PAPER INSTRUCTIONS

Question Description
Responses should be substantive and reflect analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as, a thorough understanding of your reading assignment. A typical response should consist of 100-150 words in a single-spaced format. Refer to the TDQ Rubric below for more guidance on how to respond.

[01] Lesson 1 Threaded Discussion
Government presents us with the formal institutions through which we live our social, economic, religious, and other cultural lives and the political institutions that men and women use to see to our government. Our textbook describes politics, the process by which our government works, as follows: “Politics centers on actions among a number of people involving influence. How do people get others to do what they wish? How does our society or any group…distribute its valued things, such as wealth, prestige, and security? Who gets these values, and how?”

Simply put, politics is the situation of power, which defines “the ability to influence another’s [sic] behavior.” This influence can be exerted passively, such as a debate, or through coercive efforts, like putting down a civil war. Fundamentally, the presence of influence, whether exerted by power or not, “involved relationships between people and groups.”
So, government is the formal expression of influence .Government as institutions, whether national, state, or local, does two fundamental things. First, people in government determine who will benefit from society’s values, when and how they will benefit from them, and why? Benefits range from public assistance to the right to vote, from national health care insurance to assistance in times of natural disaster. Second, those who are elected, appointed, or hired in government also regulate the use of society’s legitimate force against members or enemies of that society, which is generally done for the benefit of others.
Along with introducing you to government and politics, your readings this week introduce you to the Constitution, which as our textbook authors point out, provides us with “rules of the game” for conducting government and politics. It provides an historical background of the drafting of the original Constitution document and the debate over ratification of that document. It then discusses two fundamental characteristics of the government created by the Constitution: the separation of powers and checks and balances. So, with your readings and the above brief summary of what was written in your textbook for this week’s lesson, please respond to the following:

Government is the expression of power; power is the creation of influence; and, influence affects the relationships between people and groups of a particular society. Now, think for a moment: What types of relationships can you think of, within our American society, and identify as being influenced by power within the institutions of government? How might the influence be exerted, with what guarantee of power (consequences), and by what institutions or agencies of government? Please identify and discuss at least three examples.

Your response to this initial post should be at least two or three paragraphs in length (at least five sentences per paragraph) and include specific examples to support your opinions. Once you have responded to this post, I will read your response. At that time, I will either provide a follow-up post for your response or direct you to critique another students’ response. Please wait for me to do this before you continue.

Your second response, or critique of another student, should be at least one to two paragraphs and do the following: state what you agree with as to what is written; state what you might not agree with; and, add something else to the discussion. It is expected that you will be on your best netiquette when you respond to either my of other student’s writing.

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Unread for topic [01] Lesson 1 Threaded Discussion:(19)

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Bill Mauzey

4 hours ago

[04] Lesson 3 Threaded Discussion
This week’s lesson deals with the topic of our liberties and rights within our United States polity and American society and economy. As we pursue our lives, there is a difference between liberties and rights. They are involved in us living according to a Social Contract, by which liberties are converted into rights. Let me explain.

First, if we were to be living in nature, we would live by our human liberties. According to Thomas Jefferson, we are born with certain liberties, such as life, the total freedom to move around, and “the pursuit of happiness” as we might define it individually. Jefferson wrote, to paraphrase, these human liberties God gave him “at the same time I took my first breath.” Basically, in a state of nature, we have the liberty to do whatever we want.

Second, as we move to create a society with others, we live by a set of civil liberties that are defined by people who are part of a particular society. This arrangement is done according to a Social Contract, which is a written or unwritten document that is negotiated among those people. In this process, we now live by our civil liberties, by which we give up certain of our human liberties, but retain certain liberties such as security from outsiders, order in our day-to-day lives, and a guarantee that my property is protected.

Third, when people create a government, to act as the agent of their society, a Social Contract is negotiated between those who are to be governed and those they choose—in whatever way they shall determine— to be their governors. This being done, it is the responsibility of the government representatives, and their designated institutions (police, courts, regulators, etc.), to guarantee us certain civil rights to preserve our civil liberties and remaining human liberties. Thus, always remember, that liberties and rights are not the same, which has very important impact on our lives. For example, a government might take away certain civil liberties by passing civil rights laws, but they can never take away your human liberties as they were originally negotiated in the Constitution (think, capital punishment or freedom of movement).

This all may sound simple and straight-forward enough, but at times it is not. For instance, who is to decide what human or civil liberties should be guaranteed by the laws or regulations meant as civil rights. Obviously, guaranteeing our safety from crime and natural disaster are to be included, but what about access to health care, protection from people with guns, marrying who we wish, or obtaining a formal education? Also, who is to determine what things are to be included as guaranteed civil rights?

So, now that I have described the difference between our liberties and the rights that are given to us by the government established by the Constitution, please respond to the following:

A Social Contract is the institutional foundation by which we move from a state of nature (our human liberties) to creating a society (civil liberties) and to creating a government (granting our civil rights). Now, please respond to the following: What do you believe are three civil liberties that should be considered civil rights as guaranteed by government? Why do you believe these liberties are important enough to be thus guaranteed? Please be specific as you identify and analyze your three civil liberties and provide examples to support your more general observations.

