Political Science 101

Midterm Essay Instructions
In this country, we do not have a pure, direct democracy. However, we do have a government whose powers are divided among branches (executive, judicial, legislative), and levels (local, state, national) in order to limit government’s overall power and to grant more power to the individual citizens.
In a fact-based (not opinion based) essay, answer all of the bullet-point prompts below. Use your textbook and the online class videos. Do NOT use Google search to find the answers, as this assignment is intended to help me gauge part of what you have learned from this class. Write the paper in your own words. Copying any amount of text directly from the internet to answer this question will cause you to fail this essay.* (Also see the note at the bottom of this page.)
You also should not use long direct quotes (even from the textbook) because paraphrasing (using your own words) allows me to see whether or not you understand what you have read. There is no minimum word limit, but the essay prompt points should all be thoroughly answered. A-level papers in the past have mostly managed to answer in roughly 1000-1200 words. You should at least answer all of the items in the essay prompt, and are encouraged to add additional relevant information. Also see accompanying How your paper will be graded document.
Papers should be typed in 12-point Times-Roman font or 11-point Arial font, and should be double-spaced to allow room for my comments.
As this is a Level One (lower-division) course, you will not be graded for minor grammar or sentence construction errors, but if errors are great enough to diminish the overall readability of your paper, that problem will hurt your grade. Papers must be written with acceptable college-level style, accuracy and grammar.
Essay Prompt
In several paragraphs:
Explain why the founding fathers found it necessary to compromise and at least one way in which they did so. In order to correctly answer this point of the prompt, you will need to tell me points of two opposing sides of some issue that they faced, and then explain what ideas the resolution compromise included.
Explain (1) our system of checks and balances and (2) the separation of powers and, briefly, how each of these work. Note that these are two different, though related, thingsandsoeach shouldbeexplainedandseparatelydefined.
Tell me something about each branch of the federal government. For example, what are the powers of the presidency (and the other branches)? How is the
presidentspowerlimited? Whataboutthepoweroftheothertwobranches?
How is each limited by the other branches? How long are their terms in office? What is federalism? How does it relate to the separation of powers concept?
Paper must be submitted to the Assignment Upload button on BlackBoard, by due date and time.
* Note: Copying two or more sentences from the internet without citing the source will cause you to fail the entire class, as this is plagiarism. However, if you answer the question according to my instructions, you will not be citing sources from the internet because you will not be using such sources. If you use direct quotes, you only need to (a) put the entire quote within quotation marks, and (b) mention whether your information came from your textbook or the online class videos (and which ones). Do not use long quotes (more than one sentence). It is always better to paraphrase (restate in your own words). Paraphrased ideas that you obtained from your textbook or online class videos do not need to cite sources, as I will presume that you got the information from these sources, so long as you do not copy text from the internet or elsewhere.


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