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Survey of United States Constitution and Government Essay Sample

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Survey of United States Constitution and Government Essay Sample

Chapter 1
1. What is sovereignty and how is it threatened in our globalized world?
2. What are the fundamental values of American democracy? How are these values show in the two dilemmas of government?
3. How do equality of opportunity, equality of outcome, and political equality differ? Provide examples.
4. What are the major purposes of government? Which is most controversial?
5. Using Figure 1.1 fill out the following chart:
Political Theories:


Correspond to which
Economic Theory?
-Define the Economic


Corresponds to
which political
label in the U.S.?
Not applicable.




Not applicable.

6. Using Figure 1.2 concisely state the differences between libertarianism, conservative, communitarian, & liberal views on Freedom, Order, Equality, & Government. Which values are seen as most important? Least important? What role should government play to protect those values? ​

(*Chart will expand as you type in it.)




7. How do the terms ​ libertarianism, liberalism, and liberals​ differ?
-In what ways are these terms similar?
Chapter 2
1. What are the types of ‘Direct Democracy’?
2. What is ‘Indirect Democracy’ or Representative Democracy?
3. What are the basic concepts of Majoritarian democracy (Majoritarianism)?
4. What are the basic concepts of Pluralist democracy (Pluralism)?

5. How does “Elite Theory” differ from the Majoritarian and Pluralist models? Chapter 3

*When you are logged into the Learning Resource, please review the Interactive Timeline, The Constitution: The American Revolution and the Nation’s Constitution.

1. Explain Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on unalienable rights and the Social Contract Theory as found in the Declaration of Independence.
-How was Thomas Jefferson influenced by John Locke?
2. What is the relationship between the right to vote, popular sovereignty and Republicanism (or a republic)?
3. What were the political and economic weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation? -How did trade wars and events like Shay’s rebellion expose some of these weaknesses?
4. How may the failure of the Articles of Confederation be seen as giving rise to the U.S. Constitution?

5. Explain the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan as well as key differences. How were those differences resolved in the Great Compromise?
-Virginia Plan
-New Jersey Plan
-Great Compromise
6. What are the four elements that form the foundation of the American political tradition in the Preamble of U.S. Constitution?
7. What are the four basic principles of the U. S. Constitution and in which Articles/sections & Amendments are they located?
-Separation of Powers
-Checks & Balances
8. How do checks and balances work? ​
*Also learn the ​ Checks and Balances Chart​
9. Specifically, what three powers are being separated in the principle of ‘separation of powers’? 10. Explain the main ideas in each of the seven Articles of the U.S. Constitution? -Article I
-Article II
-Article III
-Article IV
-Article V
-Article VI
-Article VII
11. What is the ‘Necessary and Proper Clause’ (or ‘Elastic Clause’) in Article I of the Constitution? -How does it allow “implied powers”?

12. Explain the main arguments between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
13. What are the core arguments in the ​
Federalist Papers #10 ​
? [Optional: Read the
Federalist Papers using links in the learning resource]
-Federalist #10
-Federalist #51
14. What persuaded the Anti-Federalists to drop their opposition to the U.S. Constitution? -What role did George Washington play in resolving the Federalist/Anti-Federalist opposition? 15. How long did it take for the Bill of Rights to be ratified? 16. How was the U.S. Constitution ratified?

17. What is the Formal Amendment Process?
To test your knowledge of the Constitution, stay logged into the Learning Resource and take the Primary Source Activity: The Constitution.
Chapter 4
1. Identify the Article & section, or Amendment number, and explain the following Clauses in the U.S. Constitution:
-The Supremacy Clause
-Full Faith and Credit Clause
-Interstate Commerce Clause
-Privileges and Immunities Clause
2. Fill out the following Chart.
Explain this kind
of Power.

Where is this power located in the
U.S. Constitution?​
List Article,
Section or Amendment.

List examples of each power:

Which level of government (Federal or State) has this power?

Implied Powers
(or Elastic
3. How do the ‘Supremacy Clause,’ ‘Enumerated Powers,’ ‘Reserved Powers,’ and the ‘Full Faith and Credit Clause’ establish Federalism?
4. What is the difference between Dual Federalism and Cooperative Federalism? 5. What kinds of events and forces have played a role in expanding the power of the Federal Government relative to the States?

