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ENGL 1010: English Composition I, Prof. Sweet

A course guide for students in Prof. Sweet's English Composition I class.

Gun Control - In Focus

U.S.-Russia Relations - In Focus

Paper 3

  • Gun Control
    1. What do you think the drafters of the Bill of Rights intended when they wrote the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
    2. Do you think that lawmakers should pass gun control legislation in the wake of high-profile shootings or wait until emotions settle to draft bills? Explain your position.
    3. Even though federal law prohibits people with severe mental illnesses and serious criminal records from buying weapons, some still manage to do so. What can be done to prevent these individuals from obtaining weapons?
    4. Should Congress reinstate the assault weapons ban? Why or why not?
    5. Imagine that you are either the victim of gun violence or a staunch advocate for gun rights. Write a speech for or against gun control reform that you would give at a rally.

  • Voting Rights
    1. Is a new Voting Rights Act necessary to protect Americans' right to vote? Explain your answer.
    2. How did the Voting Rights Act of 1965 affect elections in the decades after its passage?
    3. Do you think voters of minority descent still face a risk of disenfranchisement at the polls? How do you think racism in the United States today compares to racism in the 1960s, when the Voting Rights Act was passed?
    4. Was the Voting Rights Act's preclearance requirement for some states and jurisdictions constitutional? Why or why not?
    5. Imagine you were a Supreme Court justice in Shelby County v. Holder. Write an opinion for the case, explaining why you think the Voting Rights Act should stand or why the Court should strike down all or part of the legislation.
  • Universal Healthcare
    1. What are the main problems facing healthcare in the United States?
    2. Should the government eliminate private insurance and replace it with a centralized health care program? Why or why not?
    3. Is healthcare a right, as supporters of Medicare for All often argue, or a privilege?
    4. Do you believe Medicare for All would ultimately reduce national health care costs or increase them? Do you think it would be better for Americans to pay more in taxes but then not have any responsibility for their own medical costs?
    5. Some Democrats argue that, to truly provide all Americans equal access to quality health care, it is necessary to eliminate private health insurance. Others argue that it would be better to allow Americans to choose between enrolling in a government program and buying private health insurance. What do you think? Explain your position in an essay.
  • U.S.-Russia Relations
    1. Should the United States take a more aggressive stance toward Russia or instead focus on compromise and cooperation? Explain your position.
    2. Should the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) continue to expand to include former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe like Georgia and Ukraine, or would expansion only further antagonize Russia? Do the benefits of NATO expansion outweigh the costs?
    3. Do you think the Russian annexation of Crimea was justified or a violation of international norms? What response from the global community do you think Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 warrants?
    4. In what ways is a good relationship with Russia important for the United States? How do deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations impede U.S. interests?
    5. Read and compare statements given by President Putin and U.S. leaders amid the Ukraine crisis. What do the statements show about how their worldviews and interpretations of history differ? Write an essay analyzing their arguments.