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This is the optional discussion board that you can use to substitute coming to class. In this discussion board, you should write a post at least 300 words long. This post could either go over one of the concepts discussed in the chapter or a current event directly tied to the chapter. You don’t need to complete the discussion board if you have attended the classes. 25 points

Notes on this Semester
We will have optional meetings on Tuesday, Thursday at 4:00 Pm-5:00 Pm and
have a Friday review session at 12:00-1:00 PM where we cover the information
covered in the earlier sessions. If you attend and participate in sessions, you
don’t need to fill out the discussion board.
I will be a writing tutor in the learning center. Take advantage of this to get
clarification on concepts that are not clear or a second eyes on your
assignment.
Do not copy and paste answers. Make sure that answers that use citation use
MLA formatting in the quiz responses and assignments. You don’t need to cite
the textbook in quiz responses, only in the assignments.
Each assignment will be due on the Sunday after it’s assigned, unless stated
otherwise.
Notes on class meetings
I will be going over the class materials on Tuesday and Thursday evening and
Friday Afternoon.
Friday’s meetup will be for students who can’t make it on the Tuesday and
Thursday meetings. I will be covering the week’s materials on Friday.
If you can’t make either meeting and need any help with the material, either
join my sessions in the learning center or schedule a one-on-one meeting
through email.
Notes on Quizzes
The quiz will be 8 open answered responses to questions. 6 of the questions
will be worth 5 points, 2 of the questions will be worth 10 points.
Make sure that you fully answer each question.
Partial credit for partial responses.
DO NOT copy and paste your response, I’m looking for your position and not
someone else’s. These answers will be worth no points.
I will replace the lowest grade with the highest grade, this will reward
improvement in this class.
Notes on the Discussion Boards
These are necessary if you can’t make it to the week’s online classes!
Respect differences of opinion with your classmates.
Do not ask me “what’s your opinion” questions. I am here to help clarify issues
and news stories, not telling you how to think on an issue.
I want to use these to talk to you outside of the sessions, so please use these as
opportunities to clarify points of confusion, these are open ended assignments
so that you have an opportunity to have your questions answered.
These are due on Sunday.
Notes on the Project
The project will be covered in more details later this semester. This project
will be about interest groups.
Use MLA format.
Use OWL Purdue if you need help on your formatting.
The Learning Center is an excellent tool for students who may need help on
grammar mechanics or writing in general.
You will have a chance to get feedback on your project. I will have a rough
draft due early for completion credit. I will provide feedback and areas of
improvement.
Notes on the Tests.
The midterm and final exam are going to be two multipart essay questions,
each worth 50 points.
The questions are designed to encourage students to see connections between
the subjects in the chapters.
You will notice that the chapters will cover materials in the other chapters.
The tests will help you connect materials across the class.
Late assignment policy
Assignments will be due on the Sunday after assigned.
If the assignment turned in within the day of assigned, I will remove 10 points.
Assignments turned in later that 24 hours after the due date will receive no
credit. Do not attempt to turn in late assignments, they will not be accepted at
all.
If for any reason, you can’t get the work in on time, please email at least a day
prior to the due date to let me know and provide a reason. Give me a time
frame in which the assignment will be turned in. I will be lenient as I know we
all are struggling in these hard times, but I need to know when you will turn it
in.
I will try to always get back to you via an email within a day of it being sent, so
don’t hesitate to email if you have any questions regarding anything.
If you fall behind
If you fall behind, do not try to catch up by completing missing assignments,
just work to complete the week you are on.
There will be opportunities to improve missed work, and extra credit.
Do not let work pile up, if there are mitigating circumstances that are severely
hindering your ability to get work in on time, please get in touch ASAP, and
we’ll try to work something out.
news stories to follow throughout the
semester
The stimulus, filibuster, and immigration are the major issues that happened of
the course of the year.
The new cabinet is being appointed.
Please follow these issues, they will be useful in applying the information that
you will learn this semester.
If you attend class, you will be expected to engage in conversations regarding
current events and the chapter to receive the substitution credit for the
discussion boards.
How to fact check claims.
Politifact checks facts and provides context regarding statements that
politicians make.
Snopes checks claims made online and provide context and debunks false
information. Use this if you hear a claim that seems outlandish to determine if
it is true.
CDC and World health organization are useful tools to determine the truth
regarding the Corona pandemic.
What role does government play in your
life?
Taxes?
Safety?
National defense?
