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:

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Lesson Objectives:

- The LGBT movement
- Laws targeting gay men and lesbians
- Same-sex marriage
- The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
- Civil unions and the legalization of same-sex marriage



Stonewall is the name of the incident that marked the beginning of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement. When a police raid took place in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a New York City bar that was a favorite hangout for gays and lesbians, the patrons fought back throwing beer cans and bottles over what they thought was police harassment.

Since then, many organizations have been formed to pressure legislators and create social awareness about the LGBT community and their rights to equal treatment. LGBT stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender.



The Bowers v. Hardwick case in 1986 upheld a Georgia law that made homosexual sex illegal. In fact, there were many laws across the nation that made sodomy illegal.

It was not until 2003 that those laws began to change. Lawrence vs. Texas reversed Bowers v. Hardwick because it was decided that laws against sodomy was in violation of the due process clause, arguing, "The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons."

Over the years, laws have been enacted to protect the LGBT community from discrimination in the workplace and in their private homes. When Colorado passed their own amendment invalidating laws protecting homosexual status, the Supreme Court struck it down because it denied ONLY homosexuals protection under that law.



Historically, homosexuality was not acceptable for military service. Under the Bill Clinton administration, a policy was put in place that allowed homosexuals to serve. It was described as "don't ask, don't tell."

It worked in a way that allowed homosexuals in the military if they did not declare their sexual orientation, and no one was allowed to ask them about it. Eventually, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was repealed, ultimately allowing gay men and women to serve openly.



The issue of same-sex marriage did not really hit the headlines until the 1970s. In Baker v. Nelson in 1971, the Supreme Court decided that state bans on same-sex marriage were not in violation of the Constitution.



In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage violated its own state's equal protection clause.

In response, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 which defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. DOMA allowed individual states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in states where it was legal.



When Vermont passed a law in 1999 allowing Civil Unions, it led the way for states to circumvent bans on same-sex marriage. Civil union partners were able to receive the same state benefits afforded other married couples. But, they still were not able to receive federal benefits as a married couple.

Massachusetts then took the next step, making it legal in 2003 for same-sex couples to marry. Eventually, other states started to follow suit and same-sex marriages began to be recognized across the nation.

This battle went on for years and states one by one lifted their bans.

In 2013, the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the Constitution. This decision led more states to overturn their own bans on same-sex marriage. That is, until 2015 when the United State Supreme Court unilaterally lifted the ban for ALL states.