Topics for Epsilon Essay #1 (Due 20 Oct. in class)

Write an essay on one of these topics:


1. Does the pluralist theory of politics enable Congress and executive officials to figure out what the public good is, or does pluralism mean that special interests -- those that are better organized or wealthy enough make their views heard -- dominate over the public interest?

2. Should we fear the decline of social capital and associational life, as Putnam argues, or is politics improved when America is "bowling alone?"

3. How are Tocqueville's arguments about democratic politics and associations relevant to American politics today?


The essay should be 800-1000 words in length. Essays must be typed or machine-printed and stapled (no paper clips or folders). Do not use colored paper. Keep a copy of your submitted essay. Use fonts no smaller than 12 points. Use a serifed font, like Times New Roman or Book Antiqua and not sans serif fonts, like Arial. (While sans serif fonts are easier to read on monitors, they are harder to read, for me at least, on printed paper.) There must be a separate title page with 1) your name and 2) your student ID number printed on it. Do not put your name or ID number on the pages of text (I grade “blind”). Text should be double-spaced and have 1-inch margins. Number the pages of text. Put the number of the topic you are answering or the first phrase of the topic at the top of the first page of the essay text so that I know what topic you are answering.


If you have not already reviewed the guidelines for writing a good essay, do so.