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            United States Government 

Course Description:
The United States Government (semester) course is designed for students to study the development and application of the American democratic principles and the United States Constitution. Students will investigate the rights, responsibilities, and duties of American citizenship at the national, state, and local level including political and civic participation to engage in the protection of individual and group civil rights and civil liberties. Students will study how public policy is created at all levels of government and how citizens engage in and respond to information on public policy issues.

United States Government; Our Democracy, c 2018, 9780076681136, 0076681130

Academic Standards: 
                                                    CCRS for History and SS

Scope and Sequence of Knowledge and Skills

Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy

September-Mid October   /   February-Mid-March

Essential Question:  How has American Democracy evolved?  


1.  What are the characteristics of democratic government?
2.  Are the 300 year-old political traditions and Enlightenment ideals reflected in the Declaration of             Independence and United States Constitution still alive in our government today?
3.  How was the U.S. Constitution shaped by American History prior to 1789?
4.  How is power divided and shared in the United States government (federal, local, state and in the         three branches)?
5.  Is there a balance of power between the branches?
6.  How have Supreme Court decisions expanded or restricted personal rights and responsibilities?

Reading Like a Historian
C3 Inquiries


-The Ideals in the Declaration: Which is the Most Important?
-How Did the Constitution Guard Against Tyranny?

12.G1 FOUNDATIONS of AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The principles of American democracy are reflected in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and in the organization and actions of federal, state, and local government entities.  The interpretation and application of American democratic principles continue to evolve and be debated. 
Role in the Enlightenment 12.G1a

Philosophies of Government
·   Types of government (monarchy, oligarchy, totalitarian, fascist, democratic, republican,                           parliamentary)
·   Functions of government
·   Responsibilities of government
·   Politics and government
·   Government vs. politics
·   Law vs. politics
·   Locke vs. Hobbes
·   Authoritarian vs. democratic government
·   Protecting public safety
·   Providing order
·   Regulating economy
·   Advancing public welfare
·   Major principles of political systems
Role of the Enlightenment in the framework for our Constitution
·   Natural rights, social contract, popular sovereignty, separation of powers, rights of the accused ,            representative
·   Montesquieu, Beccaria, Voltaire, Locke, Hobbes, Thomas Paine
·   Influence of Roman and English Law
·   Republicanism (Roman and Greek tradition and influence on America)
·   English Bill of Rights
Early American Government Influences
·   Evolution of self-governing, republican governments (New England Town Meetings, Virginia House      of Burgesses), early state constitutions, Articles of Confederation
·   Flushing Remonstrance letter as pre-curser to Bill of Rights
·   Political philosophy of Declaration of Independence
·   Impact of Declaration of Independence on the rest of the world
·   Articles of Confederation and its failure
The Constitution, Its Principles, and American System of Government 12.G1b
·   Constitutional Convention (1787-1789)
·   United States Constitution
·   Constitutional Debate over office of the President and Executive Branch
·   Federalist Papers
·   Anti-Federalist Papers
·   Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
·   Constitutional Compromises (Great Compromise, 3/5 Compromise, Commerce Compromise, Bill of      Rights)
·   No one is above the law (U.S. v. Nixon (1972), impeachment process, Johnson impeachment                (1868), Nixon resignation (1974), Clinton impeachment (1999))
Separation of Powers 12.G1c
·   Article I, II, III setting forth powers and responsibilities of each branch, systems of checks and                balances and system of federalism
·   Limited government
·   Separation of powers
·   System of federalism(creation of Constitutional Convention)
·   Three  branches
·   The system of checks and balances
·   Structure at all levels of government
·   Tests of Federal Government (McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), Nullification Crisis (1832), Civil War,        Little Rock 9 (1954), States challenging Affordable Health Care Act (2013-present))
·   State vs. national concerns or federal government

o National concerns such as interstate commerce which rely on federal action (Gibbons v. Ogden (1805), Wabash v. Illinois (1886), Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Interstate Commerce Commission)

o  State concerns such as police power which rely on state and local actions (Little Rock 9, Ferguson Mo. (2014), Department of Defense Excess Property Program)

