Tutor profile: Jakob D.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What are the three main branches of the US government? What are the functions of each branch and how does each one balance the others?
The three main branches of the US federal government are the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The main body of the legislative branch is Congress, which is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress has the power to make laws, declare war, impeach federal officials, as well as raise and distribute federal money. Congress acts as a balance to the executive branch because they can override the president’s veto with a ⅔ majority vote. Congress acts as a check on the judicial branch as well because the senate must vote to confirm presidential court nominations and because they can amend the constitution in order to override the supreme court's power of judicial review. The main body of the executive branch is the President of the United States. The President is responsible for enforcing the laws passed by congress, appointing judges, commanding the armed forces, appointing heads of federal agencies, issuing executive orders, granting pardons, and exercising veto powers. The president serves as a check on congress because they can veto any bills passed by congress. The executive branch also checks the power of the senate because the vice president presides over the senate and can cast tie-breaking votes. The president also balances the judicial branch because they appoint the federal judges who oversee the interpretation of laws and they have the power to pardon anyone convicted by the courts. The courts are the main bodies of the judicial system. The courts are responsible for the interpretation of the laws and the constitution. They serve as a check on the executive and legislative branches because they have the power to declare laws and executive orders unconstitutional in a process called judicial review.
Subject: International Relations
Nuclear non-proliferation is one of the most important issues in International relations today. What is one major successful non-proliferation effort? Why was it successful?
One major non-proliferation success is the case of the South African nuclear program. In the 1970s, South Africa had a well-developed nuclear program that they had built potentially in cooperation with France and Israel. They had sought nuclear capabilities in order to counter the threat posed by Angolan Marxist rebels and Cuban soldiers that were fighting the South African backed government of Angola. However, after a 1988 peace treaty South Africa chose to give up its nuclear program and become part of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Shortly thereafter the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that six nuclear weapons and an additional one that had been under construction had been dismantled. This effort was successful because peaceful negotiations ended foreign involvement in Angola’s civil war and therefore eliminated South Africa’s reason for pursuing a nuclear program. After this was accomplished South Africa voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons and signed treaties vowing not to pursue nuclear weapons again.
Subject: European History
What are three main reasons for the outbreak of WWI? How did each of these factors contribute to the start of the war?
Three main reasons for the outbreak of WWI were nationalism, networks of alliances, and imperialism. The period of time before the beginning of the war was a period of intense nationalistic rhetoric. Each nation held a belief that it was superior to every other nation. With this idea permeating the popular consciousness, people were eager to go to war because they had been led to believe they would have a quick and decisive victory to prove their superiority. Another reason the war developed into WWI was the complex network of alliances that drew every major European power into the war. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and when Russia mobilized in defense of Serbia, Germany also declared war. This chain reaction continued to bring all the major powers into the war and expanded a regional conflict into WWI. A third factor that led to WWI was imperialism. In the early 1900s, all of the major European powers had large overseas empires and were intent on expanding their colonial possessions. Competing claims on certain regions increased tensions between nations and major powers viewed victory against rivals in Europe as a viable way to take control of their colonies.
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