What forces influenced the expansion of voting rights

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1. Describe the expansion of suffrage in the United States since the Founding. Why might the government have denied participation to so many for so long? What forces influenced the expansion of voting rights? Describe and give examples of some forms of political participation that do not directly involve the electoral process. Who is most likely to employ what forms of participation and why? Be sure to examine issues associated with voter mobilization and the rise of “checkbook democracy.”

2. Many political scientists have argued that the decline in political parties is detrimental to American politics. What are some reasons that strong parties are important for maintaining American political values? What are some of the ways in which parties may be strengthened? Given the structure of politics today, why is it difficult to maintain responsible party government?

3. Elections are ultimately about the voters’ decisions. Describe some of the factors that influence voters’ decisions. Describe the role of money in campaigns. Some questions to consider: How is money regulated? What kind of constitutional protections do campaign donations and spending receive? How has the federal government tried to limit spending? What has been the influence of soft money? Be sure to discuss Citizens United.

4. A dilemma is presented by the values of liberty and equality in regard to interest-group activity. On the one hand, individuals should have the liberty to organize themselves politically in order to express their views. On the other hand, there is a strong class bias in the politics of organized interests. Analyze the theory of pluralism. What are some of the pluralists’ presumptions concerning the role of interests and factions in American politics? How did James Madison suggest factions be dealt with? What are some contemporary criticisms of pluralism?

5. Describe some of the different ways members of Congress can represent the American people. What are the principles behind sociological and agency representation? What are some examples of each type? Describe the difference between a trustee and a delegate. Which type of representation do you believe is the best? Describe the electoral connection in Congress. Describe some examples of constituency service. What are some of the ways a member of Congress can directly aid their state or district? What effect do incumbency and redistricting have in the makeup of Congress?

6. Presidents have constitutional, institutional, and political sources of power. Which of the three do you think most accounts for the powers of the presidency? Is it, in fact, possible to discern among these the true source of presidential power? Furthermore, analyze the fact that the office of the president has undergone many changes since the Founding era. Describe the evolution of the presidency. How does the presidency of the twenty-first century differ from that of the nineteenth century? How have relations with Congress changed? What are the president’s delegated powers?

7. Often the efficiency of public bureaucracies is judged in terms of the efficiency of private business and other organizations. In many instances, government has been expected to do things that businesses in the marketplace have chosen not to do or have found unprofitable. Might the tasks that government is asked to perform be more prone to inefficiency? Think about the ways in which business might be able to perform some tasks that government currently performs. Would business necessarily perform these tasks more efficiently? Should efficiency be the only priority in the public enterprise?

8. In many ways, courts are expected to be apolitical institutions of government. In what ways are courts, judges, and justices shielded from politics and political pressure? In what ways are they vulnerable to political pressure? Are the courts an appropriate place for politics? What is the danger of having too much or too little political accountability in judicial decision-making? Be sure to address issues associated with judicial review. Give some examples of notable uses of judicial review in Supreme Court history.

Reference no: EM13978558

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