Strive to become vigilant, informed citizens who actively participate in the preservation and improvement of American government through community service and service-learning (e.g., individual service projects, patriotic events, mock trials, group initiatives, community volunteerism).
Explore social contracts and the establishment of the rule of law, and evaluate how limited government and the rule of law protect individual rights.
Demonstrate that the purpose of American government is the protection of personal, political and economic rights of citizens as evidenced by the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution, Constitutional Amendments and the ideas of those involved in the establishment of American government.
Consider factors that subvert liberty (including lack of education, voter apathy, disenfranchisement, civil inequalities, economic issues, loss of public trust and misuse of government power), then collaborate, compromise, and by consensus, create a model that informed citizens can use to defend and perpetuate the American Republic.
Examine and analyze the contributing factors to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution:
- leaders and philosophers (e.g., John Locke, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams)
- events (e.g., Glorious Revolution, Reformation and Enlightenment)
- documents (e.g., English Bill of Rights, Petition of Right and Magna Carta)
- classical periods (e.g., eras of Greece and Rome)
- principles (e.g., popular sovereignty, federalism, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, civil liberties and rule of law
Examine the compromises of the Constitutional Convention and how those decisions were characterized in the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist papers.
Evaluate the elements in the U.S. Constitution that make it a living document with democratic principles that are modified and expanded to meet the changing needs of society.
Investigate the system of government created by the Preamble, Seven Articles, the Bill of Rights and other Amendments of the U.S. Constitution to evaluate how the framework for American society is provided.
Analyze how the U.S. Constitution defines federalism and outlines a structure for the United States government.
Analyze the protection of liberties in the Bill of Rights and their expansion through judicial review and the gradual incorporation of those rights by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Analyze how the freedoms of speech and press in a democratic society enable citizens to develop informed opinions, express their views, shape public policy and monitor government actions.
Determine how conflicts between the rights of citizens and society’s need for order can be resolved while preserving both liberty and safety.
Compare and contrast the original and appellate jurisdictions of local, state and national judicial systems to show how America’s court system addresses criminal and civil cases.
Apply the concepts of legal precedent through past and present landmark Supreme Court cases, interpretations of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court and the impact of these decisions on American society.
Develop an understanding of the American legal system through examining existing ordinances, statutes and Federal Acts, exploring the differences between criminal and civil law and determining the legal obligations and liabilities of American citizenship.
Critique the evolution of the two-party system in the United States, evaluate how society and political parties have changed over time and analyze how political parties function today.
Assess the influence of the media on public opinion and on the decisions of elected officials and the bureaucracy:
- bias in reporting and editorials
- push-pull polls and selective reporting of citizen opinions
- advertising and campaign ads
- reporting news out of context
Investigate the impact that special interest groups have on shaping public policy at local, state and national levels.
Assess how factors such as campaign finance, participation of the electorate, and demographic factors influence the outcome of elections.
Examine how decisions and policies of state and local government impact the lives of citizens—such as local issues and problems, structure of local government (e.g., differences in incorporation, providing public services and mayoral styles), zoning and annexation, land use and urban sprawl, and ordinances and jurisdiction.
Explore cooperation, competition and conflict among nations through organizations, agreements and protocols, political acts and other exchanges—such as the United Nations, international treaties and terrorism—to evaluate potential solutions to global issues.
Compare and contrast the values, ideals and principles that are the foundation of a democratic republic and the role citizens play in a constitutional democracy, to the theories and practices of non-democratic governments (e.g. socialism found in communism and nationalism found in fascism).