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Competency 113.2.1: Modern Institutions – The graduate examines the development, characteristics, functions and interdependence of modern economic, social, and political institutions.


Over the course of the twentieth century, the collapse of pluralistic empires gave way to the rise of the nation-state as the dominant form of human society. In addition, transnational entities have developed to compete with national identities and goals, sometimes involving the subordination of national concerns. In this task, you will consider how the relationship between pursuing national goals and pursuing transnational goals shapes the global balance of power.


A. Write an essay (suggested length of 5–10 pages) in which you explain the characteristics of the nation-state and transnational entities. You will do the following:
1. Describe the characteristics of the modern nation-state.
a. Describe one example (other than the United States) for each of the following categories:
• A nation that is not also a sovereign state
• A sovereign state that is not also a nation
• A nation-state

2. Explain how the United States functions as a modern nation-state.
a. Discuss one example of a specific, concrete action or practice by the U.S. government or American society that does the following:
• Reinforces fixed territory
• Demonstrates sovereignty
• Fosters common culture

b. Describe two examples of foreign policy (from approximately the past three years) objectives for the United States.

3. Discuss the European Union as a transnational entity by doing the following:
a. Summarize the major historical events (e.g., motivations, dates, organizations, treaties, and interests) during the twentieth century that led to the creation of the European Union.
b. Describe three of the following five major institutions:
• European Parliament
• European Commission
• Council of the European Union
• European Central Bank
• European Court of Justice
c. Explain the present-day function of the European Union.
d. Describe two examples (from approximately the last three years) of foreign policy objectives for the European Union.

4. Use the two U.S. foreign policies chosen in part A2b and the two European Union foreign policies chosen in part A3d as examples to do the following:
a. Analyze the specific, concrete actions (from approximately the last three years) by the United States or European Union to achieve each of the four foreign policy objectives from parts A2b and A3d.
b. Analyze the specific, concrete results or reactions to each of the actions in A4a for each of the four foreign policies.

B. When you use sources, include all in-text citations and references in APA format.

Note: When bulleted points are present in the task prompt, the level of detail or support called for in the rubric refers to those bulleted points.

Note: For definitions of terms commonly used in the rubric, see the Rubric Terms web link included in the Evaluation Procedures section.

Note: When using sources to support ideas and elements in a paper or project, the submission MUST include APA formatted in-text citations with a corresponding reference list for any direct quotes or paraphrasing. It is not necessary to list sources that were consulted if they have not been quoted or paraphrased in the text of the paper or project.

Note: No more than a combined total of 30% of a submission can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. For tips on using APA style, please refer to the APA Handout web link included in the General Instructions section.


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