6. How does the decision in the Supreme Court case ​ McCullough v. Maryland​ illustrate the powers associated with ‘Necessary and Proper’ Clause (or Elastic Clause)? 7. How does the Federal Government use grants-in-aid, mandates, and preemption to force the policy choices of State and Local Governments?

8. What is Coercive Federalism?
9. Explain the different types of local governments.

Chapter 5
1. How does public opinion affect politics and policymaking? Should it? 2. How do Majoritarianism and Pluralism disagree on the role of public opinion? -Majoritarianism believes:
-Pluralism/Pluralist believe:
3. What is political socialization?
-What are the key principles?
-Who are the key agents in this process?
4. Explain how social and economic groups relate to different ideologies and public opinions on major issues, as well as their general political participation. Social and Economic
Women Men Race:
White Caucasian (or
Non-Latino Whites) African-American Native-Americans Ethnicity: Hispanic (including
Latinos) Education Levels:
Highest (Ph.D.) Bachelor/Masters Low (High School or less)
Income Levels:
High Low Religions:
Jews Catholics Protestants Non-religious –

Ideology & Public Opinions
Conservative, Liberal, etc. on major

Political Participation
How group generally votes &
political party preference?

What media format do most Americans currently use to get the news? What are the main consequences of private ownership of the Media? Identify the ways in which the Government regulates the Media. What are the functions of the Media in politics and government? How does the Media influence citizens’ political knowledge and ideology? Is there a liberal or conservative Media bias?

Does the Media advance freedom, order or equality?

Chapter 7
1. What distinguishes conventional participation from unconventional political participation? 2. What major constitutional amendments expanded the rights of suffrage in the United States? -How does the expansion of suffrage in the U.S compare with other nations? 3. How does voter turnout in the United States compare to other countries? 4. What is meant by the “standard socioeconomic model” (SES) for explaining political participation?

5. Given the high level of education in the United States does actual voting turnout align to what the standard socio economic model would predict?
6. In your opinion how can political participation both help and undermine order? Chapter 8
1. How does a political party differ from an interest group? 2. What are the major functions of political parties?
3. Identify the major eras in the development of U.S. political parties. What were key events in each phase?
4. Explain why America has a Two-Party System.
5. What is party identification?
-How has it changed over time?
6. What are the major differences between Democratic and Republican Party platforms with respect to freedom, order and equality?
-Democratic Party
-Republican Party
7. Do the two major American political parties fulfill the principles in the Model of Responsible Party Government?
8. (Optional) Explain the organizational structure of political parties. Chapter 9
1. Explain the steps to be elected to Congress (the Senate & House of Representatives). 2. What are the current steps in nominating and electing a president? 3. What are “battleground states” in presidential elections and why are they important? 4. Explain how the Electoral College facilitates a ​

election of the President.
5. Explain how the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the ​Citizens United​ case led to increasedspending in federal election campaigns.
6. What are three basic campaign strategies candidates can use to win elections? 7. What are “battleground states” or “Swing States” in presidential elections and why are they important?

8. What factors influence voter choices?
Chapter 10
1. What are the different kinds of Interest Groups in our political system? 2. Explain these five functions of Interest Groups:
-Agenda Building
-Program Monitoring
3. Who is likely to join an Interest Group and what benefits will they receive? 4. Identify several strategies and tactics used by Interest Groups to influence the policymaking process.
5. What are the laws that regulate Interest Groups?
6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Interest Groups? Chapter 11
1. Which Article in the U.S. Constitution establishes the Legislative Branch? 2. Where​
are the ‘Enumerated’ and ‘Implied’ Powers of Congress located? -​
What​ are ‘Enumerated’ and ‘Implied’ Powers?
3. Why did the Founders create a bicameral Congress (bicameralism)? 4. What are the duties of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and the differences between these two Chambers?

Duties of U.S. Senate
‘Advice & Consent’

Duties of House of Representatives

-Terms of Office
-District Areas
-Floor debate & rules
5. What is the difference between redistricting, reapportionment, gerrymandering, and racial gerrymandering?
6. What are the basic steps to make new laws? (​Or what is the Legislative Process?​)
-What is the role of conflict, compromise, and deliberation in this Process? 7. What is the function of Committees?
-Why are they important for Elected Officials and the Legislative Process? 8. Who are the leaders in the House of Representatives & the U.S. Senate? What are their powers?
9. What is ‘Divided Government’?
-How is ‘Gridlock’ related to Divided Government?
-What are the political implications of Divided Government and Gridlock?
Chapter 12

1. What are the formal powers explicitly granted to the President in Article II of the U.S. Constitution?
2. Describe how Congress (both chambers together) and the Senate acts as a check and a balance against the power of the President.
3. What does Article II, Sections 2 & 3 say about the bureaucracy? 4. What are historical examples of Executive Orders and Executive Privilege? 5. Who are in the President’s Cabinet and the Executive Office of the President? 6. What are the powers of the Vice-President?

