Congress and Its Members discusses the evolution of Congress since 1787, political science homework help

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Students will answer all four of the following essays. This is an “open book” test and, in fact, references should be made to your course readings. (And remember: no sources outside of our course materials and absolutely no consultation or collaboration with anyone on your answers.) Essays should be well-written and free of typos and compositional errors. Students should show sophistication in their understanding and thoughtfulness in their answers. Students should expect to write about 2 typed (double-spaced) pages PER essay (so 8 pages total).

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1. Congress and Its Members discusses the evolution of Congress since 1787. List and explain the key changes that have occurred over time, both institutional and individual. In other words, how has Congress as an institution changed but also how has the job of an individual member changed over time? How would you characterize these changes over time? Have these changes been desirable developments? Most importantly, is the Congress still consistent with what the Founders created? What would the Federalists and Anti-Federalists think of the modern Congress? Develop.

2. Finding quality candidates to run for Congress is a main goal of the political parties. Discuss the key features of a “quality” candidate and explain how these features help candidates win elections. One of the most critical features is incumbency (make sure to address both Congress and Its Members and also chapter ten in American Congress Reader on this). Explain the considerable advantages that incumbents have over challengers in running for a seat in Congress. However, make sure to differentiate between the House and Senate. There are differences. What might be done to reduce the influence of incumbency? (Think broadly here and consider things like campaign finance reform, term limits, or even redistricting reform.)

3. Your Congress and Its Members text and the American Congress Reader talk about many different facets of representation. First, define the concept of “descriptive” representation. What does this mean and how well does Congress descriptively represent the American people? Be clear and give examples. But there is also “substantive” representation. Discuss this concept and differentiate it from descriptive representation. What challenges do members of Congress face and how well do they substantively represent their constituents? Finally, what is the difference between dyadic and collective representation and which is more important?

4. Committees are key institutions within the Congress that help process the legislative workload. First, discuss the key features of the composition of committees: how members choose committees on which to serve, how members are assigned to committees, how chairmanships are assigned, and how party ratios on each committee are determined. Second, explain what committees actually do. What are their roles and tasks? Lastly, committees are sometimes in tension with the parties and party leadership. Explain the ways in which they often are at odds with each other. Should parties have more control over committees and members in general?


AND American Congress Reader

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