o Federal government such as education policy ((IDEA), No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top)
The Executive Branch 12.G5a
·   United States electoral and representational system single-member districts
·   Winner-take-all elections
·   The Electoral College
·   Compromise over the Electoral College
·   Election of 1800 (Revolution of 1800), Election of 1876
·   Controversy/modern day applicability of electoral college
·   Electoral college as it relates to proportions of campaigning and financing
·   Red states, blue states, purple/battleground states
·   Bush v. Gore (2000)
·   Governments make and change policy, executive-legislative relations
·   Address by chief executive, seeking popular and legislative acceptance of a policy agenda
·   Executive officials, legislators, constituency groups, and advocacy groups battle for their causes
·   Case study of presidencies – Jackson, Polk, McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Nixon
Supreme Court and Judicial System 12.G1d
·   Rule of law
·   Evolution of the U.S. legal system
·   Common law
·   Constitutional law
·   Statutory law
·   Administrative regulations
Judicial Branch
·   Marbury v. Madison (1803)
·   Controversy of judicial review
·   Case studies (Dredd Scott (1857), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Brownv.BoardofEducation (1954),       Roev. Wade (1973))
·   Jefferson’s view of Supreme Court as an oligarchy, Worcesterv. Georgia (1832), John Marshall
Reserving Powers to the States 12.G1e
·   States’ rights and states’ powers
·   Debate over federal powers vs. state powers
Amendment Process  12.G1f
·   Amendment Process
·   State and federal participation in amendment process
·   Constitution evolution
·   Constitutional interpretation of loose construction vs. strict construction
·   Use of elastic clause in National Bank, Louisiana Purchase (1803), Supreme Court’s ruling on Bush      v. Gore (2000), American Affordable Health Care Act (2009)
Unit 2:Rights and Responsibilities
Mid-October-November or Mid-March -April
Essential Question:  Has the evolution of American principles and practices promoted greater Democracy?

1. What are the differences between rights, freedoms, and liberties? What is an example of a debate        in  U.S. History that defines each concept?
2. How can your rights change as a result of a change in context? From state to state, outside to              home, on the street to inside a school?
3. How can I exercise the right to vote? Does every vote count the same? Why don’t more people              vote?
4. Do we pay too much or too little of our income in taxes?
5. What does it mean when you are called for jury duty? What are the roles of a jury in civil and                  criminal trials?
6. How does informed citizenship support democratic government? 
Reading Like a Historian
C3 Inquiries

