ENGLISH 101.  ACADEMIC WRITING
 26. The Mock Final Exam



Home page
  

Course Info  
Schedule  
Course index

Instructions for Lesson 26

1. Review the exam question BEFORE you take the mock final exam.
    Be prepared with a plan of organization for your essay. Don't forget
    about COW.

2. Choose one of the test options below, and submit your exam essay
    to Dr. G.

 

 


Lessons 

Module 1

1: Orientation  
2: Goals   

Module 2

  3: Euthyphro  
     4: The Library
 5: The Apology   
    6: Citation   
    7: Crito
    8: Phaedo  
    9: Exam Prep   
10: Plato Exam
   

Module 3

11: Research Project 
12: Research 101   
13: Books   
14: the Librarian   
15: the Web   
16: conferences  
17: Joy of Research 
18: Reasoning 


Module 4

19: Outlines 
20: Review the Plan:
21: Language 
22: Dr E's Grammar
23: Peer Review  
24: Hit Parade 

Module 5

25: About the Exam
26: Mock Final 
27: Exam Prep
28: Graduation 

 

1. Test Options 

The Mock Final Exam will be given at TC3 at the following times and places. Choose any one:

   Thurs., Dec. 2, 7:40 am to 10:30 am in TC3 cafeteria
   Thurs., Dec. 2, 2:00 pm to 4:50 pm. in room 262.
   Fri., Dec. 3, 1:00 pm to 3:50 pm in TC3 Library.
   Sat, Dec. 4, 9:00 am to 11:50 am in TC3 cafeteria.
   Need a different time? Contact Dr. G for an appointment.

This Mock Exam is your chance to practice taking the final exam under simulated exam conditions. Prepare for the Mock Exam by studying about the exam topic
. Before writing the exam, have a clear plan for the essay that you will write. 

Bring with you to the exam:
pens, A Pocket Style Manual and a dictionary (other than an electronic dictionary). 

2. Mock Final Exam: 

Write an argumentative essay of approximately 500 words.  Create a narrowed persuasive thesis on some aspect of the following area:

To vote or not to vote. That is the question. Does voting make a difference for the legitimacy of democratic governance and for the strength of our pluralist democratic culture?

Your essay should incorporate at least three citations from the attached readings.  Use the MLA in-text citation and construct a Work Cited list at the end.  You may utilize your English handbook and dictionary.

Your essay should demonstrate sound organization, solid development, strong control of the mechanics of grammar, and correct spelling.  You should also concern yourself with such elements of style as tone, word choice, sentence variety, correct documentation format and other aspects of good writing that your professor has discussed with you in the course of the semester.  You have three hours to complete this assignment.

READINGS FOR MOCK EXAM

 

Arnold Rampersad (editor), The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Vintage Classics, 1995, New York, page 288.

I swear to the Lord
I still can't see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.

     -Langston Hughes

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Richard Briffault, book review of Alexander Keyssar's The Right To Vote, published in Michigan Law Review. Ann Arbor, MI: May 2002. Vol. 100, Iss. 6; pg. 1506, 26 pgs
Retrieved from ProQuest via TC3 Library on Nov 26, 2004  <http://www.proquest.com/>

Democracy requires not just wide participation and equal treatment of voters but mechanisms for aggregating large numbers of diverse references into a collective result that reflects majority sentiment, respects minority interests, commands public support, and produces an effective, accountable government. A democratic commitment to near-universal suffrage and "one person, one vote" apportionment does not necessarily require easy ballot access rules, controls on gerrymandering, proportional representation of minorities, or limits on campaign spending. On the other hand, the uncertain health of American democracy today--low turnout, the widespread gerrymandering of legislative districts, the concern that the two-party system fails to represent the full range of legitimate political interests and points of view, the central role of money in our political campaigns--suggests that our current political rules may not be the optimal ones for promoting democracy, either.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Thomas M. Francke, "Democracy, Legitimacy and the Rule of Law: Linkages" (1999).  New York University School of Law, Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper No. 2. retrieved November 26, 2004 from  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=201054

 

Democracy, legitimacy and the rule of law are the three essential components of good governance, which, however, results only when all three independent variables are brought together in tandem. None of these elements, by itself, assures good governance. Free and fair elections do not necessarily protect against corruption of the legislative process. Democratic rule by the majority does not invariably protect minorities from oppression. Judicial supremacy has the potential for promoting elitist autocracy as well as for the protection of basic liberties. The three elements' potential for promoting good governance is maximized when all three are deployed concurrently. Concurrent deployment, however, creates its own problems. When a society seeks to combine the benefits of democracy, legitimacy and the rule of law, these elements may be brought together in severe tension, as voters, legislators and judges vie for supremacy. Thus, good governance requires not only that all three elements be deployed concurrently, but that they be balanced.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Voting Rights: An Overview." The CQ Researcher Oct. 29, 2004 Volume 14, Number 38 2004, CQ Press, a Division of Congressional Quarterly Inc. Retrieved from TC3 College Lib., Nov. 20, 2004.

