American Government Question 1 essay

American Government

Question 1

The government performs various functions for the interest of thepublic. Some of the core functions include

Initiating Foreign Diplomacy

No country is so autonomous that it does not need forming pacts withothers that have similar interests. It is one of the primary rolesperformed by the central government. It involves maintaining formaldiplomatic relations with other states. The friendly associationmaintained by a state with its allies facilitates other functionssuch as mobility and trade (Kamerman and Kahn 18). For example, theUnited States through its department of state has embassies invarious countries across the world. The presence of the embassiesdepicts a peaceful co-existence between the countries.

Military and Defense

The government has a duty of raising and maintaining a strong defensethat can shield the country from both the internal and externalthreats (Morone and Rogan 14). There are always threats of attacks asa result of poor diplomatic relationships and the conflict ofinterests between countries. The state funds military activities toprotect the citizens. Kamerman and Kahn indicate that a country’seconomic and military strength grows simultaneously (21). In mostcountries, defense is not a devolved function, and it remains theresponsibility of the national government.

The complexity of the security systems depends on the size of acountry as well as its financial muscle. For example, the Americangovernment has several security organs that are equipped to combatvaried threats both internally and externally. They include thepolice department, the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, the CoastGuard and the Central Bureau of Investigations among other auxiliaryorganizations. The knowledge of being protected by the effectivesecurity departments gives citizens’ confidence in the security ofthe nation.

Question 2

There are several differences between the Virginia Plan and the NewJersey Plan. According to Hammond, the two plans proposed threeinstitutions including the legislature, executive, and the judiciary(182). However, there were differences in their composition andpowers as proposed by the two plans. In the Virginia Plan, thelegislature was more powerful than the New Jersy Plan (Bilder 21). Itwas responsible for choosing people to serve in the executive and thejudiciary. According to Bilder, in the New Jersey Plan, thelegislature was responsible for appointing people to serve in theexecutive (25). The executive branch would then appoint individualsto serve in the judiciary.

The Virginia Plan also proposed for a legislature consisting of twohouses. According to Bilder, the citizens and the Senate, consistingof individuals elected by the state lawmakers, would elect the Houseof Representatives (32). In the plan, both houses were representedproportionately. Conversely, the New Jersey plan proposed aunicameral. In the plan, all the states would be represented equallyand have similar powers.

Finally, in the Virginia Plan, the legislature could obtain themandate to regulate the interstate trade. It would also bring downthe unconstitutional laws as well as exploit the armed forces toenforce certain laws. Conversely, Bilder explains that in the NewJersey Plans the national government could levy taxes and duties andregulate trade (39). However, the state laws in the New Jersey Planwould be subordinate to the regulation passed by the legislature.

Question 3

The federal system extends its powers to all the states. It is thesource of major regulations and enforcements. Squire indicates thatalthough the states may have different regulations to control certainfunctions in their jurisdiction, they must be consistent with theprovisions of the federal government (17). The federal system hasvarious strengths and weaknesses.

First, the federal government fosters national loyalty andpatriotism. All the states in the country have different and lawsgoverning their operations. According to Summers and Jan, thepresence of the federal government introduces customized regulationfor the states (6). Citizens in the states feel part of the largerUnited States trough their representatives. For example, in Florida,one of the states that are farthest from Washington, one can stillfind the United States flying. The citizens have a feeling ofbelonging to the country.

Secondly, the federal system of governance also creates pragmatism.It can be challenging for the exercise government authority in a bigcountry without decentralizing some decision-making processes. Thefederal system, therefore, makes it easy to govern a big number ofstates (Summers and Jan 17). For example, America is one of thelargest countries. The central government would find it challengingto control people’s activities. However, through the federalsystem, the states operate semi-autonomously, and they only requirelittle support from the national government.

However, there are a few demerits associated with federalism. First,the federal system leads to the initiation of policies that do nothave a national face (Summers and Jan 25). Some states pass policiesthat contradict those of other states. Squire also agrees that thetrends make it difficult for the national government to enactpolicies that may introduce controversy (18). For example, inCalifornia, the state government allows the cultivation of Marijuanawhile it is not allowed in Nevada.

