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Is America’s brand of democracy easily exported? Why or why not?
America's brand of democracy is normally easy to export. Most of the influences are transferred through film, diplomacy and general collaboration in military affairs.
Political scientists note that ideologies perform four key functions. After discussing each function, decide and explain which most affects your own ideology.
Explanation- ideologies can provide us with reasons for why social and political conditions are the way they are, especially in times of crisis. Evaluation- they can provide us with standards for evaluating social conditions and political institutions and events.
Orientation- provides us a sense of identity, much like compasses. Political Program- Ideologies help people to make political choices and guide their political actions.
Discuss why the labels of “conservative” and “liberal” may be misleading.
"Liberal" was once an honorable word to describe those who put "liberty" first. Over the course of the twentieth century in America, it flip-flopped into a term for those who would gladly trade liberty for a mess of pottage from the State. "Conservative" is sometimes used to describe one who wants to preserve the status quo and at other times, to describe one who wants to restore a limited role for government (at least in most economic matters), which today can hardly be a status quo posture.
Explain the process for amending the Constitution.
The constitution is officially amended if both houses of the legislative branch (the House of Representatives and the Senate) approve by at least a 2/3 majority in each.
Explain what inspired the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
The expressed purpose of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was to revise the Articles of Confederation. The idea of the Articles being "a loose confederation of states" as opposed to a national union was proving to be a challenge. Different states had different laws, making it so that moving from one state to another was akin to going to a different nation. Shay’s Rebellion was the final straw that caused the government to decide that their systems in the states needed to be more uniform.
Describe Article III of the Constitution.
Article 3 of the United States Constitution is the section that creates the judicial branch in the United States. The Judicial branch is the system of courts that look at the law and applies it to different cases. In the United States, the judicial branch of the federal government includes the United States Supreme Court and all the lower courts that are created by Congress.
Describe the system of checks and balances created by the Framers.
This is possible by design and a result of the Separation of Powers. That system of checks and balances incorporates the need for agreement and compromise between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
Explain the informal methods of amending the Constitution and why such methods are useful given the structure of the Constitution itself.
Judicial interpretation: federal courts have the power to nullify acts of the nation's govt when the courts found such acts to conflict with the Constitution. Social and Cultural change: these changes can cause alterations in the way the govt institutions act. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Technological change: these changes have led our political institutions to expand into other areas. For example, the creation of a social security system, medical technology, etc.
Compare and contrast the legislatures established by the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation.
The Articles of Confederation created a weak central government. The Constitution created a strong central government. The Articles did not create an executive branch. Congress was a unicameral legislature. There was no federal court system under the Articles. Congress could not enforce the laws nor levy and collect taxes without the approval of the states, under the Articles. A major weakness under the Articles was its lack of power to regulate trade between the states and with foreign nations.
Why are checks and balances important to the U.S. Constitution?
The idea was that no one person, or one agency of govt., had the right to just run everything. Our founders saw that as at least the beginning of tyranny. So they set up the govt. with three branches. All three branches had roughly equivalent powers, and any big thing--passing a law, spending money, etc--would take the cooperation of at least two branches, so no one branch would have too much power.
Explain the basic structure of the U.S. Constitution.
A preamble simply explaining the intention of the drafters; 7 articles, three of which describe the structure of the government created, and four "housekeeping" articles describing the adoption process, the amendment process, and the transition from the former government to the new one.
How do block grants differ from categorical grants?
Block grants are made for more generalized governmental functions such as public assistance, health services, child care, or community development.
Categorical grants are made for specific purposes; hence, the term "categorical"
Define unfunded mandates. Why are unfunded mandates problematic?
No national funds provided. Increases minimum wage that apply to all state and local employees.
Framers feared that a single interest group might capture the national government and suppress the interest of others but federalism diffused that fear with its power.
Describe the evolution of federalism over the course of American history. Provide specific social/policy developments or Supreme Court decisions for each evolutionary step.
Explain how the federal government uses federal funding to indirectly impose its will upon the states.
when states first started raising the speed limits on their highways the Feds would hold back funds for road maintenance and new roads
Discuss the development of hate speech as an unprotected speech form.
it is when a speech is unpopular or offensive, and is constitutionally protected when it concerns public issues.