As the heated election between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry approaches, unprecedented concern surrounds the fairness of the voting process. Republicans charge that Democrats are padding registration lists; Democrats say Republicans are trying to disenfranchise African-Americans, Hispanics, former felons and others thought likely to vote Democratic. Voting experts worry that new electronic voting machines are susceptible to tampering and do not allow for an accurate recount if the election is contested.

Indeed, four years after a vote-counting scandal in Florida had to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court and four decades after passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act civil rights advocates say the voting rights of many Americans are still at risk. Public confidence also has been undermined by persistent allegations of voter suppression, including attempts to intimidate minority voters to keep them from going to the nation's 193,000 polling places.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Weston Kosova, Holly Bailey. "Can We Vote Yet? " Retrieved Nov 26, 2004, from ProQuest.  Newsweek. New York: Nov 1, 2004. Vol. 144, Iss.  18;  pg. 26E, 4 pgs

Here's a statistic for your next "I hate politics" gripe session: by Election Day, the two parties and outside groups will have spent $500 million on campaign ads-more than half of it in the 10 biggest swing states. That's more than twice the amount spent the last time around. As the days until voting dwindle, the spots are getting more biting and harder to avoid  . . .

Sure, it's possible hackers could tap into the new electronic voting machines and monkey with the results. But don't waste your worries on that. Fret about this instead: About 30 million people in 19 states will still be using chadspewing punch-card machines. And except in Nevada, those sleek touchscreen machines don't have paper backups, which means there's no way to do a recount.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information. "What is Democracy?"

USINFO.STATE.GOV. Accessed Nov 27, 2004.
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/whatsdem/whatdm5.htm

 

Jeane Kirkpatrick, scholar and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has offered this definition: "Democratic elections are not merely symbolic . . .They are competitive, periodic, inclusive, definitive elections in which the chief decision-makers in a government are selected by citizens who enjoy broad freedom to criticize government, to publish their criticism and to present alternatives."

 

What do Kirkpatrick's criteria mean? Democratic elections are competitive. Opposition parties and candidates must enjoy the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement necessary to voice their criticisms of the government openly and to bring alternative policies and candidates to the voters. Simply permitting the opposition access to the ballot is not enough. Elections in which the opposition is barred from the airwaves, has its rallies harassed or its newspapers censored, are not democratic. The party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair.

 

Democratic elections are periodic. Democracies do not elect dictators or presidents-for-life. Elected officials are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office. This means that officials in a democracy must accept the risk of being voted out of office. The one exception is judges who, to insulate them against popular pressure and help ensure their impartiality, may be appointed for life and removed only for serious improprieties.

 

Democratic elections are inclusive. The definition of citizen and voter must be large enough to include a large proportion of the adult population. A government chosen by a small, exclusive group is not a democracy--no matter how democratic its internal workings may appear. One of the great dramas of democracy throughout history has been the struggle of excluded groups--whether racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, or women--to win full citizenship, and with it the right to vote and hold office. In the United States, for example, only white male property holders enjoyed the right to elect and be elected when the Constitution was signed in 1787. The property qualification disappeared by the early 19th century, and women won the right to vote in 1920. Black Americans, however, did not enjoy full voting rights in the southern United States until the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And finally, in 1971, younger citizens were given the right to vote when the United States lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

 

Democratic elections are definitive. They determine the leadership of the government. Subject to the laws and constitution of the country, popularly elected representatives hold the reins of power. They are not simply figureheads or symbolic leaders.

