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Current Issues in American Politics and Society

In the United States passions are aroused by issues that American critics say do not apply to Europe. There are issues that are dealt with individually, like abortion, and political questions, such as voting and non-voting, that affect ordinary citizens and statesmen as well. In spite of its deep divisions and conflicts, the American system demonstrates a remarkable ability of adaptation, which makes it seem remarkably resilient.
The purpose of this paper is to bring into discussion issues that exist in America, but can be observed to a smaller scale in our country as well, in order to familiarize the reader with the nature of the current debate in some areas such as: containing presidential power, judicial power, the voting and non-voting debate, abortion, immigration and gun control. “Current issues in American politics and society” provides examples with pro and con arguments that cast light on the evolution of certain controversies.
Six areas are covered, that coincide with what I think are the most important debates raging in the American politics and society. They are structured in two parts: three of them are present in politics and have in common the interpretation of the Constitution and the other three regard social issues and have in common the high statistics.
The debate on containing presidential power originates with the Vietnam and Watergate issues and it could be argued, is now moot, given that modern American presidents seem much less powerful than before, given the constraint imposed on them by divided government, public opinion and media. The chapter includes a presentation of the “imperial presidency” and the “congressional imperialism” thesis, together with two cases of containment of the presidential power that caught the public’s eye: the 1973 War Power Resolution and the Iran-Contra Scandal.
The subject of chapter two is the decline in voter turnout, a consequence of the declining trust in government. The apathy shown towards government on the part of many Americans and the apparent indifference to democratic participation reflect a deeper malaise in society. While discussing the phenomenon I have analyzed the two voting models and the reasons of non-voting.
Judicial power (the subject of chapter 3) has become a matter of great importance, given the majority of the Supreme Court is at present both Conservative and highly activist. The Court was the effective final arbiter of the 2000 presidential election issue. The chapter also provides the example of two Courts, the Burger and the Rehnquist Court, that ruled in some of the most controversial cases in American history, regarding political and social issues.
The abortion debate (the subject of chapter 4) raises fierce passion: Why is that so many Americans ascribe such an important status to the human foetus, while others argue passionately that women should have always the right to choose? This chapter supplies a history of abortion, philosophical and scientifical arguments, the opinion of the two activists groups involved in the debate as well as the public’s opinion.
The United States has always been a nation of immigrants and the debate on immigration and immigration control is as passionate now as at any time in recent history. Chapter five presents the three categories of arguments against immigration and the opinions of those who sustain it.
The last chapter, gun control, shows how the assumption that the public have the right to own guns is deeply embedded both in the American consciousness and in American politics. It presents the pro and against arguments together with seven best known myths about gun control.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
10 Part I: Political Issues Chapter 1 Containing Presidential Power During the late 1960s and 1970s more and more historians, among which Arthur Schlesinger, expressed concern about the existence of “imperial presidency” in America. 1 Reacting to this widespread idea, Congress intensified its power in the next decade. In the 1980s historians were also talking about “congressional imperialism”. Two cases of containment of the presidential power caught the public’s eye: the 1973 War Powers Resolution and the Iran-Contra Scandal. Politicians agree that the first did not reach its objectives. The second case is one that is still debated as a demonstration of the importance of the separation of powers and of the limits of the presidency and of Congress as separate branches of government. The American president has the same formal power, but his practical powers increased significantly during the 20 th century. The development started with President George Washington and was continued by Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. 2 In a book written in 1960 by Richard Neustadt called “Presidential Power”, the writer stated that the main power of the president is “the power to persuade”. Not lots of presidents succeed in getting the Washington moved as Kennedy and Roosevelt did. The years 1940s, 1950s and 1960s are the ones in which the pro-president position regained supremacy. In the same periods books like “The American Presidency by Clinton Rossiter or “Presidential Power” by Richard Neustadt were 1 Arthur Schlesinger, The Imperil Presidency, Boston MA, Houghton, Mifflin,1973 2 Norman Thomas, Joseph Pika and Richard Watson, The Politics of the Presidency, third edition Washington DC, CQ Press, 1993, p. 4

Laurea liv.I

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere

Autore: Steluţa Alina Gheorghiţă Contatta »

Composta da 113 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 52 click dal 24/05/2012.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.