The U.S. has long been seen by many around the world as a bastion of freedom and liberty. But what does this mean? How can individual choice be promoted and protected when members of society have different views of how things should be organized and how their own interests can be preserved? The interests of an individual in his or her own freedom and liberty to act must be balanced against the interests of society as a whole, and sometimes these interests collide. Societies need to have laws to promote order. The larger, more diverse, and more complex a society is, the more regulated that society must be. At the same time, people have differing opinions about what choices should be allowed on many controversial subjects, about what the government itself should be allowed to do, and about whose interests should prevail.
- Address the following in 3–4 pages:
- With respect to the making, enforcement, and interpretation of laws, what are the roles of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the U.S. government?
- Who does what? In other words, are these roles really separate and distinct, or are there ways in which these roles overlap?
- As society changes, how does this impact the making and interpretation of laws?
- What are your conclusions about the need to balance individual choice and liberty with the needs of U.S. society as a whole? Incorporate an example of a law or an issue or area of particular interest to you. Ideas could include: civil rights, domestic and/or child abuse, or detention of suspected terrorists.
- To illustrate your position on these questions, refer to your text, the supplemental course materials, or pertinent outside sources (library, Web, other resources) to support your responses. You may choose a law or policy that you are interested in to illustrate your conclusions.