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Each student will be required to conduct research relative to a topic of interest, which he/she chooses, that coincides with the objectives covered throughout this course. The objectives are listed in the topics section below. The topic chosen by the student must be approved and agreed upon by the professor by a designated date. All students will complete a five-page research paper with a title page and bibliography. Students are required to utilize scholarly peer-refereed journals, books, and periodicals. The research paper must include proper citations and bibliographic format.
- Trace the development of the present U.S. Constitution from the problematic Confederation through the Constitutional Convention and ratification struggle.
- Contrast the original constitutional dispersion of power with the modern dispersion that has evolved through custom and interpretation.
- Analyze the Amendment process and the political implications associated with it.
- Explain federalism, how it differs from other forms of government, and how it has evolved to reach its present form in the U.S.
- Explore the growth of the national government through an examination of the factors contributing to its expansion.
- Examine the major safeguards of freedom contained in the First Amendment.
- Explain and evaluate the major clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment in terms of effectiveness throughout U.S. history.
- Explain and evaluate the effectiveness of the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments in overcoming barriers to voting in the U.S.
- Understand how the Constitution protects citizenship.
- Describe the fundamentals of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments and their significance in the U.S. system of rights.
- Discuss the process of running for public office, with particular attention given to the election of the president.
- Analyze Congress in terms of its structure, functions, and membership, with a focus on legislative process and the common criticisms leveled at the institution.
- Trace the evolution of the modern presidency from its constitutional foundations to its current form as shaped by public expectation.
- Describe the differing forms of law on which the American legal system is based.
- Explain the structure and function of the national court system, including the operation of the Supreme Court.
- Understand the process of judicial review.
- Evaluate the public policy-making process with regard to policy formulation and the impact of ideological differences among policy makers.
- Discuss the nationalization of the Bill of Rights.
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