Final Paper: Comparative Study of State and Local Governments

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American Federalism has been a very effective framework for sustaining our democracy. This overlapping and complementary system of government allows governmental leaders at all levels to develop their own political, social, and economic governance structures, and to provide indispensable goods and services to their constituencies. However, there are drawbacks to this multi-layered governance system as state and local governments often pursue their own goals and objectives, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in concert with federal goals and objectives. Consequently, each of these governance systems, local, state, and federal, have their own similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses.

For this Final Paper, you will apply critical thinking skills and research capabilities to investigate selected state and local governments. First, analyze and discuss the similarities and differences between three state and local governments recognized for their distinctive governing features. California, Louisiana, and New York City governments have unique and similar programs, policies, and processes that should be the core research material for this assignment. Next, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these selected state and local governments. Finally, discuss the overall effectiveness of each government.  

Use the following outline as a guide for the development of your Final Paper:

Introduction (half page):

  • Overview:  Briefly describe your main points.
  • Thesis: Discuss why are you evaluating these various levels of government.

Discussion and Analysis (five to six pages):

  • Describe the structure, governing powers, and economic situation of the California, Louisiana, and New York City governments.
  • Discuss one issue where each of these governments has conflicted, compromised, or cooperated with the federal government:
    • Discuss one issue concerning California’s government.
    • Discuss one issue concerning Louisiana’s government.
    • Discuss one issue concerning New York City’s government.
  • Examine governmental programs, policies, and processes that affect the citizens of these three states and cities:
    • Examine one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a positive impact and one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a negative impact on the citizens of California.
    • Examine one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a positive impact and one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a negative impact on the citizens of Louisiana.
    • Examine one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a positive impact and one governmental program, policy, or process that has had a negative impact on the citizens of New York City.

Evaluations (four to five pages):

  • Describe programs, policies, or processes that have made each of these governments successful and discuss why these programs, policies, or processes were successful.
    • Concentrate your discussion on how these programs, policies, and processes overcame conflict, created compromise, and enabled cooperation.
  • Based on your evaluation, determine which government, California’s, Louisiana’s, or New York City’s, is the most effective at meeting the needs of its citizens and discuss why it is the most effective.

Conclusion (half page):

  • Review of main points.
  • Review of overall thesis.

Writing the Final Paper
The Final Paper:

  1. Must be 10 to 12 double-spaced pages in length (not including cover page and references), and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  2. Must include a title page with the following:
    1. Title of paper
    2. Student’s name
    3. Course name and number
    4. Instructor’s name
    5. Date submitted
  3. Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
  4. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
  5. Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
  6. Must use at least five scholarly resources, including a minimum of two from the Ashford University Library.
  7. Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  8. Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

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