Your response to this initial post should be at least two or three paragraphs in length (at least five sentences per paragraph) and include specific examples to support your opinions. Once you have responded to this post, I will read your response. At that time, I will either provide a follow-up post for your response or direct you to critique another students’ response. Please wait for me to do this before you continue.

Your second response, or critique of another student, should be at least one to two paragraphs and do the following: state what you agree with as to what is written; state what you might not agree with; and, add something else to the discussion. It is expected that you will be on your best netiquette when you respond to either my of other student’s writing.

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Unread for topic [04] Lesson 3 Threaded Discussion:(18)

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Bill Mauzey

4 hours ago

[07] Lesson 5 Threaded Discussion
As noted last week, the third branch of our federal government is the Judiciary.The Constitution created a Judiciary Branch, or the United States Supreme Court.Then, the Judiciary Act of 1789, which then became the 11th Amendment to the Constitution, and subsequent laws of Congress created the federal court system for initial hearing of cases, through the appeals courts, and then to the Supreme Court.

Having this federal court system is important because we say that our system of one of the “rule of law,” which means there is need to some institution to determine whether the laws passed by our Congress, and then signed by the President, are constitutional.This was not specified in the Constitution, but beginning shortly after this document was ratified and our federal government was installed, a process known as “judicial review” evolved, by which the judiciary—acting as an independent institution—determines whether laws passed by the legislature, and signed by the executive, are constitutional.
Following our American Revolution, under the government that was created with the Articles of Confederation, there were very clear reasons why a national (federal) court system was needed.With this government, states were protesting boundaries, commerce between them, issues of transportation, and matters of incorporation.There was need for a “referee” of sorts, to decide between states, between an individual and his state, and between an individual and another state.
It is important for us to remember that we, as American citizens, have the right to challenge the constitutionality of any law that is passed by Congress, state legislature, or local government.If we believe such a law infringes upon our constitutional civil liberties, as they are defined by the Constitution, we can “take the government to court.

Now, please respond to the following:
Can you think of an issue that is with us today in which you believe that your human or civil liberties, or those of other American citizens, are being infringed upon or might be threatened should Congress pass a particular law?So, think of recent news stories.What is a law that you believe infringes on the your or others’ liberties?Or, what law do you fear might be passed that you believe would do this?Finally, what might you do about a law that already exists or might be passed in the future that either infringes, or threatens, civil liberties or our remaining human liberties under the Constitution?
Your response to this initial post should be at least two or three paragraphs in length (at least five sentences per paragraph) and include specific examples to support your opinions. Once you have responded to this post, I will read your response.At this time, I will either provide a follow-up post for your response or direct you to critique another students’ response.
Your second response or critique of another student should be at least one to two paragraphs and do the following:state what you agree with; state what you might not agree with; and, add something else to the discussion.It is expected that you will be on your best netiquette when you respond to either my of other student’s responses.

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Unread for topic [07] Lesson 5 Threaded Discussion:(20)

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Bill Mauzey

Mon at 10:23 AM

[09] Lesson 6 Threaded Discussion
Today, there are various “stake holders,” people who have an interest, in our federal, state, and local governments. This was not obviously the case before our 1787 Founders met at their Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. They thought of politics rather simplistically, seeing the need for only a legislature, executive, judiciary, and participation of the people to put the process of government in motion. But, unlike our 1776 Founders, they were not sure that men, either individually or collectively, would act for the benefit of society as a whole. To paraphrase James Madison, “if men were angels, there would be no need for government.” Even though the media (newspapers) were an important part of the American Revolution, they did not see the press as an integral part of politics, as we understand it today. Our founders also realized that farmers, merchants, artisans, lawyers, day laborers, and religious leaders played an important role in politics, but they were not perceived as what we today call “interest groups.” They did not even formalize political parties,which they referred to as “factions,” in the original document that was the Constitution, but had to add that part of the document with the 12th Amendment.

However today, we understand our political system to be a much more integrated and complex process, as our society and polity have become so. It includes not only the formal institutions (Congress, President, and Judiciary) and the people, but also the media, which is now much more than merely newspapers, and the special interest groups, which represent the interests of various social, economic, political, religious, and cultural groups within the United States. Today, the media (print, sound, and image as shown on television or computer) is seen as a vital and active part of politics, at times referred to as the fourth branch of government, and we understand that special interest groups are a critical part of politics, for we Americans to inform our elected or appointed officials of what we want, particularly in drafting any proposed legislation and lobbying members of the executive.

After reading your textbook for this week, and with the above information in mind, will you please respond to the following:

What do you do for a living? What activities do you, your family members, and your friends and neighbors like to do? What aspects of your social, economic, religious, or other cultural life are important to you? In answering these questions, please tell me, what is an important vehicle of the media to you, and why it is important? Further, what is a special interest group you might support—or do support already—and why? These questions request a lot of information, but please provide specific examples as you respond to each one of them.

Your response to this initial post should be at least two or three paragraphs in length (at least five sentences per paragraph) and include specific examples to support your opinions. Once you have responded to this post, I will read your response. At that time, I will either provide a follow-up post for your response or direct you to critique another students’ response. Please wait for me to do this before you continue.

Your second response, or critique of another student, should be at least one to two paragraphs and do the following: state what you agree with as to what is written; state what you might not agree with; and, add something else to the discussion. It is expected that you will be on your best netiquette when you respond to either my of other student’s writing.

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