Question Set #1 – Collective Action, the American Constitution, and Federalism
Please respond to each of the five short response questions posted below. Your answers should be short, focused, and complete, ranging from one to three paragraphs. Please make sure to answer each specific part of every question. Successful answers will provide details and context that support your arguments and explain your position to the readers. You may also want to provide real world examples taken from the readings, lectures, group discussions, or your own independent thinking.
For example, in your answer on collective action you may find it useful to talk about specific examples of collective action problems that governments solve. In your response to the questions on federalism you may wish to identify and discuss historical examples of conflict or cooperation between the national and state governments. These illustrations can be from the course materials or your own ideas. Providing this context and being able to apply the material to YOUR OWN understanding of politics really shows us that you have mastered the material.
- Briefly identify and describe two types examples of collective action problems that our government helps solve. Why did society face this collective action problem? How was government able to help resolve each specific problems? Do you believe governmentâ€™s use of power to resolve this problem of collection was justified and beneficial? Why or why not?
- How does the Constitution differ from the Articles of Confederation? (highlight at least three main differences) What problems does the Constitution solve that the Articles of Confederation was susceptible to? How?
- The United States is a representative democracy. Why did the Framers view this as necessary? What does Madison say about this in Federalist #10? Does Madison argue for addressing the problemâ€™s causes or effects? Why?
- What are some benefits of having a federal system? What are some drawbacks? In addition to the logical arguments, provide an example of federalism being beneficial, and an example of it being problematic. Drawing on these arguments, do you think a stronger national government would be better or worse? (Be clear about what you mean by â€œbetterâ€ or â€œworseâ€ and why)
- The role of the national government (relative to state/local governments) is (somewhat) clear in the constitution. Why has the national government expanded over our nationâ€™s history? Make sure and draw on both historical and logical reasons, and describe particular pieces of the constitution that have aided in this expansion.