Civics notes

We will begin Civics class with a pretest which will cover the map of the United States.  It is important to know the location of different states throughout our country as we study local, state and federal government.  It is also important to know the location of states as citizens of the United States.  We will also be studying current events which will require our knowledge of the states.

Our class will review the location of the seven continents and four oceans of our world to help us better understand world events as well.

There are a number of good web sites which allow you to not only study the map of United States, but also to print the map.

Below is the basic vocabulary students should know for the first marking period in civics. The text  will provide  most of the notes  given below , it is Magruders, American government , 2001-2003

Civics  Vocabulary, Marking Period 1

  1. civics- the study of the purpose of government and the responsibilities and duties of citizens. In this class, students learn about different types of government, how they function and how it organizes and enforce laws on its society.
  1. government- “the institution through which a society makes and enforces it public policies.” There are many different types of governments. There are dictatorships, were on person or a small group have all the power of the society, and there are also democracy, were the power is in the hands of the people.
  1. freedoms- the citizens’ entitlement to do chose how to live their own lives. Citizens of the United States of America have as much freedom until it effects someone else’s. An example of a freedom is freedom of religion, were a person can choose whatever religion to practice.
  1. liberty- the power or right to act, believe, and express of a person without commands or demands from another.

bill of rights- the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution that guarantees freedoms and rights of all citizens. For example, it states that all people have freedom of speech, which allows citizens the right to say, write, and publish whatever they want.

  1. law- a rule that applies to every citizen of a country, which is made by the legislative branch, enforced by the executive branch, and defined by the judicial branch of the government.
  1. society- made up five basic institution: government, economy, religion, education, and family, organizes a group of people by a common : culture, living environment, or interest.
  1. jury- a group of citizens that hear evidence and make a verdict based on the allegation on a court case.
  1. diversity- a society has different ethnicities and races in its population of people.
  1. citizenship- a relationship between a country and a person that pledges loyalty to a country and fulfills his or her duties and are entitled to rights. The person can be born in the country or naturalized through a process.
  1. draft- having one or more people compulsory enrolled or enlist in the military.
  1. register- an official record of names “kept by an official appointed to do so.”
  2. naturalized citizen- a person that was not born in the country but has become a citizen through a legal process.
  1. taxes- citizens’ duties to pay the charge by the government on property, which is used for the community and country.
  1. social contract- an agreement among people that establishes their rights, duties, privileges for each individual fairly. The theory states that free people give up some freedom for protection.
  1. divine right- the ides that a person royal born was given the right to have all the power and rule by God. People believed that opposing the royal family, was opposing God, and the people would be held for treason and moral sin.
  1. constitution- a written document that establishes the principles, structures, and processes of a government.
  1. jury duty- citizens’ duty to serve in a legal court case as juror, which is most of the time not optional.
  1. census- an official counting of a population that happens every ten years in the United States.

    overnor is Dan Malloy


    American government, Chapter I Section 1: Government and the State

    Introduction:   This lesson focuses on the goals of the Federal Government

    Activities- Student Participation                                      Objective:   Students name three basic kinds of power that a government exercises, discuss the difference between a government and a state, and list the main purposes of the American system of government.

    I. Government and the state

    A. government – The institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. (How many institutions make up a society?)

    1. Public policies – All of the things a gov. decides to do, i.e. taxation, defense, education, crime control, environment, etc. p. 4

    2. Must have power! – ability to achieve a desired end – must be able to prevent or command/demand action;

    3. Three basic types of power, set by the Constitution (body of fundamental laws setting up principles, structures, and processes of a gov.)

    a. legislative – power to make law and public policy.

    b. executive – power to enforce and administer law.

    c. judicial – power to determine meaning of laws and settle disputes/arguments within society.

    4. You will define dictatorship:

    5. Democracy: a government where the ultimate power is held with the people.

    6. List important facts from remaining 5 paragraphs on p. 5

    – The earliest known evidences of government date from Ancient Egypt, 2,300 years ago

    -politics: is the process by which a society decides how power and resources will be

    distributed within that society

    -Politics is a Process. Government is an Institution.