Education?
Money?
Public Health?
Chapter 1
American Government and Civic Engagement
What is Government and Politics
Government: The means in which society organizes itself and
distributes authority to accomplish collective goals and provides
benefits.
Government is often described as having a monopoly of violence
This means that government is the only entity that inflict legitimate
violence against its citizens.
For instance, a police officer can arrest someone if they break the law.
Politics: The process in which people gain power and exercise
control within the government.
The Monopoly of Violence
We are currently debating the state’s ability to use
violence against its citizens. This is what the protests going
on around the country is about.
When is that justified?
What factors must be in place for the state’s monopoly of
violence to be legitimate?
When does the state’s use of violence lose its legitimacy?
Arguments about the Monopoly of
Violence
Accountability: If the people perpetrating violence can’t
be held accountable, then it’s not legitimate. The people
enforcing the law must also follow the law.
The importance of Democracy is that civilians must have a
say in their government for the state’s use of violence to be
justified.
The people’s basic human rights must be protected during
the state’s use of its monopoly of violence.
Types of Government:
Democracy vs Republic
Democracy: a broad term that simply is understood as a government in
which the people govern them selves
Republic: a government where people elect their representatives in
order to fulfill their goal.
Direct Democracy: a government where people directly vote on the
policies that govern them.
Referendum elections are elections where people vote directly on policies.
These are common in California.
Democratic Republic
This is a government that governs through elected representatives, while
trying to uphold the principles of a Democracy
Democratic Principles
Representative governments are governed based on
majority rule, this is the principle that the majority has
more influence than the minority.
Minority Rights: While being governed by majority rules,
democracies often have principles that protect the
minority’s rights. These are found in the bill of rights.
Tyranny of the Majority: When a majority group, within a
nation, votes to strip the rights away from the minority. A
functioning democracy prevents a tyranny of the majority.
Other forms of Government
Oligarchy is government by a certain group of people.
China is governed by members of the Chinese Communist Party.
Monarchy: a government where a royal family is the head of state.
A constitutional monarchy grants the monarch very limited power, while the power
resides in the elected officials.
Great Britain is an example of a constitutional monarch, where most of the political
power is in the hands of parliament
Totalitarian: a state where one person has all the political power.
Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany are examples of Totalitarian states.
Theocracy: a state that is governed under religious principles.
Iran is an example of a theocracy.
The Spectrum of Democracy
Rather than thinking about a government as either a democracy or a
dictatorship, it’s better to think of it as existing on a spectrum with direct
democracies on one end, and a totalitarianism on the other.
Many nations are technically republics as they supposedly have representatives
and are elected. They aren’t considered democracies and are autocratic
because of their electoral tendencies.
For example, the nation of Russia routinely imprisoned potential opponents of
their president, Vladimir Putin, restricts the press, and lacks free elections.
It’s important to look at the facts on the ground, rather than just looking at the
structure of government. A government with elections may not be considered a
republic if the elections aren’t free and fair, and the press is silenced.
Engagement
Social engagement is essential for a Democratic Republic to
function. This is because representative governments
require the input of the civilians to accurately represent
the public.
Political movements, like the abolition movement or the
suffragette movement were essential to end slavery and
guarantee rights for women.
Their success resulted from protests, votes, boycotts, letters
to politicians and civil disobedience.
Engagement Cont.
Social Capital: The collective value of all social networks.
Bridging Social Capital: networks of people that connect
people to people of different backgrounds. For example, a
Public School creates bridging social capital.
Bonding Social Capital: networks of people who meet to share
a common purpose. For example: a political party creates
bonding Social Capital.
Bonding social capital can create an us versus them mentality.
Bowling Alone: Putnam’s research that compared societal
health indicators to the strength of groups within society.
He concluded that we are seeing a decline in group
participation.
How to engage in the political process.
Voting is an opportunity to register your support or opposition to public policy
or politicians. On the national level presidential elections are held every four
years. 2020 is a presidential election years. The question is how to fairly hold
an election during a pandemic. This has led to a huge debate regarding mail in
ballot.
Participating in campaigns, this includes volunteering for the campaigns and
interest groups.
Run for political offices.
Writing letters to the editors and writing to elected officials.
Participate in school boards and city council meetings.
Reasons people do not engage.
Many voters are turned off by a perception of heated partisanship.
Young people, especially, identify as independents, which mean that both
parties don’t resonate with them.
