Essay Instructions: Many argue that citizens make their choice for president long before the election itself?Xand because of this, suggest campaigns are only an expensive and needless exercise. Others posit that political campaigns are essential to a healthy democracy and play a large part in determining the outcome of elections. Given these competing arguments, this assignment asks you to answer the following question: do political campaigns influence the outcome of democratic elections? In other words, do campaigns matter?
When answering the above question, be sure to address the following: Are political campaigns important to a democratic society? Why or why not? Be specific in you arguments. As noted in class, the media has an integral role in a democratic society. Given this, what specifically, is the role of the media during a presidential campaign? Can the media help influence the outcome of a presidential election? If so, what type of influence does it have? Be specific in your analysis. Given the presence of a vast amount of political rhetoric during a presidential campaign, the complexity of policy issues, and the lack of political sophistication among much of the American electorate, do you think citizens can make good political choices? Why or why not? Be sure to address how political campaigns influence the choices voters make.
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Essay Instructions: Personal Belief Essay: Students will write an essay outlining their beliefs about public education and democracy. Students will select and thoroughly discuss three aims they believe are most important for public schools in a democratic society to develop in students. Each aim will include a rationale for its importance to the individual and its importance to a democratic society. An outline will also be submitted with this assignment.
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Essay Instructions: First, examine the Port Huron Statement's themes, issues and concerns in light of the relevant American history of the last forty years, by any standard a tremendously eventful period. What were/are its' strengths and weaknesses? How well does the Statement stand up as a historical commentary and analysis?
Second, create your own critique and vision of American democratic society at the beginning of a new century and millenium. Where are we as a people and where do we need to go? Are the needs of young people and families being met? Are stress levels higher, lower, or unchanged from 1962? Are families better or worse off, and why? What's right, what's wrong, what's weak, what's strong as you view the past, present, and future of American democracy?
The paper must reflect your knowledge and insights, as well as your hopes and fears,to be successful.
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Essay Instructions: The paper must have at least four sources including the two rawls books, the hampshire book, and not the berlin book which should probably not be incorporated into the paper unless something is particularly relevant.
The paper will compare the society outlined by John Rawls in Political Liberalism and in Law of Peoples with the book Justice as Conflict by Steward Hampshire.
Rawls outlines a procedural theory of justice in which decisions are made behind a thick, lifting veil of ignorance that begins from the original position where the decision maker is ignorant of their place in life, and so makes societal decisions that are just for anyone in that society. The details of the society are made through a constitutional convention, legislature, and judiciary decisions all consistent with the theory of justice which are still made as though behind a veil of ignorance, but with more details including the principals of justice and the basic structure of the society. The legitimacy of the society is based on the fact that decisions are made with reciprocity, which are the decisions could be reasonable accepted by those other than the decision maker. Citizens have two characteristic capacities. They have a rational capacity to make logical decisions, and a reasonable capacity to be just which of the two is prioritized. Rawls advocates a pluralistic society with a diverse assortment of citizens who believe in different comprehensive doctrines, not all of which are compatible. Rawls maintains that any citizen who is reasonable, no matter which comprehensive doctrine they support is would accept his theory of justice, and would be capable of transcending conflict in order to promote a peaceful society. If a comprehensive doctrine is not compatible with the theory of justice, it is not reasonable. Tolerance is very important within the society, and although rawls asserts that a liberal democracy is the supreme form of government, his society is tolerant of other forms of government as long as they are decent, meaning that even if all citizens do not share equal political rights, basic human rights are present and the state is not aggressive. Decent peoples have a common view of justice with reciprocity and respect of different groups, some form of representation of each group even if each is not treated politically equally, and some degree of stability of peace of toleration. If this is the case it is in the best interest of Rawls?s liberal democratic society to have peaceful relations with the decent society and eventually bring them into the society of peoples than to enter into aggression with the other society. Aggression is only tolerated against rogue states that do not have basic human rights or that are aggressive against the society. Within the liberal democratic society, citizens participate in public reason, where citizens view themselves as the ideal legislature, and hold strong political beliefs which they hold legislators responsible for protecting. Legislators also provide reasons for their actions, and citizens voice the reasons of their conflicting or mutually exclusive comprehensive doctrines. Rawls is certain that within the society, any combination of conflicting comprehensive doctrines may overlap and compromise with one another. In declaration, citizens state their beliefs. In conjecture they discuss and relieve conflict. As long as the proceedings are honest and not manipulative, they strengthen the society. This goes on against a background of culture, incommensurable doctrines and media. For the most part peace, tolerance, and respect prevail.
While reading Rawls I considered the following areas of interest: The idea that a political conception of liberal justice can become a stable feature of a pluralistic society with overlapping consensus among conflicting citizens with conflicting yet reasonable doctrines. The ideal citizen Rawls felt should be developed. The character of a just global community.
In his book Justice as Conflict, Stuart Hampshire argues in favor of societal conflict which he claims presume openness, plurality, and questioning authority and political legitimacy, and which can safeguard against many forms of tyranny and injustice. He asserts that seeking to eliminate conflict is detrimental to the justness of a society. Hampshire rejects the idea of imposing resolution or compromise on citizens with conflicting comprehensive doctrines. He differentiates between justice in procedures which necessitates the fair impartial hearing of both sides of a conflict with justice in matters of substance which is always contested and where rationality in individual thought is adversarial as well as in public matters. Hampshire claims that a society which fosters conflict is the alternative to tyranny.
Also of interest, but probably not to be incorporated into the essay is Freedom and it?s betrayal by Isaiah Berlin, in which Berlin discusses doctrines of philosophers whose foundation is liberty, but who inadvertently undermine that liberty and pervert it.
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