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US Government
AP Government
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Blended Online U.S. Government
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AP Government
US Government
Teacher Resume
News Feeds
Blended Online U.S. Government


Unit 1 Objectives:


*Define government and the basic powers governments hold

*Identify the essential features of a state and describe the theories about the origin of government

*Analyze the philosophical roots of the social contract system and its impact on the U.S. system of government

*Interpret selections from original source documents and identify the concepts discussed in those writings.

*Analyze the purposes of government and identify positive effects of each purpose.

*Classify government according to who can participate

*Identify different ways that power can be distributed, geographically, within a state (unitary, federal, confederal)

*Describe a government by how power is distributed between the executive branch and legislative branch (presidential/parliamentary)

*Outline the characteristics of democracy and at least one specific example of why each is significant

*Examine one of the characteristics of democracy and evalute three countries' governments to determine their application or lack of application of that principle.

*Analyze the connections between democracy and the free enterprise system

Textbook:  Magruder's American Government (online access registration information provided in class) 


Unit 1 Lessons

Week of January 3, 2011

Lesson 1:  Read the material in Chapter 1, section 1, define vocabulary found in the section in the vocabulary journal and complete the application exercise for this section.

Application exercise:  Watch the video at Government/course files/multimedia/lesson01/lessonp.html?showTopic=1 and answer the question below.  Then complete the “explore” activity for this lesson.

Question:  Rousseau said that once the citizens serve the state with money instead of their time, the state is in ruins.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why or why not?   Give a modern example from the United States to support your opinion.

Lesson 2:  Complete the Social Contract lesson which is on the class webpage below; be sure to answer all questions and complete all worksheets associated with the lesson.

           Social Contract lesson

           Thomas Hobbes worksheet

           John Locke worksheet

           Jean-Jacques Rousseau worksheet

Lesson 3:  Watch the video at Government/course files/multimedia/lesson02/lessonp.html?showTopic=2

Then complete each of the “explore” activities for this lesson and complete the question below:

Question:  Using the information from the “explore” activities, compare and contrast the influences on Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in chart form.  Then answer these questions:  What was the strongest influence on each of these philosophers in formulating their theories on political philosophy?  Compare and contrast their theories?  What accounts for the similarities and differences?

Preparation for next class session:  Before attending class on week 2,  read “The Social Contract and Constitutional Governments” at  We will have a “Socratic seminar” on the social contract theory, pulling from the information in this article and other readings and lessons you have completed.  To prepare for the graded discussion, you should read the article, complete the social contract lessons, and prepare at least 10 essential questions about the topic to help guide and generate good discussion.  Essential questions should spark discussion rather than having a simple yes/no answer.  Probe deep into this material so that you will be prepared to contribute to the discussion and earn full credit for the activity.

          Socratic Seminar expectations and grading information


Unit 1 Lessons

Week of January 10, 2011

Lesson 4:  Read the material in Chapter 1, section 2, define vocabulary found in the section in the vocabulary journal and watch the film on democracy in the UK and answer the questions about the film clips.  This film is in two parts and is linked on the course website below.

  Based on your reading and the information provided in these video clips, how does the British system differ from that of the United States?  What is the interrelationship of the British and U.S. systems?  Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each system of organization.

  Video part 1:;

  Video part 2:

Lesson 5:  Read the material in Chapter 1, section 3, and define vocabulary found in the section in the vocabulary journal.

Unit 1 Extension Activities:  (optional but intended to increase understanding)

"For my people" poem (read and listen to an excerpt):  How does this poem relate to civil society?  Who is her society?  What other concepts from the philosophers are exhibited in this poem?

Read article on the purposes of government

Read article on the social contract theory