Politicians also speak to issues like social security which also don’t directly
affect younger Americans as much.
Barriers to participation like voter ID, and the current fears around the
pandemic and voting are other reasons people don’t participate.
Chapter 2
The Constitution and it’s framing.
Lesson Plans
1. History and philosophy leading up to the constitution.
2. The revolution
3. Articles of Confederation
4. Constitutional Convention
5. Key Figures
6. Compromises
7. Amendments
Enlightenment and the Country’s
founding
The founding of the country was based in principles in the European
enlightenment.
One of the Enlightenment’s goals was to base governance on rationality.
Prior to the Enlightenment, governance was justified through tradition rather
than reason.
Locke v Hobbes
Hobbes argued that the rationality for government was to prevent the state of
nature.
Hobbes argued that life without the state would be a war between all and
nasty, brutish and short. He advocated for a dictator to prevent this.
Locke disagreed. Locke argued that people would rather deal with what he
called the mischief of foxes and polecats than to be devoured by lions.
This means that conflicts between individuals are manageable, but a tyrannical
state is impossible to avoid.
Locke’s justification for a state is the social contract which is an agreement
that the state protects rights. However if a state abuses its people, then it loses
its legitimacy.
Locke’s principles drove the American Revolution.
The Revolution
The colonies originally had more freedom to run their own land prior to the
Seven Years War (war between France and England).
The colonists were prevented to settle past Appalachia.
To pay back the taxes that resulted from the Seven Years War, England levied
taxes on the colonists.
Colonists demanded representation in Parliament.
Stamp Act, (Tax on Paper goods) Townsend Act (Tax on glass, Tea, Paint)
The Colonies boycotted British Manufacturing goods.
Britain sent troops to the colonies, leading to an altercation with the troops
known as the Boston Massacre
Britain passed an act that granted a monopoly on the British East India Tea
Company, which led to the “Boston Tea Party.”
The Revolution cont.
These acts led to the state of Massachusetts to revolt, followed by the rest of
the colonies.
The Declaration of Independence laid out the principles that drove the colonies
to revolt against England.
This listed out the ways that Britain abused its power regarding the Social
Contract.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed”
This quote has driven the ideals in which we govern ourselves.
Articles of Confederation
Immediately following the revolution, the new nation agreed on the Articles of
confederation.
The articles of confederation is the governing body that ruled the nation
between the end of the Revolution and the creation of the constitution.
A confederation is a union of independent entities with a weak central
government.
The central government had the rights to establish treaties with native tribes
and foreign countries, coin currency, borrow money and settle disputes
between states. The articles could only change with unanimous approval of all
the states.
Failures of the Articles
The central government could not raise a revenue through taxation. The
national government could only request money. This meant that the
government often could not raise sufficient money and the national currency
wasn’t worth anything.
The federal government couldn’t levy a military.
The issues with the Articles of Confederation challenged by a rebellion led by a
Massachusetts farmer named Daniel Shays. The national government was
unable to respond to Shays’ rebellion, leading to calls to reform the articles.
Required unanimous support for any amendments, which made addressing
issues with the Articles
What is a Constitution?
A constitution is a body of principles or precedents that determine how a
government must be governed.
Some constitutions are written, others are based on judicial precedents,
statutes (laws), and customs.
The United Kingdom is governed through an unwritten constitution.
This is the highest body of law that governs each body in the country. All laws
on the national, state and local level must follow the United States
Constitution.
The new constitution’s goal is to address the failures of the Articles of
Confederation.
Constitutional debates
How to allocate representation. (population vs states)
Slavery vs Abolition
Federal power vs states power
Liberty vs Security
Federalists v. Anti Federalists
The Federalists advocated for the constitution. They wrote the Federalist
Papers, which promoted the principles of the constitution. They argued that a
centralized federal government was essential.
The Federalists were elite members of society. They were primarily
businessmen.
Anti-Federalists opposed the ratification of the constitution. It argued that it
granted too much power to the federal government. They called for a Bill of
Rights in order to protect individual and states rights.
Anti-Federalists represented southern states, they were concerned with how
the tariffs and taxes would harm farmers.
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers were 85 essays published to argue for the Constitution.
Federalist 10 brought about fears of developing political parties.
In Federalist 51, Madison argued that to prevent any one person gaining power
requires the separation of powers that checks other branches. He argued that
“Ambition counteracts Ambition”
Madison believed that the House, Senate and Presidency would each act in their
own interest. Modern Political Parties challenge this assumption, as members
in the House and Senate benefit from their party’s presidencies.
