American Government Syllabus
American Government Syllabus
2016 – 2017
- Students will complete a quarter project on the October local election and a quarter project on the November federal election.
- Students will attend one public meeting per quarter.
- Students will complete two hours of community service each quarter.
- Course Content:
What is government?
Four Characteristics: Population, Land, Sovereignty, Government
Origin of the State
Force Theory, Evolutionary Theory, Divine Right, Social Contract
The Purpose of Government
Forms of Government
Who can participate?
Legislative and Executive Branches
Use the card activity to identify types of government
Look for a current event that exhibits life under a different government.
What is the relation of the people to their government?
Empowered or powerless?
What is their condition, quality of life? Issues?
Foundations of Democracy
Worth of the Individual
Equality of Persons
Majority Rule, Minority Rights
Necessity of Compromise
Duties and Responsibilities of Citizenship
Democracy and the Free Enterprise System
Basic Concepts of Government
Landmark English Documents
The Magna Carta
The Petition of Right
The English Bill of Rights
Chapter 2 Section 1 PPTX Foundations of Government
Characteristics of Government in the Thirteen Colonies (32-34)
PowerPoint: Meetings to the Constitutional Convention
The Declaration of Independence (Video)
The First State Constitutions
The Articles of Confederation
Structure of Government
Creating the Constitution
Introduction: Play a game with no rules
Influences (Keynote) Philosophers Influenced the Founding Fathers PPTX
Plans and A Bundle of Compromises
Commerce and Slave Trade
Federalists vs Anti-Federalists
Basic Principles of the Constitution
Separation of Powers
Checks and Balances
Amending the Constitution
Formal Amendment Process
Change by Other Means
Custom and Usage
Federalism – The Division of Power PPTX
Powers of the Federal Government (Chapter 11 Sections 1 and 2)
Implied Powers (Chapter 11 Section 3)
Nonlegislative Powers (Chapter 22 Section 4)
Appointments, treaty approval
Powers Denied the Federal Government
Powers Reserved to the States
Powers Denied to the States
The National Government and the 50 States
Process for Admitting New States
Other Forms of Federal Aid
State Aid to the National Government
Full Faith and Credit
Privileges and Immunities
Chapter 11 Summary PPTX
Structure of Congress
House of Representatives
Qualifications for office (worksheet, want ad)
Qualifications for office (worksheet, want ad)
Size, terms, continuous body
Personal and Political Background of Members
Representatives of the People: Which is best?
How Congress is Organized
Types of Bills and Resolutions
Path of a bill through Congress
Bills in the House
Limited debate, calendars, rules, voting by electronic board
Bills in the Senate
Filibuster, cloture, unlimited debate, voting by roll call
President signs, vetoes, become a law 10 days later with no action, or
pocket vetoes (Congress adjourns before 10 days is up so no
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Nominating Process (redo podcast)
Electoral College – Why? Still OK?
Job Description 13:1
State of the Union Message
Qualifications: Formal and Informal
Presidential Succession 13:2
Growth of Presidential Power 14:1
Ordinance Power (Executive Orders)
Diplomatic and Military Powers 14:3
Legislative and Judicial Powers 14:4
Watch the State of the Union Address
Bingo and analysis
The Federal Bureaucracy 15
Executive Office of the President 15:2
Independent Agencies 15:4
Financing Government 16
Taxes and Other Revenue 16:1
Borrowing and Public Debt 16:2
Spending and the Budget 16:3
Fiscal and Monetary Policy
Foreign Affairs 17 (Cover through current events. U.S. responsibility or stay out?)
Liberals vs Conservatives (take a survey)
Campaign Finance Reform
Legislation to improve voting opportunities
Debussion: photo id requirement?
Structure of the Federal Court System 18:1
Judges: formal and informal qualifications
How a judge decides, page 525
U.S. Supreme Court
How cases reach the Court.
How the Court operates
Special Courts 538-540
Each student will research and report on one court case.
Reading, watching, or listening to news is an integral part of the course. Choose reputable news sites and be prepared to discuss news events in class. Every Friday, there will be a current events quiz.
Work is due the day after it is assigned unless otherwise noted. If it is late, it must be accompanied by a late turn-in slip, or I will not accept it.
