The purpose of the project is to provide students an opportunity to discuss a key political science concept and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. The project consists of producing an essay of at least 750 words on one of the provided topics (see below), as well as a works cited page with at least three sources containing information used in the essay (note: there must be a parenthetical citation at the end of each sentence that contains information from a source). The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Students should research this style in order to properly format the assignment (see the Purdue Online Writing Lab).
It is important to think critically about your chosen topic and clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Where appropriate, make sure to include specific evidence and/or examples (along with appropriate citations). When writing your analysis, consider the eight standards for critical thinking (Paul and Elder, 2013): clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness. Ask yourself questions, such as
How can I validate the accuracy of my statement?
How is this information relevant?
How does my conclusion address the complexities of the issue?
What is another interpretation or viewpoint of the issue?
Does my conclusion follow from the data and/or statements I have provided?
Students should use 12 point as the paper’s font size, double space the text, and create one inch margins on all four sides of the page. In addition, the writing assignment does not need to have a separate title page.
All writing assignment submissions will be processed through the SafeAssign program. Do not cut and paste from online sources or use information word for word from the textbook. The assignment needs to be your own work and if it is not, the submission will receive a failing grade or a zero. Students may not submit a writing assignment for this class that has been previously submitted for another course.
Please choose ONE of the following topics for your writing assignment:
Two of the last three presidents have been elected to office without winning the popular vote. There have been subsequent discussions about eliminating the Electoral College. What is the Electoral College and why was it originally created? What are the arguments for keeping the Electoral College? What are the arguments for using the popular vote instead of the Electoral College to elect presidents? Does it impact a president’s legitimacy when they are not elected by a majority of the population?
The founders wanted the courts to be protected from politics. In what ways was the judiciary designed to limit the role of politics? Are the courts completely immune from politics? What role does politics play in Supreme Court confirmation proceedings? Should there be term limits for federal judges, including Supreme Court justices? Why or why not?
There are some groups that remain restricted from voting in some or all parts of the U.S. (for example, legal aliens and people under 18). One group that has been in the news lately is ex-felons. Voting restrictions on ex-felons vary from state to state. What are some of the different voting restrictions placed on ex-felons by states? In the past few years, there has been a push in some states to restore voting rights to ex-felons. What are the arguments for and against restoring voting rights to ex-felons? Discuss the various methods being used to restore voting rights (for example, executive action by the governor, referendum passed by the public, actions in state legislatures, etc.) and include specific examples from two different states. Do you agree with restoring voting rights to ex-felons? Why or why not
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