Final Exam Essay Questions

Final Exam Essay Questions - Government 111 Final Exam...

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Government 111 Final Exam Questions 1. Social Policy in national and state government in the U.S has become the largest category of public policy and the “third rail” of American politics. Your task (1) to trace the development of social policy since the 1930s and (2) to identify and evaluate three or four specific policies that in your opinion are the most important. The best essay would also make a stab at desirable reforms. Social policy attempts to alleviate poverty, promotes equality of opportunity, and protects against the risks and insecurities that most people face over the course of their lives. Although social policies had been implemented by the federal government in the past, social policy began to play a bigger part in the American populace’ lives starting in the 1930’s. For much of American history, local governments and private charities were in charge of caring for the poor. During the 1930’s, when this largely private system of charity collapsed in the face of widespread economic destitution, the federal government created the beginnings of an American welfare state. FDR’s programs shifted responsibility for alleviating poverty from private charities to the federal government. Such programs as Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC) and Works Progress Administration(WPA) also attempted to help those who recently found themselves unemployed. Probably the most influential of FDR’s social policies was the Social Security Act of 1935 . This was a contributory welfare program into which working Americans contribute a percentage of their wages, and from which they receive cash benefits after retirement. This created new jobs since people were encouraged to retire earlier to receive benefits. Succeeding Roosevelt was Truman who had dubbed his social programs the “Fair Deal.” But most of these social programs initiated by Truman were blocked by the Republican majority in Congress. With a Republican Eisenhower taking office in 1952, there was an expected reversal of many New Deal social policies. However, Eisenhower took a moderate stance and actually extended the coverage of Social Security to farmers. It was also during Ike’s presidency when the Supreme Court, after a century of neglecting the issue, in Brown v. Board and declared racial segregation unconstitutional giving rise to the Civil Rights Movement. It was during the 1960’s and 1970’s when social programs had their most significant advancement since the New Deal. The election of JFK in 1960 began a reinvigoration of social policy. Kennedy’s “New Frontier “programs included the Peace Corps and the Manpower Development and Training Act which worked to retrain workers displaced by new technology. Lyndon B. Johnson came to office and immediately began to implement his own brand of social policy dubbed the “Great Society.” In addition to Head Start and food stamps, he amended the Social Security system to provide for Medicare(1965), a form of national health insurance for the elderly and disabled. Like Social Security, individuals contribute to Medicare during their working years.
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  • Spring '08
  • Supreme Court of the United States

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