Civics notes

According to the dictionary definition, Civics is “the study of the rights and duties of citizenship”

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.

. The following are notes we will be taking during class  after  reading, researching and discussing.  The numbering does not always come out as it does on the notes  given in class

erican government text, Chapter I Section 1: Government and the State

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

Activities- Student Participation And Objectives       1. Students name three basic kinds of power that a government exercises; 2. discuss the difference between a government and a state; 3. list the main purposes of the American system of government.

  1. Government and the state
  2. government – The institution through which a society makes and enforces it’s public policies.
  3. Public policies – All of the things a gov. decides to do, i.e. taxation, defense, education, crime control, environment, etc. p. 4
  4. Must have power! – ability to achieve a desired end – must be able to prevent or command/demand action;
  5. Three basic types of power, set by the Constitution (body of fundamental setting up principles, structures, and processes of a gov;
  6. legislative – power to make law and public policy
  7. executive – power to enforce and administer law
  8. judicial – power to determine meaning of laws and settle disputes/arguments within society
  1. You will define dictatorship:
  2. Democracy:
  3. List important facts from remaining 5 paragraphs on p. 5
  4. The state – Body of people living in defined territory, organized politically with the power to make and enforce law.
  5. Population – must have people!
  6. Territory – must have land!
  7. Sovereignty – supreme and absolute power within it’s own territory; responsible for itself, not a colony;
  8. Gov. – already defined – see p. 6 & 7 and outline I. A
  9. Origins of the state – From where did the idea of “state” come? 4 main theories.
  10. The Force Theory – make sure you define this  and the other theories listed below
  1. The Evolutionary Theory
  1. The Divine Right Theory –
  1. The Social Contract –
  1. Purpose of gov. – also, make sure you understand  what each “purpose of government ” stands for.
  2. form a more perfect union
  3. Establish justice
  4. Insure domestic tranquility –
  5. Provide for the common defense –
  6. Promote general Welfare –
  7. Secure the liberty

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

New lesson

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

  1. Forms of governments. – Like people, no 2 govs are exactly alike, why?

Classifying governments. (3 ways)

  1. who can participate in the process – number of persons who take part in the course of action
  2. democracy – People hold supreme political authority and the government is run only by and with the agreement of the people; p. 12;
  3. direct democracy (pure democracy) – the will of the people becomes law; straight from the people;;
  4. representative democracy – a small group are chosen by the people to carry out the will of the people (kept in check by elections and attentive citizens);
  5. dictatorship – those who rule Are NOT responsible to the will of the people
  6. autocracy – one person has unlimited political power
  7. oligarchy – power to rule held by small group of people who usually appointed themselves!; (give students terms on board: unitary, federal, confederate, presidential, parliamentary, dictatorship, democracy);
  8. Geographic distribution of government power within the state – you will work in groups of three to fill out the group activity sheet.

every system of gov. has power to govern in 1 or more places geographically; 3 basic forms

  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 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

2. parliamentary – executive made up of prime minister or premier and the official’s cabinet which come from the legislative branch (parliament); Legislature or parliament chooses the executive. research-which countries have parliamentarian gov, and who are the prime ministers of each?

Review: classifying; who participates, democracy, dictatorship, geographic distribution–unitary, federal, confederate; relationship between–presidential and parliamentary

The other notes needed after this review need to be in your notebook, as it is the webs we created on local, state and federal government.

This website is a good jeopardy review


Civics, 10th Grade Magnet

Chapter 21 section 4: American citizenship

Objectives :

  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.


Introduction: This lesson focuses on how American citizenship and naturalization is determined as well as the history and problems of immigration

  1. I. The 14th Amendment
  2. 1868 Civil War is coming, 14th amendment passed (page 613, American Government, 14th amendment,
  3. A person can become an American citizen either by birth, or by naturalization
  4. 90% of Americans are citizens because we were born in the USA, another several million are citizens because:
  5.   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.


  1. 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


  1. Aliens-citizens or nationals in a foreign country who live in the United States
  2. Naturalization-people may become citizens at some time after birth through this legal process
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. Have entered the country legally lived in the United States for at least five years, certain states for at least three months
  5. File a petition for naturalization through federal court
  6. Be literate in the English language
  7. 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”
  8. Have a “knowledge and an understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and the principles and form of government, of the United States”
  9. Take an oath or affirmation


  1. expatriation-Americans can choose to give up or voluntarily abandon their citizenship (see bottom of page 614)
  2. denaturalization– Naturalized citizens who gained citizenship through fraud or deception may lose it through court ordered process
  3. Deportation-a legal process in which aliens are required to leave the United States

New section

“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 (We need to understand compromise as we are introduced to the Constitution)

  1. I. Basic concepts of democracy
  2. Foundations-democracy will continue in this country as long as the people support it. 5 important features: (slideshow)
  3. Worth of the individual-every individual is important, unique, should be respected
  4. Equality of All Persons-as in “Worth”, individuals should be treated equally. Democratic concept states two primary issues: equality of opportunity and equality before the law
  5. 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 to public problems. P. 19
  6. Necessity of compromise- in a democracy, people with different ideas/opinions must come together to form an agreement that satisfies and respects all sides of the situation;  go to your text, American government and define this important concept
  7. 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  – an individual is allowed to have as much freedom as they wish as long as it does not interfere with someone else’s freedom.
  8. Democracy and the free enterprise system – Free enterprise is an economic system which goes with democracy, the political system.
  9. How the system works – capitalism (see picture below about socialism and communism)
  10. government does not decide on production, quantity, or price;
  11. law of supply and demand – many goods and services, prices drop; shortage, prices go up; (see image)

  1. government and free enterprise system
  2. mixed economy – private enterprise works with a large amount of gov. regs and promotion
  3. gov. regs. – i.e. pure food, anti-pollution, building codes
  4. Promotion – grant for transportation (buses, trains), research-stem cell
  5. fine line between free enterprisre and gov. participation;
  6. Democracy and the internet – Where do you draw the line regarding freedom?

What do they mean in terms of being concepts of democracy?


6 Responses to Civics notes

  1. TimothySmith says:

    Received the notes!

  2. Bob Bobert says:

    Mr. Wade’s class is swag. XD

  3. jesus ramos says:


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