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Please respond to five of the seven essay questions posted below. You may choose any five you wish, just please number your responses to indicate which response goes with which question. Each response is worth 10 points each, for a total of 50 maximum points on this assignment. DO NOT answer more than five — if you do, only the first five responses will be graded.
Your answers should be short, focused, and complete, ranging from one to three paragraphs (i.e. roughly 150-350 words — this is not a hard floor/limit) for each prompt. Please make sure to answer each specific part of the questions. Successful answers will provide details and context that support your arguments and explain your position to the readers. You may also want to provide real world examples taken from the readings, lectures, discussion sections, or your own independent thinking.
You are expected to write your answers like you would on an in-class exam. That is, these are not research papers. They do not require a formal citation system, and, in fact, you should not directly quote or cite any sources. You should put your answers in your own words and explain your answers as if you are explaining the content to someone not in this class. Your responses should be written in full sentences.
You may take as much time as you wish to complete this assignment before the due date, although answers that earn full credit could easily be completed in an hour or two (for the full exam). You may reference all course materials while working on this assignment, and you may discuss your work with me, your TAs, and your fellow classmates. You may also reference other sources — but everything you need to respond to these prompts is in the course reading and lecture videos — and I would consult these course-provided sources first. Your responses will be fed through Turnitin, and please note that any plagiarism of answers will result in a zero on this assignment for both the student that copied work and the student that was copied from. Your words must be your own. If you have any questions about this, please reach out.
What makes a “good” answer to each prompt that would earn full credit?
Your answers should…
include all parts of the question, as applicable
include an appropriate set and number of examples, if required
clearly demonstrate an understanding of the concepts in the question
not include irrelevant information
be in your own words
not have any major factual errors
represent original work and is not copied from other sources, including other student answers
be written in sentence form
not have major grammatical or spelling errors
be organized and easy to follow
What are the varying goals that shape the behavior of members of Congress? How does the incentive for reelection shape their behavior? How can it lead them to be both individually responsive but collectively irresponsible?
How does Congress organize itself? Make sure and discuss the three different organizational systems we discuss, noting the purpose of each and discussing how well it fulfills its goals. How do the parties use these structures to their advantage? In your opinion, do parties exert too weak or too strong of an influence on Congress? Why?
What are the most important factors that contributed to the rise of presidential power in modern American Government? Discuss each in depth and highlight why/how they contributed to the rise of presidential power, and make sure and discuss the constitutional origins of this expansion. In your opinion, do you view the expansion of the executive as a positive development? Why or why not?
Neustadt & Kernell both describe ways in which a President can deal with Congress & others outside of the executive branch. What are their central arguments? How does Kernell’s theory update Neustadt’s idea? Are they compatible? When do these strategies succeed? When do they fail?
Who controls the bureaucracy? How do they do so? How does this competition affect the bureaucracy? Why and when do elected officials delegate power to the bureaucracy?
How are federal judges chosen for the job? How does this process of selection affect their incentives or strategy while serving on the court? How do federal judges decide cases? Highlight several types of factors that contribute to their rulings and what cases they decide to hear.
Hamilton states “It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power.” Why are the courts often considered the weakest branch? Do you agree? Why or why not? Make sure and discuss how judicial review arises, and how judicial review might change Hamilton’s argument. Why might it do so?