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GOVT 2305 | Federal Government

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Your assignment requires you to research information on a particular topic that deals with federal government and politics. For your paper, you will need to use a variety of resources, including books and articles from online databases.

If you need help, please ask a reference librarian.

Topic 1: Would the U.S. be a better country if more people voted? Why or why not?  In a multi-paragraph essay, discuss whether or not you think the U.S. would be better off it more people voted. Use class materials, readings, and research to support your discussion.

Suggested Keywords: voter turnout - direct democracy - political participation

Topic 2: Compare the structure of government under the Articles of Confederation to the structure under the U.S. Constitution. Which government is more democratic, and why? In a multi-paragraph essay, contrast the structure of government under the U.S. Constitution, and discuss how Confederation with the structure of government under the U.S. Constitution, and discuss how they relate to the principles of democracy.

Suggested Keywords: "articles of confederation" - articles of confederation AND constitution - articles of confederation AND democracy

Topic 3: Describe the Right to Privacy. Where is it found? How was it developed? Should it be explicitly included in the U.S. Constitution? Why or why not?  In a multi-paragraph essay, discuss the development of the Right to Privacy and whether it should be explicitly included in the U.S. Constitution.

Suggested Keywords: right to privacy - privacy AND constitution - privacy AND origins

Topic 4: Differences between the concepts of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights can be exemplified using the U.S. Constitution, court cases, and legislation. In a multi-paragraph essay, discuss specific examples that demonstrate the differences between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.

Suggested Keywords: "civil liberties" AND "civil rights" - case analysis - case study

Topic 5: Not all speech is treated equally. Describe the different kinds of speech and discuss which forms receive the highest (and lowest) levels of constitutional protection. Why is some protection for freedom of speech essential in a democracy?

Suggested Keywords: free speech - speech AND democracy - free speech AND constitution

Topic 6: Describe the history of legalized racial discrimination in the United States since the end of the Civil War. In particular, define and give some examples of Jim Crow laws. What was the Fourteenth Amendment intended to accomplish, and how did the Supreme Court justices limit its protections in the late nineteenth century?                                                    

Suggested Keywords: Jim Crow - legal discrimination - fourteenth amendment

Topic 7: The term equality has several dimensions: political, social, and economic. What sort of political equality exists in the United States? Where do we fail to provide equality? How much social equality do we have? How much should we have? How much economic equality should exist?

Suggested Keywords: political equality - legal equality - economic equality - legal inequality

Topic 8: Most of the democratic countries of the world have abolished capital punishment. Indeed, it was only recently (2005) that the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to sentence a person to death for a crime he or she committed while younger than 18. For older offenders, however, the United States continues to execute convicted criminals. Why is capital punishment still practiced in this nation? If other countries had America’s crime rate, would their citizens support capital punishment? Should we draw the line according to age or severity of the crime?

Suggested Keywords: capital punishment - death penalty - capital punishment AND age - capital punishment AND popular support

Topic 9: Vaping Scenario Shows How the 4th Amendment Applies at School A student walks to class carrying a backpack concealing e-cigarettes and vaping pods that are illegal for minors to possess and prohibited on campus. What are the student’s constitutional rights when a teacher demands to search the backpack?

Suggested Keywords: student rights - minor privacy - underage rights - public school AND privacy


Why should you use books? 

  • Free: Info that's true and verifiable (and that your professor will accept!) isn't easy to find for free on the internet. Even Google Scholar just shows you things behind paywalls. Library books are free!
  • Big Picture: Books can give you a detailed analysis of a topic touching on many sides of an issue, so you can use one book as a source instead of looking for several articles
  • Accessibility: Will provide background information and explain basic concepts and terms

San Jacinto College Library Catalog

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If you're off campus, you'll have to log in with your student ID number.

The American Political Science Association (APSA) uses a "light version" of the Chicago Manual of Style citation system that doesn't use footnotes.

Click on the file below to open a PDF that will walk you through how to cite some of the most common sources in APSA. If you need help, email| Central Library: 281-476-1850 | Generation Park Campus: 281-998-6150 x8133 | North Library: 281-459-7116 | South Library: 281-998-6150 ext. 3306