American Interest Groups

As youll find out when you read Chapter 13 of the textbook, there is nearly an endless amount of special interest groups who seek to convince the American public and the politicians they elect of the importance of a particular issue. Some of these groups are comprised of very specific, small parts of the population (like the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays & Lesbians), and some are massively influential groups with tens of thousands of members (like the National Rifle Association). Further, some have a very specific and narrow focus (like the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws), while others have a very broad range of issues for which they advocate (like the Sierra Club).If you need help choosing an interest group, start by thinking of an issue that matters to you, then google that issue, plus the words interest group. For example, if you care about the environment, googling environmental interest group should bring up plenty of interesting groups you can write about! Theres also a decent, though not comprehensive, list at this website: http://usgovinfo.about.com/blorgs.htmWhats important to remember is that your interest group MUST attempt to influence the American public, American politicians, or both. If youre unsure whether the group you picked qualifies, email me or come to office hours!You will be required to choose one interest group and perform the following tasks within a 3-5 page essay:(1) Describe the interest groups history. When was it formed? What was its original purpose? Who were the important leaders that helped define this institution?(2) Describe the day-to-day activities of this interest group. What are its key interests? How does it try to convince American people and politicians to support this interest? Has the group changed its issues and tactics since it was first created?(3) Critique one of the interest groups more recent actions/decisions (within the past 10 years). Do you agree or disagree with the work it has done? What would you change about its actions?This part of the assignment is worth 80 of the 500 total points that make up your final grade. You will be graded based on:(1) How thorough you were in completing the above three tasks. (20 points per task, for a total of 60/80 points)(2) Grammar, citations, and clarity of writing. You do not need to be 100% error free, but if your writing style makes your essay hard to read, you can be penalized up to 20 points. (20/80 points)