Essay Exam - Chapters 4 & 5
These are multi-part essay questions worth 25 points each. You must answer all four questions to be eligible for full credit on this test.
Please be sure to read each question carefully to make sure that you understand all parts. When answering, structure your essays to include responses to the entire question. You will be graded on the accuracy of the factual information that you provided as well as the depth of your critical analysis.
Please be sure to proof read your responses with special attention to:
- Did I answer the entire question?
- Did I include or say everything I wanted to?
- Is my response essay well organized and does it make sense?
1) List and define the various "tests" that have been used by the federal government to determine if certain types of speech (anti-governmental) can be censored or banned.
The clear and present danger test is a test in which the government can restrict speech if there is evidence that the speech will create a clear and present danger to the public.
The incitement test is a test that protects the advocacy of illegal action under the First Amendment unless imminent action is intended and likely to occur.
The prurient interest is a test having to do with obscenity and the definition would be determined by the standards of people.
Defamation of character is ruining an individual's good name in which the law bans individuals from making false statements about others, which also includes libel and slander.
Gag order restricts the media from covering a case that is still at trial.
Discuss and analyze whether or not you think that the press, entertainers or even the general public have gone too far in recent years or are they all still well within their right to freedom of speech?
I believe that the press, entertainers, and even the general public are still well within their right to freedom of speech because it is in fact our First Amendment right. Enabling the media to continue does have its ups and downs dependent upon which kind of coverage, but overall it can be beneficial if you know what to listen to and what not to. For instance, a lot of the main stream news channels are controlled by one underlying organization that has its own regulations, so in this respect we only get to hear what they want us to hear, sometimes a lot of scare tactics is all or false information, maybe cover ups. Moreover, I prefer independent types of media found on the internet. In my opinion, they tell it how it is. I want this type of coverage to eventually be more widespread because it is based more around the truth. Furthermore, I believe the coverage surrounding the events of 9/11 was not the whole truth. In my opinion, it was all a cover up. For example, the twin towers came down in a pancake effect. This happens when demolition crews blow up buildings on purpose, not when a place hits the top floor of a building alone. This clearly goes to show that there is in fact more to the story that the government does not wants us to know, hence why the media is controlled. In addition, the building's beams left behind from the demolition of the twin towers were all "cut" in a slanted manner with a chemical residue still outlining the "cuts", this is also a tactic used by demolition crews. I obviously did not learn this from the main stream news channels; I learned this from an independent type of media through a documentary called "Zeitgeist".
Be sure to include specific instances and details when providing explanations and examples.
2) What Constitutional Amendments include our "Due Process" rights? List them ALL and provide a summary of what rights are covered.
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments both include our "Due Process" rights. The Fifth Amendment requires that the federal government will not deprive any person "of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" and the Fourteenth Amendment requires that any State will not "deprive any person of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Nonetheless, the Fifth Amendment covers grand juries, protects against self-incrimination, double jeopardy, due process, and eminent domain. On the other hand, the Fourteenth Amendment covers citizenship, due process, and equal protection of the laws.
What are the guidelines for a "legal" search? Explain the "exclusionary rule" and provide at least one example to clarify your understanding of this concept.
The guidelines for a legal search are called Miranda rights and they are as follows: you have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law; you have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. The exclusionary rule is a judicial policy prohibiting the admission at trial of illegally seized evidence or evidence that was obtained in violation of the Constitution. One example of the exclusionary rule would be a person gets pulled over for going over the speed limit, as the police officer hands the driver a citation, the police officer notices narcotics on the floorboard and further searches the vehicle without getting the driver's consent, this makes not only the search illegal, but the evidence found is not permissible in court because it is against the Constitution.
Based on your own analysis, discuss the reasoning behind whether or not you think the government or law enforcement "goes too far" or is "in line" when "requesting" that individuals submit to searches of their person, home or vehicle. Remember to include the WHY behind your views.
I believe the government and/or law enforcement goes too far when requesting that individuals submit to searches of their person, home, or vehicle because it can go against basic civil rights. Sometimes the government and/or law enforcement takes advantage of certain situations and still searches without a warrant or probable cause. They think that because they have a badge they can do whatever they want and they do. In addition, when I think about this type of situation, Martial Law comes to mind as well since it's a loss of rights as well.
3) Briefly discuss what types of racial discrimination occurred throughout the United States during the years following the end of the Civil War and through the 1960s. What were these customs or laws called? Use specific examples. Explain WHY these types of customary discrimination were so hard to battle and overcome.
