American Government is designed for students to further the study of our political and legal systems. It begins with an in-depth look at the United States Constitution. Students will further examine the historical beginnings of our governmental framework and analyze the intentions of our Founding Fathers. On both national and state levels, major institutions such as legislative bodies, executive officials, and judicial levels of courts are studied. Other topics that play a pivotal role in governmental decisions today - political parties, public opinion, private interest groups, relationships with foreign governments, etc.-are included in this study.

Access to primary sources, current events, and modern technological resources are suggested for this course. As a result of this course, it is anticipated that students will broaden their civic participation.

Strands: Political Systems, Legal Processes, Civic Participation, Decision-Making, Problem Solving, Processing Information

Competency Goal 1 The learner will identify the basic foundations of the American political system and assess major changes that have occurred.


1.01 Recognize important European influences on the development of the American governmental system.

1.02 Identify fundamentals of the United States Constitution and changes made over time.

1.03 Distinguish between federal and state powers as established in the United States Constitution.

1.04 Analyze the intent of the Founding Fathers in the creation of our early documents.

1.05 Analyze the influences of the early documents on our present plan of government.

Competency Goal 2 The learner will display knowledge of the basic functions and structures of the American political system at the local, state, and federal levels.


2.01 Identify the similarities and differences in the functions of government at each level.

2.02 Differentiate between enumerated, reserved, and concurrent powers.

2.03 Evaluate examples of separation of powers and the system of checks and balances.

2.04 Analyze between local, state, and federal governmental enforcement powers on decisions and policies.

2.05 Assess legislative, executive, and judicial activities at the state and national levels.

Competency Goal 3 The learner will examine the role and analyze the influence of political parties in the American political process.


3.01 Explore the early development of political parties and their impact on political parties today.

3.02 Examine the two-party system.

3.03 Evaluate the creation of third parties in American politics and their effect on political outcomes.

3.04 Analyze the reasons for non-political participation.

Competency Goal 4 The learner will explain the creation of political interest groups and their influence on the political process.


4.01 Pose rationales for the formation of political interest groups.

4.02 Evaluate various lobbying techniques for their legal, ethical, and practical uses.

4.03 Differentiate between the pros and cons of political action groups system.

Competency Goal 5 The learner will examine the basic concepts and practices of the state and national judicial systems.


5.01 Differentiate between the national and state court systems.

5.02 Identify the legal rights of American citizens according to the Bill of Rights.

5.03 Distinguish between civil and criminal law.

5.04 Construct the steps in the legal process.

5.05 Examine and pose solutions to legal problems in the United States.

Competency Goal 6 The learner will analyze the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship.


6.01 Explain the rights guaranteed to citizens in both the United States and North Carolina Constitutions.

6.02 Differentiate between the legal and ethical responsibilities of citizenship.

6.03 Determine processes that influence civic issues and public actions.

Competency Goal 7 The learner will analyze relationships between the American political system and the international political systems.


7.01 Identify and assess the impact of major American foreign and trade policies.

7.02 Analyze the reasons for change in international relationships throughout history.

7.03 Interpret the influence of American and foreign leadership on international issues.

Competency Goal 8 The learner will examine contemporary issues in public policy.


8.01 Develop a definition for public policy.

8.02 Explore the relationship between technological advances and its implications for public policy.

8.03 Analyze the changing dynamics of citizens' rights.


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