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Government Part 1
Course Length: 1 Semester
Has Textbook: Yes
Government Part 1 will give students a basic understanding of how the United States government works. It will introduce students to the American government by way of detailed discussions of the origins, functions, and various forms of government; the principles and foundations of democracy; the historical background of the U.S. government; and the rights and responsibilities afforded by the U.S. Constitution. Students will learn about the three branches of the Federal Government. The course will describe the various roles of Congress, which include the making of laws, Congress's powers, and its sessions and terms. Students will examine nomination and election processes, presidential powers, and the federal bureaucracy. Students will also learn about the judicial branch of the government, with discussions on the role of the courts, the national court system, and the Supreme Court and its appointment process. The course will close with lessons on state and local governments, as they are an essential component of government in everyday life.

Course Objectives

Unit 1: Essential Content and Skills

  • Define government and the basic powers every government holds.
  • Describe the four defining characteristics of a state. 
  • Identify the four theories that attempt to explain the origin of a state.
  • Describe a government by the distribution of power between the executive branch and the legislative branch.
  • Explore the foundations of democracy.
  • Examine the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land.”
  • Summarize the obligations that the Constitution places on the national government with regard to the states.

Unit 2: Essential Content and Skills

  • Explain how the Constitution establishes a bicameral Congress.
  • Explain how House seats are distributed and describe the length of a term in the House.
  • Explain how and why a senator’s term differs from a representative’s term.
  • Describe the three types of power delegated to Congress.
  • Describe the power-sharing arrangement between Congress and the president on the issues of war and national defense.
  • Explain how the Necessary and Proper Clause gives Congress flexibility in lawmaking.
  • Evaluate the actions the president can take after both houses have passed a bill.
  • Compare the roles of the presiding officers in the Senate and the House.

Unit 3: Essential Content and Skills

  • Describe the president’s many roles.
  • Identify the formal qualifications necessary to become president.
  • Explore the caucus-convention process.
  • Explain how the U.S. Electoral College provides for the election of the president.
  • List several reasons for the growth of presidential power.
  • Explain the president’s legislative powers and how they are an important part of the system of checks and balances.
  • Identify the other agencies that make up the Executive Office of the President.

Unit 4: Essential Content and Skills

  • Explain why the Constitution created a national judiciary and describe its structure.
  • Identify the criteria that determine whether a case is within the jurisdiction of a federal court and compare the types of jurisdiction.
  • Describe the structure and jurisdiction of federal district courts.
  • Define the concept of judicial review.
  • Outline the scope of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.
  • Examine the history, content, and significance of the first state constitutions.
  • Examine the powers and organization of state legislatures.
  • Identify the responsibilities of tribal governments.

Course Materials

  • Pearson Magruder's American Government (textbook)

* Available as an iText course

** NCAA approved