Unit 1: American Political Foundations
The American political system is rich in history. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of American government, you will need to learn this history and recognize the ways in which it impacts the political landscape today.
This unit will begin with a brief introduction to the course as well as a concise overview of the American political system. You will focus on broad-based questions and explore the defining characteristics of American government. Next, you will work to identify the origins of American republican democracy, learning how it developed and evolved into our current political system. Finally, you will conclude by examining the key principles embedded in the United States Constitution, particularly federalism, and relate its design and development to the unique American political system we have in place today.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 18 hours.
1.1: The Challenge of Democracy and the American Political System
1.1.1: The Purpose, Role, and Impact of Government
1.1.2: Meanings of Democracy
1.2: The Constitution
1.2.1: Historical Underpinnings – Colonial Times and Independence
1.2.2: Early Government – The Articles of Confederation
1.2.3: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 – Debates and Compromises
1.2.4: Constitutional Principles
1.2.5: The Ratification Debate – Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
1.2.6: The Constitution Today – A Living Document
1.3.1: Defining Federalism
1.3.2: Federalism in Practice
1.3.3: Federalism in History
Unit 1 Assessment