State and Local Government

Choose one topic from the Research Paper Topics listed below to write on. The research paper must be typed in English on 8 ½” x 11″ format utilizing Microsoft Word, with black text color and white background color. The paper should be written in normal “caps and lowercase” style. It should be double-spaced throughout, except for footnotes and bibliography which should be single-spaced.
Each paragraph must be indented one-half inch or 12.7 millimeters from the left text margin, i.e. one and one-half inches or 38.1 millimeters from the paper’s edge. Your page setup must include a one-inch margin on the left, right, top, and bottom of the page.

Do not insert extra space between paragraphs; that is, the body of the text should be double-spaced throughout, except for blockquotes, footnotes, and the bibliography, which should follow the guidelines below.

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You must use NOT MORE than a maximum 12 point font size and maximum double-spaced text with EXACTLY a one-inch margin on all sides. Times New Roman font is strongly recommended; however, if you use an alternative style, make sure your font is not italic nor bold text. Also, Comic Sans MS font is not allowed. The hard copy of your paper should be stapled in the upper left-hand corner and turned in as such. Binders or folders or enhancements of any sort are to be avoided. Except for the cover page, all pages must be numbered in the upper right-hand corner. Do not use Running Heads other than your name. Also, DO NOT use contractions in your research paper (e.g. use “it is” instead of “it’s” or “do not” instead of “don’t”, etc.). In addition, DO NOT place borders around the edges of your cover page or around any pages. And do not include any pictures or alternate colors (i.e. keep it black and white) in your research paper.
● The paper should be at least SEVEN pages long with at least six of these pages composed of text, i.e. a minimum of SIX full pages of text. DO NOT REPEAT verbatim the Research Question you select to write on in your paper; your subject matter should become obvious to the reader. A COVER PAGE, complete with title, author, course number, instructor’s name, and date of submission—in this order—must be attached. As well, a Bibliography or Works Cited page, complete with a list of all references cited in your paper, must also be attached at the end of your paper. Parenthetical documentation within your text should be utilized to acknowledge wherever you incorporate another’s words, facts, or ideas. In your parenthetical documentation, you are REQUIRED TO IDENTIFY THE SOURCE, LIST THE DATE OF PUBLICATION (BOTH ORIGINAL AND NEW IF THE TEXT IS A REPUBLICATION), AS WELL AS THE PAGE NUMBER(S), so that the reader may locate and verify such information. A table of contents page is optional and should follow immediately your cover page. Any subheadings in the paper should be left justified and in bold type. The paper, at a minimum, should adhere to the following basic outline:

I. Cover Page
II. Paper Text
a. Introduction
b. Body of Paper
c. Conclusion
III. Bibliography

● PARENTHETICAL DOCUMENTATION, FOOTNOTES & BIBLIOGRAPHY: Parenthetical documentation, footnotes, and bibliographical references MUST FOLLOW THE STANDARD CITATION GUIDELINES set forth in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh or latest edition, by the Modern Language Association, or those guidelines set forth in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, Third or latest edition, by the Modern Language Association, or those found in The Little English Handbook: Choices and Conventions, Longman Classics Edition, MLA Update Edition, Eighth or latest edition, by Edward P.J. Corbett and Sheryl L. Finkle, or those found in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Eighth or latest edition, by Kate L. Turabian, or those guidelines set forth in The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth or latest edition, or those put forward in Diana Hacker’s and Nancy Sommer’s A Writer’s Reference with Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL, Seventh or latest edition. Any other standard guidelines must be approved by me beforehand. If you quote directly from an author, you must put the author’s exact words in quotes and parenthetically document it. If you use another author’s ideas, you must document reference to the fact. Simple rule to follow is: When in doubt, provide parenthetical documentation! The more references, the better, though your paper should NEVER contain more than 15-25% of references from other sources, i.e. at least 75% of the paper must be written entirely by you. The same holds true with the Bibliography or Works Cited page: the more books and articles you refer to, the more credible your paper will be in demonstrating that you have researched the topic by yourself and are aware of the different perspectives on the subject being addressed. Remember that you are the author of your paper and, hence, you hold ultimate responsibility for its content and style. Each Bibliographical or Works Cited reference is single spaced if it exceeds more than one line, with a double space between each bibliographical entry. Note also that Works Cited or Bibliographical references are placed in alphabetical order and are NOT numbered nor bulleted. Two types of footnotes are allowable with Parenthetical Documentation: 1) content notes offering the reader comment, explanation, or information that the text cannot accommodate; and 2) Bibliographic notes containing either several sources or evaluative comments on sources (MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 2009, 6.5, p. 230).
An example of parenthetical documentation with both an original date of publication as well as a newer edition from which you are referencing follows:

