Essay questions

Take care to address all elements of the question. 250-word minimum each.


You’ll select two (2) of the following questions.


  1. Does it matter that the modern American public is not all that politically knowledgeable or sophisticated? Why or why not? Directly reference the assigned readings when making your argument.
  2. Explain Madison’s argument in the Federalist #10. What was Madison’s primary concern? What did Madison see as the primary threat to a democracy? How did Madison propose to keep this threat in check?
  3. Trace the development of federalism in the United States. Refer to dates, court cases, or national legislation (laws) as necessary.
  4. Do Americans mythologize (or even worship) our nation’s founding, its founders, and the system they developed? Why or why not? Use examples to support your argument. If “yes,” is this approach a net positive or a net negative?
  5. Discuss three (3) critical problems with the Articles of Confederation that were subsequently corrected by the U.S. Constitution. How did the Constitution correct these problems?


You’ll select two (2) of the following questions.


  1. Does it make sense to vote in a national election? Why or why not? Directly address the argument made by Steven Landsburg in theSlatearticle “Don’t Vote: It Makes More Sense to Play the Lottery.”


  1. Does public opinion “matter” in our system? Does policy follow opinion? Why or why not? Provide relevant examples from the three branches of national government when possible.


  1. Discuss the 1936Literary Digestpresidential poll. What did the Literary Digest do wrong? What specific steps do modern polling organizations take to avoid similar mistakes?


  1. Is the United States currently undergoing a critical realignment? Define critical realignment, discuss the criteria for a realignment, and apply current events to the definition and criteria.


  1. Criticize or defend the modern mass media’s efforts to keep the American public informed about the world of politics. Directly reference the critiques introduced in the readings and lectures.


  1. Discuss Jon Stewart’s interaction with Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala onCrossfire. What was his primary criticism? Was his criticism correct?


  1. Discuss “evidence-based elections.”Why are evidence-based elections desirable and what general steps should we take to achieve these results?


You’ll select two (2) of the following questions.


  1. Discuss the sociodemographics (race, gender, age, income, education, and prior occupation) of the U.S. Congress. Is it possible for a legislator to adequately represent citizens who do not match the legislator’s sociodemographics? Why or why not?


  1. Propose and defend a substantial change to Congress’ structure or organization. For example, you might propose that Senators be allocated by population rather than the current two Senators per state allocation. Why do you propose this change? What would it take (Constitutional amendment, legislation, action by states, and so on) to make the change happen?


  1. Should the President of the United States have the power to declare a national curfew or “shelter in place” order during a pandemic? Why or why not? Refer to what you’ve learned about our system, theories of Presidential power, and the relevant laws where relevant.


  1. Are interest groups good for our modern democracy? Provide specific examples to illustrate your argument.


  1. Should we eliminate the Electoral College? Why or why not? If we were to eliminate it, what should replace it?


You’ll select two (2) of the following questions.


  1. How does a case make it to the Supreme Court?


  1. Discuss in detail one of the Supreme Court cases from this section of the course. Discuss the question before the court, the relevant text, the facts of the case, and the court’s decision.


  1. Where does an undemocratic entity such as the Supreme Court fit in our system?


  1. Make an argument for or against including the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.


  1. Discuss how the franchise (the right to vote) has evolved in the United States.



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Answer preview

In Federalist paper 10, Madison argues that the concept of a simple majority, as attractive as it may seem, might be detrimental to democracy in the long run if the rubric is not well addressed (Holton, 2005). According to Madison, in a majority rule system, some important issues may not receive the necessary attention required in the long run. The decisions arrived at might be chaotic. It is essential to acknowledge that not every citizen is politically literate, and this is where the issue of rule by simple majority arises (Holton, 2005). In making political decisions, deciding the cases using a simple majority vote might not be the best approach to take, especially if the population is not aware of the importance of the issue at hand. In such a system, leaders tend to align themselves with the majority’s requirements instead of focusing on the importance of the issue at hand (Holton, 2005).