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    Examining a Proposal for Federal Ballot Initiatives

    Number of Pages: 15


    Summary of the research paper:

    This is a 15 page paper that provides an overview of federal ballot initiatives. The pros and cons are examined with historical citations. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: KW60_KFlaw008.doc

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    in history. Many attribute the power of the Constitution to its Bill of Rights, which grant specific rights and privileges to the citizenry of the United States that were hitherto  not enjoyed by any other nations peoples as a matter of official governmental policy. However, the real utility of the Constitution emerges from its flexibility. Indeed, the Bill of Rights  itself is made up of ten Amendments to the original draft of the Constitution; therefore, without the capacity to amend the Constitution from time to time, these rights would not  exist. Thusly, the ability to amend the Constitution was written into its policies, establishing a principle by which Congress can issue amendments by majority vote when deemed necessary by the  changing nature of society and culture. Obvious examples include the establishment and repeal of Prohibition, as well as the institution of Civil Rights laws with the 14th Amendment. However, many  still feel that the ability to change government is too dependent upon elected officials and is not truly representative enough. To address this problem, one proposed solution is a Constitutional  amendment to grant individual voters the power to propose, enact, or reject new laws directly through the voting process via ballot initiative and referendum rather than depending on elected officials  to do what they were elected to do. This policy has many advantages and disadvantages. First, a word about the history of such a policy. The first stirrings of direct  representation through ballot initiatives came about in the 20th century when, after many decades of political turmoil, a major segment of the population was left feeling alienated from the process  of government (Nelson, 1978). Conventional wisdom at the time held that representative democracy was necessary because the average American citizen was "out of touch" and uninformed on the important issues; 

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