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The Balance of Power in American Government

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Learning Objective: Through intensive critical thinking and analysis of Articles I, I, and III of the U.S. Constitution, students learn how the balance of powers works in a republican form of government.

For this assignment, research any one of the topics listed below. Notice the conflicting interests of the parties involved in the issue. Do the mechanisms designed to balance the power of government between institutions and individuals continue to work? Has one center of power grown too powerful? Are individual rights being protected during these disputes? Include a discussion of the balancing mechanisms found in the U.S. Constitution and discussed in Federalist Papers 10, 47, and 51.

Topic Article Link Video Link
Sanctuary Cities v Federal Immigration Laws Sanctuary city, Wikipedia How sanctuary cities actually work, Vox, 2017
Obergefell v Hodges: State rights and Same Sex marriage Obergefell v. Hodges, Wikipedia Obergefell v. Hodges Summary | quimbee.com, Quimbee, 2017
Civil Rights Act of 1964 Federal Laws replace State laws Civil Rights Act of 1964, Wikipedia A Confrontation for Integration at the University of Alabama, theGrio, 2013
Legalizing Marijuana: State Laws v Federal laws Timeline of cannabis laws in the United States, Wikipedia Legalized: A Year In The Life Of Colorado’s Legal Weed Experiment | NBC News, NBC News, 2016
Dealing with Factions: Is Federalist Paper No ten still viable? Unite the Right rally, Wikipedia Documenting Hate: Charlottesville, PBS FrontLine, 2018
Individual rights versus the federal government The Sagebrush Rebellion Sagebrush Rebellion, Wikipedia American Patriot, PBS FrontLine, 2017
Drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants Cities and States versus Federal Immigration Law Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants in the United States, Wikipedia New York lawmakers OK allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, NBC News, 2019
Wounded Knee 1973 Native Rights versus the Federal Government Wounded Knee incident, Wikipedia We Shall Remain – Episode 5: Wounded Knee, RetroExotica, 2011
SCOTUS v Administration Census and citizenship question Supreme Court Leaves Census Question on Citizenship in Doubt, The New York Times, 2019 Census citizenship question: what we know about the debate so far, USA Today, 2019
Voting Right Act of 1965 Voting Rights Act of 1965, Wikipedia

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Explained, Hip Hughes, 2015

The fight for the right to vote in the United States – Nicki Beaman Griffin, Ted-Ed, 2013


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