POL 303 Entire Course The American Constitution


POL 303 Entire Course The American Constitution



POL 303 Week 1 DQ 1 The Four Pillars of U.S. Government


The Four Pillars of U.S. Government. The federal government of the United States was constructed using the directions provided in the U.S. Constitution. Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom and foresight to create a very flexible and intelligently structured government framework that has endured. The entire American political system is based on four constitutionally derived pillars: a national government; separation of powers; federalism; and individual rights. Briefly describe each pillar, how it interacts with the other three pillars, and then provide real-world examples of how each pillar supports our government. How does the U.S. Constitution establish checks and balances and federalism using these pillars? Please explain the reasoning behind your response.


POL 303 Week 1 DQ 2 Judicial Independence Within a Political Process


Judicial Independence Within a Political Process. Our judicial branch of government was designed not only to serve as a check on the power of the executive and legislative branches but also to be the final arbiter on disputes among states and between the states and the federal government. One important arbitration tool utilized by the judicial branch is judicial review. Judicial review is one of the U.S. Constitution’s most provocative features as it plays an important role in shaping the laws that impact our society. For this discussion, complete the following:

Define judicial review.

Explain why the origins and legitimacy of judicial review are often called into question.

Discuss whether the framers of the Constitution intended for the judiciary to have this role in the policy making process.

Share your opinion on judicial review. Explain why you support or do not support judicial review.


POL 303 Week 2 DQ 1 Legislative and Executive Powers


Legislative and Executive Powers. Congress passes legislation and the president is tasked with implementing that legislation unless the legislation is vetoed. The powers of both the legislative and executive branches were on full display with the passage and implementation of the Patriot Act. The U.S. Patriot Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001 – after the events of September 11th that same year. This act was passed because the legislative and executive branches felt there was a need for more cooperation between key government intelligence agencies and broader powers for law enforcement and the overall goal was a safer more secure United States. However, as the events of September 11th become a more distant memory, many have begun to question whether the Patriot Act is too broad in its scope and if the Act infringes on individual civil rights and liberties. In your opinion, does the Patriot Act infringe on civil rights and liberties? Explain your reasoning, discuss why you do or do not support the Patriot Act, and provide at real-world examples/evidence that support your answer. \


POL 303 Week 2 DQ 2 Federalism and the Exercise of National Power


Federalism and the Exercise of National Power. Our federal government has many duties, obligations, and powers under the Constitution. Some scholars argue that the reach of the federal government should be limited and constrained. Other scholars argue that the federal government should not be constrained or limited where the welfare of the U.S. people is concerned. For example, in the case, Gonzales v. Raich, the boundaries of the federal government’s definition of interstate commerce are in question. In this case, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents took marijuana plants from a woman’s home in California under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. However, under California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the plants were allowed for medical use. For this discussion, address the following questions:

a. Does the federal government have the right to ban marijuana under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution?

b. Is this an overreach of the federal system, or is this effort in line with the duties and obligations of our central government described in the Constitution?


POL 303 Week 2 Federalism and Constitutional Debates


Federalism and Constitutional Debates. This assignment will require you to use your critical thinking skills in evaluating how the concept of federalism interacts with various current constitutional debates. In the prompt for the Final Research Paper (located in Week Five of your online course or the Components of Course Evaluation section of this guide), you have been provided a list of current constitutional debate topics. Select one of these topics for this assignment and create a hypothetical personal opinion article (op-ed) for your local newspaper. In this op-ed, you must take a position supporting or opposing the issue you select. Even though you will be choosing a side, you must discuss both sides of the argument and then provide a logical argument why your position is valid, credible, and should be supported.