-Search and Seizure: Did the Government go to Far?
-Should Schools Be Allowed to Limit Students’ Online Speech?
-Is The American Jury System Still a Good Idea?
-Should Americans Be Required to Vote?
12.G2 CIVIL RIGHTS and CIVIL LIBERTIES: The United States Constitution aims to protect individual freedoms and rights which have been extended to more groups of people over time. These rights and freedoms continue to be debated, extended to additional people, and defined through judicial interpretation.  In engaging in issues of civic debate, citizens act with an appreciation of differences and are able to participate in constructive dialogue with those who hold different perspectives.
Equality and Due Process 12.G2a
·   Rights of individuals in this country
·   Fundamental values of equality before law and due process
·   The meaning  of due process
·   Inalienable rights
·   Civic debates such as rights, equality before law, due process
Rights of individuals in this country  12.G2b
·   Constitutional rights
·   Statutory rights
·   Precedents, current rules or principles of law governing specific rights
·   Limits on specific rights
·   Issues and implications surrounding specific rights
·   Connections between the policy-making process in the legislature and the judicial process in the          courts.
·   Civil War amendments
·   Texas v. Johnson (1989) and flag burning
·   Constitutional limits to freedom (libel, obscenity, and fair trial), Escobedo v. Illinois, Schenk v. U.S.        (1919)
·   Civic rights of citizens and residents to associate and petition and assemble (KKK in Skokie, IL)
An Independent Judicial System 12.G2c
·   Role of the courts with regard to protection of rights and freedoms
·   Flexibility of judicial interpretation 
·   Impartiality of justices
Civil Rights 12.G2d
·   Evolving definition of civil rights
·   Debates on the expansion and protection of civil rights
·   Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Brown v. Board of            Education (II) (1955), Civil Rights Act (1964), Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education       (1971), Gideon v.  Wainwright (1963)
·   19th Amendment (1920), ERA
·   Defense of Marriage Act (1996), U.S. v. Windsor (2013)
·   Americans with Disabilities Acts (1990, 2008)
Rights: Legal Status and Location 12.G2e
·   Rights are not absolute
·   Rights and location (schools, workplace, private property)
·   Debates around extension and limitations of rights
·   Rights and responsibilities of minors (workplace, family, emancipation)
·   Rights and responsibilities related to medical treatment or public assistance for minorities
·   Limits on individual legal rights and responsibilities when interacting with other countries 
·   Freedom of expression inside and outside of school (Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), Bethel v. Fraser        (1982), New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985))
·   Some legal rights change when moving to another state
Freedom of the Press 12.G2f
·   First Amendment
·   Forms of news media (daily newspapers, weekly magazines, television, radio, internet, advertising,      Nixon v. NY Times (1973), FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (1978), People v. RJ Reynolds (1998))
·   Free and open flow of information
·   Venue for a variety of views
·   Limitations of freedom of the press, role of sponsors and oligopoly
12.G3 RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF CITIZENSHIP:Active, engaged, and informed citizens are critical to the success of the United States representative democracy.  United States citizens have certain rights, responsibilities, and duties, the fulfillment of which help to maintain the healthy functioning of the national, state, and local communities.
Balancing Personal Liberties 12.G3a
·   Balance of personal liberty and social responsibility
·   Rights of the accused
·   4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th Amendments
·   Warren Court
·   Miranda v. Arizona (1966), Gideon v. Wainwright (1964), Mapp v. Ohio (1961), Escobedo v. Illinois       (1965), Terry v. Ohio (1968)
Voting and Participating in Government 12.G3b
·   Voting (pivotal form of political participation)
·   Debates about voter registration and identification issues (Arizona and voter ID)
·   Right of citizens to be elected to public office
·   Qualifications of public office positions
·   Responsibilities of U.S. residents (filing tax returns, voting, etc.)
·   Debates over legal age (voting, military, smoking, drinking)
Citizen Contribute and Participate 12.G3c, 12.G3d
·   Military Selective Service Act
·   Duty of every male citizen and resident of the U.S., ages 18-26, to register
·   Rostker v. Goldberg, 453  U.S. 57 (1981)  
·   Mandatory registration vs. mandatory draft
·   Constitutional history of military service
·   Military and political importance of a militia in colonial times
·   Second Amendment
·   Conscription and military draft
·   Wartime occurrences of civil disobedience  
·   Conscientious objection
·   Struggle against racial and gender discrimination in the armed services
·   National security vs. civil liberties (Alien Sedition Act (1798),   Lincoln’s Removal of Habeas Corpus     (1861), Schenk  v. U.S. (1919), Korematsu v. U.S (1944),  USA Patriot Act (2001), military tribunals,     legal status of terrorists awaiting trail)
·   Civic contribution and legal obligation
·   Governments rely on taxation (income, property, and sales) as a major source of revenue
·   Public policy influences and regulates financial incentives (buying a home) and disincentives                (spending retirement savings before retirement age)
Jury duty
·   Eligible to serve at 18 years of age
·   May oppose jury service for religious reasons
·   Juror qualification vs. jury summons
·   Grand and petit juries
·   Civil and criminal cases
·   Federal and state court systems
·   Legal right of defendant to be judged by a jury of his/her peers (5 and 6 Amendments)
·   Political right of citizens to serve as jurors (6 and 7 Amendments)

Unit 3:  Civic Participation and Public Policy
December-January or May-June

Essential Question:  How do citizens influence government policy?

1.  What opportunities exist for an individual student to affect political and civic change? 
2.  What contemporary issues do federal, state and local governments need to address? 
3.  Does the electoral system in the United States still meet our country’s needs?  Why or why not?
4.  What role do third parties play in United States politics?  In NYS?  In NYC?
5.  Where do we find reliable information about a public policy issue or a local participation in                     government project?
6.  How do we become civic participants?

Reading Like a Historian
C3 Inquiries

-Should the Electoral College Be Abolished?
-Campaign Propaganda: Which Strategy Would You Use?
-Preamble and the Federal Budget
-What Types of Citizen Does a Democracy Need?

