Civics notes


  1. 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 , 2001-2003Civics Vocabulary, Marking Period 1civics- 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.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.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.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.

    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.

    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.

    jury- a group of citizens that hear evidence and make a verdict based on the allegation on a court case.

    diversity- a society has different ethnicities and races in its population of people.

    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.

    draft- having one or more people compulsory enrolled or enlist in the military.

    register- an official record of names “kept by an official appointed to do so.”

    naturalized citizen- a person that was not born in the country but has become a citizen through a legal process.

    taxes- citizens’ duties to pay the charge by the government on property, which is used for the community and country.

    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.

    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.

    constitution- a written document that establishes the principles, structures, and processes of a government.

    jury duty- citizens’ duty to serve in a legal court case as juror, which is most of the time not optional.

    census- an official counting of a population that happens every ten years in the United States.

    and, the governor is Dan Malloy


    I. Government and the state

    A. government – The institution through which a society makes and enforces it’s public policies.

    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 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:

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

    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 it’s own territory; responsible for itself, not a colony;

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

    I. A

    C. Origins of the state – From where did the idea of “state” come? 4 main theories, you will read and explain them.

    1. The Force Theory –
    2. The Evolutionary Theory
    3. The Divine Right Theory –
    4. The Social Contract –
    5. Purpose of gov. –
    6. – form a more perfect union
    7. Establish justice
    8. Insure domestic tranquility –
    9. Provide for the common defense –
    10. Promote general Welfare –
    11. Secure the liberty

    Review: public policies, 3 kinds of power, dictatorship, democracy, the state, territory, sovereign,

    Civics, 10th Grade

    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

    I. The 14th Amendment

    A. 1868 Civil War is coming, 14th amendment passed (What is the political cartoon saying below?)

    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 (students, in groups of two, go to text, American government, page 614 and fill in their notes using chart, discuss using board, which requirement is the most difficult to evaluate?)

    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 is affirmation?)

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

    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

    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,

    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.

    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 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; read p. 13. Parag. 1; see picture p. 13,

    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!-Soviet Union, Hitler, Cuba;

    : unitary, federal, confederate, presidential, parliamentary, dictatorship, democracy; Q to S: which 3 describe US Gov? What does each mean? 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

    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 ( 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 (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?.


    Review: classifying; who participates, democracy, dictatorship, geographic distribution-unitary, federal, confederate; relationship between-presidential and parliament
    Below is a short video  from YouTube  about December 7  1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

    Pres. Roosevelt  address to Congress, short YouTube  after the invasion Of Japan

New Section, 3 levels of Government and the three branches within each: Local, State, Federal with executive, legislative, and judicial branches

Local Level of Government, please see classroom notes for more details



State Level, please see Mr. Wade for the specifics and the diagram

Federal Level, again see Mr. Wade for the specifics we did in class for each branch

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 (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 tp public problems. P. 19
  6. Necessity of compromise-let us 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
  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?

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

Our Political Beginnings

Objectives: students will be able to:

1. Identify the three basic concepts of government that influenced government in the English colonies,

2. Explain the significance of the following landmark English documents: the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights.

3. Describe the three types of colonies that the English established in North America.

Anticipatory set: Students name basic human rights and freedoms and explain where they learned them.

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

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, ie. trial by jury, due process, protection for life, liberty, property; States that monarchy did not have absolute power; discuss p. 29 & 30

2. The Petition of Right -1628, limits King’s power; challenges idea of the “Divine Right of Kings.”: What is 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. prepare for standardized tests: S will read “Primary sources” passage from Eng. Bill of R….and answer the following 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;: Working in grps. will name and describe the 3 types

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;  – Jeopardy review game

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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