    B. The state – Body of people living in defined territory, organized politically with the power to make and enforce law.

    1. Population – must have people!

    2. Territory – must have land.

    3. Sovereignty – supreme and absolute power within its own territory; responsible for itself, not a colony;

    4.Gov. – already defined – see p. 6 & 7

    D. Purpose of gov. – (pg’s 8,9, &10)

    1. To form a more perfect union

    2. Establish justice

    3. Insure domestic tranquility -

    4. Provide for the common defense -

    5. Promote general Welfare –

    6.Secure the liberty-

  2. Civics, 10th GradeChapter 21 section 4: American cit ctives:1. Identify the questions surrounding American citizenship.2. Describe how people become American citizens by birth and by naturalization.3. Explain how an American can lose his or her citizenship.

    4. Compare and contrast the status of undocumented aliens and legal immigrants.

    Anticipatory set -

    students discuss whether they have belonged to a club or team that let anyone join and examine how the United States let almost all immigrants into the country for more than 100 years


    : This lesson focuses on how American citizenship and naturalization is determined as well as the history and problems of immigration (text, page 613, American Government)


    . The 14th Amendment

    A. 1868 Civil War is coming, 14th amendment passed (613, American Government, 14th amendment, )

    1. A person can become an American citizen either by birth, or by naturalization

    2. 90% of Americans are citizens because we were born in the USA, another several million are citizens because:

    a. jus soli-the law of the soil where one is born -Congress has

    defined the United States to include, for purposes of citizenship, the 50 States,the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana and the Islands. It also includes American embassies and American public vessels abroad.

    b. jus sanguinis-law of the blood, to whom one is born-a child born abroad can become an American citizen at birth if he or she born to parent who is US citizen and lived in USA at some time

    B. Aliens-citizens or nationals in a foreign country who live in the United States

    1. Naturalization-people may become citizens at some time after birth through this legal process

    a. Be at least 18 years old

    b. Have entered the country legally lived in the United States for at least five years, certain states for at least three months

    c. File a petition for naturalization through federal court

    d. Be literate in the English language

    e. Be of “good moral character”, attached to the principles of the Constitution, and “well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States”

    f. Have a “knowledge and an understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and the principles and form of government, of the United States”

    g. Take an oath or affirmation (-what type of oath, what is affirmation?)

    2. expatriation-Americans can choose to give up or voluntarily abandon their citizenship (see bottom of page 614, American Government)

    a. denaturalization- Naturalized citizens who gained citizenship through fraud or deception may lose it through court ordered process

    b. Deportation-a legal process in which aliens are required to leave the United Sta press

     Review: students will create a chart/graphic summary of ways of gaining and losing American citizenship using chart on pages 614-616 Of American Government Text,

    Homework: 1) students must read and annotate pages 613-618 and their text. 2) key terms and main ideas, page 618, questions 1-4 3) critical thinking, applying text knowledge to today, answer critical thinking questions four & five 4) thought question seven, page 618

    Lesson three, civics 10th grade

    Review: public policies, 3 kinds of power, dictatorship, democracy, the state, territory, sovereign, government, theories, 6 purposes of gov.

     Chapter I Section 2: Forms of Government

    Objectives: students will be able to:

    1. Classify governments according to three sets of characteristics.

    2. Define systems of government based on who can participate.

    3. Identify different ways that power can be distributed, geographically, within a state.

    4. Describe a government by how power is distributed between the executive and legislative branches.

    Anticipatory set - Students examine the relationship between the terms dictatorship and democracy and discuss their importance as two different forms of government.

    Introduction – The lesson focuses on the different types of governments.

    I. Forms of gov. – Like people, no 2 govs are exactly alike, why?

    Classifying govs.

    A. who can participate in the process – number of persons who take part in the process

    1. democracy - Q to S: What is democracy? People hold supreme political authority and the gov. is run only by and with the agreement of the people; p. 12; go to the Internet Gore versus Bush results, put popular vote results on board then, Q to S: Why wasn’t Gore elected president  if he received more votes than Bush?

    a. direct democracy (pure democracy) – the will of the people  becomes law; straight from the people;

    b. representative democracy – a small grp  are chosen by the people to carry out the will of the people (kept in check by elections and attentive citizens);

    2. dictatorship – those who rule Are NOT responsible to the will of the people

    a. autocracy – one person has unlimited political power

    b. oligarchy – power to rule held by small grp, of people who usually appointed themselves! Explain Federal, State, & Local Gov.

