This is a short writing assignment. It is a position paper, so there is no right or wrong answer, although the essay is evaluated for thoughtful consideration of the topics covered in this section of the course (Public Opinion, The Media, Civil Liberties, Government and the Economy, Social Policy, and finally, Foreign Policy and Democracy). Students should choose one of the following questions to answer for their essay, first by asserting a position (5 pts.); and second, arguing why the position is the correct one (5 pts.). Nonetheless, the essay must incorporate at least two references from the respective chapter in the Morone and Kersh textbook that pertains to the question selected (2 x 10 pts.).
The purpose of this assignment is for students to reflect on one of the topics discussed in class during this period. Introducing evidence into the essay to back up the position is ideal, but not entirely necessary. In any case, some thoughtful reflection or perhaps some rhetorical reasoning is required in the essay to be persuasive. The following questions are broad, but this is on purpose. Students might want to consider bringing in specifics to narrow their discussion.
1. Some political leaders are more concerned with public opinion than others. Some elected officials lean more heavily on their own judgment rather than popular sentiment. Which do you believe is more appropriate in a democracy? Why or why not?
2. WikiLeaks posted secret government documents online. Does the public have a right to have this information since the public funds government? Or should publishing state secrets be a crime? Why or why not?
3. Would you support some limitations on some civil liberties (such as freedom of speech and freedom of from searches and seizures) if limits on these liberties may decrease the likelihood of a terrorist threat, or if such limits will increase security? Why or why not?
4. Tax reform is on Congress’ agenda. Should the U.S. have a tax system that is regressive (where higher earners pay lower nominal tax rates), or a flat tax system (where all earners pay the same nominal tax rates), or a progressive tax system (where higher earners pay relatively higher nominal tax rates)? Support your argument.
5. How should the federal government reform how families and students pay for their college education so that it is more equitable and affordable?
6. In your view, what do you consider the biggest foreign policy concern to American national interests: terrorist threats, the rise of economic rivals that could threaten the U.S.’s economic competitiveness, or cyberattacks by foreign governments or non-state entities that could undermine U.S. national security?
Also, when composing the document, use these guidelines:
* Students’ papers should be 500 to 600 words long, but no more than two pages, double-spaced (5 pts).
* Use 12-point (1 pt.) Times New Roman font (1 pt.).
* Measure margins 1” from the left, right, top, and bottom of the page (1 pt.), and justified to the left (1pt.).
* Electronically submit the paper as a Word document (5 pts.) under the class’s course menu in the Assignments link in WebCampus by 11:59 pm on the day its due.
The essay should be well written using appropriate paragraphing, complete sentences, proper grammar, punctuation and syntax, and contain no spelling errors. In other words, proofread the essay before submitting it (6 pts).
Late assignment submissions are strongly discouraged. A two-point penalty is assessed for each additional day a paper is late.
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