Students will write an essay, 500-750 words in length, on a topic selected from the list below. The purpose of the project is to give students an opportunity to discuss a key political science concept, and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. The project consists of producing a 500-750 word essay on one of the provided topics (see below), as well as a works cited page for sources containing information used in the essay. The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Papers not formatted properly will not receive a passing grade. Students MUST have a minimum of three research sources on their works cited page as well as at least one parenthetical notation per paragraph.
Students should use Courier or New Courier 12 point as the paper’s font, double space the text, and create one inch margins on all four sides of the page. In addition, the assignment should be formatted according to MLA style for papers with no title page.
Please choose one of the following topics for your Writing Assignment 1 essay.
1. As the authors explain in Chapter 2, “The Founding and the Constitution,” the Constitution can be changed by formal, as well as informal, means. Complete the following assignment:
- Describe the formal amendment process, as put forth in Article V of the Constitution and explain why the founders chose those rules for formally amending the Constitution.
- Provide an explanation of the informal process of amending the Constitution.
- Define “loose construction” and “strict construction” methods of constitutional interpretation, and describe how each perspective aligns with formal versus informal methods of change.
- Explain whether you favor a method of loose construction or strict construction of the Constitution. Identify what you view as the benefits of your perspective.
2. In Chapter 3, “Federalism,” the authors discuss how the U.S. Constitution creates a dual system of government whereby the powers are distributed between a national government and state governments. This arrangement has seen its share of challenges and changes. Complete the following assignment:
- Provide a brief description of the distribution of powers within the federal system, including an understanding of enumerated powers, reserved powers, and concurrent powers.
- Discuss the major eras in American history as they relate to federalism, and describe which level of government appeared to be dominant at each time.
- Describe what you believe is a proper distribution of powers between the national and state governments.
3. In Chapter 6, “Congress,” the authors state, “the bulk of work on legislation consists of what members do in committees.” Include the following:
- Provide a thorough understanding of the committee system in Congress.
- Explain the various types of committees that have been developed.
- Describe the leadership and partisan nature of the committee system.
- Discuss the work that lawmakers perform in committees, and explain the role of committees in the lawmaking process.
- Explain why Congress established committees.
4. Even though the President, as discussed in Chapter 7, has very few constitutionally enumerated powers, the duties of the President have become quite substantial. Include the following:
- Describe the express powers and responsibilities of the President, as provided for in Article II of the Constitution.
- Explain the roles and functions of the President, including head of state, head of government, chief diplomat, commander in chief, and chief legislator.
- Discuss the implied and inherent powers (and roles) of the President.
- Complete your assignment using word-processing software such as MS Word, Open Office (download free software at http://www.openoffice.org/), or other per course requirements.
- Save your file as an .rtf file to ensure that it can be opened at any computer.
- Submit your assignment in the Lessons (three and seven) section of your course site