Explain what selective incorporation is consistent with larger themes in federalism.
altered the relationship between national government and states by giving the national government more power which made the balance of federalism between states and government unbalanced.
its 3 tests of any religion-related law. must have some non-religious legal purpose. must not promote practice of religion. must not make laws associated with religion
What are the historical roots of the right to bear arms?
Most colonies required their men to defend their settlements against Indians and European power. Viewed as a way to protect their liberty and keep order
Why is freedom of the press essential to democracy?
Free press and the freedom of speech are essential because democracy is founded on the idea of equality, and everyone being able to have a say in politics. If there was no free press, then the public would get a distorted view of events, and those in power could manipulate ideas in their favor, and essentially control the power.
until 1963, defendants who couldn't afford an attorney to represent them were left to defend themselves, but when Gideon couldn't afford his attorney and they did not assign him one, he wrote a petition and showed the US supreme court.
Why did the Supreme Court briefly end capital punishment in 1972?
The court ruled that the death penalty does not violate the constitution, but the manner of its application in many states. The courts thought that capital punishment was imposed in a discriminatory way (towards other races)
Explain the difference between libel and slander.
Libel is a written defamatory statement, and slander is a spoken or oral defamatory statement.
How does the clear and present danger test operate?
the government could get people in trouble and restrict speech only if presented with an immediate danger
Is the right to privacy in the Constitution?
Isn’t directly mentioned, but US court held it that it is a fundamental liberty deserving protection because privacy is implied
How did Miranda v. Arizona change the way law enforcement treated criminal defendants?
A convicted person has a right to remain silent, that any statements they make may be used as evidence against them, and that they have a right to the presence of an attorney
According to the Supreme Court decisions in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and the two University of Michigan cases noted in the chapter, what sorts of affirmative action programs for admission to public universities are permissible, and what sorts are not?
Not: point systems, quotas
Yes: taking race/ethnicity into account in order to give those discriminated against more opportunities
What are civil rights? How did the concept of equality get introduced into the Constitution, and how has that concept been used in the struggle for civil rights for various groups? Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so important in furthering civil rights for all groups?
Civil Rights: the rights of all people to be free from discrimination Natural Rights: rights of all people to dignity and worth. Constitution protects them by ensuring government officials don’t discriminate
What was the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy? What was the penalty for a soldier who violated this policy? Why was it implemented? What is the current status of the policy?
Prevented the armed forces from inquiring about the sexual orientation of their members, while restoring their right to remove known homosexuals from service. If they violated the policy, they would be discharged from service. It was implemented to uphold the standard of hardwork, dedication, and uniformity in the US Army and it was repealed in 2010 by Barrack Obama.
What was Reconstruction? How did its ending open the door for the adoption of Jim Crow laws?
Reconstruction generally refers to the period in United States history immediately following the Civil War in which the federal government set the conditions that would allow the rebellious Southern states back into the Union. When reconstruction ended in 1877, national troops were no longer available to guard polling places and to prevent whites from excluding black voters, and southern states quickly moved to limit African Americans access to the ballot.
Describe the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Why were they necessary, given that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were enacted decades beforehand?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 "outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Originally conceived to protect the rights of black males, the bill was amended to protect the civil rights of everyone in the United States, and stipulated in no uncertain terms that women (of all races) were to be afforded the same protection. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated various devices, such as literacy tests, that had traditionally been used to restrict voting by black people.
Compare and contrast the use of nonviolent protest (also known as civil disobedience) and litigation during the civil rights movement. Which was more successful and why?
Nonviolent- deliberate refusal to obey the law or comply with orders of public officials.
Litigation- strategy that would first target segregation in professional graduate education. Civil disobedience, because people obey the laws in a proper manor, less chance of violence to occur.
What are grandfather clauses, and why were they enacted?
Voter qualification provision in many southern states that allowed only those citizens whose grandfathers had voted before Reconstruction to vote unless they passed a wealth or literacy test.
Describe the balance of power between the three branches of government as intended by the Framers of the Constitution.
Separation of powers divides power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as distinct departments of American national government.
