Unit #4 reading notes assignment

This assignment – refer to instruction in syllabus. Read assigned pages in the “Democracy in 21st Century America” (PDF) book and the articles for this unit.  Take notes on all of the assigned readings. Then, in an extended memo format using the format provided below:

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  1. Summarize & Explain (in about 400 words+) the highlights (use one paragraph summary of narrative with additional bullet points using whole sentences to illustrate the highlights) of what the major points of knowledge (ideas or concepts or facts) you gained from the book readings for this unit.
  2. Then, summarize & outline (in about 400 words+) the major points (use one paragraph summary of narrative with additional bullet points using whole sentences to illustrate the key thinking skills you seek to highlight) of critical political thinking (ways to think about political questions and how to see & understand social & political phenomenon that affect your life in your world).
  3. Finally, answer three questions – with one paragraph each of about 200 words+ – make a conclusion with commentary explicitly using ideas you take away from reading the articles to suggest how these (with in text citations) and ideas from the book, offer us lessons we should all learn from what you have read and thought about as to how the material in this unit section relates to the following explicit question:

a)  The Struggle for Civil Rights: The struggle for equal rights has been a struggle that has existed from our nation’s founding. The Constitution speaks of securing the blessings of liberty for all; however, this promise has not always been kept. The history of the Constitution is a story of struggle between people, factions, sectors and branches. It is a struggle that still goes on to this day.  African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, women, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community have all faced unequal treatment in the legal system, the job market and in schools (to name a few places) and have had to fight to secure and win equal treatment under the law.

  • What are some ways in which you see de facto discrimination occurring in your community?
  • What steps might be taken personally and collectively to address this discrimination?

b)  Public Opinion & Why It Matters and Why public opinion SHOULD matter: We talk a lot about “We the people” in American politics. Thomas Jefferson argued: “Government must get its powers from the ‘consent of the governed’.”  Abraham Lincoln extended this idea with noting that Government should be “of the people, by the people and for the people.”  And V.O Keys noted that unless the views of the masses of the people “have some place in the shaping of policy, all talk about democracy is non-sense.”    Thinking about the way things seem to be in the 21st century so far;

  • Do you think the people’s opinions does matter?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think the people’s opinions should still matter? Or is democracy outdated and someone else’s opinion s matter more
  • Is there anyone whose opinions should matter more than the general public (e.g. elites)?
  • Why or why not?

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