can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the people in other states, then a popular vote reform amendment just might be possible.

POPULAR VOTE WITH RUNOFF ELECTION- Advantages:  eliminates the bad compromises of primary elections, and reduces the control of entrenched political parties over elections, so that independent candidates have more opportunity.  This system reduces the split vote problem at least mildly; it is more difficult to figure out a scenario in which the candidate with the most popular views on the issues does not win.  This approach has a much better chance of electing centrist candidates instead of flip-flopping between the left and the right as partisan elections using primaries tend to do.  It shares all of the advantages (such as they are) of a popular vote with primaries, and it eliminates the house of representatives from the process.

Disadvantages:  it has the general disadvantages of any pure popular vote, though none of the specific disadvantages of a popular vote with primaries.  It would have the same trouble being approved by small states.  The clearest problem we've seen in contests of this type, such as mayorial races, is that there may be substantial difference in who votes between the free-for-all and the runoff; the outcome of the latter may not reflect the consensus will of those who voted in the former.  This is especially true given that only one of the two could be on the main general election day, and the other is likely to have a smaller turnout.  It would also be true if any great amount of time passed between the two elections, such as the current large gap between primaries and the general election.  However, that would probably not be as bad as the very severe split vote problem that would occur if you simply awarded the election to whoever got the plurality of a free-for-all.  That's why they have runoffs in the first place.  The split-vote problem is not entirely eliminated by a runoff, though.  If one party fields only two candidates who are similar in popularity, the other had better not field six or eight, or none might make the runoff.

PROPORTIONAL ELECTORAL VOTE, PLURALITY WINS- Advantages:  the result gets settled a lot easier and quicker without the House being involved.  This further improves the picture for third parties.

Disadvantages:  like a pure popular vote with the winner being awarded on a plurality, this makes "split votes" a real danger.  A conservative may beat two liberals even if the electorate has a liberal majority, or vice versa.  This leads any large power blocs to do their best to unify behind one candidate picked in advance and keep as much choice as they can away from the voters.


15. Explain the reasons for concerns about campaign finance.

A1- Annie Lyall Slaughter

-   Campaign finance: the attempt to lesson influence of money in campaigns (lots of money is being spent on politics) - has not been successful because with every reform there are loopholes

-   People want to reform campaign finance because they feel it is a waste, and with that much money there may be corruption

-   Congress has come up with numerous rules and regulations


16. Trace the major efforts proposed and taken to reform campaign finance.

A1-Scott Edelstein

In 2002, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) was signed into law. The law is also known as the McCain-Feingold Act, named for its chief sponsors, Sens. John McCain (R) and Russell Feingold (D). The BCRA introduced many changes to federal campaign finance law, but contained two major components:

Soft money - the act put a ban on all soft money contributions.

Campaign ads - the law forbids corporations and labor unions from buying advertisements mentioning a political candidate's name within 60 days of a federal election


17. Explain why campaign finance reform, especially of the role of PACs, has been so difficult to accomplish.

A1- Ashley Fleetwood

‘Soft money’ also refers to funds spent by independent organizations that do not specifically advocate the election or defeat of candidates, and funds which are not contributed directly to candidate campaigns. Soft money is hard to regulate.


18. Discuss what factors significantly influenced the outcomes of the 1996, 1998 and 2000 elections.

A1-Parker Jenkins

A huge factor in the elections of 1996, 1998, 2000 was the influence of the internet and PAC fundraising. This has brought about more of awareness from the American people on what the issues are in an election. In turn this has generally created higher voter turnout.


19. What are the pro and con arguments concerning soft money in American politics?

20. Describe the proposed improvements in administering elections.

A1-Clare Driggs

Proposed improvements in administering elections include support of poll worker training, education of the public on voting, rights such as provisional voting, and helping provide voters with polling place access information such as when and where to vote.


The Media


1. Define mass media.

2. Describe the pervasiveness of television, talk radio, newspapers, and the World Wide Web.

3. Explain how the media handled the 2000 presidential election.

4. Outline the evolving influence of the media over the past 200 years.

A1-Evan McGill

The influence of media the over the past 200 years has grown with the advancement of technology. At first, the media was a newspaper, then a telegraph, then the radio, then a telephone, then a television. The media has grown from being not so up to date, learning about events a couple of days after they have happened, to live up to date video of the event.

A2-Conner Trebour

·    The president and other members of the government are more accessible due to technology and they are seen more.

·    The president can be seen making speeches on TV anytime that he makes one.

·    It also has created many problems by making some issues seem more important that others and some problems greater than they need to be

·    Political figures also debate on TV and it is easier to see points of different candidates.

·    Also, during the presidency of FDR, he started fireside chats to keep the country informed about what was going on and the situation of the country which gained him a lot of popularity.


5. Assess the replacement of parties by the media as mediators between the public and government.

A1-Matt Mitchell

With the advent of 24-hour news networks and the internet, the media is much more accessible, and with reporters always focused on politics both sides can easily see what either the government or the public’s opinion on a matter is.