Explain the roles of committee chairs in the House and Senate. Pay particular attention to their selection, responsibilities, and privileges.
the primary privilege of being the Chair Committee is the ability to set the agenda. they determine which legislation will be brought up for consideration and/or passage, as well as which topics will receive Congressional attention in the form of informative hearings. They have (1) the ability to determine who from their party will be on their Committee (they have a large say, though possibly not final); (2) the ability to produce a "Chairman's mark" of any legislation the Committee considers, which can generally be used to render changes made to bills by Subcommittees pointless, as well as to remove and/or add provisions the Chairman doesn't or does like; and (3) the ability to reward or punish Committee members in various manners.
What special oversight function does the Senate have with respect to presidential appointments? How does this affect the president?
The Senate plays a special oversight function through its ability to confirm key members of the executive branch, as well as presidential appointments to the federal courts. Senators often have considerable say in the nomination of judges from their states through senatorial courtesy, a process by which presidents generally defer to the senators who represent the state where the vacancy occurs.
Outline the main steps a bill takes to become a law, noting the differences between the House and Senate. Why it is so much easier for a bill to be killed than passed?
The bill must go through a careful prescribed process in both the House of Representatives and the senate in order to be enacted into law. After bill is passed both the houses, differences must be reconciled and the proposed legislation must meet with the president approval. As a result, many bills are introduced but few actually become laws.
Congress has three broad mandates: make laws, control the budget, and oversee the executive branch. List the main features of the oversight function. How does oversight tie into Congress's other mandates?
Congress's oversight authority derives from its "implied" powers in the Constitution, public laws, and House and Senate rules
Political parties have a significant impact on the functioning of Congress. How does being in the majority benefit a party? How has party voting changed over the last several decades? Is this change a good thing? Why or why not?
The Senate and House vote to elect their moderators, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Not surprisingly, these votes are entirely along party lines, so they are always members of the majority party. They moderate the debate, so they can call on people from their own parties and even refuse to recognize people of the other party. They also vote on committee chairmanships, so the chairmen of all the committees are usually of the majority party.
Analyze the major factors that influence how members of Congress make decisions. Why do Congress members vote in conformity with their constituents’ prevailing opinions about two-thirds of the time? Compare and contrast models of representation in your response.
Political parties, staff, the President, and constituents. Conforming with their constituents can help their chances of reelection. Trustee is obligated to consider views of their constituents, but not required to vote according to those views. Delegate is expected to subordinate their views to the majority opinion of their constituents. Politico can be a trustee or a delegate, depending on the issue.
Evaluate the evolution of the system of legislative oversight. How has the balance of power shifted between Congress and the executive branch?
Legislative oversight is the process of monitoring the bureaucracy and its administration of policy. It Appointing conference committees to investigate the actions of the bureaucracy, Determining the federal budget, and Holding hearings to question agency officials. The way the balance of power has shifted is that In early america the president was more powerful than congress.
Explain how presidents can check judicial power.
1. Presidents can nominate activist/ strict constructionist judges or judges with the same ideology 2. Use bully pulpit against judges (media) 3. Issue directives 4. Use Justice Department... sidestep what the courts might request, differing methods of enforcement
What is a veto? Can a veto be overridden?
a constitutional right to reject a decision or proposal made by a law-making body. It can be overridden by 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress.
Describe the informal powers of the president.
The power to go public, power of persuasion, make executive agreements, issue executive orders, issue signing statements, create & use bureaucracy, personality and leadership, and make legislative proposals.
What factors contribute to president’s public approval? Historically, what is the trend? What can impact approval ratings?
Roosevelt really started this when he began speaking over the radio, news reel, tv, etc. this helped gain the support of the people. That has trended to now Obama can tweet or facebook information. All of this can really help his support
Describe the role of the president as commander in chief. Include what limitations the president has in this role.
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.
How has the role of the vice presidency changed over time?
The way they have been appointed. They were appointed to balance out the political sides. Not often were they appointed in the idea that if anything were to happen to the president that they would take the role of the president.
What situation was the Twenty-Fifth Amendment enacted to address? Discuss whether or not you think there are any concerns with this amendment.
After Kennedy was assassinated, LBJ took office. This was slightly concerning, as he had already suffered a heart attack once in his life. They adopted the 25th amendment in order to have a plan.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, “The President, Vice President, and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and Misdemeanors.” Explain what this means. What would your criteria be for impeachment?
Impeachment is the constitutionally specified means by which an official of the executive or judicial branch may be removed from office for misconduct.
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