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American Government

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Unit Components Explained

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    • Readings: 36 digital essays and introductions in the fields and subjects of American Government reinforced with instructive images, videos, and animations. (Essays are audio recorded and have adapted 11th-grade versions for struggling readers.) Readings include banks of questions tagged by difficulty level and aligned to key terms and focus questions.
    • Poly Sci Activity Manual: 58 textual and/or data-driven problems and 8 contemporary issues for the current presidential and Congressional terms. Includes a context-building background section, an analytical activity (optional for grading purposes), opinion polls, quiz polls, and activity quizzes.

 

  • Video Libraries: Over 80 brief 1-4 minute videos available to enhance or launch lectures or discussions.

 

Assessments and video libraries can be reviewed on the secure live site.

 

Overview of American Government

  • Document: Articles of Confederation
  • Document: The Declaration of Independence
  • Document: The US Constitution
  • Document: The Bill of Rights

 

Unit 1: The Foundations of American Government by Jack Rakove, Stanford University

Introduction:  The Foundations of American Government

Contemporary Issue: The Future of the Electoral College After 2016

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: The Authority of the Constitution
  • Reading: Brief History of the Emergence of the US Constitution
  • Reading: Three Myths of the US Constitution (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Federalism
  • Reading: Separation of Powers

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: Federalist 10
  • Activity: Federalist 37
  • Activity: Federalist 51
  • Activity: John Adams’ Thoughts on Government
  • Activity: Would Direct Democracy Be Better?
  • Activity: Why are Americans generally uninformed about the Constitution?
  • Activity: The Equal Rights Amendment

Video Library

 

Unit 2: Federalism, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties by Ange-Marie Hancock, USC

Introduction: Federalism, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties

Contemporary Issue: Immigration and Immigration Rights in the Trump Administration

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Federalism Today
  • Reading: Civil Liberties
  • Reading: Civil Rights
  • Reading: How to Get Away With a Social Movement (Topical Essay)

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: Voter ID Laws
  • Activity: Gibbons v. Ogden
  • Activity: How have views of sexual harassment changed over time?
  • Activity: The Second Amendment and State Regulations
  • Activity: The Eighth Amendment and Incarceration
  • Activity: Lesser Known Amendments
  • Activity: Should immigrants have civil rights?

Video Library

 

Unit 3: Political Culture, Public Opinion, and Elections by Melinda Jackson, San Jose State University

Introduction: Political Culture, Public Opinion, and Elections

Contemporary Issue: The Job Approval Rating of President Trump

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Political Socialization and Values
  • Reading: Understanding Public Opinion (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Elections in America
  • Reading: How Voters Decide
  • Reading: The Media

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: The Big Sort
  • Activity: How Your Government Affects You?
  • Activity: Conventions: Pageants or Political Drama?
  • Activity: Where is the Real Election Battleground?
  • Activity: Do Debates Make a Difference?
  • Activity: Voter Participation
  • Activity: The Citizenship Test
  • Activity: How Do Americans Decide?
  • Activity: The Vote of the College Educated
  • Activity: Why is the Hispanic Vote Critical in Presidential Elections?

Video Library 

Unit 4: Social Movements, Interest Groups, and Political Parties by Dara Strolovitch, Princeton University

Introduction: Social Movements, Interest Groups, and Political Parties

Contemporary Issue: Affirmative Action and White Grievance

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Groups and the Democratic Exercise of Power
  • Reading: Can Interest Groups Represent the Disadvantaged? (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Understanding Interest Groups and Social Movements
  • Reading: Political Parties

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: Madison and De Tocqueville
  • Activity: Advocacy in Hard Times
  • Activity: Rapid Social Change and the LGBT Community
  • Activity: Citizens’ United
  • Activity: The US Libertarian Party Platform
  • Activity: What is my political type?
  • Activity: Are parties relevant or essential?

Video Library

 

Unit 5: The US Congress by Kathleen Dolan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Introduction: The US Congress

Contemporary Issue: The American Deficit and the Trump Tax Cut

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Congress and Representation
  • Reading: Apportionment and Representation in the House (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Congress and the Legislative Process
  • Reading: Congress in the Political System

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: Congressional Representation and Pork Barrel Politics
  • Activity: Congress and War Powers
  • Activity: The US National Debt
  • Activity: Should Congress eliminate the mandatory minimum sentence?
  • Activity: The Gender Gap in Voting
  • Activity: Congress and the Revolving Door

Video Library

 

Unit 6: The US President by Sean Gailmard. University of California, Berkeley

Introduction: The US President

Contemporary Issue: Does Lying Matter in a President?

