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Reflection Essay: The American Constitution


SOURCES: What does it mean to be an American/American citizen?

Smith, Rogers. “The Meaning of American Citizenship.” (PDF-6pgs) (also available from (requires account): The meaning of American Citizenship

Song, Sarah. (2009) “What does it mean to be an American?” Ethics, Spring 2009, pp.31-40. (PDF-9pgs)

American Citizenship

The U.S. Bill of Rights (Bill of rights)

New York Times. 2010. “Room for Debate: The GOP and Birthright Citizenship.” (

Please browse this link at the ACLU on the Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 Upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court: “What’s at Stake: SB 1070 at the Supreme Court.”

New York Times, January 12, 2015: “New York’s ID Card Program Draws Large Response.”


Dahl, Robert A. (2003). How Democratic is the American Constitution? Yale University Press. 

About this assignment: 

This assignment is a low-stakes assignment and is meant to give students a chance to digest and reflect on the week’s readings. As such, your papers should address the week’s readings, not just Tuesday’s or Thursday’s readings. 

What I’m looking for:

I am looking to see that you read the assigned readings and thought about them—that is, that you engaged with the readings. I am not using your papers to assess how well you understood the readings; in fact, there’s a good chance that you may have a hard time with one or two readings or that you still have questions about them and that’s fine. What I want to see that you didn’t just speed through the readings for the sake of reading them; what I’m looking for is that you tried to understand them and thoughtfully reflected on them.

Structure of your paper:

Divide your paper into three sections: I. Summary, II, Situated in the Field, and III. Reaction. Please include each section with the Roman numeral and section title (see example below). Here are some questions to help for each section.

I. Summary

Part I is the “summary” part. In this section, briefly describe what the papers were about, the questions the authors are addressing, and their main ideas and conclusions. In this section, answer questions such as what are the readings about? What are the main ideas of each reading? What questions are the authors addressing?

II: Situated in the Field

In Part II, try to answer how the papers relate each other and/or other readings from our class. Do the papers support each other, contradict each other?

III: Reaction

Finally, in Part III, react to the papers. Do you have a question about the authors’ ideas? Did something they write ring particularly true for you? Did something in the readings contradict your own experiences? Your reaction may include any questions you have about the material or your opinions on the readings.


Title: Reflection Essay: The American Constitution
Length: 2 pages (701 Words)
Style: APA


American Constitution


I.   Summary 

The papers describe how appointments and election of leaders are conducted in agreement with the American constitution. Besides, they answer questions about democracy, accountability, and corruption in the government offices. Also, there is an insight on how the law does not uphold representation. Various alternatives and solutions that American society could adopt to have a better democracy have also been explored. Robert Dahl, for instance, evaluates the reaction of the citizens, and as to whether they are satisfied with the leadership or would prefer a more democratic system (Dahl, 2003).

II.    Main ideas

A myth that American Constitution is a beacon of democracy plainly disregards democratic norms in numerous instances. Notably, Electoral College and Senate distort the value of voting. However there are viable solutions and alternative systems of representation that would make the United States a stable democracy (Smith, 1999).


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