Government Final Project

Riley Davis

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Understand the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and demonstrate the value of lifelong civic action

Civic duties are things that US Citizens don't legally have to do but it's something they should do to be a good citizen like voting, volunteering, serving in the military, etc.

Civic responsibilities are things that US Citizens have to do like jury duty, taxes, community service, etc.

I think that both civic duties and civic responsibilities are vital to a productive and healthy society because if no one voted then we wouldn't be able to help choose who became president, if no one paid taxes we wouldn't have any money for anything, if no one volunteered then we wouldn't have food drives or have people volunteer to plant trees.

Understand how the government established by the Constitution embodies the principles of democracy

  • Popular Sovereignty

    • The idea of power to the people

      • Example; voting, people vote for who they want for president

  • Limited Government

    • People want to ensure that government doesn’t become too powerful

      • Example; four year terms for presidents

  • Separation of Powers

    • Different sections of government were created to ensure all the areas of government are balanced and don’t too powerful

      • Example; the three branches (Executive, Judicial, Legislative)

  • Checks and Balances

    • Checking on the different branches to balance out the powers

      • Example; the three branches are connected in the way that they create the laws

  • Judicial Review

    • Makes sure all laws that are created are constitutional

      • Example; if a law is created that legalizes murder or something extreme, they can deny the law because it’s unconstitutional

  • Federalism

    • The idea of separation of powers between state government and national government

      • Example; freeways are owned and operated by the states, but they must follow the federal guidelines

Understand the similarities and differences among the complex levels of local, state, and national government & Understand the purpose and function of each of the three branches of government established by the Constitution

Local Government: Has a mayor, a city council, and cops which are its main pieces of "government" and compared to a national government the mayor would be the president, the city council would be the legislation, and the cops would be the executive. This type of government is only allowed to control events inside its jurisdiction whereas state government controls the state and national government controls the nation. So it's like the smaller and less powerful version of state and national government.

State Government: Has a secretary of state and a governor for its main pieces of "government". Different states have more or less officials depending on what they need with different specifics. Compared to the national government the governor is like its president and the secretary of state is like its vice-president. The State Government has its own constitution for certain rights in that specific state pertaining to different aspects of that state.

National Government: Has three main branches; the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch. The government's power is distributed between these three branches so one branch won't have more power than the others.

The Legislative Branch (Congress) is bicameral meaning it's split into two houses, which are the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House). Both of the houses handle similar and different aspects of the Legislative Branch. The Senate mainly takes care of ratifying treaties and confirm presidential nominations. The House of Reps is in charge of taxes and parts of the federal government. Both parts share the power to try/vote officials with charges of impeachment. There are two parts to the Legislative branch because they equalize the power and don't allow on part to have more control than the other (since the legislative branch is one of the bigger and more power branches). That and the House of Reps is based off the population for the amount of people in its house (California would have more representatives than Iowa because its population is bigger) where as the Senate has an equal amount of people per state (each state has the same amount, no matter the population). So it keeps fairness through the representation of the states.

The Executive Branch consists of the President, the Electoral College, and the President's Cabinet. The Executive Branch controls/commands (commander in chief of) the Armed Forces, executes laws, appoints certain officials, etc.


Party Leader (helps certain people get elected and choosing leading party members to serve in the Cabinet), Commander in Chief (gives orders to the armed forces, etc.), Chief Executive (administers laws and affairs, appointing head of CIA, reading FBI reports of national security), Chief of State (represent the US at public events, delivering the State of Union Address), Chief Diplomat (interacting with leaders from other nations), and Chief Legislator (voice his/her own idea and opinions to Congress through speeches, signing or vetoing a bill, etc.).

President's Cabinet:

They're departments that take care of different parts and aspects of the Executive branch. For example, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, etc. They're not formal organizations mandated by law but they developed over the years as an informal group of advisors.

The Judicial Branch contains the Federal Court System which consists of three levels which are the District Courts (conduct trials in civil and criminal cases, can decide cases without juries, they decide questions of law), the Appeals Courts (handle cases from federal district courts), and the US Supreme Court (final decision on cases involving laws from congress, decide if something is unconstitutional or not). It consists of three levels to balance the powers, so one court doesn't have all of the power (just like the different branches of government).

Understand strategies for effective political action that impacts local, state, and national governance

State governments and national governments share many similarities and differences. The way they’re structured is generally the same. They both have three branches because the state government reflects the national government.

The Constitution of the states and the Constitution of the United States are different from one another. The state has boundaries while the US doesn’t and both of their preambles aren’t the same. The state government has the power to control marriage laws, school, hunting, etc. while the US government has larger powers to print money, declare war, establish armies, etc.

Understand how laws are established at the local, state, and national levels

A bill is kind of an idea for a law, the first draft or online of one. It's first proposed legislation and put under consideration for it to become a law but it doesn't become one until it has been passed by the Legislative Branch and then approved by the Executive Branch. Once a bill has been considered and approved, it's enacted into an actual law.

A law is a bill which had passed through various legislative and executive steps which are required. It's also known as an act or a statute. A loose definition of a law would be, a rule made by the government that the population has to follow or abide by or else they will be reprimanded by the government or law enforcement.

The first step to the process of a bill becoming a law would be that the bill is written out as a draft, the very beginning of the idea. Next the bill is being referred to a committee. It's reviewed carefully and if it's an approved the bill will become "dead", not it is approved it begins it's review from a sub-committee. Next it's "marked up", this is the step where changes are made if they're needed. Then it's voted on again to see if it "dies" or continues on. Then the full committee votes on it's recommendation to the House of Reps. Next is the final voting to see if it is passed or if it fails. Is it passed, it's referred to another chamber and undergoes a similar process. The groups come together to see the changes made by the different groups and come to an understanding about said changes. Then it's approved and sent to the President who signs it to become a law (or not). If not Congress can try to override the veto. But that's how a bill becomes a law. Yay!

Understand how various political systems throughout the world define the rights and responsibilities of the individual

Totalitarian Dictatorship: one leader or government has complete and total control of the people's social and economic lives. So whoever is in change controls everything and the people don't have a say in anything. An example of this would be Germany when the Nazis and Hitler took over and ruled over everything and whatever they said became the law. The pros of this government would be that decisions are easily made because it only has to go through one person instead of a big group like Congress. But the cons would be that the people don't get a voice.

Democracy: the people rule the government and control the government's power. There are two subparts of Democracy, one is where people vote on things individually, and the other is where people elect representatives and give them the power to control the government and different aspects of the laws. The pros are that the people get a voice in government by voting for who they want but the cons would be that we vote for a representative instead of the actual person.

Rights: things that US citizens are given to give them freedom and a voice in government and about their country. Examples; freedom to express yourself, right to vote for who you want to, right to bare arms, etc.

Responsibilities: things that are required (strongly encouraged) of US citizens to know or to do. Examples; voting, being informed about your country and the events that happen in it, supporting the Constitution, respecting the opinions and voices of others, etc.

In Democracy the people have multiple rights and responsibilities because the people control the economy and have a small say in what happens with the government. So the people have the rights so control their own prices and resources and they have the responsibility to vote for people they believe will help the government to represent them.

In a Totalitarian Dictatorship the people don't have that many rights or responsibilities because the government has a strong control of the government and economy. The people's only responsibilities would probably be to just support the government.

Understand the role of the United States in current world affairs

In world affairs, the US is most devoted to freedom, has the largest military, and has one of the best economies. All of these factors make the US as a whole, a good leader and more helpful when it comes down to war. We’re always involved in foreign affairs and helping third world countries. Example; the Vietnam war in order to stop Communism, helping Africa, etc.