Politics and History Personal Statement
During my time in the Sixth Form, I thoroughly enjoyed the study of Politics, Economics and History, but I found my Politics course to be especially rewarding and would relish the opportunity to continue it at university
Coming from a transatlantic background, I was particularly interested in the element of the course concerning the comparative study of the British and American systems of government. I found it fascinating to analyse the two states from a historical perspective, to examine their different origins and to assess how those origins have influenced the nature of their political structures today. Other topics that interested me included the development of American racial tensions, and the relative effectiveness of American and British elections. I enjoy reading widely on political topics, and complemented my A-Level studies with extra-curricular texts such as Dye and Zeigler's The Irony of Democracy and Hamilton's The Federalist Papers, both of which benefited me with some very different interpretations of the principles on which the United States was founded. I take pride in taking a tenacious, independent approach to my studies and hope that this will serve me well during my time at university
Since I completed my A-Levels in June, I have developed an interest in the role of the United States on the global stage, and particularly its relationship with Europe. I have pursued this by reading such articles as Robert Kagan's Power and Weakness, Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilisations, and Francis Fukuyama's The End of History. I found Fukuyama's perception of liberalism as the pinnacle of human political development to be especially interesting in the context of current debates over globalisation and free trade. In order to gain further insight into the origins of this liberalism, I read and took notes on Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man, and am currently pursuing my interest in political philosophy with Bryan McGee's The Story of Philosophy. I always try to take an analytical approach when considering new points of view, and try to use them to complement rather than replace opinions that I have previously held
Away from my studies, I played an active role in the student government as an elected member of the Sixth Form Committee and of the School Council. I developed my writing skills and teamwork through my contribution to the school magazine, and my powers of advocacy as a member of the Debating Society. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming, photography, astronomy, and mountain bike racing; I hope to continue these activities at university
After completing my degree, I hope to pursue a career in the legal profession, journalism, or the Foreign Office: with this in mind, I took part in work experience in October 2001 for Ashurst Morris Crisp, an international law firm in the City, and will be engaged in a three month internship at a national foreign policy and security affairs research organisation in Washington, D.C in the Spring of 2003
Following this, I plan to spend the Summer at the Ifalpes French school in Annecy. I am certain that studying for a degree in Politics, or Politics and History, would help me to develop the analytical skills required to fulfil my career aspirations, but ultimately my motivation for studying the subject runs much deeper than this. The study of Politics at A-Level has, for me, raised more questions than it has answered; by continuing the subject at university, I would hope to answer some of these questions, but also to raise many more.