Free American Government Essay Sample
1) In our culture how do we differentiate between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of conscience’?
In our culture, the freedom of conscience (also known as the freedom of thought) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a thought or a viewpoint independent of others’ viewpoints. In other words, everyone has the freedom to think the way he or she wants. This is different from the freedom of speech, which is the human right to voice one's opinion publicly without a fear of censorship or punishment. In the US, freedom of speech is sometimes limited to the free speech zones.
2) If someone’s character is defamed or harmed by another’s writing such assault is known as slander (traducement).
3) A law that requires government to respect “all the legal rights of a citizen instead of merely respecting some and ignore others” is called what?
The Bill of Rights and the Later Amendments.
4) In what ways a President’s personality affects his decision-making policies. Give full detail.
Both positive and negative personality traits of a President can affect his decision-making policies. If a President is knowledgeable, well-educated and experienced person, he makes logical, rational and well though-out decisions. A President that is organized and punctual, as well as responsible for his actions, makes it possible for the citizens of his country and other countries see that he makes no rushed decisions and always pays great attention to details.
On the other hand, if the President is ignorant or lacks the experience, in his decisions he cannot possibly consider the full scope of the problem, which may lead to wrong or somewhat shortsighted decisions. When the President is unorganized or unpunctual, he may not put enough time or effort into analyzing and then solving a problem. This leads to the same negative outcome as mentioned previously and may even damage the image of the country at some circumstances.
5) Write at least four sentences explaining how “grants-in-aid” have contributed to fiscal Federalism.
Fiscal Federalism is the decentralization of the federal budget, which provides state and local governments with block grants from Washington. Grants-in-aid are the primary mechanism of the federal government to extend its power into the state and local affairs. Grants made possible to micromanage local and state activities. Grants allowed the federal governments to provide the help to the states. Moreover, each grant had a specific purpose, for which it can be used. In addition, federal aid for the social programs was increased under the Great Society of President Johnson.
6) Identify FIVE ways the public may evaluate the President’s performance in office.
- Opinion polls are one of the ways that can help evaluate the President’s performance. For example, when people are asked whether or not they are satisfied with how the President handles his job in the office.
- The failures of the President can also help the public make the conclusion about the President’s performance.
- The public may evaluate the President’s performance by judging whether or not the President is accountable for his actions.
- If the President has good leadership qualities, it results in less conflicts and the public sees the outcomes of the President’s actions in the media.
- Presidential achievements can also help the public evaluate the President’s performance.
7) What can a President do as commander-in-chief?
The operational branch of the chain of command starts with the President. Then it is transferred to the United States Secretary of Defense and then to the combatant commanders of the unified combatant commands.
8) Each State must be represented by two Senators each serving a four-year term (true or false)false - Senators serve terms of six years each.
9) Members of the Congress who gather to discuss or create advanced economic and or political ideologies are known as thecongressional committee.
10) What did Jefferson mean by this statement…..” a little rebellion is a good thing, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants…”
In this quote Jefferson talks about revolution. However, he probably talks about not going abroad and trying to force our will in other peoples’ lands, but about the need of revolution or change in the US.
11) Can a Bill become law without the President’s signature? Support your answer with full explanation.
Yes. When the legislation goes to the White House, the President may either sign or veto it. If the President takes no action (neither sign nor veto) on the bill for ten days, while Congress is in session, the bill will automatically become the law. On the other hand, if the President does not act on the bill during ten days after the Congress has adjourned their second session, the bill is nullified. When a bill is vetoed by the president, it only requires two thirds of the congress for the bill to become a law.
12) He/she decides who shall be recognized to speak on issues in the House of Representatives; what committees new Bills shall be assigned; etc. What is the official capacity of this individual In the House? Speaker of the House.
13) Describe the function of any US political committee.
In the US, any political committee is a private group, the main function of which is to advance the outcomes of a political legislation or issue or to elect the political candidates.
14) How does a Standing Committee and an Ad Hoc Committee function within the US House of Representatives. Support your answer with an example of each.
A Standing Committee is a permanent legislative panel established by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate rules. They have legislative, investigative and research functions. Finance Committee is an example of a Standing Committee, which deals with financial issues and functions on a regular basis.