    B. Geographic distribution of gov. power within the state – every system of gov. has power to govern in 1 or more places geographically; 3 basic forms textbook page 14

    1. unitary -centralized–all powers held by the gov. belong to a single central agency. Usually central gov. creates local units of gov. for it’s own convenience (Central gov. could get rid of local units).

    2. federal – powers of gov. are divided between central gov, and several local govs. This division of power CANNOT be changed by the local or national level acting alone. (Our Constitution sets this up).

    3. Confederate – An alliance (Q to S: What is an alliance?) of independent states. The central organization with confederate only handles issues member states ASSIGN to it.

    C. Relationship between legislative and executive branches – govs. often classified by relationship between leg. and exec; 2 forms

    1. presidential – legislative and executive branches separate but equal; President and legislature chosen by the people at different times for different terms; checks and balances  Q to S What does this mean?

    2. parliamentary – executive made up of prime minister or premier and the official’s cabinet which come from the legislative branch (parliament); Legi slature or parliament choses the executive. T&S read p. 16; research-which countries have parliamentarian gov, and who are the prime ministers of each? Use internet; determine which regions have democracies present and if there are any visible patterns of government shown. They offer historical and geographical reasons for these patterns.

    Our next lessonWill be coveringThe three levels of government, State local and federal
    We began by creating a WebTo explain the local level of government
    -executive branch =Headed by Mayor Who serves a four-year termAnd may runMultiple times,  He or sheIs elected byPopular vote. The Mayor appointscommissioners,police, fireDepartment of healthfor example
    -Legislative branch =In Bridgeport we haveThe city CouncilWith 20 membersWho serve two-year termsIn May run multiple times The council membersAre votedFor by the people of their District
    -judicial branch =Bridgeport has city courts With judges andThe judicial branch alsoGives public defenders to thoseWho cannot afford a lawyer

    American government text

     Chapter I Section 3:

    “Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half of the time.” E. B. White.

    Introduction: This lesson focuses on the basic concepts of democracy and free enterprise

    I. Basic concepts of democracy

    A. Foundations-democracy will continue in this country as long as the people support it.  5 important features:

    1. Worth of the individual-every individual is important, unique, should be respected

    2. Equality of All Persons-as in “Worth”, individuals should be treated equally. Democratic concept states two primary issues: equally of opportunity and equality before the law

    3. Majority rule, minority rights – theory is that majority of the people will be right more often than they are wrong. Democratic process searches for SATISFACTORY solutions tp public problems. P. 19         4. Necessity of compromise

    5. Individual freedom - The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins. Oliver Wendall Holmes; The rights of every man [person] are diminished when the rights of one are threatened. J. F. Kennedy

    B. Democracy and the free enterprise system – Free enterprise is an economic system which goes with democracy, the political system.

    1. How the system works – capitalism

    a. government does not decide on production, quantity, or price;

    b. law of supply and demand – many goods and services, prices drop; shortage, prices go up;

    2. government and free enterprise system

    a. mixed economy – private enterprise works with a large amount of gov. regs  and promotion

    i. gov. regs. – i.e. pure food, anti-pollution, building codes

    ii. Promotion – grant for transportation (buses, trains), research-stem cell

    b. fine line between free enterprisre and gov. participation;

    3. Democracy and the internet – Where do you draw the line regarding freedom?


    Review: foundations, worth, equality, majority rule, compromise, free enterprise, supply and demand, mixed economy;

    new section: Our Political Beginnings

    Introduction: This lesson focuses on the political ideas and concepts English settlers brought to the colonies.

    I. Our political beginnings

    A. Basic concepts of gov. – political systems came with early colonizers to US

    1. Ordered gov.


    2. limited gov.


