Social Studies, Grade 12, United States Government, 2004
1.) Identify origins and functions of government.
- origins—evolution of law from divine law, natural law, common law, ancient Greek and Roman law, and British Common Law;
- functions—establishing order, protecting property
Comparing essential characteristics of limited and unlimited governments throughout the world, including constitutional, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments
2.) Analyze purposes, organization, functions, and principles of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
Comparing government structure under the Articles of Confederation with government structure under the Constitution of the United States
Comparing arguments for establishing a government with three separate branches, including views presented in the Federalist Papers regarding the branches of government
Explaining the necessity for and inclusion of a system of checks and balances
Example: Federalist argument in favor of checks and balances
Explaining the necessity for including a Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States
Examples: differences in the Federalist/Anti-Federalist arguments, George Mason's views on the Bill of Rights
Outlining the process of amending the Constitution of the United States
3.) Explain how the federal system of the United States divides powers between national and state governments, including areas of taxation, revenue distribution, federal grants, distribution of entitlements, regulation of interstate commerce, and enforcement of contracts.
Examples: categorical and block grants, funded and unfunded mandates, revenue sharing
4.) Describe specific functions, organization, and purposes of state and local governments.
Examples: functions—providing educational funding, ensuring personal security, regulating transportation
Analyzing the 1901 Constitution of Alabama to determine its impact on local funding and campaign reform
Describing the influence of special interest groups on state government
5.) Trace the expansion of suffrage and its effect on the political system of the United States.
Example: suffrage for nonproperty owners, women, African Americans, and persons 18 years of age
Describing implications of participation of large numbers of minorities and women in parties and campaigns
Describing the impact of the Selma-to-Montgomery march on the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
6.) Describe the development and functions of special interest groups.
Identifying the impact of campaign contributions by political action committees on the election processes at the state and national levels
Analyzing rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States regarding campaign financing to determine their effect on the election process
Examples: Buckley versus Valeo, legislation regarding campaign reform
7.) Trace the development and impact of the media on the political process and public opinion in the United States.
Examples: party press, penny press, print media, yellow journalism, radio, television, Internet, 2000 presidential election
Explaining the effect of media consolidation on public opinion and access to various viewpoints
Describing regional differences in public opinion in the United States
Analyzing the impact of television on the election process and campaign spending
Examples: John F. Kennedy-Richard M. Nixon debate, Lyndon B. Johnson and the 1964 "Daisy" advertisement, George H. W. Bush and the 1988 Willie Horton advertisement, early returns and media predictions on election night
Explaining the effect of attack advertisements on voter selection of candidates
8.) Identify roles political parties play in the functioning of the political system of the United States.
Describing the role of third-party candidates in political elections in the United States
Explaining major characteristics of contemporary political parties in the United States, including the role of conventions, party leadership, formal and informal memberships, and regional strongholds
Describing the changing influence of political parties on individuals and elected officials
Examples: development of party machines, rise of independent voters, disillusionment with party system
9.) Identify constitutional provisions of the legislative branch of the government of the United States.
Example: checks by the legislative branch on other branches of government
Comparing rules of operation and hierarchies of the House and Senate
Example: roles of the Speaker of the House, Senate pro tem, majority and minority leaders, and party whips
Tracing the legislative process, including types of votes and committee action, from a bill's presentation to presidential action
Identifying committee structure and types of committees
Discussing problems concerning redistricting as populations shift
10.) Identify constitutional provisions of the executive branch of the government of the United States.
Examples: checks by the executive branch on other branches of government, powers and duties as head of state and head of government
Identifying constitutional provisions regarding the office of President of the United States
Examples: term of office, qualifications, electoral college, impeachment and removal, Amendment 25 (line of succession and disability), formal powers
Identifying informal powers of the President of the United States
Examples: press conferences, State of the Union address, total media access, head of party, symbolic power of the Oval Office
Identifying the influence of White House staff on the President of the United States
Identifying powers held by the President's Cabinet
Examples: roles of Cabinet secretaries, appropriations by Congress, appointment and confirmation, operation of organization
Comparing characteristics of the President of the United States with characteristics of the electorate
Examples: socioeconomic status, level of education
Identifying factors that influence voters' choices of presidential candidates
Example: characteristics of candidates in relation to the electorate
11.) Identify constitutional provisions of the judicial branch of the government of the United States.
Examples: checks by the judicial branch on other branches of government, limits on judicial powers
Describing the structure of the court system of the United States
Examples: lower courts, appellate courts
Tracing the process by which a case goes to the Supreme Court of the United States
Example: Gideon versus Wainwright
Identifying the impact of landmark Supreme Court cases on constitutional interpretation
Examples: Marbury versus Madison, Miranda versus Arizona, Tinker versus Des Moines
Identifying landmark decisions arising from Supreme Court cases originating in Alabama
Examples: Wallace versus Jaffree, Wyatt versus Stickney, Powell versus Alabama (Scottsboro boys)
Explaining politics involved in the appointment process
Describing the shifting political balance of the court system
Example: justices' ideologies
Identifying influences on court decisions
Examples: public opinion, executive and legislative opinion, justices' ideologies, desire for impartiality
Contrasting the strict and loose constructionist views of the Constitution
Tracing the nationalization of the Bill of Rights from Gitlow versus New York to the present
12.) Contrast rights and responsibilities of citizens in a representative democracy.
Examples: right to trial by jury compared to responsibility of jury duty, right to freedom of speech compared to responsibility to avoid slander
13.) Explain the foreign policy of the United States and national security interests as they pertain to the role of the United States in the world community.
Discussing the changing role of the foreign policy of the United States
Examples: economic, scientific, humanitarian, cultural, technological, political
Identifying positive and/or negative consequences of foreign policy decisions
Examples: shifting alliances as a result of foreign policy decisions, financial costs, terrorism, foreign stability
Identifying traditional foreign policy allies of the United States and potential areas of current and future intervention