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

5 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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