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Presidents and Unilateral Powers Over Domestic Policy
  • Reading: Presidents and Their Interactions with Congress
  • Reading: The Presidency and War (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Presidents and Public Opinion
  • Reading: Challenges of the Trump Presidency  (Topical Essay) by Jeneen Hobby, Cleveland State University

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: Character and the President
  • Activity: Impeachment: Nixon and Clinton
  • Activity: The President’s Use of Media
  • Activity: Foreign Policy and the Presidency
  • Activity: The Growth and Opportunity Project (2013)
  • Activity: Was there a Reagan Revolution?

Video Library

 

Unit 7: The US Supreme Court and Court System by Lawrence Baum, Ohio State University

Introduction: The US Supreme Court and Judiciary

Contemporary Issue: Trump Supreme Court Appointments (Post-election update January 2019)

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Selecting Judges
  • Reading: Responding to Decisions
  • Reading: The US Supreme Court and Its Decision-Making Process  (Topical Essay)

Reading: Influencing Decisions

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: The Garland-Gorsuch Nomination Controversy
  • Activity: Are 5-4 decisions harmful to the reputation of the Supreme Court?
  • Activity: Original and Evolving Meaning in the US Constitution
  • Activity: Decision-Making on the US Supreme Court (The Kylo Decision)
  • Activity: The Louisiana Literacy Test
  • Activity: President Obama’s Argument on Solitary Confinement

Video Library

 

Unit 8: Domestic Policy and Foreign Policy by Paul Pierson, University of California, Berkeley. And Amy Skonieczny, San Francisco State University

Introduction: Domestic and Foreign Policy

Contemporary Issue: Is There a Trump Foreign Policy?

Unit Further Reading

Readings

  • Reading: Why Do We Have So Much Government?
  • Reading: How Do American Political Institutions Affect Domestic Policy
  • Reading: Policymaking in an Era of Polarization
  • Reading: Public Policy and the Health Care Debate  (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: American Foreign Policy and the Impact of 9/11 (Topical Essay)

Poly Sci Activity Manual

  • Activity: The Story of Annual Deficits in the Last Two Decades
  • Activity: Taxes and Social Welfare Benefits
  • Activity: Inequality and Policy
  • Activity: Student Loan Debt and Free College
  • Activity: Will police reform improve race relations?
  • Activity: American Ideas About Foreign Aid
  • Activity: National Security Strategy
  • Activity: Nuclear Weapons and Their Owners
  • Activity: In the long run is our foreign policy in Asia more important?

Video Library

 

Writing Workshops:

  • Writing: Federalist 10
  • Writing: Voter ID Laws
  • Writing: Voter Participation
  • Writing: Madison and De Tocqueville
  • Writing: The Gender Gap in Voting
  • Writing: The President’s Use of Media
  • Writing: Original and Evolving Meaning in the US Constitution
    Writing: Taxes and Social Welfare Benefits

 

Scholars Mart California Government by Kimberly Nalder, Sacramento State University $5.00 (covering American Institutions standards). 

  • Introduction
  • Reading: The Structure of California Government
  • Reading: Direct Democracy and the Governability of California
  • Reading: Campaigns and Elections in California
  • Reading: California Voters: Knowledge, Misinformation, and Consequences
  • Activity: Six Californias
  • Activity: How will you balance California’s budget?
  • Activity: Do California legislators look just like you?

 

Scholars Mart Florida Government

  • The Florida Constitutional Amendment Process in Historical Context (Topical Essay, $2)
    By Terri Susan Fine, University of Central Florida
  • A Brief Introduction to Florida Government (Survey Course Supplement; $15)
    By John Bertalan, University of South Florida

 

Scholars Mart Women in Government and Politics by Kathleen Dolan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  $5.00 or individual items for $2

  • Reading: Women and the US Constitution
  • Reading: Women’s Representation in the American States
  • Reading: Gender and the American Election
  • Reading: The Conservative Women’s Movement (Topical Essay)
  • Reading: Do Women in Congress Make a Difference? (Topical Essay)
  • Activity: Women and the Presidency
  • Activity: Women and the Courts
  • Activity: The Impact of Domestic Policy Decisions on Women’s Lives

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