Possible Essay Questions for the Final
Important Information: These are your essay questions for the final. You will have no surprises. There will be 5 essay questions. Your test will be randomized so prepare for all 10 below. Each essay will be worth 30 pts each, so make sure you complete each one thoroughly.
*To receive full credit: Your answers to each essay prompt must be at least 8-10 sentences in length and they must address every part of the prompt.
1. Tyranny of the majority was a major concern for many of our founding fathers. Discuss what it is and address each of the following in your discussion:
1. What is it?
2. What event occurred because of the Articles of Confederation which illustrated the possible threat of tyranny of the majority?
3. What did James Madison argue about tyranny of the majority?
4. How did it impact the composition and function of our federal government? (Give specific examples of safeguards in our government that still exist today)
2. Part 1: What happened in the Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education and the Slaughterhouse cases? What precedents did each set and how did Brown impact Plessy?
Part 2: Explain what is meant by de facto discrimination and de jure discrimination. Include the following topics in your discussion:
1. Strict scrutiny
2. Jim Crow laws
3. The Little Rock 9
3. We have three branches of government at the federal level. Discuss these branches and in your discussion answer each of the following:
1. What is the role of each one and how do they check each other’s powers?
2. How are they balanced?
3. Also, which one used a legal case to give itself powers that are not written explicitly in the Constitution?
4. Explain who and what case is responsible for this and what the decision was?
5. Are there limits on that power?
4. Choose two groups that had to struggle for civil rights and civil liberties. Discuss how they pursued equality and liberty. Your discussion must include:
1. Any relevant events or amendments (be specific)
2. What role did Congress and/or the president play?
3. The role the courts played in the process (be specific)
5. (Part 1) What is federalism? Discuss the March to Montgomery and how the situation illustrates federalism.
(Part 2) Explain dual (layer cake) federalism and cooperative (marble cake) federalism. Provide real-world examples of each. Your discussion must include information on the New Deal, the Supremacy Clause, and the Commerce clause
6. (Part 1) Why were the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution? Who did they protect and from whom? Do they currently restrict or protect corporations and private entities?
(Part 2) Discuss what is meant by incorporation and selective incorporation doctrine and what amendment is involved in the doctrine. Address each of the following as well:
1. How did the court interpret the amendment and what impact has this had on the states and application of the Bill of Rights?
2. How has incorporation affected the balance of federalism?
7. Discuss the role of political parties in our system. Address each of the following:
1. What role do parties play in the election process?
2. What are party conventions and how do they impact the presidential race?
3. What is a closed primary and how does party impact it?
4. What is an open primary?
5. In the Senate and the House, what are the impacts of parties on organization, voting, committee appointments, and decision-making practices?
8. (Part 1) Interest groups are an important part of the American political process. What are they and what are Super PACs or PACs? How do they impact our government? Please discuss at least three pros and at least three cons of interest group participation in government. Explain why these are pros and cons.
(Part 2) What was the decision in Citizens v. United and how has it impacted interest groups and their role in the political process? What act did it address?
9. Political ideology is shaped by many factors in society. Name and discuss in detail at least 4 factors that can influence political ideology. In addition to your chosen 4, discuss how media, social media, and alternative media can shape political ideology. In this discussion, be sure to explain what polarization and rational discourse are and how they are impacted by media, social media, and alternative media. How does this affect the political process and the diversity of ideas?
10. (Part 1) Our first system of government was under the Articles of Confederation. How did it organize the American government? Were there problems with it and why?
(Part 2) What are the benchmarks of democracy? Define each one and, then, assess whether the government under the Articles of Confederation either met or did not meet each benchmark. Provide a clear, convincing argument with relevant examples.