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:

- Constitutional powers of the president
- The executive branch and foreign policy
- The intelligence community
- The Department of Defense
- Congress's checks on presidential foreign policy



Article II, Section 1, requires that the president "solemnly swear" to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Article II, Section 2, assigns him "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." As Commander-in-Chief, presidents have conducted at least 125 undeclared wars using this authority.

For example, Bill Clinton had conflicts in Haiti and Bosnia. George W. Bush sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack Obama sent air support to Libya.

Article II, Section 2 further grants the power to make treaties, with approval from the Senate, and the power to appoint ambassadors and to recognize foreign governments.



Within the executive branch, the Department of State, the National Security Council, the intelligence community, and the Department of Defense are also policymaking resources.

Since it has primary authority over foreign affairs, it only makes sense that the Department of State make the list. However, traditionally, the Department of State has been viewed as the slow bureaucratic agency everyone loathes. Under Barack Obama, that image was changed with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. He meant it when he said the State Department was the nation's chief foreign policy adviser.

The National Security Council's purpose is to brief the president on how domestic, foreign, and military policies integrate relative to the national security.

The national security adviser's impact changes from president to president. Normally, they have a huge impact and are part of the president's cabinet, but under Barack Obama, the national security advisor played a minor role and was not included in the cabinet.



The intelligence community refers to the government agencies that gather information about the capabilities and intentions of foreign governments or that engage in covert actions. As far as foreign policy is concerned, the CIA has participated in the overthrow of governments and they came under attack for it when Congress decided to investigate them.

They have also come under attack for spying on American citizens, which at one time was considered strictly forbidden.

As a response to terrorism, the CIA has received more funding and has been given more liberties. Some people worry civil liberties are at stake while others contend that these are the types of measures that keep America safe.

Waterboarding is one such controversial topic. Under the Bush administration, Dick Cheney denied that waterboarding was a form of torture even though the government had defined it as one. President Obama denounced the practice even though he vowed that any person who had participated under an agency that allowed it would not suffer penalization.



Headed by a civilian secretary of Defense, the Department of Defense (DOD) was created to bring all of the military establishment under one roof. The Joint Chiefs of Staff act together to formulate a unified military strategy.



During the presidency of Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War brought about a need for Congress to limit the powers of the president in setting foreign and defense policy.

The 1973 War Powers Resolution limited the president's use of troops in military action without consulting Congress. Most presidents have interpreted that resolution in a way that allows them to send troops and then inform Congress about it later.



Congress can withhold funds. That is a strategy it often uses to check the president, but sometimes it can backfire.

With George W. Bush, Congress had written a decision that the president needed to add a timeline for withdrawing troops to his request for funds. He immediately threatened to veto any bill that mentioned anything to that effect.

Congress had to back down as they simply did not have the votes to override a veto.