Answer 2 of the following 4 questions in roughly 500 words EACH.
Answer 2 of the following 4 questions in roughly 500 words EACH. Use Times New Roman
1. Using American history as your guide, discuss whether the distinctive institutional
feature of American democracy – Federalism – has generally been a good or bad
thing for the United States. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of
federal systems. Provide examples (beyond the one we talked about extensively in
class) to support your argument.
2. Traveling around the United States in the 1800s, the French thinker Alexis de
Tocqueville described the United States as an exceptional nation. This idea of
“American exceptionalism” has come to mean that the United States is both different
and superior to other nations because of its unique democratic forms. President
Reagan later described the United States as being the “shining city on a hill,” that
others look to. Using what you have learned about Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in
this class, evaluate whether you think that American exceptionalism is a valid idea.
3. Discuss the conflict between liberty and equality in the American democratic creed.
In what cases are these two central goals of American democracy incompatible? In
cases where they conflict, should either be privileged? Why?
4. While James Madison is often credited as the author of the US Constitution, and the
architect of the compromises that led to its ratification, the debate over what the
Constitution meant was best captured by a long-standing feud between Alexander
Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton believed that the survival of the United
States rested on vesting greater power in the Federal Government and creating
multiple channels of elite influence. Jefferson believed that most decision-making in
the United States was better left to states and state governments, which were
considerably more democratic than the newly created Federal Government. Take
what you have learned in this class about the Constitution, the evolution of
Federalism, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights, and make an argument for either the
Hamiltonian or Jeffersonian approach. Which one of these approaches has history
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