Unit 1 - Foundations of American Government
Unit introduces students to both the origins of American Government and the government as it exists today. Chapter 1 analyzes the purposes and concepts behind American democracy. Chapter 2 explores the origins of the American governmental system from its early development to the creation and adoption of the Constitution. Chapter 3 describes the six basic principles in on which the Constitution is built and the formal and informal procedures for interpreting the Constitution. Chapter 4 shows the division of power between the National Government and the States, and how constitutional provisions encourage cooperation between and among the states.
Essential Questions: What are the purposes of government? What principles guide different types of government? What is the role of government in different types of economic systems? What influenced the development of our government institutions? Why and How did the colonists declare independence? How does the U.S.Constitution structure government and divide power between the national and state governments? Why and how has the U.S. Constitution been amended and interpreted throughout our history? How do state Constitutions and local charters structure government and protect individual rights? Why and how is power divided and shared among national, state, and local governments? How does federalism promote democracy and civic participation?
Chapter 1 - Foundations of American Government
Chapter 2 - Origins of American Government
Chapter 3 - The Constitution
Chapter 4 - Federalism
Unit 2 - The Legislative Branch
Unit two covers the Legislative Branch. The legislative branch plays a variety of important roles in governing communities, states, and the nation. At each level of government, the legislative branch represents the interests of the voters and should reflect the makeup of the population it serves. Perhaps the most important function of the legislative branch is its power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. Legislators must balance competing interests so that a law is fair. Each part of the legislative branch has its own responsibilities in creating laws. At all levels, the laws our legislatures enact protect and endorse our rights and help us understand the "rules" we need to follow so society runs smoothly. The work of the legislative branch also plays an important role in overseeing the executive and his or her administration. Raising revenue - primarily through the use of taxes - and approving government spending are also the responsibilities of the legislative branch. In all of these functions, legislators are influenced by a great many factors: voters, staff members, political parties, and special interest groups. By understanding the roles and functions of the legislative branch, you can better understand how and why the laws that affect your daily society and life are made.
Essential Questions: What is the structure and organization of Congress? How have the powers of Congress changed over time? How does the separation of powers influence the work of Congress? How does a bill become a law? How does the government raise and allocate money? What factors influence congressional decision making? How can citizens participate in state and local governments? How are laws created at the state and local levels?
Chapter 5 - The Structure of Congress
Chapter 6 - Congressional Powers
Unit 3 - The Executive Branch
As the country's only nationally elected office, presidents today have much greater power and responsibility than presidents who served earlier in our nation's history. The president is the head of state, chief executive, commander in chief, chief diplomat, legislative leader, economic leader, and party leader. Successful executives are in tune with the public, posses good communication skills and a sense of timing, are willing to compromise with competing factions, and demonstrate political courage. Many federal departments, agencies, boards, commissions, government corporations, and advisory committees make up the executive branch of the United States government. All of these bodies help carry out the president's policies and the laws passed by Congress. The function of the executive branch on the state and local levels is much the same as on the federal level. State and local executives administer and enforce the laws passed by the legislative branch. By understanding how the executive branch operates, you will more clearly see how the actions of federal, state, and local bureaucracies affect your daily life.
Essential Questions: What are the powers and roles of the president and how have they changed over time? What are the structure and functions of the executive branch? Why and how has the process for nominating and electing presidents changed over time? How are state and local executive branches structured? What are the characteristics of effective governors and mayors?
Chapter 9 - The Presidency
Chapter 10 - Choosing the President
Unit 5 - Participating in Government
Chapter 17 - Political Parties
Chapter 18 - Voting and Elections
Chapter 19 - Public Opinion and Interest Groups
Chapter 20 - Mass Media