Response Journal - 45 point project Component

  • Each week there will be a question posted that requires a response.  Remember to consult the project guide for the requirements of a completed journal.


    Week 1

    One of the defining features of a civilization is that it has a government.  How would you define what it government is and what it does (or should do)?   Do you believe the United States government is a good example of your definition of government?  Why or why not?


    Week 2

    What is a citizen?  What makes someone a "good citizen"?


    Week 3

    Read Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution.  It is known as the "Supremacy Clause."  Why did the framers of the Constitution include this provision do you think?


    Week 4

    Provide an example of a "check" that each branch has on the other two branches. 

    [example (do not use):  Executive branch over Legislative branch:  the president can veto a bill sent to him from Congress]


    Week 5

    In #51 of the Federalist Papers James Madison wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary...Ambition must be made to counteract Ambition."  What do you think Madison meant by this?


    Week 6

    There are Always policies, practices, and laws in effect that some people find inappropriate, unfair, or wrong.  At the same time, people often wish there were laws to protect or provide for a certain group.  Think about how this applies to you by responding to the following:

    1.  Think about what you would like changed in your town, school, state, or country.  Make a list of at least 3 things.

    2.  Choose one item from your list and make a list of at least three ways you could take action to acheive your goal.


    Week 7

    One reason you go to school is because the law requires it.  In most states, laws require unyone under the age of 16 must attend school.  These laws are evidence that our society sees value in education.

    Why do you think an educated citizenry is important for a democracy to function.


    Week 8

    Most states have some kind of "shield laws", or laws that protect journalists from having to reveal their sources.  Bills continue to be introduced to implement the same kind of laws at the national level.  In 2005, Judith Miller, a reporter of the New York Times refused to testify before a Grand Jury about her sources.  She was not protected by a sheild law.  As a result, she spent 85 days in jail for being in contempt of court.  Later that year, Miller testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  She said, "All are entitled to anonymity if they are telling the truth and have somthing of importance to say to the American people."

    What does Miller mean by this?  Do you agree? 


    Week 9 

    The United States has a two-party system.  As a result, it is rare that individuals in minor parties get elected to public office and have their platforms realized.  Yet most political scientists agree that minor parties play an important role in American society.  Write a paragraph in which you explain the importance of minor parties, using examples.


    Week 10

    An incumbent is someone who currently holds an office.  Statistically, incumbents running for reelection have a better chance of winning that their opponents.  Why do you think this is the case?


    Week 11

    California has leagalized medicinal marijuana, but the Federal government has not.  Who should have the right to decide in this case?  (this is not about your opinion of medicinal marijuana)  Your response should include a discussion of the Supremacy Clause and whether or not you think it applies here.


    Week 12

    How are Article II, Section 1, Clause 7 and Amendment 27 of to Constitution similar?  What is their purpose and do you agree with it?

    Article II, Section 1, Clause 7: "The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, in which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."

    Amendment 27:  No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect untill an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


    Week 13

    The Constitution outlines requirements for the President of the United States involving residency and age.  However, the American voting public seems to have some unwritten requirements as well.  Americans seem to want to know everything there is to know about a candidate running for president.


    Write a paragraph in which you discuss some of the "unwritten" requirements for a presidential candidate.  What criteria are most importrant to the American public?  Do you agree with the validity of these criteria?  Why or why not?


    Week 14

    The Twenty-second amendment states that no president shall be elected for more than two terms of office.  Senators and Representatives do not have this restriction.  Create a list of pros and cons for term limits.  After the lists are created, give your opinion on term limits.


    Week 15

    In his farewell address, President George Washington advised against making close friends or enemies of other nations.  Essentially, he was suggesting a foregn policy based on isolationism.  Isolationism involves separating oneself from the affairs of other countries.  Write a feww sentences that answer the folloing questions.

    1.  What are the benefits of isolationism?

    2.  What are the drawbacks of isolationism?

    3.  Is it possible today for the United States to remain isolated from other countries?  Why or why not?