“I am an American,” wrote Mark Twain of the stranger in his novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The stranger goes on to assert: “I was born and reared in Hartford, in the State of Connecticut—anyway, just over the river, in the country” (Twain, 1889/1962, p. 1).
A Bibliographical or Works Cited reference should include the following:

Author’s Last name, First name. Date work was first published/and date of the work you referenced, if different from the original publication date. Title of Work in Italics. City and State of the publication: Name of publisher.
An example of a Bibliographical or Works Cited reference follows:

Twain, Mark. 1889/1962. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace& World.
Another example of a Bibliographical or Works Cited reference which draws from a particular story within a bounded collection follows:

Twain, Mark. 1938/1974. “Letters from the Earth.” In New Uncensored Writings By Mark Twain: Letters from the Earth. Edited by Bernard DeVoto. New York & Cambridge, etc.: Harper & Row, Publishers.

● BLOCKQUOTES: Note also that if any quotation exceeds three line lengths, then you MUST block off such a quote, either align the blockquote text left or justify the quoted text, indent the block on both the left and right margins (one-half inch from the one inch text indentation), and single space it. Quotation marks are not used in block quotes, unless you are quoting already quoted material, in which case single—and not double—quotes are used. For example:

Men often use religion to justify earthly events. Indeed, it is a practice which goes back to the dawn of humanity. Commenting on this practice, Mark Twain wrote in his Letters from the Earth:
When exasperated men rise up and sweep away an age-long tyranny and set a nation free, the first thing a delighted pulpit does is to advertise it as God’s work, and invite the people to get down on their knees and pour out their thanks to him for it. And the pulpit says with admiring emotion, ‘Let tyrants understand that the Eye that never sleeps is upon them; and let them remember that the Lord our God will not always be patient, but will loose the whirlwinds of his wrath upon them in his appointed day’ (Twain, “Letter VII,” 1938/1974, p. 36).

In the above statement, Twain comments on the common practice in human affairs to attribute to a deity that which was done by humanity. But the practice begs the question of who is ultimately responsible for the affairs of mankind?
NOTE: You should never place a blockquote in immediate succession of another.
● INTERNET CITATIONS IN YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY or WORKS CITED: Information taken from the Internet must be cited just as written material is cited. Do NOT list only a URL address as a reference. See the Writer’s Workshop at<>; for online citation standards. Remember that each Bibliographical or Works Cited reference is single spaced if it exceeds more than one line, with a double space between each Bibliographical or Works Cited entry. Bibliographical or Works Cited references must be listed in alphabetical order; they should NOT be numbered nor be bulleted. An internet Bibliographical or Works Cited citation reference should include the following:

Author’s Last name, First name. Date work was first published/and date of publication on the web. “Title of Work” or “Title of Complete Work” or title of the website. Name of organization that is hosting this resource. The URL <i.e. the internet address of this website>.
An example of an internet Bibliographic or Works Cited citation follows:

