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POSC 101: American Politics: Research Paper Prompt:

Do you agree with Legislative Law?

General Instructions:
– You are tasked with choosing a recent federal congressional law that has been proposed or passed and write a paper stating why you agree or disagree with that specific law (your thesis). In this paper you will need to explain the law, give arguments for and against the law, and provide evidence you gather from your individual research to back up these arguments, and in turn, your thesis.

Specific Instructions:
– Please follow these specific instructions when writing your paper.

– Choose a federal law that has been passed or proposed in the 112th Congress (2011-2012) , or the 113th Congress (2013-2014).
o Current Examples of 112th Congress include but are not limited to:
? Fair Tax Act
? Repeal of the Healthcare Law
? No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
? Birthright Citizenship Act
? Free Industry Act
o Current Examples of the 113th Congress include but are not limited to:
? Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
? Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act
? Freedom to Fish Act
? Student Loan Certainty Act
? Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act

– Outline of Paper – In addressing your topic, your paper should be organized into 5 primary sections.
o Introduction (1 page)
? 1. Introduce the legislation that the paper will address.
? 2. Establish the importance and relevance of the legislation. Why should the reader be interested in reading about this legislation?
? 3. Thesis statement – State your opinion about whether you agree or disagree with this piece of legislation and provide 2 arguments as to why you hold the viewpoint that you do.
? 4. Overview of paper – Provide a brief summary of what the paper will address. For example, an outline would say something like, “first this paper will …, second this paper will…, and finally this paper will…”

o Brief Explanation of Law (1 page)
? 1. Explain the purpose or intent of the legislation. What does the legislation do or what does it attempt to accomplish? In this section consider using quotes from the bill/law to help highlight what it does.
? 2. Explain what stage/step it is at currently in the legislative process? For example, has the bill been signed into law by the President, or is it currently being debated in a House subcommittee?
? 3. Identify the active institutional participants who support and reject the law. This section should be no more than 10 groups/individuals for those that support and oppose the legislation.

o Argument Section (2 pages)
? 1. Thesis statement – restate the thesis that you provided in your introduction to remind the reader where you stand on this legislation.
? 2. Reasons/arguments – Substantiate this thesis with supporting arguments (at least two). Your aim is to convince the reader that your stance on the law is correct. Thus, it is not enough to simply make an argument; you must also provide concrete evidence to support that argument.
• The types of arguments that you use will depend on your topic. However, some general categories that you can use include: economic arguments, constitutional argument, ethical/moral arguments, etc.
• The types of evidence that you will use to prove your arguments correct can include quantitative data (statistics, scientific studies, etc.), and qualitative data (descriptive analysis, statements from trusted sources, documented eye witness accounts, etc.).

o Counter-argument Section (1 ½ page)
? 1. Counter-argument – State the opposing viewpoint to your own.
? 2. Reason/argument – Explain and discuss the argument for this opposing view. What evidence do opponents use to support why they think their opinion is correct?
? 3. Rebuttal –Explain why you think that the counter-argument is incorrect. In order to successfully do this, evidence must be provided to show the counter-argument’s position is flawed.

o Conclusion ( ½ page)
? 1. Briefly summarize what you have done in your paper, restating your thesis and why you think your position is most convincing.
? 2. Provide final thoughts and implications about this legislation making the paper feel complete.

o Bibliography
? 1. Provide a full source citation for any source that you use in the paper. I expect at least 5 scholarly sources listed in alphabetical order.
• For more information on how to cite sources in the paper and in the bibliography, please see below.
Paper Specs
o Length
? At least 6 full pages of substantive content, not including the title page or bibliography. There is a 10% point deduction for every omitted page.
o Font
? 12 point, Times New Roman only.
o Spacing
? Double spaced, 1 inch margins.
o Grammar
? Points will be deducted for poor grammar and spelling.
o Citing Sources
? You must cite at least 5 scholarly sources; this can include the text book, journal articles, newspaper articles, scholarly text books, books, government documents, court cases, government official websites, interest groups websites, congressperson websites).
• Good Sources
o Database on 111th Congress – http://www.opencongress.org/
o Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/index.html
o House of Representatives website – http://www.house.gov/
o The White House website – http://www.whitehouse.gov/
• Bad Sources – DO NOT USE
o Wikipedia, Answers.com, etc.

? Please use MLA formatting in your paper.
• In paper
o “Obama argues that the healthcare law provides millions of indigent individuals health insurance.” (citation name, page #).
• In bibliography for internet source
o Name of author. “Article Title.” Source Name. Date published. Date accessed. <intent URL>
• For more information, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/

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