    3. Representative gov.


    B. important English documents

    1. Magna Carta – 1215 AD – the Great Charter, included basic rights, i.e. trial by jury, due process, protection for life, liberty, property; States that monarchy did not have absolute power;

    2. The Petition of Right -1628, limits King’s power; challenges idea of the “Divine Right of Kings.” Even a king must obey the law! See p. 30, parag. 4;

    3. English Bill of Rights – 1689; You, using p. 30, will list important parts.

     Q: What was Parliament’s primary concern in writing the English Bill of Rights? A. To limit the power of the monarchy   B. To keep the king from making things up    C. To transfer all power from the monarchy to Parliament     D. To make petitioning illegal


    C. The English colonies – 13 different locations set up at different times for different reasons; each had their own charter – written grant of authority from the king; developed into 3 different types of colonies;

    1. Royal colonies -

    a.  the crown had direct control over them; king named a governor as chief executive. A council was also named to advise gov.  A 2 house (bicameral) legis. Was elected by property owners who were qualified to vote, (eventually leads to revolution, Why?)

    2. Proprietary colonies -

    a. organized by a person who the king granted land. b. Proprietor appointed governor.

    c. Legis. Unicameral;

    3. Charter colonies -

    a. based on charters or grants given to the colonists themselves.

    b. governors elected by white male property owners

    c. bicameral legis.

    Review: Basic concepts of gov., ordered limited representative; important English documents-Magna Carta, Petition of Right, Eng. Bill of Rights; Eng. Colonies-royal, charter, proprietary;

    Review: Basic concepts of gov., ordered limited representative; important English documents-Magna Carta, Petition of Right, Eng. Bill of Rights; Eng. Colonies-royal, charter, proprietary;

    Chapter 2 Section 2: The Coming of Independence

    Introduction This lesson focuses on the British policies and events that led to the American Revolution, and the ideas mentioned in early State constitutions that influenced today’s government.

    Why it matters: changes in British colony policies led to anger in the colonies & eventually to revolution. Ideas put in the early state constitutions affected the development of the gov. system under which we live today.




    I. The coming of independence

    A. British colonial policies -

    1. For 150 yrs. Colonists become fairly independent from England. Relationship could be considered federal – Central gov. in London responsible for defense and foreign affairs (including trade markets) for colonies.

    2. 1760 King George 3rd wants to become more strict with colonies, including new taxes to help pay for British troops in North America. “Taxation without representation”;

    B. Growing colonial unitycolonies must work togetherin order to succeed! You will wk. in grps using p. 35-36, identify and outline 3 attempts at cooperation


    1. early attempts – New England confederation(a joining of several grps for a common purpose).
    2. The Albany Plan – Ben Franklin proposes formation of Congress of delegates or representatives from each of 13 colonies; they have the power to raise military and naval forces;
    3. Stamp Act Congress – grp of 9 colonies send delegates to “Congress” where Declaration of Rights and Grievances against British policies is sent to the King. Colonists also boycott; March 5, 1770 Boston massacre, Boston Tea Party 12/16/1773

    C. First Continental Congress -

    1. September 1774 delegates from every colony except Georgia meet in Philadelphia (Philly) discuss new English laws passed to punish colonies(Intolerable Acts);



    2. Continental Congress sends Declaration of Rights protesting Britain’s policies -colonies are asked not to trade with England until taxes and regulations are repealed or recalled (p. 37).

    D. Second Continental Congress – May 10, 1775; British gov refuses to compromise or change policies - revolution has begun with several different battles

    1.    Representatives-All 13 Colonies send representatives. Create continental army, George Washington appointed commander
    2. Our first National Government-second Continental Congress served as first Government of the U.S. for 5 years. British condemn it! Congress is unicameral, exercising both legislative and executive powers
    3. Declaration of Independence-


    Adopted July 4th, 1776, and announces the ind. of US    

    F. First state constitutions –    each state will draw up it’s own constitution

    1. Drafting state constitutions – “Bodies of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of their governments” (p. 38)       
    2. common features – You will fill on overhead;

    Review: colonial policies, colonial unity, attempts Albany Plan, Stamp Act Congress, Continental Congresses, Declaration of Ind., first constitutions;


    Review: colonial policies, colonial unity, attempts Albany Plan, Stamp Act Congress, Continental Congresses, Declaration of Ind., first constitutions;

    Chapter 2 Section 3: The Critical Period

    Objectives: Students will be able to:

    1. Describe the structure of the government set up under the Articles of Confederation.

    2. Explain why the weaknesses of the Articles led to a critical period for the government in the 1780s.

    3. Describe how a growing need for a stronger national government led to plans for a Constitutional Convention.

    Introduction: This lesson focuses on the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, which led to a critical period for the United States.

