American Government

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Open Chapter Ch. 1: The Democratic Republic
Lesson #1 Politics and Government
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Lesson #2 Democracy and Other Forms of Government
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Lesson #3 What Kind of Democracy Do We Have?
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Lesson #4 Fundamental Values
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Lesson #5 Political Ideologies
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Open Chapter Ch. 2: Forging a New Government: The Constitution
Lesson #6 The Colonial Background
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Lesson #7 An Independent Confederation
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Lesson #8 The Constitutional Convention
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Lesson #9 The Difficult Road to Ratification
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Lesson #10 Altering the Constitution
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Open Chapter Ch. 3: Federalism
Lesson #11 Federalism and Its Alternatives
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Lesson #12 The Constitutional Basis for American Federalism
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Lesson #13 Defining Constitutional Powers -- The Early Years
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Lesson #14 The Continuing Dispute over the Division of Power
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Lesson #15 Federalism and Today’s Supreme Court
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Exam Exam 1
Open Chapter Ch. 4: Civil Liberties
Lesson #16 The Constitutional Bases of Our Liberties
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Lesson #17 Freedom of Religion
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Lesson #18 Freedom of Expression
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Lesson #19 The Right to Privacy
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Lesson #20 The Great Balancing Act: The Rights of the Accused versus the Rights of Society
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Open Chapter Ch. 5: Civil Rights
Lesson #21 The African American Experience and the Civil Rights Movement
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Lesson #22 Civil Rights and the Courts
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Lesson #23 Experiences of Other Minority Groups
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Lesson #24 Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights
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Lesson #25 The Rights and Status of Gay Males and Lesbians
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Open Chapter Ch. 6: Public Opinion, Political Socialization, and the Media
Lesson #26 Public Opinion and Political Socialization
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Lesson #27 The Influence of Demographic Factors
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Lesson #28 Measuring Public Opinion
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Lesson #29 Public Opinion and the Political Process
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Lesson #30 The Media in the United States
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Lesson #31 The Media and Political Campaigns
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Open Chapter Ch. 7: Interest Groups and Political Parties
Lesson #32 A Nation of Joiners
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Lesson #33 Types of Interest Groups
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Lesson #34 Interest Group Strategies
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Lesson #35 Political Parties in the United States
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Lesson #36 A History of Political Parties in the United States
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Lesson #37 Why Has the Two-Party System Endured?
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Exam Midterm Exam
Open Chapter Ch. 8: Campaigns and Elections
Lesson #38 The Twenty-First-Century Campaign
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Lesson #39 Financing the Campaign
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Lesson #40 Running for President: The Longest Campaign
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Lesson #41 How Are Elections Conducted?
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Lesson #42 How Do Voters Decide?
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Open Chapter Ch. 9: The Congress
Lesson #43 The Nature and Functions of Congress
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Lesson #44 House-Senate Differences and Congressional Perks
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Lesson #45 Congressional Elections and Apportionment
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Lesson #46 How Congress Is Organized
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Lesson #47 Law Making and Budgeting
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Open Chapter Ch. 10: The Presidency
Lesson #48 Who Can Become President?
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Lesson #49 The Many Roles of the President
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Lesson #50 Presidential Powers
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Lesson #51 The Executive Organization
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Lesson #52 The Vice Presidency
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Exam Exam 3
Open Chapter Ch. 11: The Bureaucracy
Lesson #53 The Nature and Scope of the Federal Bureaucracy
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Lesson #54 The Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy
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Lesson #55 Staffing the Bureaucracy
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Lesson #56 Modern Attempts at Bureaucratic Reform
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Lesson #57 Bureaucrats as Politicians and Policymakers
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Open Chapter Ch. 12: The Judiciary
Lesson #58 Sources of American Law
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Lesson #59 The Federal Court System
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Lesson #60 The Supreme Court at Work
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Lesson #61 The Selection of Federal Judges
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Lesson #62 Policymaking and the Courts
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Open Chapter Ch. 13: Domestic and Economic Policy
Lesson #63 The Policymaking Process: Health Care as an Example
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Lesson #64 Immigration
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Lesson #65 Energy and the Environment
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Lesson #66 The Politics of Economic Decision Making
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Lesson #67 The Politics of Taxation
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Open Chapter Ch. 14: Foreign Policy
Lesson #68 Facing the World: Foreign and Defense Policies
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Lesson #69 Terrorism and Warfare
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Lesson #70 U.S. Diplomatic Efforts
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Lesson #71 Who Makes Foreign Policy?
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Lesson #72 The Major Foreign Policy Themes
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Exam Final Exam

Assignments:

Unfinished Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 15

Lesson Objectives:

- A trend towards States' Rights
- Immigration
- Healthcare reform
- Same-sex marriage
- Voting Rights Act



Under Chief Justice Marshall, the trend was towards a strong national government and you could count on him to decide that way in every case. But today, it appears the trend is more towards the states.

Take the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990, for example. When the national government tried to pass it under the commerce clause, the Supreme Court decided that banning the possession of guns near schools had "nothing to do with commerce, or any sort of economic enterprise.""

However, as we will see, in some decisions, the Supreme Court has continued to favor the federal government over the states.



In a really important case, the Supreme Court decided that Arizona had overstepped its powers in how they handle illegal immigration.

The state does not have the power to arrest anyone just because they suspect that the person is an illegal immigrant.



In an interesting twist of events, the Supreme Court was faced with the issue of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. That is the penalty that the government imposes on individuals for not having healthcare insurance.

It was expected that the Supreme Court was going to rule that the states overstepped their powers in requiring the mandate. What it ultimately determined was that while the mandate is not Constitutional under the commerce clause, it is when it comes to the government's power to tax.



It had been a long road for same-sex marriage advocates. Some states were banning same-sex marriages while others were beginning to allow it, one-by-one.

The Supreme Court refused to hear appeals for many years, which allowed states to continue as they wished on the matter. But then, the Supreme Court finally decided to hear appeals and in June of 2015, they ruled in favor of same-sex marriage for the entire nation.



The right to vote may have been granted to all citizens by 1920, but states and localities had underhanded tricks they often used to deny certain people that right. Finally, the national government passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that placed requirements on these states and localities that had a history of denying the right to vote to minorities.

A preclearance was required if a locality wanted to change voting procedures or rezone the districts. In that way, these local governments would have to keep their voting procedures consistent and allow minorities to vote.

However in 2013, the Supreme Court went the other way on preclearance because the original law was based on data that was now obsolete.