American Government

Course Description

This course will guide students through an in-depth study of the history, structure, and guiding principles of American government. The first unit will review the origins of government in general and American government in particular—from the earliest models for democracy to the founding documents that created a federalist system of government in the U.S. Several units will help students explore the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government as well as the impact that the Constitution has had and continues to have on the way government works and on the lives of individual Americans. The course’s final unit will guide students through a series of projects that require them to apply what they have learned about American government to an issue that interests them.

Course Requirements

Grade Level





1 Semester

Credit Value




Semester A

Major Concepts

  • the forces and philosophies that led to the creation of the first governments
  • the role of the United States Constitution in creating the structure of American government
  • the people, principles, and theories that informed and inspired the framers of the United States Constitution
  • the purpose and function of branches, departments, and agencies of the federal government
  • the impact of the Bill of Rights in protecting individual freedoms and informing civil rights movements
  • the electoral process and the forces that influence national campaigns
  • the role of mass media in the work of government and in citizens’ perceptions of government
  • the impact of political parties, interest groups, and movements on the political process
  • strategies and processes for participating in American government as a citizen
  • analysis of foreign and domestic policy