    I. Critical period – It becomes necessary to unite the former colonies.

    A. Articles of Confederation – Plan of government to unite the former colonies;

    1. Each state will remain independent from each other, except in times of defense “security of their liberties and mutual and general welfare” (1777);

    2. Ratification – all 13 states must approve of the document;

    3. Governmental structure – S will break into grps of 3 and fill out 3-6 on handout;

    a. simple – sets up Congress only, unicameral, delegates chosen yearly by states; Each state gets 1 vote in the Congress, regardless of population or wealth of state;

    b. No executive or judicial branch – committees would handle functions;

    c. presiding officer – Congress chooses one of it’s members

    4. Power of Congress – can make war and peace; send and receive ambassadors, set up money system, post office, Navy, ask states for troops for Army, and settle disputes among states;

    5. State obligations – provide funds and troops as requested by Congress; treat citizens from all states fairly, open trade and travel;

    6. Weaknesses – see p. 45

    a. 1 vote for each state regardless of size;

    b. Congress powerless with taxation

    c. Congress powerless in regulating foreign and interstate commerce

    d. no executive-why is this a problem? What is executive’s job? What if CHS had no principal?

    e. no national court system

    B. Critical period – 1780s;

    1. Revolutionary War ends 1781; Treaty of Paris 1783;

    2. with peace economic and political problems begin to show;

    1. Need for stronger gov-

    1. Articles not strong enough to deal with nation’s problems;

    2. Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia

    Review: Articles, ratification, gov. structure, powers of Congress, state obligations, weaknesses, and Critical period;


    1. Students list the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and discuss the ways the States undermined the limited powers given to Congress.

    2. Students create a time line of the events discussed in the section.

    3. Students create a graph to outline the strengths, weaknesses, and consequences of the Articles of Confederation.


    Chapter 2 Section 4: Creating the Constitution

    Objectives:students will be able to:

    1. Describe the Framers of the Constitution

    2. Compare and contrast the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan for a new constitution.

    3. Summarize the major compromises that the delegates agreed to make and the effects of those compromises.

    Introduction: This lesson focuses on the plans and compromises behind the creation of the Constitution.

    We began this lesson with you identifying and describing the framers of the Constitution. We then discussed the compromises and solutions given below

    Compromise Issue Solution

    Connecticut Representation in Congress Bicameral Legislature



    Counting slaves within popu Slaves were counted as if

    To determine representation 3/5 1 person for rep. & tax



    Commerce & Granting Congress power to Congress was forbidden to

    slave trade regulate foreign & interstate tax a state=s exports or take

    trade action against slave trade

    For 20 yrs.

    Chapter 2 Section 5: Ratifying the Constitution

    Review: Virginia & NJ Plans; what were the framers like?; CT, 3/5 compromises;

    Objectives: Students will be able to:

    1. Identify the opposing sides in the fight for ratification and describe the major arguments for and against the Constitution.

    2. Describe the inauguration of the new government of the United States of


    Introduction: This lesson focuses on the arguments for and against the ratification of the Constitution and the inauguration of the new government.

    I. Ratifying the Constitution – The Constitution could not take effect until it had been ratified by 9 states. The dispute between those who supported and those who opposed the Constitution was fierce in all states.

    A. Federalists

    1. favored Constitution

    2. believed Constitution was strong enough to solve country’s problems

    3. Led by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison

    B. Anti-Federalists

    1. opposed Constitution

    2. Believed Constitution was too strong. Wanted a Bill of Rights added to protect individual freedoms.

    3. Led by Patrick Henry and John Hancock

    C. Inaugurating the gov.

    1. September 13, 1788 11 of 13 states agree;

    2. NY temporary Capitol;

    3. G. Washington Pres, John Adams VP.

    Review: quorum, George Washington, Federalists, Anti-federalists; John Adams;



3 Responses to Civics notes

  1. TimothySmith says:

    Received the notes!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s