Civil vs criminal law
Adjudication, mediation, arbitration
Steps in a trial
Hiring a lawyer
Preventing and reporting crime
8.1 p. 102
8.2 p. 103
The Case of the Drowning Girl
8.3 p. 105
8.4 p. 106
You Be the Judge, p. 109
Problem 9.2 p. 114
Chapter 10 Crimes against Property
10.1 Vandalism p. 116
Shoplifting/Concealment/larceny (incorporate issues, p. 118)
Problem 10.2 p. 117
Problem 10. 4 p. 121
Problem 10.5 p. 125
Identify Theft, p. 122. Write a PSA, wrap, song warning people about identify theft. Identify your audience and/or concern you want to address
Chapter 11 Defenses
Problem 11.1 on p. 128
Problem 11.2 on p. 131
(Breathalyzer presentation with school resource officer)
Chapter 12 Search and Seizure
(Search and seizure presentation with school resource officer; include Mike Rath to get en loco parentis aspect)
What to do if you’re arrested, p. 138
Discussion about employee drug testing
Discuss pp. 214 and 215.
Do problem 18.1 together in class: a-c in class; d-g as homework
Evan and Martha case on p. 274
Strict Liability (TE p. 215)
Discuss Problem 18.2, p. 219
Discuss Problem 18.3, p. 220
Taking Your Case to Court pp. 221-225
Compare the criminal and civil processes TE p. 217 – chart
Discuss who can be sued TE p. 217
Class Action Suits TE p. 218
Discuss Problem 18.4, p. 222 Liability of grocery story owners?
Discuss Problem 18.5, p. 224 service manager overlooked steering wheel problem; liability?
Discuss Problem 18.6. p. 225 Wrongful death in flight 103
Discuss Problem 18.9, p. 228 Liability related to a car accident – fault?
Discuss problem 28.10, p. 230 Who is responsible for medical expenses, etc.?
Problem 18.11, p. 231 Is the school negligent in the fall?
Chapter 19 Intentional Torts
Discuss problem 19.1 p. 233 Can the neighbor sue Jeremy’s parents? Explain
Problem 19.2, p. 235 Torts that injure persons
Problem 19.3, p. 237 Infliction of Emotional Distress
Dealing with Antisocial Behavior in School (Bullying presentation with admin)
Discuss 19.4, 19.5, 19.6, 19.7, 19.8 in groups
Read and discuss problem 19.9 on page 249 and 19.10 on p. 252
Chapter 20 Negligence
Discuss Elements of Negligence, p. 254
Define and explain duty and breaches
Discuss Problem 20.1 The Spilled Coffee
Discuss the Reasonable Person Standard, pp. 256-7 (TE pp. 240-1)
Discuss Problem 20.2
Review Causation, pp. 258-0 and complete Problem 20.4
Review Background- Defenses, TE pp. 246-7
Discuss Defenses to Negligence Suits, pp. 260-1
In groups of 4, discuss “Determining a Defense to Negligence,” p. 263
Chapter 21 Strict Liability
Define strict liability: liability without fault
Problem 21.1, p. 265 Toxic Torts (A Civil Action)
Problem 21.2, p. 266 Animals: responsibility of owners
Problem 21.3, p. 267 Product Defects
Problem 21.4, p. 268 Defenses to Strict Liability
Problem 21.5, p. 269
Chapter 22 Torts and Public Policy
Why would the business community support tort reform? Medical personnel?
Do Problem 22.1 together in class.
Do Problem 22.2 together in class
Chapter 23: Contracts
Standards used in negligence cases involving minors.
In groups, complete Problem 23.1. Class discussion to review answers
Problem 23.2 Minors and contracts
Problem 23.3 Written and oral contracts
Problem 23.4 Illegal Contracts
Chapter 24: Warranties?
What should you keep in mind when purchasing something?
Chapter 25: Financial Services
Guest speaker for overview
Bank Accounts, pp. 289-293.
Introduction to Credit, pp. 294-297
Responsible credit and establishing/maintain good credit; review dangers
In groups, make a list of recommendations for dealing with credit. Share with class.
Problem 25.1 The Lost Wallet, responsibility
Cost of Credit, pp. 300-1 Discuss Problem 25.4
Explain other charges, p. 302: Costly Credit Arrangements, p. 303, and Truth in Lending, p. 303.
The following topics will be considered if guest speakers are available: (Divorce and custody with Judge Stephens; foster parents for foster care and adoption; OCS rep?)
Ch. 31 Marriage
Ch. 32 Parents and Children
Ch. 33 Forster Care and Adoption
Ch. 34 Separation, Divorce, and Custody
Ch. 44 Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace
(Employers in to talk about the liability they face, and why drug testing, i.e,. is essential-Alaska Airlines, Southeast Stevedoring?)