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Junior Research Paper - Contemporary Issues

Below are the topics for the Contemporary Issues research paper.

 

Your task is as follows:

  1. Review assigned topic and think about what you all ready know about it
  2. Complete Prewriting worksheet
  3. Conduct research
  4. Complete Note Cards and Source Cards (5 note cards per subtopic, 3 source cards)
  5. Complete shaping form
  6. Write 1st draft
  7. Complete peer editing worksheets
  8. Write final draft
  9. Complete Self Response Form
  10. Turn in on TIME!

Jr. Contemporary American Society Paper

11.11 Students analyze the major social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary society

  1. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”  A part of one of the most popular poems in American history by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the plaque of the Stature of Liberty.  The poem helped create the notion that America is a nation who welcomes immigrant with open arms.    However, is this more myth than reality?  This topic will examine America’s immigration policies and attitudes of the last part of 30 years.
  • Discuss the reasons for the nation’s changing immigration policy with specific emphasis on the Immigration Act of 1965
  • How did this legislation transform American society?
  • How did these policies lead to Proposition 187 in California
  1. President John Kennedy’s New Frontier America.  President Kennedy is generally regarded as one of the most popular president’s in American History.  When he took office in 1961, he famously stated that America was at the start of a New Frontier.  But, were Kennedy’s policies successful at solving the New Frontier issues?
  • Describe the legacy of Kennedy space program
  • How successful did Kennedy answer the “problems of ignorance and prejudice” in civil rights
  • Why did Kennedy not solve “problems of peace and war” in places like Cuba and Vietnam
  1. President’s Johnson’s Great Society.  Lyndon Jonson became President after Kennedy was assassinated.  Johnson was dismayed at the level of poverty in the world’s richest nation.  His Great Society polices aimed to wipe out poverty in America?  How successful were Johnson’s Polices at ending poverty?
  • Why did President Johnson declare war on poverty?
  • How successful was the war on poverty?
  • Since Johnson, how has congress or future presidents combated poverty in American society
  1. President Carter – Peanut Farmer to Presidency.  In the wake of President Nixon’s resignation, Americans’ looked to a successful peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia to bring integrity and honesty back to Washington.  Did President Carter polices succeed in restoring faith in government?
  • How successful was Carter in combating the oil crisis
  • What is “Stagflation” and how successful was Carter’s policies against it
  • Describe the legacy of the Camp David Accords
  1. President Ronald Reagan – Cold warrior actor comes to Washington.   Ronald Reagan is elected to the Presidency in 1980.  His conservative politics and toughness on communism won many voters.  By the end of his presidency, communism will be on the road to collapse.  But did Ronald Reagan win the Cold War?
  • Describe the legacy of Red Scare and Reagan’s participation
  • How did the Soviet Union respond to Reagan’s military building with particular emphasis on his Strategic Defense Initiative
  • Describe the legacy of Reagan’s defense spending on domestic policies
  1. Read my Lips – President George Bush vows to continue Reagan’s legacy.  The first President Bush will be the last WWII veteran to sit in the oval office.  The early 90’s were a difficult time for the US.  The economy entered a severe recession and violence in the Middle East continued.  How successful were his polices at restoring the American economy and bring peace to the Middle East?
  • Why did George Bush break his promise to raise taxes?
  • How did the war in Kuwait lead to the Bush Doctrine of the second President Bush?
  • Did the North American Free Trade Agreement hurt the American economy?
  1. An Inconvenient Truth!  President Clinton faces a growing environmental crisis.  President Clinton replaces Bush in 1992.   While his presidency coincided with a period of tremendous economic prosperity, the environmental effects of industrial revolution began to be seen.  Should America join the Kyoto Protocol limiting global warming?
  • Why did President Clintons sign the protocol
  • Why did the US Senate refusal to ratify the treaty
  • Why did President Bush dismiss the protocol
  1. Watergate – President Nixon leaves office in disgrace.  While many presidents throughout history were plagued by corruption and scandal, Richard Nixon was the only sitting president to resign his office.  Did the legacy of Watergate and his resignation leave a legacy of mistrust towards politicians and government?
  • Describe the circumstances surrounding Watergate
  • Explain the constitutional crisis it created
  • Describe the legacy of the scandal
  1. “We can do it!,…for less”  Women Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.  Despite the gains women earned working in factories during WWII, they still received less pay and fewer rights in the work place and in society then men.  While the 14th Amendment protects the civil rights of minorities it doesn’t protect women’s rights.  Should there be an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women equal rights?
  • Describe women’s changing role in the family and workforce
  • Describe the effort to pass the ERA to the constitution
  • Why was the ERA not passed? 
  1. Drill, Baby, Drill!  What is America’s energy future?  Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the American economy has prospered on an abundance of cheap oil, despite the negative environmental effect, pollution.  However, as American source of oil began to run out, America began to reply on foreign supplies of oil.  Can America solve its dependence on foreign oil and is Nuclear Energy a clean alternative?
  • Describe America’s dependence on foreign oil and its relationship with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
  • Describe the immediate effects of Exxon Valdez oil spill on domestic policies
  • Did the Three Mile Island accident destroy America’s Nuclear energy option?
  1. The Family Farm, an antiquated symbol of America’s past or a sign of American failure.  The root of the American Dream is land ownership.  Many Americans achieved the Dream on the family farm.  While the Industrial Revolution began the demise of agrarian America in the late 1800’s, it was in the 1970’s and 80’s that family farms across America began to replaced by large corporate farming operations.  Is this bad for America?  Should the family farm be saved and protected?
  • Why has the family farm declined?
  • What efforts and policies have been made to increase the family farm?
  • How successful have these efforts been?
  1.  “Desolate Detroit” Frostbelt to Sunbelt migration.   Americans move from cold northern cities, to the sunny southern ones.  In the wake of this migration, what has become of these one great northern cities?   Why has Detroit became the “forsaken city”?
  • Discuss the “Frostbelt” to “sunbelt” migration
  • Describe the reasons for decline in American manufacturing
  • Describe the efforts to revive “frostbelt” cities
  1. The rise of single parents and the decline of the nuclear family.  Beginning in the 1970’s, divorce and single parenting began to increase.  The traditional values of the nuclear family have changed.  It’s now common and more acceptable for women to have children out of wedlock.  How has the decline in the traditional nuclear family changed society?
  • Discuss the impact of out-of-wedlock births on American society
  • Are children who are born out-of-wedlock less successful?
  • Discuss the impact of divorce rates on American society
  1. War on Drugs?  The 1960’s brought the rise of recreational drug use.  However, the experimentation with drugs of the 1960’s has changed to the rise and abuse of highly addictive and destructive drugs such as “crystal meth”.  Can the War on drugs be one?    
  • Describe governmental policies to combat drug use and abuse such as Reagan’s War on Drugs
  • Describe the societal impacts of drug use and abuse
  • How successful are drug prevention programs?
  1. Urban Decay.  The destruction of inner cities.  The American Dream of the 1950’s was born with the growth of American suburbs.  Millions of Americans left the urban centers of America for the suburbs.  But, what problems did this migration leave behind?  Can we stop Urban Decay?
  • How urban decay has effects the racial makeup or urban cities?
  • Describe the connection between street gangs and urban decay
  • Describe successful policies that fight urban decay