On the other hand, the Ad Hoc Committee is a temporary committee (in most cases), which is created when a goal needs consideration, or no standing committee can absorb the problem into its scope. Symbol Selection Committee is an example of the Ad Hoc Committee, which was created for a specific purpose, since no other standing committee was able to deal with the problem at that time.
15) Why an orderly transfer of power by one American President to the next has usually met with much success?
There is a saying that “with great power comes great responsibility”. This is exactly the case with the transfer of power by one American President to the next one. People may be tired of their leader, and despite that this orderly transfer is expected, most people welcome the changes and hope that the new President will make their lives better. The President will start governing the country from a clean slate and people simply expect the best from these changes.
16) How does ‘separation of powers’ inhibit a President’s actions or policies?
“Separation of powers” inhibits the President’s actions and policies in many ways. The Constitution does not require the President to personally enforce the law. On the contrary, officers subordinate to the President to perform such responsibilities. The Constitution also gives the President the possibility to ensure the faithful execution of the laws made by Congress. On the other hand, Congress may limit the President in his actions. The responsibility of the President is to execute all the instructions given by the Congress.
17) When an elected public figure becomes a serious political liability what is normally done to that individual?
When an elected public figure becomes a serious political liability, this usually results in the impeachment of the said person, and depending on the case this may include the removal of this individual from the office as well as other punishment and actions. In the US, impeachment can occur at the federal or state levels. The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States may only be impeached and removed for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
18) Unless Congress declares war how many days must elapse for US troops to be withdrawn from hostile areas.
a) 90 days
b) 30 days
c) 60 days
d) 48 hours
The forces must be withdrawn within 60 days (90 days in specified circumstances).
19) An organization that is envisioned to be linked with red tape, waste, confusion is often called what? Bureaucracy.
20) Legislators can make decisions/policies that are not spelled out in the Constitution or in State laws; such action is called passing a bill (proposing a law).
21) How has the US government responded to the need to slow global warming?
The Federal government is managing a wide range of the private-public partnerships to decrease the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Such programs focus on the renewable energy, energy efficiency, non-carbon dioxide (non-CO2) methane and other gases, agricultural practices and introduction of different technologies to succeed in the greenhouse gas effect reductions.
22) Identify TWO cases where US has made bad foreign policy decisions.
Numerous critics disagree with the decisions made during the presidency of George W. Bush and call them incompetent, shortsighted and unthinking. In one case, President’s Bush decision to start the second war in Iraq was extensively criticized; the writer John Le Carre called it a "hare-brained adventure.
In the second case, the foreign policy of other President, George H. W. Bush was criticized because he had stopped the first war in Iraq too soon not having finished the task of finding Saddam Hussein.
23) How may US foreign policy check or eliminate the threat of terrorism?
The U.S. has established a non-NATO group of countries with Pakistan to assist in the War in Afghanistan and to fight against the terror in the region.
In addition, the US foreign policy promotes establishing a democracy. According to the U.S. State Department, the democracy could assist to combat an international terrorism. Moreover, democracy is one of the national interests which help to make secure all the other interests. Nations which are democratically governed are likely to secure the deter aggression, peace, promote economic development, expand open markets, protect American citizens, uphold human and worker rights, combat international terrorism and crime, avoid refugee flows and humanitarian crises, protect human health and improve the global environment,."
24) Name and describe the action of TWO present or former US Presidents who have contributed to peace-making in the world.
One of the former US Presidents who have contributed to peacemaking in the world is Jimmy Carter. He was leading peacekeeping actions in North Korea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, Sudan and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He and his coworkers from The Carter Center observed more 65 elections in non-democratic nations, from Indonesia to Palestine. Carter's brave initiatives have prevented, eliminated, and cured an array of diseases that the World Health Organization called “neglected”.
Peaceful resolution of the world’s several ongoing civil conflicts was one of the main foreign policy objectives of Bill Clinton’s administration. Specifically, the Clinton foreign policy team was actively engaged in efforts to resolve Bosnian, Irish and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
25) If you were to request your Congress-man/woman to amend any of the Civil Rights Amendments which one would you choose and why?
