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Students must answer two (2) out of the five (5) questions in essay form.
It is important to write a complete answer to the question.
Be sure to refer to the course readings and lectures in your answer.
There is no limit on length.
1. The state and future of polyarchy (democracy) may be the central political issue of our
time. Based on what you have learned this semester, what are the important challenges that
democracies face? What are the factors that prevent autocracy (nonpolyarchy) and sustain
polyarchies. What is the state of democracy in America? How do political scientists measure
the quality of our democratic institutions? Be sure to discuss Robert Dahl’s analysis.
2. The student of political modernization finds that she/he must study a wide sweep of history in
order to understand the nature of political change and the development of polyarchy.
The Sequential model, which attempts to analyze this historical process, on the basis of the
of key problems or “crises” of political development (Legitimacy, Identity, Participation,
Distribution Crises), is an attempt to bring order to the historical process. On the basis of two
countries that we have discussed, what are the patterns of crisis resolution, what are the
consequences politically, and what are the pathways followed by each country?
3. What role do political parties play in modern political systems? How do political parties
aid in the development of MDP (Modern, Dynamic, Pluralist) nation-states? Have American
parties declined becoming simply electoral institutions failing to support the effectiveness of
government institutions and trust in the state.
4. According to Robert Dahl, why do individuals participate and not participate? How do
political attitudes shape political behavior? What is the political socialization process?
What are the major reasons Dahl believes the majority of citizens are apolitical even in
democratic systems? Do you agree? What needs to change to increase political participation?
5. What for Richard Neustadt is the central reason presidents fail or succeed? How does
Professor Neustadt define political success? Provide two historical examples from
“Presidential Power” to demonstrate his thesis. Do you agree with Neustadt? What is
your standard of presidential success? Explain fully.