Political Science : American and California Government

Directions:  It is suggested that you take a few minutes to plan and outline each answer.  Spend approximately 60 minutes answering each question.  Illustrate your response with substantive examples where appropriate.  Make sure your answers are typed, spell-checked, double-spaced, and regular 12 font.


Chapter 1:  The Study of American Government

1)      What are THREE answers to the following question according to the text, “Who governs?”  Which of the three answers do you feel is most correct? Explain.

Chapter 2:  The Constitution

1)    Politics is known as the “art of compromise”.  List and explain THREE (3) compromises that the Framers created at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787? Of the three, which is most relevant today?  Explain.


Chapter 3:  Federalism

1)     What are TWO (2) strengths and TWO (2) weaknesses of American federalism for promoting representative democracy?  How is the same sex marriage debate an example of American federalism?

Chapter 4:  American Political Culture: 

1)      What are the FIVE (5) elements of American political culture, and how is EACH element reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution?




Chapter 7: Public Opinion

1)    What do the latest public opinion polls indicate about how Americans feel about Congress and the President, AND how high or low (by historical standards) is the level of public approval of each?  You will need to look on-line for the most recent public opinion polls like the Pew Center as an example.  Why are the approval ratings the way they are for BOTH Congress and the President?  Explain.

Chapter 8: Political Participation

1)    What is the voter turnout rate in last THREE (3) Presidential elections in California, and how did it compare to the voter turnout rate nationally? Was there a significant difference between the national rate and the rate in California? What are at least TWO (2) factors do you suppose might explain it?

Chapter 9: Political Parties

1)    Which of the TWO (2) major political parties in the United States are most likely to face alignment in the coming years and why?  Which of the two major political parties does your ideology most align with?  Explain.

Chapter 10:  Elections & Campaigns

1)    What are the 4 Ts (like Time and Theme) when running for POTUS (President of the United States)?  Why are Iowa and New Hampshire so important when running for POTUS?  Should American elections be restricted in length and in cost as seen in Great Britain? Explain.

Chapter 11: Interest Groups

1)    What was the ruling in the landmark Supreme Court cases Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)?  Did the decision apply only to businesses or to all “corporations” including incorporated labor unions, and do you suppose that the election will significantly increase campaign- related or other political spending by the interest group in the future?


Chapter 12:  The Media

1)    How has the 24/7 news cycle including social networking influenced the way the public views and is educated on political issues?  Cite at least THREE examples in support of your claim.

Chapter 13:  The Congress

1)    If you could change TWO (2) things about how Congress works, what would that be?  Explain.

Chapter 14:  The Presidency

1)    List and explain THREE (3) ways U.S. Presidents are more AND less powerful than the British Prime Ministers?


Chapter 15:  The Bureaucracy

1)    Even though reforming the bureaucracy is difficult, what are TWO (2) reform that you think must occur within the federal bureaucracy? Explain.

Chapter 16:  The Judiciary

1)    Do you think federal judges should exercise restraint or be activists judges? Explain.

Chapter 5:  Civil Liberties

1)      Consider the issue of privacy and governmental searches of individuals’ computer files.  Describe in this case how you would balance civil liberties with the need for government authority.  When or under what circumstances do you think government should be able to access and search an individual’s computer files without his or her knowledge or consent?  What limits, if any, would you place on government’s ability to do this?




Chapter 6:  Civil Rights

1)    What is the social purpose of the government recognition of the institution of marriage? Why does the government sanction this form of contract? How does the issue of the gender of each participant in a given marriage fit into the discussion?

Chapter 17:  The Politics of Public Policy


1)   What are TWO (2) advantages and what are TWO (2)                                                                         disadvantages to instituting term limits on members of Congress?  Which side do you support?  Explain

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