6. Identify and explain factors that influence how people interpret political messages.

A1- Kelsey Schaefer

     -People already have their opinions on certain people and issues so if they see an add on TV and it’s for something they already don’t approve of, they will oppose it strongly

     -There are people who will look at the messages as just another way for the candidate to get votes and they will not believe them

     -People are very good at identifying what is real and fake when it comes to politics and they will be skeptical about what to believe throughout all of the advertisements and messages

     -They want to have all of the facts and details before making a decision on what to think

     -The media would play a huge role in how people interpret messages, if the media doesn’t like a person and they report about them in a bad way all of the time, you are more likely to agree with the media in their opinions

     -The media can also release false information because they are bias to a certain party or candidate, changing people’s opinions about the party or candidate


A2-Joey Evans

There are many ways in which people interpret the political messages that they hear or see through the media. Through different media outlets information can be tweaked to favor one party, the other, or completely unbiased. Different TV stations are known to favor one party or the other and so people that watch these stations are getting information that is intended to look favorably upon one party or the other. There are also outlets that pledge to give completely unbiased information all the time regardless of the situation. People also interpret information on their own through their party affiliation, if one at all. Different political messages affect different people in unique ways. If someone has a direct connection to a topic at hand then they may stray from the beliefs of their party because of the personal connection.


A3-Sean McKeown

People will listen to almost whatever they hear on the media and will interpret it in their own way. The News media likes to cover the horse race aspects of the elections and so by using polls they can influence the voters that want to vote with the popular candidate at that time. This can have a negative affect when one candidate gets an edge in primaries or caucuses


7. Assess the political bias of the news media.

A1-Frank Hargrove

Certain shows that are opinion based discussing certain issues can show a lot about a news show.


8. Explain why the news media has a potent influence in setting the national agenda and framing the issues.

A1- Jay Morgan

They have a potent influence because many people view the media and it is a way of communication.

A2-Catherine Cunningham

  the media is sometimes referred to as the “fourth branch of government”

  they have 24-hour coverage which means people will watch it at some point

  reporting can sway people who are uncommitted and have no strong opinions in the first place

  agenda setting-news organizations can help tell us what to think about even if they cannot determine what we think

  media alerts about a story in headlines which receives national attention

  framing-the process by which a news organization defines a political issue and consequently affects opinion about the issue

  the media has influence over the way people respond to the issues

  can directly affect the way, positively or negatively people view politicians


9. Indicate the extent to which the news media are regulated by the government.

A1-Tim Chester

Indicate the extent to which the news media are regulated by the government?

-they let them get out what they want, but if it jeopardizing national security then they will usually cut that off immediately, don’t want anything secret out that the public might get their hands on


A2-Granville Boush

About the FCC The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.

About the FCC The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.

The FCC is directed by five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 5-year terms, except when filling an unexpired term. The President designates one of the Commissioners to serve as Chairperson. Only three Commissioners may be members of the same political party. None of them can have a financial interest in any Commission-related business.

As the chief executive officer of the Commission, the Chairman delegates management and administrative responsibility to the Managing Director. The Commissioners supervise all FCC activities, delegating responsibilities to staff units and Bureaus.


10. Describe the impact of the media on the choice of candidates.

11. Describe the impact of the new campaign technology, especially media consultants, on the campaign process.

A1-Marybeth Lawrence

The Internet is now a core element of modern political campaigns. It has enabled faster communications and is able to deliver a message to a larger audience. New media, such as Facebook and Youtube reach new, younger target populations. Media consultants help monitor and choose how the candidate will be exposed in the media world. They choose what interviews he does for what channels, etc.

12. Assess the impact of the media on how voters make choices.

A1- Holly Zajur

The Media has so much control and influence over the voters that they can make the candidates look as good or bad as they like, giving them the control of the public's opinion of the candidates or political parties; spreads the word of what is going on in the world at great spread giving voters mass amounts of information

A2- Megan Harvey

The media allows more voters to participate and relieves the candidates of traveling all over the country lobbying for votes. Before the media, the candidates had to physically endure traveling and public speaking without the aid of modern micro-phones or loudspeakers. Less voters were reached and so the candidates ideas and platform was not as well-known.


13. Discuss how the media are both observer and participant in government policy making.

14. Compare the differing relationships between the press and the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

A1-Scott Edelstein

As the only single official elected by all citizens, the American president, in effect, represents us all – both at home and around the globe. What the president believes is the best course for our nation, and how we navigate that course, has always been vital knowledge to those who are engaged in the political process. Most often, the president has expressed these ideals through the press. Of course, 19th-century presidents all wished for – and to an extent were able to create – positive newspaper coverage. Andrew Jackson went as far as to offer journalists positions in the federal government as an enticement to paint a rosy picture of his administration. But the 20th century brought committed efforts by presidents to utilize the media to forward their programs and to gather public support. The way in which a White House has communicated, and the degree to which it has succeeded, directly impacts our ability to study the role of leadership in the American past. Press conferences are an important source for historical researchers because they lead to media interpretations of the chief executive, in addition to the words uttered by the president himself, which feed our understanding of his role in history.