 

Finally, democratic elections are not limited to selecting candidates. Voters can also be asked to decide policy issues directly through referendums and initiatives that are placed on the ballot. In the United States, for example, state legislatures can decide to "refer," or place, an issue directly before the voters. In the case of an initiative, citizens themselves can gather a prescribed number of signatures (usually a percentage of the number of registered voters in that state) and require that an issue be placed on the next ballot--even over the objections of the state legislature or governor. In a state such as California, voters confront dozens of legislative initiatives each time they vote--on issues ranging from environmental pollution to automobile insurance costs.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 Tim Babbidge, "A Different Perspective on Voting." retrieved from League of Non-Voters web site on Nov 27, 2004. http://www.non-voters.org/different.shtml

I can offer two personal reasons why I vote NOTA ["none of the above"] . . .  First and foremost, I am tired of being offered echoes rather than choices. Although the two major parties will attempt to confuse the issue with a barrage of attack ads in the interminable weeks before the November elections, I would suggest that we do not have two political parties in this country. What we have are Democrat and Republican wings of the "Republocratic" Party, a party controlled by a few hundred corporations, special interest groups, and wealthy individuals.

There are differences between the two wings of the Republocratic Party, and within them as well, on the social issues of the day, e.g. abortion. But, when it comes to the major economic and foreign policy issues that face the country, they march in lock step. The rhetoric of the Democrat wing of the party sometimes differs from that of the Republican wing on economic issues, a few crumbs having to be tossed to big labor in exchange for its self destructive support, but when you start looking at actual votes, for example Democrat presidential nominee John Kerry's support for such things as NAFTA, telecommunications deregulation, and the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq, those differences are exposed as rhetorical rather than substantive.

The second reason why I will vote NOTA is the abysmal political coverage offered by the corporate media. It is not only narrowly focused on the "horse race" aspects of the campaign like polls and fund raising totals, but all too frequently drops to the lowest common denominator of discussing, in mind numbing detail, the personal peccadilloes of the candidates. If there is one thing that the media should have learned during the Clinton years, it is that we don't care about the personal lives of our elected officials. We do care about their policies, but information on that aspect of the campaign will be a tiny part of the coverage offered, even in those small areas of difference that do exist between the two wings of the Republocratic Party.

Why is political coverage of such poor quality? To answer that question, I would suggest that despite the fact that NOTA will wallop the candidates endorsed by the corporate media, recent elections have been the best of times for the press, at least for its corporate owners. That is because there is a built in conflict of interest in the American corporate media's political reporting, one between what is best for the corporation and what is best for the average citizen. What is good for General Electric, owner of NBC, is not necessarily good for the country as a whole. Unfortunately, there is no "average citizen" media to espouse their viewpoint, only an ever more concentrated corporate media establishment. Given this conflict of interest, it is not unreasonable to say that the foxes are guarding the henhouse when it comes to covering American elections.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Retrieved through TC3 Library, ProQuest, on November 27, 2004. Robert J Samuelson. "A Close Vote? Let's Hope  Not. " Newsweek  Nov. 1, 2004. Vol. 144, Iss. 18;  pg. 39, 1 pgs.   <http://www.proquest.com/>

A new opinion poll from the Pew Research Center finds that only 11 percent of registered voters fear that their votes won't be accurately counted (62 percent are "very confident" that votes will be correctly counted, 26 percent "somewhat confident"). But anything that taints the voting process corrodes trust because voting is so symbolic. We see it as an inalienable right that's always been at the core of American democracy. This is a psychological truth and (unfortunately) a historical half-truth.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Quotations from Justin Kaplan (ed), Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition, 1992. Little Brown & Company, Toronto.

"to secure these rights [unalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness] governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" --Thomas Jefferson (page 343)

"Here in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is the assertion of the natural right of all to the ballot; for how can 'the consent of the governed' be given, if the right to vote is denied? --Susan B. Anthony (pages 491-492)

"The basis of a democratic state is liberty." --Aristotle, Politics VI, 2 (page 78)

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment." --Robert Maynard Hutchins (page 702)

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet." --Abraham Lincoln (page 448)

"In the strict sense of the term, a true democracy never has existed and never will exist." --Jean Jaques Rousseau (p 319)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jack C. Doppelt and Ellen Shearer. Nonvoters: America's No Shows. Page 220. Thousand Oaks, California, 1999. Sage Publishers.