Slavery, racial segregation, and the right to vote for African-Americans occurred throughout the US during the years following the end of the Civil War and through the 1960's, mainly in the South. These laws were called Jim Crow laws which called for total racial segregation between African-Americans and Whites from separate drinking fountains and bathrooms to separate seats in public places. These types of customary discrimination were so hard to battle and overcome because of the separate, but equal doctrine which stated that separate, but equal facilities did not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; this was brought about through Plessy v. Ferguson.
Summarize the Plessy v. Ferguson decision. Explain what type of society this decision helped to create.
The Plessy v. Ferguson decision was based on the separate, but equal doctrine which did not violate the equal protection clause under the Fourteenth Amendment which meant that racial segregation was okay. This decision helped create a racial segregated society that was separate, but not equal. The South took advantage of this doctrine further by creating supportive laws known as the Jim Crow laws which really only cared about everything being separate among the two races.
What African American interest group was founded in order to begin the lengthy fight for civil rights? What was the most successful long term strategy used by this group, to eventually overturn the Plessy v. Ferguson decision? (Hint: it is not demonstrations or anything like that - those occurred after the Brown decision).
The African American interest group founded in order to begin the lengthy fight for civil rights was The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The most successful long term strategy used by this group, to eventually overturn the Plessy v. Ferguson decision was to fight the Board of Education with a case that states racial segregation violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This battle eventually overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson's previous decision for segregation.
Why was this tactic so successful? Where were the "battles" fought? Give an example of at least one successful "battle" and discuss HOW it helped pave the way to overturn Plessy.
This tactic was so successful because it was one step closer to ending racial segregation in the public school system. The battles were fought primarily at the schools themselves. One example of a successful battle was when the Governor of Arkansas used the state's National Guard to barricade the school from being integrated even after the federal court demanded that the troops be withdrawn. This in turn provoked the federal government to take matters in their own hands by federalizing the Arkansas National Guard and sending in the Army's 101st Airborne Division to stop the violence. The school was then integrated. This helped pave the way to overturn Plessy because these battles made it apparent that the government was for integration, not to mention democratic values, and they took the matter seriously.
4) In your own words, summarize the 1954 US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. What does it state and what is its significance?
The 1954 US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was basically a civil rights case that disassembled the legal basis for racial segregation in schools because it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. Previously, Plessy v. Ferguson had argued that the Fourteenth Amendment's equality or equal protection clause meant separate, but equal meaning segregation was okay. The decision stated that racial segregation violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause which guarantees equal protection to all persons, and its significance was to end segregation. Furthermore, it was the first step towards equality in terms of race. In addition, this decision also helped with the civil rights movement during the 50's by overturning the court's decision in the Plessy v. Ferguson case saying that the original interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, separate, but equal, was inaccurate and that it created inequality for African-Americans.
List the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and briefly discuss WHY it was necessary for Congress to pass legislation 10 years after the Brown decision that formally mandated compliance at the state and local levels.
The provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were:
- 1. It outlawed arbitrary discrimination in voter registration.
- It barred discrimination in public accommodations, such as hotels and restaurants, whose operations affect interstate commerce.
- It authorized the federal government to bring suits to desegregate public schools and facilities.
- It expanded the power of the Civil Rights Commission and extended its life.
- It provided for the withholding of federal funds from programs administered in a discriminatory manner.
- It established the right to equality of opportunity in employment.
It was necessary for Congress to pass legislation 10 years after the Brown decision that formally mandated compliance at the state and local levels because despite the efforts of some states to have integration, segregation was still in place in many others states. Since, the public wanted stronger enforcement of this decision this put pressure on the national government to end racial discrimination once and for all, thus creating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination in the areas described in the provisions listed above.
The legacy of affirmative action - discuss your views. In your opinion, has it worked, failed, is it still needed or should it be revised in any way? Remember to analyze and explore your answer thoroughly by using examples to explain the "why" behind your views - this is critical analysis.
I believe affirmative action is a good thing to have in our society; however, I believe it needs to be revised every ten years or so with the help of the US Census Bureau. In my opinion, I believe that some minority groups that are currently present in the US may become part of the majority as time passes on, so really this policy would no longer be fair if it stayed the same year after year.
In addition, although it allows for equal opportunity employment for everyone, which is one step closer to equality, I believe affirmative action is somewhat discriminatory because it gives special preferences to minority groups just because they have been discriminated against in the past, no matter what their qualifications are, and by this it takes away opportunities from possibly more qualified individuals in the majority groups; this can create animosity towards one group from another down the road, and could be part of the reason why some individuals are still racist today.