I would modify the Tenth Amendment, which says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Nowadays, many states have their own legislation. Most of their local laws differ a lot from other states. Moreover, local laws can be sometimes confusing or useless. I would request the Congress-man/woman to amend the Tenth Amendment to unify the law for every state to make it easier for everyone to comply with the law in all states. However, this may diminish the state innovation.
26) Write a THREE-PAGED essay on the following: (this question is worth FIVE points)
How much has the US succeeded in building democracy in the world since WW11.
No democracy could ever exist without the support for human rights. Quoting George W. Bush “Peace and justice prevail when people are free to speak, assemble, and worship, when their rights are protected, and when governments are accountable to their citizens.” In this essay, I am going to discuss the many ways the United States worked to foster the respect for human rights and promote the democracy worldwide.
The need to promote and defend international human rights standards and democratic principles is essential. The US government helped young democracies to establish and maintain the rule of law and institutions of government. The government also promoted fair and free election processes and insisted on the need of full participation of all citizens, including women and minorities, in the political life of their countries. Their actions were also directed to make civil societies stronger and to promote the media freedom.
However, there is no single way to advance either personal or democratic freedom. Hence, the US government mainly focused on the three core components of establishing democracy to ensure that human rights are successfully exercised and protected. The requirements are the following: elections process should be free and fair for everyone, government, operating under the rule of law must be transparent and accountable, and the strong civil society with independent media that keeps the citizens informed without censorship. In cases when at least one of these requirements was not met, the government dedicated its work to establish, foster and strengthen it.
During the years, the US support for the promotion of democracy has gone through the multiple stages. After the Second World War, the main goal of the US government was to limit the spread of the communist threat. That is why the national policy objective was not democracy advancement, but rather strategic interests. Hence, the government tried to pursue close alliances with many dictatorial regimes such as the Shah of Iran, President Suharto of Indonesia and President Marcos of the Philippines. Later, during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the democratic policy was improved. More emphasis was placed on human rights, despite the fact that the US continued to establish alliances with many undemocratic regimes. President Reagan made the promotion of democracy the primary goal of the United States foreign policy. For this purpose, the National Endowment for Democracy was created. This organization provided electoral and judicial help to some Latin American countries. After the end of the Cold War and transformation of the Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union from socialist to democratic governments, the Bush administration decided to make democratization the vital constituent of what was called “new world order”. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, the promotion of democracy was focused on four aspects – electoral processes establishment, rule of law, combating corruption, and support of labor unions and professional associations.
On the other hand, many factors limited the scope, quality and effectiveness of the US assistance for democracy promotion. The list of these factors includes but is not limited to: the absence of sufficient domestic support to promote the democracy abroad, the decline in amount of the total foreign aid (from $11.6 billion in 1991 it fell to just $7 billion in 1999). There were also the security issues including the need to maintain a leading military presence throughout the world, as well as the need to promote country’s own economic competitiveness (for example, to confront China and others). What should also be noted here is that some countries such as Egypt and Pakistan used to be of strategic interest, but still received the assistance, despite the democratic deficit.
After the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001, the government was forced to work with twin objectives – to promote democracy and human rights, and at the same time maintain their own internal security. This was rather difficult task, taking into account that the administration has needed the support of some of the countries on the frontline of the terrorism confrontation – such as Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Egypt. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were the organizations that expressed their concern that judicial and legal means to combat terrorism in developing and developed countries may negatively influence individual rights of people.
Concerning the democracy endorsement by the US, in 2002 the Bush administration established the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Through MCA, $5 billion per year is to be provided to a small number of countries, which conform to the requirements of “ruling justly, investing in their people, and establishing economic freedom”. This initiative not only increased the quantity of aid, but also emphasized the need of good governance and democracy. As a downside, the MCA affects only a small number of countries. The countries, which need the democracy assistance the most, may fail in obtaining the significant benefit from this initiative. In addition, the government may not deliver the funds quickly enough through the MCA.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the US government has made significant advances in promoting the democracy in the world since the Second World War. Of course, the initiatives that the administration undertakes are not ideal and still need improvement, but the importance of these actions to establish the democracy in the world is simply undeniable.