You must write TWO comprehensive essays totaling between 5 and 15 pages (not
including references) using Times Roman 12 font, double-spaced. You may allocate
more space to one or the other essay if you like. However, keep in mind that each one
counts equally (i.e., 50% of your grade for this analytic essay assignment). Please be
sure to clearly indicate where your answer to Essay #1 ends and where your answer to
Essay #2 begins.
Because this is an open book assignment, you are allowed to quote from the readings
and your lecture notes. If you quote from the readings, some form of citation is
necessary. (Citations do not need to be formal; just provide enough information to
allow the reader to look up the source material).
YOU SHOULD NOT USE ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES FOR THIS ESSAY.
Try to show how much you have learned from this course,
focusing on the key points that were covered in the class material.
Essay #1 In the early part of this course you were told that the theory of American
government led to a system which may not be very efficient but is excellent at
preventing things we don’t want. As a result, we have a political system that maximizes
input into the decision-making process. But the system is also one that minimizes the
potential for policy change.
Write an essay explaining this state of affairs, focusing on: 1) how interest groups
make their points of view heard through the political process, and the factors that make
them more likely to be successful; 2) the various procedural roadblocks to passing
legislation through the Congress; and 3) how the lack of party discipline makes it more
difficult for Congress to pass legislation than in a parliamentary democracy.
Essay #2 It has often been said that the power of the American presidency mostly
involves the power to persuade rather than to command. Taking into consideration all
that you have learned in this class, write an essay elaborating on: 1) how Congress and
the Supreme Court can constrain presidential power; 2) why the president has more
power with regard to foreign policy than domestic policy; and 3) how presidents have
sometimes been able to use executive orders to accomplish important goals by
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