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PLSI 1301-3: American Politics (Crockett)

This guide contains pointers on doing research for your cumulative term papers

Write a Research Paper

This is an abbreviated version of your assignment. For a full description, please consult your syllabus.


Your assignment. Write a short analysis of a single political topic or conflict. Research the facts and history of the topic, then analyze and evaluate it in light of the concepts discussed in this course.

Step One. Acquaint yourself with the resources on this guide by reading each description and watching the included tutorials.

Step Two. Choose a topic, then find four different bibliographic sources drawn from either academic journals or scholarly books. You may also cite primary documents such as court cases and government documents. You must use at least one book.

Step Three. Write your paper! Be sure to cite all material derived from other sources, not only direct quotations.

Step Four. Write a one-page addendum reflecting on your experience making use of various information sources while researching your topic. Discuss the different types of information available for your use and describe any barriers you encountered, access to print books being an obvious one. You may wish to keep a research log in order to complete this step. Note your keywords, iterations, and the ways your search strategy changed as you delved deeper into your topic.

Some possible paper topics include

Washington and the Neutrality Act                           

Internment of Japanese-Americans

Alien and Sedition Acts                                   

Truman’s firing of MacArthur

Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase            

Eisenhower’s Formosa Resolution

Jackson and the Indian removal case             

Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis

Tyler’s use of the veto power                          

Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs invasion

Polk’s use of war powers                                 

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

Judicial review and Dred Scott                        

Nixon and the War Powers Act

Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus           

Nixon’s claim of executive privilege

Johnson and the Tenure of Office Act             

Carter and the Panama Canal treaty effort

Cleveland and the Pullman Strike                  

Robert Bork confirmation battle

Wilson’s intervention in Mexico                       

Bush’s invasion of Panama

Treaty of Versailles ratification battle              

Clinton and the failure of health care reform

Roosevelt’s court-packing plan                       

George W. Bush and the use of signing statements