American Government Homework One 2007

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American Government.
First Homework

Read the chapter on the “Constitution”, pp. 31-40 in the textbook “U.S. Government and Politics,” by Paul Soifer. Study it. Once you know it well, then take the 15 multiple choice questions at the end. Grade your answers yourself, and keep a record of how you did. Study what you missed. If you are taking this class online only, then skip the textbook, study the lectures, and do double the points required on homeworks.

There are two ways to do homework in this class. The recommended approach ("Method One") is to create or improve entries and earn points for them. An alternative approach ("Method Two") is to answer the following essay questions and post your answers under Homework One Student Answers, or hand them in during the next class. It is highly recommended that you use Method One.

Method One

Achieve a total score of a minimum of 25 points using the following point system. Stronger students should score more than that. The top-scoring students will become captains for picking teams in the upcoming contest.

  • Add new entries for the Category:United States Government or Category:United States Supreme Court Cases
    • This is done by inserting a new term in the "Find" box in the upper left of the screen, such as "Jones v. Brown" to describe a court decision by that name, or "United States Post Office" to describe that entity, then click "Go". If it does not exist, then click the link for "create this page" and enter your new description in your own words. If it does already exist, then you can click "edit" to improve it with your own words. An example of a court decision is Pierce v. Soc'y of Sisters.
    • Where do you find the terms? Example terms are found in the lectures or reading assignment in the textbook, court decisions or glossary terms referenced in the textbook, government agencies or departments found on the internet, clauses in the U.S. Constitution, special laws, concepts heard in discussions, or a growing list of American Government Terms.
    • Pick the terms in areas where you are weakest. If you feel weak in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, then pick terms relating to Congress. If you feel weak with the legal system, then pick court decisions.
  • Points awarded:
    • Quality new entry: 10 points
      • A "quality new entry" includes at least two full-length paragraphs, three relevant citations, several links to other entries, some in-depth content and designations of category. Partial credit is awarded.
    • Any new entry: 6 points
    • An additional bonus of 3 points is awarded for adding a new entry on the "most-wanted" list, Special:Wantedpages
  • Improvements of existing entries in the Category:United States Government
    • Quality edit of an existing entry: 4 points
      • A "quality edit" to an existing article includes at least two extra sentences, an additional reference, and the inclusion of an important or relevant fact.
    • Minor edit, such as a correction, of an existing entry: 2 points
  • An additional bonus of 1 point is awarded for adding a link to an entry on the Special:Deadendpages, and thereby removing that entry from that list

Method Two

Answer these essay questions:

1. What do you hope to achieve by taking this course?

Refer to pages 317-28 (the Constitution) in the textbook to answer these questions 2-6:

2. Which sections of the Constitution (a) give powers to Congress and (b) restrict powers of Congress?

3. Which sections of the Constitution restrict the powers of the States?

4. Explain what you think is the single most important clause of the Constitution, and why.

5. What individual or civil liberties were established by the original Constitution, prior to the amendments (Hint: look somewhere near the end of Article III)?

6. Quote the section of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to remove authority from the federal courts (Hint: see the Article establishing the judiciary). Draft a simple law to take away an issue of your choice from the Courts.

7. The Founders thought Congress was the most important branch, but now some would say that the President or Supreme Court is more important. Your view, and why?

8. Give three examples of congressional power that affects your family every month. Cite the constitutional clauses creating each of those federal powers.

9. What clause allows Congress go beyond powers expressly given to it by the Constitution? What power, currently retained by the States, do you think Congress should never take from them?

Extra Credit Essay Question (worth 5 points):

10. What specific improvements would you make to the Constitution? If none, then explain why you think it is perfect. Give specific examples, including citations to specific article and section numbers.

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