General Instructions:  This exam is worth a total of 100 percentage points and has two parts:


  • Part I: Multiple Choice (20 questions – 40 points)


  • Part II: Long Essays (15 points each, total 60 points)


Part I: Multiple Choice (Answer all items.)


Please choose the best answer from the choices provided for each question.  (2 pts. each.)


_____1.           The writers of the Constitution used the term ___________ to describe the form of government in which power resides in the people but is exercised through representative institutions.

  1. democracy
  2. republic
  3. federalism
  4. constitutionalism


_____2.           The major detailed legislative work of Congress is performed by

  1. the standing committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over particular policy areas.
  2. the party caucuses.
  3. ad hoc committees chosen to study special problems on a temporary basis.
  4. the steering committees that decide party stands on particular bills.



_____3.           Presidents are most successful getting legislative initiatives enacted when Congress is

  1. controlled by the president’s political party.
  2. in an election year and under pressure to enact new policies.
  3. concentrating on domestic rather than foreign policy issues.
  4. lobbied by members of the president’s cabinet.






_____4.               The presidency can be described as

  1. an extraordinarily strong office in which the president has enough power to control national policy under virtually all circumstances.
  2. having almost no capacity to influence the major directions of national policy.
  3. an office in which power is conditional, depending on whether the political support that gives force to presidential leadership exists or can be developed.
  4. an office in which, historically, Republican presidents have been strong leaders and Democratic presidents have been weak leaders.


_____5.           Democrats and Republicans have endured as the two major U.S. political parties primarily due to

  1. the stability of their regional appeal.
  2. their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
  3. a high degree of party discipline.
  4. federal laws outlawing minor parties.


_____6.           Public opinion polling in the United States assumes that leaders

  1. should keep their distance from the public, since enlightened leadership is a better guide to policy than the public’s passing whims.
  2. should never make a decision without consulting the opinion polls.
  3. should pay attention to the polls during election campaigns, but not when formulating policies
  4. must be in close touch with public opinion if they are to serve the people’s true interests.


_____7.           A fear about majority rule in a democracy is that it could lead to

  1. public apathy.
  2. the election of incompetent leaders.
  3. tyranny by suppressing the minority.
  4. elite rule.


_____ 8.              The Framers of the Constitution preferred which of the following political arrangements?

  1. A republic as opposed to a pure democracy.
  2. A monarchy as opposed to a constitutional system
  3. A pure democracy over a representative democracy.
  4. Socialism over capitalism.



_____9.           Opponents of affirmative action have argued that the policy

  1. inevitably degenerates into a quota system, and therefore violates the law.
  2. results in widespread reverse discrimination against white males.
  3. is fair only when it is victim specific, applying only to those individuals who are personally discriminated against and hence deserve to benefit from government intervention.
  4. all of the above.



_____10.         Political parties serve

  1. to link the public with its elected leaders.
  2. to transform conflict into political choices for voters.
  3. as a basis for organizing interests into ongoing political coalitions.
  4. all of the above.


_____11.         Legislation whose tangible benefits are targeted solely at a particular legislator’s constituency is

  1. logrolling.
  2. pork-barrel legislation.
  3. private legislation.
  4. gerrymandering.


_____12.         On broad issues of national significance, Congress is ordinarily most responsive to the initiatives of

  1. the president.
  2. the party leadership in Congress.
  3. special interest groups.
  4. the committee leadership in Congress.


_____13.             Congress’s strength as a policy making institution includes its

  1. ability to represent a wide range of interests.
  2. capacity for compromise and negotiation.
  3. responsiveness to local interests.
  4. all of the above.



______14.          The federal bureaucracy today is

  1. extremely wasteful and unresponsive to the public it serves.
  2. an ineffective institution in comparison with bureaucracies of democracies with unitary systems.
  3. more responsive to the public at large than to the particular interests that depend on its various programs.
  4. a mix of the patronage, merit, and executive leadership systems.


______15.       The stabilization of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union after World War II was

  1. détente.
  2. unilateralism.
  3. containment.
  4. isolationism.


_____16.         _____________  was created to coordinate domestic efforts to protect the United States against terrorist attacks and threats.

  1. The Department of Homeland Security
  2. The Central Intelligence Agency
  3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
  4. The National Security Council



_____17.         The principle of checks and balances is based on the idea that

  1. all legislative and executive actions should be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
  2. power in each branch of government should be used to offset and moderate the power in the other branches of government.
  3. a weak national government is preferable to a strong national government
  4. none of the above.


______18.        Grass roots lobbying is based on the assumption that officials will respond to

  1. powerful economic interests.
  2. the opportunity for extensive media publicity.
  3. pressure from constituents.
  4. the efforts of party organizations.


_____19.         Which type of power was given to the states under the U.S. Constitution?

  1. the power to levy a state income tax
  2. “necessary and proper”power
  3. the power to override federal laws that are in conflict with state laws
  4. reserved power



_____20.         Americans’ national identity rests largely upon

  1. ethnic kinship.
  2. common language.
  3. shared political ideals.
  4. religion.




















Part II: Essays.


For each of the four topics listed below, write a formal essay that includes an introduction, body and conclusion. Each essay for this section must include between 400-500 words.


  1. What were some key historic events in the U.S. quest of civil rights for disadvantaged groups, especially women and racial minorities?  How has the ideal of equality evolved in the U.S. and where does it stand today in areas like the political and economic status of women and minority groups? In addition to key events, cite at least three legal milestone to illustrate your points.


  1. Describe the powers of the President defined in the Constitution and explain how these powers have expanded throughout U.S. history to create the modern presidency.


  1. Explain the differences between “judicial activism” and “judicial restraint.” What part does each play in assuring fairness and equality under the law?


  1. Several roles have been associated with the press and media: the “watchdog,” “signaler,” “common carrier,” and “public representative” roles. Define and describe each of these roles in journalism.

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