People, Power, Politics


1) The co­existence of multiple cultures has been a major issue in American politics since its founding (and before).

Discuss this issue of multiculturalism with reference to any of the conflicts we have studied. How has the country sought

to manage these conflicts? Why do some view multiculturalism as a threat? Why, in “Multiculturalism: Battleground or

Meeting Ground?,” does Ronald Takaki think it can be approached in positive and constructive ways? Can it be, as he

suggests, both a meeting ground and a battleground?

2) The preamble to the US Constitution declares: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect

Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
C o n s t i t u t i o n f o r t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s o f A m e r i c a ” ( P​P P ,​p . 1 1 ) . D o y o u a g r e e

t h a t t h e s e are the essential functions a government should perform? Why or why not? To what extent does the

government of the United States live up to the promises contained in this statement?
3) The authors of “Oligarchy in the US?” suggest that oligarchy and democracy co­exist in the United States. Why do they

think this? Compare their ideas with another relevant reading. For example, would Milton Friedman, C. Wright Mills, or

Marx & Engels agree? Additionally, is it the responsibility of the government to ensure that rule by the people

(democracy) is safeguarded against rule by the few (oligarchy)? Why or why not?

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