The media has a way of exaggerating presidential tensions or disputes with Congress, yet there are clashes between the branches over presidential nominations, vetoes, budget proposals, military actions, or over the exercise of executive privilege and executive orders. These and other political realities are part of the continuing struggle that shapes presidential-congressional relations.


15. Evaluate whether the news media is doing a good job of bringing information to the citizens and providing a forum in which to debate complex issues.

16. Define key terms.


Public Policy (5-15%)


Making Economic and Regulatory Policy


1. Define public policy.

2. Identify and define stages of the policy-making process.

3. Explain why the absence of government activity in a particular area does not necessarily mean government is without a policy in that area.

4. Distinguish between fiscal and monetary policy.

5. Identify the major sources of revenue for the national government and the relative importance of each.

6. Distinguish between gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP).

7. Debate what is the best type of tax.

8. Explain the origins of the anti-tax movement and its impact on American politics and policy in the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s.

9. Explain the distinction between deficit and debt.

10. Examine how the tax policy has changed throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

11. Examine how the federal budget process operates.

12. Explain what the item veto allowed and why it was eventually declared unconstitutional.

13. Describe the functions and operations of the Federal Reserve System.

14. Explain how the national government promotes commerce.

15. Trace the development of U.S. agricultural policy.

16. Discuss the causes and impact of the trade deficit.  Explain the role of GATT.

17. Describe the purpose and impact of NAFTA.

18. Explain the pros and cons of protectionism as government policy.

19. Describe how the Clinton regulatory policy differs from that of the Reagan-Bush years and the George W. Bush proposals.

20. Explain what government regulation is and why we have it.

21. Distinguish between economic and social regulation.

22. Compare executive branch and independent regulatory agencies.

23. Analyze the major arguments of supporters and opponents of regulation.

24. Explain how the social benefits of regulation conflict with the economic objectives.

25. Describe the development of government regulatory efforts from the nineteenth century to the present day.

26. Define key terms.


Making Social Policy


1. Analyze the arguments over public versus private approaches to social policy.

2. Indicate the role played by federalism in the debate over social policy.

3. Explain the role of the New Deal in social policy.

4. Explain the funding process for Social Security and the questions associated with the future financial stability of the program.

5. Describe the major components of and basis for the Great Society.

6. Explain the difficulties in changing social policy funded as entitlements.

7. Identify provisions of the 1996 welfare reform bill.

8. Analyze the federal government's three major approaches to health policy: research, cost control, and access.

9. Distinguish between Medicare and Medicaid.

10. Examine how health care is a mostly private system.

11. Discuss the major problems of the U.S. health care system.

12. Evaluate the major approaches to health care reform, including single-payer, managed competition, employer-mandated coverage, spending caps, individual responsibility for coverage, and medical savings accounts.

13. Analyze social policy issues debated during the 2000 Presidential election.

14. Trace the development of the federal government's role in education policy.

15. Analyze the effects of vouchers and charter schools.

16. Discuss why education policy debates are usually not over goals or standards but rather over the degree of local control and the impact on poor and minorities.

17. Explain how and why the federal government became involved in crime control policy.

18. Identify the major federal agencies involved in crime control and the major federal programs directed to crime control.

19. Identify bills passed that affect gun control, crime rates, and domestic terrorism.

20. Explain the politics involved in social policy.

21. Explain how the Canadian health care system differs from the American health care system.

22. Define key terms.


Making Foreign and Defense Policy


1. Discuss the difficulty of defining and defending vital national security interests as

the Cold War has ended as well as within the context of this new century.

2.  List the new foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. during the George W. Bush


3. Describe the constitutional position of the executive and legislative branches in

foreign policy.

4. Assess the impact on foreign policy making of: Secretary of State, State Department, National Security Council, Foreign Service, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

5. Assess the impact of public opinion on American foreign policy.

6. Describe the kinds and role of interest groups involved in foreign policy making.

7. Define bipartisanship in foreign policy.

8. Describe the role of Congress in making foreign policy.

9. Explain why it is difficult to have a truly "democratic foreign policy."

10. Identify and describe six foreign policy strategies.

11. Examine differing U.S. positions toward the United Nations.

12. State the overriding mission of America's defense program in the new century.

13. Explain the constitutional positions of the president and Congress in defense policy.

14. Describe the major organizations involved in the making of overall defense policy.

15. Discuss the major questions regarding women's role in the military and the ban on gays in the military.

16. Examine the pattern of U.S. defense expenditures relative to the rest of the budget.

17. Describe the process now used to close military bases.

18. Debate the role of the military in a constitutional democracy.

19. Explain the various foreign policy strategies.

20. Define key terms.