U.S. Government Essay

The paper is an argumentative research paper. It is not a personal opinion essay or a regurgitation of researched facts. You will take a position on the research question (one of the ones below), state a thesis (your position on the research question.) Then using your research, explain why your position (your thesis) is correct, or not, and supported by research. If, during your analysis, you determine that your thesis is not correct, you should present that information as your primary arguments.

Choose one of the topics below for your essay.
1. Voting. “Voter suppression aimed at target groups remains prevalent in America”- Agree or disagree and defend your argument with reference to scholarly analysis of American political history, what is known about voter suppression.

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2. Political parties. “The Founding Fathers were right – political parties are bad for representative government.” Agree or disagree and defend your argument with reference to scholarly analysis of American political history, what is known about how political parties affect political outcomes.

3. Constitutional reform. The second amendment has been interpreted too broadly and should be amended to provide for greater regulation of the possession and use of firearms.” Agree or disagree and defend your argument with reference to scholarly analysis of American political history, and what is known about the use of firearms in America.

4. Presidential Powers: “Modern presidents have exceeded presidential power beyond the powers the founders intended to the detriment of the separation of powers and checks and balances.” Agree or disagree and defend your argument with reference to scholarly analysis of American political history and what is known about the use presidential powers.

FORMAT: Your essay should be concise and no more than four pages and completed in the MLA 8th Format.
• The first paragraph should open with a ‘hook,’ something to draw the reader into your paper and should include a thesis statement and tells the reader what your argument will be in the balance of the paper. It should also prepare the reader for the essay’s structure via a “road map” sentence that sets up the supporting arguments.
• The opening should be followed by two paragraphs that present points in support of your thesis that is based on the information from one of your research sources.
• An additional paragraph should include at least one counterargument to your main argument based on a research source.
• Your conclusion should summarize the arguments and state whether the thesis statement was supported or not and how it was supported.
• The completed paper must be uploaded to Canvas for grading before the expiration of the due date.

SOURCES: Sources used in the paper must be “scholarly” peer-reviewed sources. There must be at least three sources cited in the paper, two that you believe supports your thesis and one that presents a counterargument. Non-scholarly resources such as WIKIPEDIA, web Blogs, or popular public publications (newspapers, mass-circulation magazines, etc.) may not be used as the required sources.

CITATIONS: This is a formal research paper, and it must contain citations using a formal citation system. The citation system used should be the Modern Library Association 8th edition (MLA8th). This requirement includes properly formatted in-text citations and a “Works Cited” page.


The library and the writing center provide support and assistance to all students. There are research specialists and writing tutors ready to help you with written assignments. These provide you with the best resources for you for this assignment; do not wait until the end of the semester to contact them.

Additional resources will be posted on Canvas.

Suggested outline example to prepare for writing your paper:
Each sub-point (a., b., and c.) should come from your research and be represented in the paper by a quotation or paraphrased idea from the source and should be appropriately cited. The outline example is to assist you and not to be submitted in satisfaction of the assignment.

I. THESIS: The Senate should be abolished because it is undemocratic and prevents effective governance.

II. FIRST MAJOR ARGUMENT: The Senate is undemocratic.
a. Having two Senators per state violates the principle of “one man, one vote.”
b. Within the Senate, the filibuster allows a small minority, even a single Senator, to prevent policies preferred by an overwhelming majority of Americans.
c. Senators themselves are not representative of the American people – the Senate is much older, richer, whiter, and more male.

III. SECOND MAJOR ARGUMENT: The Senate is ineffective and redundant.
a. The Senate has regularly delayed confirmations of important executive branch officials, preventing important agencies from operating effectively.
b. The inability of the federal government to respond to pressing crises has reduced Americans’ confidence in their government.
c. Almost no democratic countries have bicameral legislatures, and these countries are doing just fine.

IV. COUNTER ARGUMENT: One could argue that the delays caused by the Senate prevent the “tyranny of the majority,” but this argument is spurious.
a. Arguments from Madison 51.
b. Madison’s arguments were perhaps reasonable at a time when there were no functioning democracies. But history shows us that there are plenty of checks and balances between the three branches, whether or not we have a bicameral legislature.
c. Contrary to the intentions of the founders, the bicameral nature of the legislature reduced the power of the legislative branch relative to the Presidency.

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