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Political Science: How the Mass Communications Media set the Public Agenda (Coursework Sample)

Instructions:

Fall Semester, 2015

Your American Government final exam is designed to measure how well you have learned basic information about American government and how well you are able to think and write critically and clearly about the information you have learned.  The exam is comprehensive and heavily weighted toward material presented in the second half of the semester. Questions for your final exam will be drawn equally from your reading assignments and our classroom lectures and discussions.

You will need one large Blue Book to complete the exam. Plan ahead & get your Blue Book early because exams turned in on loose-leaf paper will receive a 5-point penalty. The final exam will be in the same format as the mid-term (25 short-answer questions, worth 2 points each, and two essay questions, worth 25 points each—so consider answering the essays first).  The exam is cumulative and heavily weighted toward material presented in the second half of the course.  Because each essay question is worth one-quarter of your exam grade, NEVER LEAVE AN ESSAY QUESTION BLANK & always answer both essay Questions! This study guide is not exhaustive of every possible question that may appear on the exam.  The following are suggestions and sample questions to help you prepare:

Sample Essay Questions

1.  In our discussion of representation in the United States, we discussed the various amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation. Name three amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation in our government, and explain specifically, how each either expanded our electorate or made the government more representative of its citizens.   

2. Drawing upon your understanding of the essential functions of legislatures, as well as the basic characteristics of California’s State legislature, as presented in Matthew Jarvis’s chapter on the California State legislature in California Government in National Perspective, explain the most important similarities and differences between the U.S. Congress and the California State legislature.

3. Define agenda setting in general terms & demonstrate how congressional leaders set Congress's agenda as well as how the mass communications media set the public agenda.

4.  Do interest groups allow greater representation for citizens or do they inevitably allow small well organized groups to prosper at the expense of everyone who pays taxes?

5. Name two sources of interest group power and explain how an interest group lobbyist could use those powers to gain influence over government policymakers?

6. Explain how & why presidents “go public”, giving at least one example of a president going public in pursuit of enacting their policy agenda.

7.  Explain what an interest group is and why many people believe that they are detrimental to the general public good of society.

source..
Content:

Political science
Name
Course
Institution
Date

1] In our discussion of representation in the United States, we discussed the various amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation. Name three amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation in our government, and explain specifically, how each either expanded our electorate or made the government more representatives of its citizens.
Amendment XV (15) recognized that no person is to be denied the right to vote based on race or color or previous condition of servitude. This fully recognized that African Americans as citizens of the U.S who should be allowed to vote. Amendment XIX (19) - This provision highlighted that no one was to denied the right to vote on account of sex, and this was associated with women suffrage Amendment XXVI (26) - The Amendment held that citizens of the U.S who were eighteen of age or older could not be denied the right to vote.
2] Drawing upon your understanding of the essential functions of legislatures, as well as the basic characteristics of California’s State legislature, as presented in Matthew Jarvis’s chapter on the California State legislature in California Government in National Perspective, explain the most important similarities and differences between the U.S. Congress and the California State legislature.
The California State legislature has a lower house as the California state Assembly and the senate. The U.S Congress and California State legislature share similarities sine both are bicameral houses with the Senate as the upper House, with speakers being leaders of the assembly. The California Assembly members have term limits compared to the U.S Congress, while the senate members serve for 4 year terms compared to 6 year terms for senators with no limit, where assembly members or senate members can now serve for more than 6 years in either house.
3] Define agenda setting in general terms & demonstrate how congressional leaders set Congress's agenda as well as how the mass communications media set the public agenda
Congressional members advance the legislative agenda through a deliberative process that allows the participation of all the members. Typically, members set agendas by seeking the support of fellow party members, by also through bipartisanship. When parties are more united in cases where the members have a united front, and the leaders consolidate power. However, agenda setting has become more fractured because of centralized power held by the committee chairs and party leadership, and this limits the participation of the minority party members in congressional deliberations. Congress is tasked with ensuring there is effective policy implementation while also playing the oversight role while reviewing the policies. The influence of lobbying and the mass media in agenda setting also affects the way policies are framed. The media informs and at times focus on certain aspects of proposed policies, and may influence the public depending on the issues at hand.
4] Do interest groups allow greater representation for citizens or do they inevitably allow small well organized groups to prosper at the expense of everyone who pays taxes?
The interest groups are formed to influence policies on specific issues. Even though, they are common in democratic societies they do not necessarily represent the interest of the societies. This is because of the no rational government growth and efficiency. As the interest groups become more powerful they serve narrow interests. There is likely to be political gridlock when interest groups with divergent agendas try to influence policies. Additionally, the interest groups are associated with the powerful and wealthy whose input is taken into consideration and this likely corrupts power...
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