Key Figure: Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of
Independence.
First Secretary of State
Supported limited government.
Advocated for a country that
benefited agriculture rather than
commerce.
Facilitated the Louisiana Purchase as
the Third President.
Key Figure: Alexander Hamilton
First Treasury Secretary
Author of most of the Federalist
Papers.
Advocated a strong central
Government.
Supported a government that would
foster commerce.
Advocated for a national bank,
arguing for a broad interpretation of
the constitution.
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Key Figure: James Madison
Author of the Constitution.
Author of the Bill of Rights
Advocated for the Separation of
Powers and Checks and Balances.
Fourth President of the United
States.
Author of many of the federalist
papers.
Key Figure: George Washington
Was the general of the Continental
Army during the American Revolution
First President
Codified the tradition of two
presidential terms.
Presided over a feud between
Jefferson and Hamilton, which led to
the first two political parties.
Criticized political parties.
Opposed foreign entanglement.
Key Figure: Patrick Henry
Opposed the constitution
Advocated for a Bill of Rights
Defending States Rights and a strict
interpretation of the constitution.
Opposed the federal government
taking over the debts of the states.
Major concepts in the United States
Constitution
Separation of Powers.
As the Constitution was resulted from the American Revolution, the
founders distrusted concentration of powers. To prevent this, they
established three branches of government.
Federalism
As the United States was a collection of independent states, the
constitution determined where the power in the national government
resided, and what powers the states have.
Natural Rights
These are rights that the framers decided that must be protected. These
are listed in the Bill of Rights.
Compromises
Representation: Large states supported the Virginia plan, which was
Representation based on population.
Small states supported the New Jersey plan which granted equal representation to
states.
Resulting in the great compromise that created two bodies one represented by
population, the other by state, (house and senate)
3/5’s compromise granted representation to states for slaves by counting each
slave as 3/5ths of a person.
Separation of powers, checks and balances
Federal powers were granted to the federal government, however there were
powers that were reserved to the states
Supremacy Clause
The Supremacy Clause states that the Constitution, laws passed by Congress and
treatise made by the federal government reign supreme over states.
The Bill of Rights protected the states by granting states rights by granting the
states powers that aren’t delegated to the federal government.
All powers not explicitly given to the national government are reserved to the
states.
Amendment process
The framers understood that the constitution needed to be a living document,
in order to accomplish this goals they created an amendment process to change
the constitution.
The constitution can be amended by Congress, by receiving a 2/3s majority of
both houses of congress. Then the states ratify it, if the amendment is ratified
by 3/4ths of the states then it’s passed into law.
The states can also propose amendments. One way is if 3/4s of state
legislatures vote to ratify an amendment, then it becomes a constitutional
amendment. Another is through petitions, if 2/3s of states petition for an
amendment, then congress must consider the amendment.
The first 10 amendments are the Bill of Rights.
Parts of the Constitution
Preamble: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure
the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.
Article One: The Legislative Branch
Article Two: Executive Branch
Article Three: Judiciary Branch
Article Four: Equal Justice Across the States
Article Five: The Amendment Process
Article Six: Supremacy clause of the Federal government and Treatises.
Article Seven: The ratification process.
Bill of Rights
1st amendment: freedom of speech, assembly and religion.
2nd Amendment: right to bare arms, or right to a regulated militia.
3rd Amendment: prohibition of quartering soldiers.
4th Amendment: Protection against warrantless searches
5th Amendment: prohibits double Jeopardy and requiring self incrimination.
6th amendment: right to a speedy trial and representation.
7th amendment: right to a jury.
8th amendment: prohibition against excessive fines and cruel and unusual
punishment
9th amendment: protection of rights of that aren’t explicitly stated in the
constitution
10th amendment: Protections of the states rights.
Major Constitutional changes (not
necessarily amendments)
The Supreme Court power to check the Constitutionality of Laws resulted from
the Court Case named Marbury v Madison
The Veto power of the president changed in the Jackson administration, prior
to the Jackson Administration, the veto was used in case of constitutional
question. Jackson vetoed bills that he disagreed with.
The 14th Amendment created foundational changes in which states were forced
to follow the Bill of Rights. Prior to the Bill of Rights, the rights laid out in the
Bill of Rights were Protected from the federal government. The Fourteenth
Amendment prevented states from abridging rights without due process.

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