Twain, Mark. 1889/1993. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court in “Project Gutenberg” <>;.
NOTE: Notice that the URL citation is in black text and is not highlighted. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT URL CITATIONS and MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN BLACK COLORED TEXT AND ARE NOT HYPERLINKED, i.e. NO HYPERTEXT IS ALLOWED. DO NOT SUBMIT A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL or WORKS CITED REFERENCE WITH JUST A URL. If the website resource has no identifiable author or there is no identifiable organization hosting this website, then IT IS NOT A CREDIBLE REFERENCE SITE AND CAN NOT BE REFERENCED IN YOUR PAPER. You must use credible reference sites, and these are sites where there is either an identifiable author or an identifiable organization which is hosting the sourced website.
● As stated above, the author of this assignment must be you—the registered student for this class—and only you. Copying papers off of the internet or submitting papers written by anyone other than you, or stealing and passing off as your own whole papers, presentations, paragraphs, entire sentences, multiple words in succession, or ideas and concepts of another, without attribution, constitutes plagiarism and is a violation of the Bluefield State College Statement on Academic Honesty ( ; If you are found to have engaged in plagiarism, I will deduct an additional five points off of your grade for every 10 percentage points of similarity with other papers as indicated by software, though any similarity with other papers exceeding 50% will result in a grade of zero for your paper and may subject you to disciplinary action by the College. Note that plagiarism is a serious offense, and I urge you to begin working on your presentations and research papers early so as to avoid the temptation to copy the work of others. Engaging in plagiarism can jeopardize your entire career. Students should be aware that assignments may be submitted to Turnitin by the instructor for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism. Submitted assignments will be included in the BSC dedicated database of assignments at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism during the grading process during this term and in the future.
● The purpose of this research paper is to acquaint students of political science with the research process, the campus library, online sources, the fundamentals of developing a logical argument, and politically-related topics. In addition, the work you put into this paper will hopefully build your confidence and prepare you for more involved and much more detailed papers in your future academic efforts.

The Chicago Manual of Style, Thirteenth Edition, Revised and Expanded: For Authors, Editors, and Copywriters. 1906/1969/1982. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Seventh Edition. 2009. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Following the instructions in the Research Paper Guidelines above, you may now select one of the following topics for your research paper.

1. As Smith and Greenblatt note, some states have curriculum mandates for college courses required of all students. For example, they point out, passing a course on Texas state politics is a requirement of the law in that state and not simply a good idea. “According to Section 51.301 of the Texas Education Code, to receive a bachelor’s degree from any publicly funded college in the state, a student must successfully complete a course on state politics” (Governing States and Localities). Do you believe in our modern, interconnected world, that individual states should require all college students to pass a course on state politics or do you believe this is an outdated and antiquated notion rooted more in a state’s hubris—as in the case of Texas—rather than in political necessity? Explain.

2. The authors of Governing States and Localities utilize the comparative method as their systematic approach to analyzing state and local politics. What are the characteristics of the comparative method and how does this method differ from other systematic approaches of scientific analyses? Do you believe the comparative method is the best approach to analyzing state and local governments? Explain.

3. In his 1966 book, American Federalism: A View from the States, Daniel Elazar argues that there were “three distinct types of settlers who fanned out across the United States in more or less straight lines from the East Coast to the West Coast” which “created three different types of state political cultures: moralistic, individualistic, and traditionalistic” (Smith and Greenblatt). What are the differences between these three political cultures and how do they affect politics in the varying states? What type of political culture would you say West Virginia is and why? And do you believe this type of political culture is beneficial for West Virginia or do you believe it should be altered? Explain.

4. The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution spells out the principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or the people. From this basis arises the concept of states acting as laboratories of democracy as put forth by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis when he wrote: “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country” (cf. New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 1932). The Tenth Amendment thus literally hands a number of responsibilities down to the state and local governments. In this manner, policy experimentation may occur first on the state level and, if successful, be duplicated on the national level. Given this power by the US Constitution to experiment, what new policy or program would you like to be implemented in West Virginia as a social experiment and why? Explain how your policy experiment would be implemented and what potential problems or opposition you would anticipate.

5. Chapter 2 of Governing States and Localities is entitled “Federalism: The Power Plan”. The authors, Smith and Greenblatt, then go on to differentiate a federal system from a unitary system and a confederal system. What are the differences between the three different types of governing systems? What are the benefits of a federal system as opposed to the other two types of governing systems? What are the disadvantages of a federal system as opposed to the other two governing systems? Explain.

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