12.G4 POLITICAL AND CIVIC PARTICIPATION: There are numerous avenues for engagement in the political process, from exercising the power of the vote, to affiliating with political parties, to engaging in other forms of civic participation.  Citizens leverage both electoral and non-electoral means to participate in the political process.
Elections and the Electoral College 12.G4a, 12.G4b
·   Election process (local, state and federal)
·   Electoral college
·   Winner take all election
·   Electoral mechanisms
·   Open elections
·   Who currently holds each office
·   Candidates  for office and their parties
·   Central issues in the election cycle
·   Obtaining and completing a voter registration form
·   Contacting elected officials
Participating in the Electoral Process 12.G4c
·   Evaluating promises and voting records of incumbents
·   Analyzing and evaluating candidates’ experiences
·   Calendar for federal, state and local elections
·   Obtaining an absentee ballot
·   Contributing money to political campaign (McCain-Feingold Bill (2002), Citizens United v. Federal          Election Commission (2009))
Political Parties 12.G4d
·   Founders’ views on political parties
·   Joining a political organization
·   Personnel (staff, volunteers, allies)
·   Campaign strategy (offensive and defensive)
·   Political, economic, and social philosophies and party platforms

Volunteerism, advocacy and civic participation 12.G4e
·   Volunteering to work in a political campaign
·   Community improvement projects, coalition building with local government, neighborhood CBOs            and advocacy groups. 
·   Civic participatory action (contacting elected officials, signing/organizing petitions, protesting,                canvassing, and participating in/organizing boycotts)
·   Citizens as activists (opposing arguments on abolition,  women’s rights, immigration, LGBT rights,        environmental policy, housing rights,  etc.)
12.G5 PUBLIC POLICY: All levels of government—local, state, and federal—are involved in shaping public policy and responding to public policy issues, all of which influence our lives beyond what appears in the Constitution. 
Executive Branch and Public Policy 12.G5a
·   Policy (roles, shaping, implementing, amending, and enforcing)
·   Executive Address
·   State of the Union
Governmental Branches and Agencies Determine Policy 12.G5b, 12.G5c
·   Balancing  regional and national needs, existing political positions and loyalties, and sources of            political power
·   Negotiating and implementing government policy
·   Government action across levels of government
·   Governmental departments  and agencies
·   Department of Homeland Security
·   Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, Hurricane Sandy (2012))
·   U.S. Department of Education (Race to the Top)
·   Border Controversy (Texas and Arizona vs. federal government)
·   Public Works projects (Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere)
·   Keystone XL Pipeline
Effective Media Consumers 12.G5d
·   Citizens as watchdogs of government
·   Increasing amount of sources
·   Evaluating media sources and public policy research
·   Effective and informed citizens engage in public policy research
·   Bills and laws, legislative history
·   Legislative and executive reports
·   Newspapers and other periodicals
·   Libraries, archives
·   Internet
·   Conducting an interview, Interview Review Board Guidelines


Chapter 1     Foundations of Government
Chapter 2     Origins of American Government
Chapter 3     The Constitution
Chapter 4     Federalism

Chapter 5     The Structure of Congress
Chapter 6     Congressional Powers
Chapter 7     Congress at Work
Chapter 8     State and Local Legislative Branch

Chapter 9     The Presidency
Chapter 10   Choosing the President
Chapter 11   Structure and Functions of the Executive Branch
Chapter 12   State and Local Executive Branches

Chapter 13   Federal and State Court Systems
Chapter 14   The Supreme Court of the U.S.
Chapter 15   Constitutional Freedoms
Chapter 16   Constitutional Right to a Fair Trail

Chapter 17   Political Parties
Chapter 18   Voting and Elections
Chapter 19   Public Opinion and Interest Groups

Chapter 20   Mass Media in the Digital Age
Chapter 21   Financing Government
Chapter 22   Making Social and Domestic Policy
Chapter 23   Making Foreign and Defense Policy
Chapter 24   Comparing Political and Economic Systems


Additional Resources:

Opening:               Standards / Objectives - 

                                           Key Question(s):
Work Session:       Assignment / Monitoring - 

Closing:                 Clarification / Mastery - 



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