Am Govt Homework 1 Answers - Student One

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American Government and Politics: Lecture One Homework

Friday, September 07, 2012


1. Participation in the politics of one’s country is important because it allows him to influence the direction in which the nation is heading. If he does not use his right to have a say in who makes major decisions that change the country—for better or worse—he should not complain if the nation’s general direction moves away from his personal convictions. Logically, the convictions of the incumbent politicians reflect the general state of the American people as a whole: either the citizens also hold those beliefs, they were deceived by the politicians when they ran for office, or they don’t care enough to have a say in the country’s condition.

Excellent answer. The elected officials reflect the views of those who participate in politics. Those who don't participate should not complain. Or, if they complain, no one should bother listening to them.
Also, participation in politics is not merely voting. It includes bumper stickers, cars, emails, telephone calls, attending campaign rallies, being informed about the issues, etc.

2. The first Article of the U.S. Constitution details the roles of Congress and the Legislative branch, while the second details those of the Executive branch and the third those of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary branch. Showing the authority and responsibilities of the Executive branch, the second Article is divided into four sections.


3. Option (c) (Article II, Section 1, clause 5) specifies that only naturally-born citizens of the United States may be elected to the presidency.


4. (#5) The police officer presumably works in the state government, since he is involved with keeping the peace in a very specific area and is not as closely involved in the larger federal scheme of politics (such as a person in the military would be). Other examples of government workers are judges, who work in the Judiciary branch of the federal government, and public school teachers, work in the local state government.

Good, but not perfect. NJ State troopers patrol the NJ Turnpike, so they work for the State of NJ, in contrast with most police officers who work for the various townships and boroughs in local government. Your answer conflates state and local government, but they are different organizations. Also, most judges work for state government; a smaller number work for federal government. Public school teachers are employed by local government, but public schools do receive some state (and federal) funding. Score: 9/10.

5. (#6) I think that this election year parallels more closely with the 1948 election, in which wealthy Dewey lost to unlikeable Truman. Many people feel the same today, according to comments by the media that Romney’s wealth is a disconnecting stumbling block to voters. However, since the ratings on both Obama and Romney are so close, I don’t have an opinion on who will win based on the stated examples.

Truman had a low approval rating, but I'm not sure one would call him "unlikeable". Similarly, Obama is not "unlikeable", but has a low approval rating. Polls indicate that Obama is far more likable than Romney is. Your conclusion that this election is like 1948 is superb. Full credit.

Extra Credit:

1. (#7) Gerrymandering is a 200-year-old political game for aiding or preventing elections of certain candidates. Basically, it begins when a census is taken of the American people. Based on the changing population numbers throughout the country, the district lines in each state are redrawn after the censuses. Politicians will purposely place these lines so that certain people are in certain districts. For instance, if the incumbent is a Democrat, he might draw the lines so that a few sections are heavily democratic, instead of having a mix of both Democrats and Republicans. This could help him be re-elected. Conversely, he might draw the lines to aid a minority group that often doesn’t have a say in elections. Whatever the reason, gerrymandering is deceitful and wrong. (Extra information found on

Good answer, but note that gerrymandering is to favor certain types of candidates, such as members of one political party, or incumbents, or a minority group. Gerrymandering cannot usually favor a particular individual candidate. Full credit.

2. (#9) The study of politics is different from history because it focuses more on the methods, responsibilities, and privileges of politicians rather than what they actually have done. Learning about the different branches of government, their varying powers and limits, and the election processes is the study of politics. However, Mitt Romney’s past in regard to his family life, political endeavors, and business success, for instance, is history.

OK, but the key point is that politics is forward-looking. Score: 9/10.
Total score: 68/70. Great start!--Andy Schlafly 18:01, 7 September 2012 (EDT)