Academic Master

Laws and International Laws

Potential Free-Response Questions

Federalism has evolved over time because the system created by the Constitution is dynamic. Explain why the Founders created a federal system and thus rejected unitary or confederal ones. Why did federal power expand in the 20th century? How is “new federalism” a reaction to the growth of the federal government?

The founding fathers preferred federalism to confederation because, upon testing, they realised that confederation resulted in a weak government that didn’t do what was needed of them. Also, federalism has an advantage over the unitary system in that unitary government involves all the power given to the central government, causing mistrust among the citizens. Also, federalism provides an avenue to avoid tyranny by splitting the power between states and central government so that none is more powerful than the other.

During the Civil War, under the threat of several challenges threatened the existence of the Union, and Abraham Lincoln had to expand the reach of the government to deal with these challenges. It expanded the Constitution not only to protect the citizens’ rights but also to provide economic security and anti-trust laws such as the Sherman Anti-trust Act and the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government, through the Federal Reserve, controls the national economy.

The “new federalism” is a product of the previous federal government that was established in order to help cut taxes, trim subduing, and reduce the influence Washington has on states significantly. Therefore, reducing the size and influence of the federal government will help provide efficiency, hence creating the “new federalism.” Also, there has been mistrust of the federal government, as shown by the opinion that people have more confidence in the state and local government, creating the “new federalism.”

A professional press developed in the United States in the early 20th century. Identify the components of a professional press. How does a professional press play a role as a watchdog? In your response, make sure to discuss one example of the press playing this role.

There are certain aspects that make a professional press stand out, including a compelling headline, supporting quotes, an informative lead paragraph, relevant timing, and a clear call to action. Compelling is a vital component that determines the first impression of the press release. Therefore, making it short and compelling will ensure the success of the story. Since press releases are supposed to be facts, quotes should be used to present the human element in the release. It will increase not only the validity of the release but also its credibility. An informative lead paragraph provides concise details to the reader through just a quick skim. Another crucial aspect of a professional press is the timing in which the press is released. It is vital to know what is happening in the space and when the press is to be released. Lastly, it is professional to ensure that the press releases end with a call for action from the readers and never leave them to dig to find more information.

The professional press as a watchdog has been a concept that is one of the oldest beliefs of journalism. The press, therefore, has been considered the fourth estate of the realms and the society’s watchdog. As the watchdog, the press independently checks the activities of the government. However, the role of the press as a watchdog goes beyond its implication on the government; it also involves checking other social institutions and powerful individuals. For example, the media, through television and print media, have played a major in exposing the activities of the government and other institutions with regard to corruption. A good example of such a check was the Panama Papers in 2016, which showed the offshore accounts owned by powerful individuals in the world.

Public opinion is ostensibly important in a democracy. Discuss the delegate and trustee models of representation. Describe the role that public opinion plays in each of these models. What was the Founders’ intention when they established a constitutional democracy?

The main principle of delegate representation is that the representative must be the organs of his/her constituents (Bowler, 2071 pg. 782). This type of representation usually acts as an instrument for those who elected them. Therefore, if the government does not adhere to the proponents of delegate representation, then it should not be considered a representative democracy. Since the policymaker represents the constituent, the policies developed should have potential benefits and serve the interests of the constituents. Therefore, public opinion plays a major role in the decisions made in the representation model.

The trustee representation is based on the sole principle that political leaders or elected officials should put the nation’s interests before the interests of the constituents and personal interests. Policies are, therefore, made based on the policymaker’s ability to judge and select the best policy that promotes the public interest (Bowler, 2071, pg. 786). Because these elected officials have the ability to make a reliable personal judgement in matters of the nation’s interest, they have a freer hand in representation. Unlike delegate representation, trustee representation does not consider public opinions and relies on the personal judgements of the elected official.

The founding fathers believed that the Constitution was important in strengthening and defining the government further, as discussed in the Articles of Confederation. They also wanted to avoid a tyrannical leadership, hence putting a constitution in place to divide power and give voice to the people. In addition, the constitution would provide the platform where economic policies and taxes were managed to help run the country. Finally, the founding fathers knew the perks of giving individual freedoms to each citizen.

Political ideology is one way to develop a political identity and frame one’s political views. Define an ideology. Discuss the two dominant ideologies in the United States. Make sure to reference the difference between the traditional and modern forms of these two ideologies.

Ideology is usually defined as the set of opinions or beliefs that a group or an individual possesses. The two most dominant ideologies in the United States are liberalism and conservatism. Both the conservatives and conservatives believe that the opposing ideology is genuinely misguided and even threatening. According to Brandt et al. (2014, pg. 29), one of the major differences between liberalism and conservatism lies in the role the government plays in the lives of its citizens. Liberals believe that the government has the task of ensuring that citizens receive equal social job opportunities and well-being through social programs. Conservatives believe that it is the task of individuals to ensure the promotion of individuals and solve their own problems. Conservatives often view taxation as an unjust social program that redistributes the wealth from the middle class and upper class to the poor. Also, in the economy, liberals believe that government should regulate business while protecting the rights of the citizens. Conservatives, however, believe that the economy should have a free market and limited government intervention.

Voting is an important part of citizenship in a democracy. Describe voter turnout rates in the United States by examining the pattern illustrated in the graph on page 208 of our textbook. Identify the explanations for low voter turnout in the United States. Explain ONE of these in detail.

In the United States’ recent history, participation in elections only peaks during the presidential election, with the numbers trailing off during non-presidential and primary races. Also, there is variation in the turnout rates according to states, with less urbanized states in the northern part of the nation having higher turnout than other states. One of the conceivable purposes behind such low turnout is political disengagement and the conviction that voting in favour of a competitor or party will do little to modify public policy (Hill, 2018).

Works Cited

Brandt, M. J., Reyna, C., Chambers, J. R., Crawford, J. T., & Wetherell, G. (2014). The ideological-conflict hypothesis: Intolerance among both liberals and conservatives. Current Directions in Psychological Science23(1), 27-34.

Bowler, S. (2017). Trustees, delegates, and responsiveness in comparative perspective. Comparative Political Studies50(6), 766-793.

Hill, D. (2018). American voter turnout: An institutional perspective. Routledge.



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