The voice of the nonvoting majority, with its competing strains of alienation and complacency, political awareness and obliviousness, futility and indifference, speaks of no heroes or icons in the political landscape. Nonvoters exhibit little trust in the responsiveness of the political process, not even those who believe it is working. They get little reinforcement at home or on the job for the importance of the political or voting process. What has resulted is a generation of which half of its members lives outside the conventional body politic . . . The disconnect is enormous, the conviction to snub the polling place ingrained.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

International Journal of Politics and Ethics, Summer 2001 v1 i2 p123(11)  Why vote? Sidney Gendin. Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Retrived from TC3 Library, InfoTrac, on November 27, 2004. http://www.galegroup.com

On the whole, arguments against any one person's not voting are pure drivel and unexamined cliches that, thank goodness, no sensible person really believes hold water. The common ones are:
1. A rhetorical appeal to "What would happen if everybody refused to vote?"
2. An "argument" that voting is not so much an individual right as it is a collective responsibility.
3. A misguided and historically inaccurate claim that high voter turnout is very important to democracy.
4. A mathematically perverse notion that any one individual's vote may make a crucial difference.

. . . It is [also] commonly said that those who refrain from voting have no right to complain about how the country is governed. This is clearly false. Since it is one's legal right not to vote and one doesn't lose citizenship for exercising that right, neither does one lose the right to complain.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Editorial. "Democracy in America: The Election System is Broken; The vote of most Americans won't matter on Election Day 2004. " Business Week  14 Jun. 2004: 104.  ProQuest.  <http://www.proquest.com/>

As Americans gear up for the Nov. 2 Presidential election, they might ask themselves if their vote will really matter -- because if they don't live in one of 17 battleground states, it won't. It didn't count during the primary season, either, unless they lived in Iowa, New Hampshire, or a couple of other early-to-vote states. And if they vote in a Congressional race, their choice won't matter unless they live in just one of 35 Congressional districts. The other 400 districts have been gerrymandered to guarantee the reelection of the incumbent. The sad truth is that millions of Americans are being disenfranchised by the archaic architecture of an outmoded electoral system. It's time to fix it

Look at the current campaign. The balkanization of America's polity into Red and Blue states, and the winner-take-all Electoral College mean that the 2.4 million Democrats in Texas and a combined 8.5 million Republicans in New York and California will have no political representation. All the electoral votes Texas casts will probably go to President Bush, and all the votes California and New York cast will probably go to John Kerry. The result -- dissenting voices go unrepresented.

Since the country is evenly split between Red and Blue states, Presidential candidates focus more of their time and money persuading a smaller number of voters in a shrinking number of competitive swing states to vote for them. In the '70s, up to 40 states were in play in Presidential years. Today, it's down to 17 or 18.

A Business Week analysis shows that Ohio, Florida, and Missouri will have clout utterly disproportionate to their population. Worse, it is possible that either candidate could triumph in the popular vote and lose in the Electoral College. A Florida reprise would create a serious crisis of legitimacy in America. No wonder people feel  alienated from the political system to the point where voter participation is down to 54.5% - - 139th among the world's 172 democracies.

There is an obvious solution: one person, one vote. Direct popular elections or proportional voting for Electoral College representatives are long overdue. 

But more is needed. An astonishing 98.2% of incumbents won reelection to the House of Representatives in 2002. Thanks to gerrymandering, there is less competition and more polarization than ever. Computers allow politicians to sift through demographic data to create convoluted election districts that divide, conquer, and bury opponents. Candidates are then chosen in primaries dominated by core left-wing Democrats or right-wing Republicans. It all means less competition and more polarization. No wonder there are so few moderates left in American politics.

Gerrymandering is an electoral monster killing U.S. democracy. Redistricting should be taken out of the hands of politicians and given to nonpartisan panels that draw reasonable districts and give incumbents no special edge. Iowa has done this since 1981 and has the country's most competitive House districts. Low turnout may be fine for the pols and ideologues who dominate the process, but it isn't fine for the rest of the nation. Special interests support incumbents, and challengers must be rich to have a chance of winning.

Increasingly, votes don't matter in the U.S. Fewer competitive races, increased political balkanization, more big-money politics, and the absence of a true popular vote for the President are making a mockery of America's democratic ideals. We must do better. 

--end--

Left: a very strange medieval manuscript illumination depicting Plato and Socrates. Apparently Plato is teaching Socrates to write, and Socrates is going at it with both hands! A persistent myth about Socrates is that he didn't know how to write, but the opening of Phaedo makes it clear that he could and did write, when he thought that the god called him to do it.


gutchess@englishare.net                    Academic writing home page                    Gary Gutchess 2003