US Government and Politics Online Single Semester
This course studies the history, organization, and functions of the United States government. Beginning with the Declaration of Independence and continuing through to the present day, students explore the relationship between individual Americans and our governing bodies. Students take a close look at the political culture of our country and gain insight into the challenges faced by citizens, elected government officials, political activists, and others. Students also learn about the roles of political parties, interest groups, the media, and the Supreme Court, and discuss their own views on current political issues. Prerequisite: U.S. History (or equivalent) is recommended, but not required.
Unit 1: Principles of Government
Students identify the purposes of government and evaluate theories about its origins. They compare and contrast power and authority, describe types of government, and learn the basic ideas of American democracy.
- The Purposes and Origins of Government
- Power and Government
- Types of Government
Unit 2: Constitutional Underpinnings
Students learn about the Enlightenment, the ideas of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, the American Revolution, and the Constitutional Convention. They compare and contrast the views of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, discuss the five major principles of the Constitution, and learn about the Bill of Rights and other important amendments.
- Origins of American Government
- Creating and Ratifying the Constitution
- The Constitution
Unit 3: Institutions of Government
Students learn about the basic structure of the U.S. government, and the purpose and functions of Congress, the presidency, bureaucracy, and the federal court system. They study the significance of Marbury v. Madison and learn the steps the Supreme Court follows in selecting, hearing, and deciding cases.
- The National Government
- The Presidency
- The Executive Branch and the Bureaucracy
- The Judicial Branch
Unit 4: Political Beliefs and Behaviors
Students learn about the expansion of suffrage in the United States, opportunities for citizen participation in the political process, and demographic factors that influence political participation and political attitudes. They are introduced to the two axis model of the political spectrum and study the development of liberal and conservative positions in the United States. They learn about the history of opinion polling and the methods used to measure public opinion.
- Political Participation
- Political Opinions
- America's Political Landscape
Unit 5: Linkage Institutions
Students learn about the two-party system, the history of political parties in America, and the role of the media in American elections. They study the process by which presidents are elected, how interest groups and lobbyists work, how the media can impact political agenda, and the evolution of the press in the United States.
- Political Parties
- Elections and Campaigns
- Interest Groups
- The Media
Unit 6: The Art of Policymaking
Students learn about policymaking and economic, social, and foreign policies of the United States. They learn about the typical issues addressed and the powers of state and local government.
- Understanding Policymaking
- Policy Realms
- Policymaking at the State and Local Levels
Unit 7: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Students learn about individual rights and liberties found in the Bill of Rights. They look at how the establishment clause and the free exercise clause have been interpreted to protect freedom of religion; trace the ever-evolving interpretation of freedom of speech; and learn about freedom of the press, assembly, and petition and the right to privacy. They study major steps in the fight for equality for African Americans, women, and other minority groups.
- American Rights
- First Amendment Liberties
- Privacy Rights and Rights of Due Process
- Rights for Minorities and Women
Unit 8: U.S. Government and Politics Review and Exam
Students review what they have learned and take the final exam.