What role do elections serve in America, and how do they serve that goal?

In a three to four page paper (that is, 900-1200 words in a standard font, 1” margins), answer ONE of the following questions.  You may use your book and notes; please cite any direct quotations or paraphrases.


• How do parties solve collective action problems, and how do they exacerbate them?  Think about both Congress and the public at large.

• Why do Americans know so little about politics, and does this mean that democracy doesn’t work?

• What role do elections serve in America, and how do they serve that goal?


Some general writing guidelines:

Think less.  Write more.

Notice that all the prompts are asking you to answer a specific question; your entire paper should be an attempt to answer that question.  Anything else is unnecessary.

Your answer should consist of an argument, not an assertion.  An argument is an answer to question, followed by evidence and an explanation of how that evidence proves your point.

Be sure you have a single sentence that summarizes your answer to the question.  This sentence (thesis statement) should appear prominently by the end of your first paragraph.

Avoid unnecessary writing (e.g., “Since the beginning of America, citizens have argued about…”).  Everything you write should connect directly to your argument.

Clearly connect evidence to your argument (e.g., “This shows that…”).

Be prepared to rewrite and edit as necessary as you write.  Writing is a creative process, so you will not know what you’re going to say before you start writing.

There’s no need for overformal writing.  Feel free to use, “I,” contractions, and clear, direct language to communicate.  Put down your thesaurus.  

Don’t cite lectures.  Cite the book instead.

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