7. What is the ‘Power to Persuade’?
-How does it affect presidential job performance?
8. Explain the following roles the President has:
-Chief Executive
-Head of State
-World Leader
-Legislative Role
-Political Party Leader
-Commander in Chief
-How did these roles ‘evolve’ historically?
Chapter 13
1. What are the primary functions of government bureaucracies? 2. What are the characteristics of any bureaucracy?
3. Why has the Federal Government bureaucracy grown?
4. What are the different types of bureaucracies? Give examples of each. -Cabinet Departments
-Independent Agency
-Regulatory Commission
-Government Corporation
5. How do the President and Congress control the Bureaucracy? 6. Why & how is administrative discretion used by the bureaucracy? 7. What is the Rule Making Process?
8. What are these different bureaucratic reforms?
-Civil Service
-Performance Standards

Chapter 14
1. Which Article in the U.S. Constitution creates a Supreme Court and delegates the power for creating the rest of the national court system to Congress?
2. What is the power of Judicial Review?
-Where did it come from?
-How might Judicial Review give the SCOTUS power ​ over​
the other Branches?
3. Compare the structure of the federal judicial system to State Governments’ judicial systems. 4. Explain these two powers of the Supreme Court:
-Original Jurisdiction
-Appellate Jurisdiction

What are the steps in the Decision-making Process of SCOTUS? How important is ​ precedent​ or ​ stare decisis​ in judicial decisions?

What is Judicial Activism versus Judicial Restraint?
Describe the Supreme Court’s nomination process. Or how is a new Supreme Court Justice seated onto the SCOTUS?
-What are the ‘checks & balances’ exercised by the President and Senate?

Chapter 15
1. How do civil liberties differ from civil rights as they relate to the role of the government? -What are ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ rights?
2. Identify each Amendment & its rights found in the Bill of Rights & specify whether each is a civil liberty or civil right.
The Bill of RightsAmendments to Constitution

Main Ideas in Each


Not applicable.
3. Explain the main ideas in the following Supreme Court cases on the 1​ Amendment:
-Lemon v. Kurtzman​(​Lemon​Test)
-Sherbert v. Verner​
(Strict Scrutiny or ​Sherbert​ Test)
-Tinker v Des Moines
-Symbolic Speech
-Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
4. Explain the main ideas and legal standards from these Supreme Court cases: -District of Columbia v. Heller
-(Optional) ​
McDonald v. Chicago
-Mapp v. Ohio
-Miranda v. Arizona th​
5. How is ‘due process’ in the 14​
Amendment applied to State laws and Civil Rights?
6. What is the USA Patriot Act? How does that impact civil liberties?

7. What is the ‘right to privacy?’
-How was it created out of the Bill of Rights?
8. Explain the main ideas and legal standards from these related Supreme Court cases: -​
Griswold v Connecticut
-Roe v. Wade
-(Optional) ​
Lawrence v. Texas
Chapter 16
1. Explain the following Supreme Court decisions that dismantled school segregation and their significance. Also, how does each of the following ​expand​ or ​ limit​ civil rights?
-Dred Scott​
v. Sanford

-Plessy v. Ferguson
-Brown v. Board of Education I & I
-Regents of the University of California v Bakke th​
2. Explain the major ideas of the 14​
3. Compare ​
de facto​
and ​ de jure​ segregation.

-How do these concepts relate to Due Process in the 14​
4. Explain these key figures and laws from the Civil Rights Movement. -Rosa Parks
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
-Civil Rights Act of 1964
-Voting Rights Act of 1965
5. How have the following groups struggled throughout U.S. history to achieve their civil rights under the law?
-Native Americans
-Disabled Americans
-Homosexual Americans
6. Explain how women gained their civil rights, as well as current Women’s Rights issues. -19th Amendment
-Equal Rights Amendment
-Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act/comparable worth:

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