Your paper should be organized into the following sections:
§ Introduction
§ Discussion/claims supporting your position
§ Discussion/claims against your position (counter-arguments)

§ Summary argument supporting your position


POL 303 Week 3 DQ 1 Establishment and Exercise of Religion


Establishment and Exercise of Religion. The lack of a national religion supported and established by the federal government has been hailed as one of the most important principles that ensure religious freedom in the United States. In addition, the ability to practice any religious or non-religious beliefs is equally applauded as a core tenant of religious freedom. Still, the debate over religious freedom continues throughout our nation. Currently, numerous organized religions co-exist with organizations for non-believers. In your opinion, what are the essential elements of religious freedom? Is separation of church and state necessary? Does the U.S. Constitution equally and effectively protect the rights of all religious believers and non-believers? Explain your reasoning, discuss why you are taking the positions you are taking in your response


POL 303 Week 3 DQ 2 Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly- Today and Tomorrow


Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly: Today and Tomorrow. Certain freedoms identified and protected by the Constitution have been the subject of intense political, social, and cultural controversy. The right of all Americans to believe, say, and write what they want, to protest in our streets, and to challenge the pervading political, social, cultural thoughts of the day are the most fundamental of American freedoms. Yet, these freedoms have been, are, and will continue to be modified and will evolve as our nation evolves. For instance, in the last 10 years, numerous types of social media have been developed that have changed the way society operates. New versions of social media, from Facebook to SnapChat, are available at the click of a button – and even on our cellphones. When the Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution, they had no idea how technology would advance or how this would impact citizens’ rights. Is virtual freedom of speech the same as freedom of speech in other media outlets (i.e., freedom of the press)? What are some of the civil liberty balancing concerns between freedom of speech/civil liberty supporters and security/law enforcement officials? Be sure to consider the Reno v. ACLU case, found in your course text, in your response.


POL 303 Week 3 Final Research Paper Detailed Outline


The end of the course is rapidly approaching, and now is a great time to begin working on your Final Research Paper. This assignment will give you an opportunity to create a detailed outline of your paper that can be reviewed by your instructor. The feedback that your instructor can provide will certainly help you create a better final product. Remember, the main point of your outline is to help you organize your thoughts and research. The outline should be the backbone of your paper and should serve as the building blocks for your Final Research Paper.

Make sure to read over the instructions for the Final Research Paper, which are located in Week Five of your online course or in the Course Components section of this course guide. As explained in those instructions, your paper should have six major sections. For this assignment, you will need to create an outline in a Word document. Your outline should:

  • Introduce the main topic, provide brief background regarding the topic, and introduce the main thesis.
  • Identify implications for federalism related to the topic.
  • Identify implications for civil rights related to the topic.
  • Identify implications for civil liberties related to the topic.
  • Conclude and summarize the main findings.
  • Include a complete list of references utilized within the outline.

The paper must be two to three pages in length and formatted according to APA style. You must use at least three scholarly sources, not counting your textbook, from the Ashford University Library to support your claims. Information regarding APA, including samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, located within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar.

A sample outline for this assignment would look like the following:
*For each Point below, please be sure to include a direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary, along with the in-text citation that supports the main point of the section.


  1. Introduction
  2.             What topic did you select? (This should be the topic you used in your Week Two Assignment.)
  3.             Brief background regarding the topic.
  4.             What will be your main points and overall argument/thesis? (Hint: You should have three.)
  5. Federal implications related to the topic.
  6.             Point 1*
  7.             Point 2*
  8.             Point 3*

III.            Civil rights implications related to the topic.

  1.             Point 1*
  2.             Point 2*
  3.             Point 3*
  4. Civil liberties implications related to the topic.
  5.             Point 1*
  6.             Point 2*
  7.             Point 3*
  8. Conclusion
  9.             Summarize main findings.
  10.             Restate thesis.
  11.             Strong concluding sentence.
  12. References:
  13.             Create a reference list for your sources according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. You will need to utilize at least three scholarly sources, not counting your textbook, in this outline and at least six in your Final Research Paper.


POL 303 Week 4 DQ 1 Stop and Frisk


Stop and Frisk. As you learned in this week’s readings, many constitutional scholars consider the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures as one of the most basic freedoms that the Bill of Rights clearly protects. This central freedom supports and protects other essential freedoms, like free speech, press, assembly, and religion. Recently, this core freedom has become a very controversial debate topic as large American cities, like New York City, have instituted police procedures described as “stop and frisk.” In these cities, when a police officer has reason to believe that a person is armed there is a set protocol for officers. Officers can make stops based on suspicious activities and frisk individuals for weapons. Courts have found this to be within the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment until just recently. At what point does a reasonable search become unreasonable? What is the role of probable cause in these efforts to provide safety to our citizens? When, during this process, could the police officer infringe on individual rights? Discuss why you support or do not support stop and frisk efforts by the police.


