Understanding American Government

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By: Marie Fincher

July 10, 2015

In order for most students attending school in the United States to successfully graduate from college, they must pass at least one class that is dedicated to giving them an understanding of the American government. This is very important, as one of the responsibilities held by institutions of higher learning is to produce graduates who can participate in the civic process in productive ways. The majority of the classes that teach students about American government are very writing intensive. This means that the majority of the assignments will involve students demonstrating their knowledge through writing. Typically, many of these assignments will involve writing essays on the topic of American government and politics. Unfortunately for many students, coming up with topic ideas can be difficult. Staying organized and making sure that these assignments are completed on time can also be a challenge. So, here are some essay questions, ideas, and prompts, along with a few tips on staying on task until these assignments are finished.

Ideas for Government Essay Topics

Here are some great ideas for essay topics that can be used in a variety of classes where the focus is on the American government:

The Supreme Court

  • Write an essay on a recent Supreme Court decision.
  • Is judicial activism a legitimate concern, or simply something to use as a political wedge.
  • Should Supreme Court judges be allowed to sit for life?
  • Think of a minority Supreme Court Opinion that you support? Why do you believe the dissenting side was correct?
  • Do you think changes should be made to the process of nominated and confirming Supreme Court judges?
  • What would be your “dream team” Supreme Court?

The Legislative Branch

  • Should there be congressional term limits?
  • Defend the role of lobbyists.
  • Should legislators give up their positions if they choose to run for other offices?
  • Do congress people abuse the filibuster? What can be used to change that?
  • Is it better for congress to have a cooperative or a contentious relationship with the president?
  • Profile an important legislator from the twentieth century.

The Executive Branch

  • Does using the executive order indicate that a president is abusing his power.
  • Should the president have a way to bypass congress when they stall his or her nominations for an extended amount of time
  • Should a president’s personal life be a media subject?
  • Are the checks and balances that were put into place regarding the Executive branch still relevant today?

Staying Organized and on Topic While Writing your Essay

  • Commit to a period of time each day when you will work on your essay.
  • Use a free App to help you organize your notes
  • Join or organize a study group with the students from your class
  • Seek out help from your school’s Writing lab.
  • Ask your instructor or advisor for help.
  • Consider narrowing down the focus of your essay topic.
  • Get help from a family member
  • Use a writing service.
  • Use highlighters, note cards, and other items to stay on task.
  • Break your writing assignments into smaller chunks and work on them in modules.
Marie Fincher

While being committed to a number of charitable causes, like volunteering at special events or giving free art lessons to children, Marie doesn’t forget her vocation – writing. She can write about almost anything but has focused on time management, motivation, academic and business writing.