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U.S. Government and Politics State Standards

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

Standard USG-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of foundational political theory, concepts, and application.

Enduring Understanding

To appreciate the governmental system of the United States, citizens must understand the nature and purpose of government in general. An understanding of basic political ideas allows nations to organize and structure the institutions of government in the most effective, logical manner. To understand and evaluate basic governmental function, organization, and effectiveness, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:

Indicators

USG-1.1 Analyze political theories related to the existence, necessity, and purpose of government, including natural rights, balance of the public and private interests, and physical and economic security.

USG-1.2 Analyze components of government and the governing process, including politics, power, authority, sovereignty, legitimacy, public institutions, efficacy, and civic life.

USG-1.3 Evaluate the role and relationship of the citizen to government in democratic, republican, authoritarian, and totalitarian systems.

USG-1.4 Analyze the institutional and organizational structure of government that allows it to carry out its purpose and function effectively, including the branches of government and legitimate bureaucratic institutions.

USG-1.5 Evaluate limited government and unlimited government with regard to governance, including rule of law, the role of constitutions, civil rights, political freedom, economic freedom, and the ability of citizens to impact or influence the governing process.

USG-1.6 Evaluate the organization of government in confederal, federal, and unitary systems, including the distribution of power and the advantages and disadvantages of each system.

Standard USG-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of foundational American political principles and the historical events and philosophical ideas that shaped the development and application of these principles.

Enduring Understanding

As it exists today, the United States Constitution is a product of numerous influences that were critical not only to its inception but also to its evolution over time. The principles set forth in the Constitution serve as the framework upon which United States government was established and on which it operates today. To understand the advancement of the principles, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:

Indicators

USG-2.1 Summarize core principles of United States government, including limited government, federalism, checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law, popular sovereignty, republicanism, individual rights, freedom, equality, and self-government.

USG-2.2 Analyze developmental influences on the core political principles of American government, including Greek democracy, Roman republicanism, the Judeo-Christian heritage, and the European philosophers John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and William Blackstone.

USG-2.3 Analyze the British heritage that fostered development of the core political principles of American government, including the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right (1628), the Glorious Revolution, the English Bill of Rights, and the Mayflower Compact.

USG-2.4 Evaluate significant American founding documents in relation to core political principles, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, state constitutions, the United States Constitution, The Federalist papers, and the Bill of Rights.

USG-2.5 Evaluate significant American historical documents in relation to the application of core principles (e.g., the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, the Ordinance of Nullification, the Seneca Falls Declaration, the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"), the eleventh through the twenty-seventh amendments to the Constitution, and critical Supreme Court cases.

Standard USG-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power.

Enduring Understanding

The organization and structure of government at national, state, and local levels in the United States is based upon principles established in the U.S. Constitution. The most fundamental aspects of organized government within the United States are the distribution of power, oversight, and responsibilities that function to limit the ability of any one institution of that government to concentrate power. To understand the structure and organization of United States government as the embodiment of constitutional principles, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:

Indicators

USG-3.1 Evaluate the Constitution as the written framework of the United States government, including expression of the core principles of limited government, federalism, checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law, popular sovereignty, republicanism, individual rights, freedom, equality, and self-government.

USG-3.2 Evaluate the formal and informal structure, role, responsibilities, and authority of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the national government as the embodiments of constitutional principles.

USG-3.3 Analyze federalism and its application in the United States, including the concepts of enumerated, concurrent, and reserved powers; the meaning of the ninth and tenth amendments; the principle of states’ rights; the promotion of limited government; the protection of individual rights; and the potential for conflict among the levels of government.

USG-3.4 Analyze the organization and responsibilities of local and state governments in the United States federal system, including the role of state constitutions, the limitations on state governments, the typical organization of state governments, the relationship between state and local governments, and the major responsibilities of state governments.

Standard USG-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

Enduring Understanding

An informed, participatory citizenry is essential to the American political process. To understand what it means to be an American citizen, the student will utilize the knowledge and skills set forth in the following indicators:

Indicators

USG-4.1 Evaluate the role of the citizen in the American political process, including civic responsibilities and the interaction between the citizen and government.

USG-4.2 Analyze the process of political socialization and its relation to political participation.

USG-4.3 Evaluate the role and function of common avenues utilized by citizens in political participation, including political parties, voting, polls, interest groups, and community service.

USG-4.4 Analyze the process through which citizens monitor and influence public policy, including political parties, interest groups, the media, lobbying, donations, issue advocacy, and candidate support.

USG-4.5 Evaluate the importance of civil rights and civil liberties for citizens in American political culture and the protective role of the national government through the Bill of Rights, the judicial system, and the Fourteenth Amendment.

USG-4.6 Explain how fundamental values, principles, and rights often conflict within the American political system; why these conflicts arise; and how these conflicts are and can be addressed.