POL 303 Week 4 DQ 2 Capital Punishment and You


Capital Punishment and You. Every American accused of a crime that could result in loss of life, liberty, and properly has the right to fair treatment or due process. One of the most divisive aspects of due process is capital punishment and the prevention of cruel and unusual punishment to those convicted fairly of crimes. Specifically, the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and the ongoing debate revolves around if the death penalty is or is not considered cruel and unusual punishment. In your opinion, does the death penalty violate the U.S. Constitution? Why, or why not? Does the age of those sentenced to death influence your opinion of the death penalty, and if so, how? Please explain your answer


POL 303 Week 5 DQ 1 What Right to Privacy


What Right to Privacy?. The fact that the Constitution does not have a specific clause or reference to a right to privacy has become a very contentious cultural, social, and political issue in the United States. The ability of the government to enter into the private lives of American citizens has clearly been restricted by provisions in the Fourth Amendment, yet the debate over certain privacy based rights such as contraception, abortion rights, and consensual sexual activity continues today. In particular, when discussing abortion, many immediately begin to debate a woman’s right to choose. At the heart of the issue constitutionally is not whether a woman has the right to make this discussion but whether she has the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment. Utilizing the U.S. Constitution and valid case law, explain the role that the right to privacy has in establishing the legality of abortion.


POL 303 Week 5 DQ 2 Discrimination and the Future of Marriage


Discrimination and the Future of Marriage. Three core values are often discussed when it comes to what all Americans hold dear: democracy, liberty, and equality. Equality, in particular, is a value and a right that Americans have fought other nations and each other to preserve and expand. Until the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed, equal protection of the law was not part of our Constitution. This critical amendment was the legal vehicle that enabled our nation to prohibit discrimination based on race and sex and to also support and affirm the need for diversity. Nevertheless, the struggle for equal protection and due process continues, and other amendments to the Constitution, which include the Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, have become involved in this effort. One of the most debated legal decisions involving equal protection thus far has been the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996. In a 2013 Supreme Court decision, Section 3 of the Act was found to be unconstitutional. Did the Supreme Court justices rightfully interpret the equal protection clause from the Fifth and/or Fourteenth Amendments in this case? Identify and utilize constitutional precedents and case law to support your argument


POL 303 Week 5 Final Paper


Focus of the Final Research Paper


In the Final Research Paper, you will use your critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate a current events topic that has constitutional and political implications. Select from the list below or utilize a topic approved by the instructor. The thesis of the paper will be a statement identifying how the concepts of federalism, civil liberties, and civil rights are implicated in and affected by this topic.


Select one topic from the following list of constitutional issues:

  • Regulation of commerce
  • Religious freedom
  • Free speech
  • Privacy rights
  • Equal protection under law


Utilize the feedback from your Week Three Assignment to create a more thorough outline to form your Final Research Paper. The paper should include five main sections:

  • Introductory paragraph that provides a brief background regarding the topic and introduces the main thesis.
  • In-depth discussion of the implications for federalism related to the topic.
  • In-depth discussion of the implications for civil rights related to the topic.
  • In-depth discussion of the implications for civil liberties related to the topic.
  • Concluding paragraph that summarizes the main findings and restates the thesis.

The paper must be 10 to 12 pages in length and formatted according to APA style. You must use at least six scholarly resources (at least five of which can be found in the Ashford University Library) other than the textbook to support your claims. Cite your sources within the text of your paper and on the reference page. For information regarding APA, including samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, located within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar.


Writing the Final Research Paper
The Final Research Paper:


  1. Must be 10 to 12 double-spaced pages in length (excluding title and reference pages), and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  2. Must include a title page with the following:
  3. Title of paper
  4. Student’s name
  5. Course name and number
  6. Instructor’s name
  7. Date submitted
  8. Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
  9. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
  10. Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
  11. Must use at least six scholarly resources, including a minimum of five from the Ashford University Library.
  12. Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  13. Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.