American Government: Class Guide



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American Government: Class Guide

Principles and Origins to the Three Branches





  1. Principles of Government

    1. Essential question: What is government? Why do we need government? What are the different types of government? What roles do these different types of government play in the daily lives of their citizens?




    1. John Locke, “State of Nature,” Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, the political state, democracy and democratic values, “Lord of the Flies”



  1. The Origins of American Government

    1. Essential question: How did the United States system of government come to be? What role did the Founding Fathers play in creating our country’s government? What are our country’s political beginnings? How was the United States Constitution created?



    1. Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Englishmen and Americans, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, 13 original Colonies and the “Bill of Rights”



  1. The United States Constitution

    1. Essential question: What is the role of the U.S. Constitution throughout the country? What are the basic principles found in the Constitution?




    1. Basic principles of the Constitution, important clauses, the “Bill of Rights,” 27 Amendments, the amendment process and articles of the Constitution




  1. Federalism in the United States

    1. Essential question: What is the relationship between the different levels of government and how do they interact? How is the power of governance divided between the states and the Federal government?



    1. Division of powers, expressed, implied, and inherent powers; exclusive, delegated, and concurrent powers; Articles 4 and 5 of the U.S. Constitution, FEMA and other Federal Executive Agencies and their relationship with the State governments, Legislating morality and Federalism, Interstate relations



  1. American Political Parties

    1. Essential question: What role do Democrats, Republicans and third parties play in the American system of government? What do political parties do? How does the two party system work? How are political parties organized?



    1. Democrats, Republicans, Third Parties, Third Party politics, the Two party system, Liberals vs. Conservatives, the political compass, different political philosophies and their roles in the American political system



  1. Voting in the United States

    1. Essential question: How does voting work in the United States?



    1. Voter qualifications in the Constitution and at the state level, Reapportionment, Redistricting and Gerrymandering; Voter turnout, the ballot and elections, voting amendments, suffrage and civil rights, voting requirements and restrictions



  1. Elections in the United States

    1. Essential question: How do elections in the United States work and fit into the American system of government? How does the nomination process fit into the American political system? What role does money play in elections throughout the United States?



    1. The nomination process and political parties, primaries, midterm and general elections, campaign finance and the FEC, PACs and Super PACs



  1. The Congress

    1. Essential question: What role does the United States Congress play in the American system of government? What is the United States Congress composed of and how do those entities interact? What is the scope of Congressional power throughout the country? How does Congress function in the American system of government?



    1. House of Representatives, the Senate, Delegated powers, “Power of the Purse,” powers of money and commerce, implied powers, non-legislative powers, “How a Bill Becomes a Law,” Congressional Committees, the organization of Congress, the Speaker of the House, President pro tempore and other officers and important figures in the United States Congress




  1. The President of the United States

    1. Essential question: What role does the President of the United States play in the American system of government? How does the President fulfill his or her constitutional duties to the United States? How is the President elected? What are the President’s powers? How have the President’s powers expanded throughout American history?



    1. Constitutional qualifications, constitutional roles, the Vice-President, presidential succession, presidential selection, electing the President, the Electoral College, Presidential Primaries, nominating the President, Article II of the Constitution, the “Commander in Chief” and other roles the President plays on a day-to-day basis




  1. The American Court System

    1. Essential question: How does the American court system function throughout the country? How are the different judicial levels related? What is the Supreme Court and what role does it play throughout the United States?



    1. Article III of the Constitution, district courts, courts of appeals, “special courts,” “inferior courts,” 12 Angry Men, Criminal law, Civil law


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