Political Science 101: Civil Liberties/Civil Rights Issue

Paper Guidelines
Minimum: 5 Pages, typed?Only use sources specified in your paper!!!
You also should also look at the lecture notes on liberalism?this will help you!!!!
If you do not follow instructions your paper will not be graded
. Please cite the textbook and sources in text AND PROVIDE A WORKS-CITED PAGE.
You must address of the questions below to receive credit.
Please read the guidelines carefully. This assignment will be discussed in class.
Chapters 4 and 5 (among others) of the textbook all deal with topics relating to civil liberties
and/or civil rights. You should look over all of these chapters to make sure you haven?t missed
You may choose from the following issues for your paper (Please pick one of the following topics
below). Keep in mind, some topics such as ?right to privacy? raise more than one issue (civil liberty
or civil right).
(1) 1st A (Pick: Speech, Press or Religion)
(2) 2
nd A (Gun rights)
(3) 4
th A (Rights of the accused)
(4) 6
th A (right to trial, jury, etc.)
(5) 8
th A (Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Death Penalty)
(6) Right to Privacy (discuss all issues?then focus on one)
(7) Gay rights (Rt. To Privacy and Same-Sex Marriage)
In this paper, you will be discussing the development of a civil liberty or civil rights based on
the reading and the research you will be conducting. You will also focus on one issue related to
the right. So you will first discuss the entire issue and then focus on one aspect or dimension of
the issue (e.g. Right to Privacy?Abortion; 8th A Cruel and Unusual Punishment?Sentencing
or Death Penalty, etc.).
Once you have chosen an issue, you will be required to discuss the following in your paper:
(I) Introduction: Introduce your topic by describing the U.S. Political Culture. What is the
dominant ideology in the U.S. political culture? (hint: liberalism) How does liberal ideology
relate to the conception of civil liberties and civil rights? Where do we find these rights in the
Constitution? How does your issue relate to the idea of civil liberties or civil rights? (check out
your lecture notes on liberalism to address this question).
In other words, discuss which constitutional issue or question the issue raises. Is it a civil
liberty? A civil right? Is it both?
Make sure to clearly state your thesis regarding the development of the issue (write your thesis
last, after you have researched your issue). Please state ?my thesis is?..? in your introduction
(II) Explain the history or development of the issue you picked as put forth in the textbook
(make sure to include any pertinent/important Supreme Court decisions/national or state legislation
related to this issue–this is important!!). How has freedom of speech or press been interpreted by the
court through the years? How has the 4th A been interpreted by the Supreme Court? When don?t we
have a right to 1st A protections such as ?free speech?? (In other words, what is the history of the
issue? How has it developed/changed through the years?). PLEASE DON?T ANSWER ALL OF
(III) Discuss where your issue stands today (what recent developments have occurred according to
a current event that you have found in conducting your research). You should focus on one specific
issue. For example, if you pick ?gay rights? your newspaper article should focus on one right, for
example, gay marriage or gays in the military. If you picked free speech, you could focus on how
corporations now have full 1st Amendment right to speech. You will need to have one recent
newspaper article that discusses the current status of your issue (any recent developments) and
discuss the article in your paper. Make sure to include the URL/citation in your paper. IT MUST
BE CURRENT (this fall 2016)!!!
(IV) Discuss two relevant interest groups that support each side of the issue that you focused on
in your current event (part 3?one Pro one Con–e.g. identify those for and against the issue of
abortion, prayer in school, the death penalty, etc.)?you will need to find these opposing groups on
the internet and discuss their agenda, and cite the group?s web address. What is the group?s ideology?
What are their tactics? The group may have a broad agenda (covering several issues) that is ok.
(V) Opposing Viewpoints?Find two viewpoints (one for, one against) your issue (it should be
the same issue in part 3 and 4 of this paper. For example, if you discussed the death penalty in
in #3 and #4, you should find two viewpoints on the issue). What is the position of the person
making the argument? How does the person you found support his/her position? What
examples does the person use to support his/her argument? For example, why is the person for
or against freedom of speech, or prayer in school? (These are only examples don?t answer all of
these questions). You can use editorials for this part of the paper.
(VI) Conclusion. Finally, what can you conclude about the development or history of this issue?
What factors influenced its development? (here is where you will find your thesis!!!).
Restate your thesis.
Discuss where you stand on this issue (yes, I want your opinion here).
The essay must follow the format provided above:
(I, II, III, IV, V, VI).
This paper must be a minimum of five (5) pages, double spaced. 1? margins.
The only sources outside of the textbook should be a single article/current event, textbook, the
web addresses of the interest groups, the pro/con editorials, any videos shown in class, and
lecture notes. Stay away from Wikipedia and other cites with blogs!!!!
You will be graded down for grammar and spelling?so proof-read your paper!

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