Additionally, Summers and Jan agree that the federal system ofgovernance may lead to unequal distribution of resources (32). Notall the states are equally endowed with resources. Some of the statesmay rely on the efforts of the national government to meet the needsof the citizens while others may exploit the available resources tocater for the citizens’ needs. For example, most of the federalgovernment offices are located in Washington. The residents of thestate have easy access to the offices compared with others in stateslike Florida and Nevada that may only access them through thedevolved function.

Question 4

Civil rights and civil liberties are granted by the Constitution tothe citizens. Davis observes that although there is a thin line thatexists between them, they have an operational difference (3). Thegovernment grants the civil rights to protect the citizens throughrespecting and guaranteeing fairness (Stone 5). They protect citizensfrom discrimination based on race, gender and religion.

Stone explains that civil rights concentrate on how an individualshould be treated by others with respect and without facing any formof discrimination (4). For example, in the Fourteenth Amendment tothe United States Constitution guarantees the citizens the right toequal protection under the law. All the citizens qualifying to votehave the right to exercise the right. Other civil liberties includefree from employment discrimination by gender, age, and disability.

Civil liberties are the basic rights accorded to citizens in thecountry. Unlike the civil rights, civil liberties are protective innature, and they shield citizens from governmental actions (Stone11). For example, in the Bill of Rights, the citizens have thefreedom of religion. The law prohibits the government frominterfering with the individual choice of religion and worship. Also,the citizens are protected by law from unwarranted searches. Citizenscannot break the liberty of another citizen. Only the government cancontravene these liberties under the guidance of certain clauses ofthe law. For example, the law enforcement agencies can search acitizen’s house if they suspect a citizen to be in possession ofdrugs or carrying out illegal activities.

Question 5

In the work environment, employees encounter various challenges.Vanakornkul indicates that sexual harassment is a major challengefaced by employees (4). There are two major forms of sexualharassment in the workplace namely quid pro quo and hostileenvironment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when anindividual submits or rejection to sexual advances or any conduct osexual nature to in exchange for favors in the workplace.

For example, during an interview, the employer can ask for a sexualfavor from a prospective employee to secure a given position. Alsoduring a promotion interview, the person heading the panel may demandsexual favor from an employee and a rejection would mean losing theopportunity. According to Roberts and Richard, the harassment is quidpro quo if there is evidence of economic loss or gain because ofaccepting or rejecting the offer (5). An Employee who at firstaccepts the offer but later changes his/her mind can still bring upthe charges against the perpetrator.

Conversely, Vanakornkul explains that hostile environmental sexualharassment takes place when unwelcome deliberate sexual behavior thatinterferes with the work process (4). The environment also results inintimidation (Roberts and Richard 5). Although the hostileenvironment may not result in economic consequences like in pro quidpro, it may result in poor performance and poor job satisfaction.Some of the hostile environment sexual harassment include repeatedrequest for sexual favors, offensive photographs in the workplace andoffensive language.

Works Cited

Bilder, Mary Sarah.Madison`s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention.Massachusets: Harvard University Press, 2015. Print.

Davis, Howard. Human Rights and Civil Liberties. New York:Routledge, 2013. Print.

Hammond, Thomas H.&quot11. A unified spatial model of American politicalinstitutions.&quot Handbook of Social Choice and Voting(2015): 182. Print.

Kamerman, Sheila B.,and Alfred J. Kahn, eds. Privatization and the Welfare sSate.Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.

Morone, James A.,and Rogan Kersh. By the People: Debating American Government.Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.

Roberts, Barry S.,and Richard A. Mann. &quotSexual Harassment in the Workplace: Aprimer.&quot Akron Law Review 29.2 (2015): 5.Print.

Squire, Peverill.&quotElectoral Career Movements and the Flow of Political Power inthe American Federal System.&quot State Politics &amp PolicyQuarterly (2014): 1532440013520244. Print.

Stone, Richard.Textbook on Civil Liberties and Human Rights. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, USA, 2014. Print.

Summers, John, andJan Lowe. &quotThe Federal System.&quot Government Politics inAustralia (2013): 87. Print.

Vanakornkul,Korrakot. &quotSexual Harassment in the Workplace.&quot Universityof the Thai Chamber of Commerce Journal 32.3 (2012). Print.