• Unit 2: Participation and Public Opinion

    In this unit, we will look at the participation of citizens in their governments. We are all born into political culture, and our political socialization begins as young as age 3, when we first learn our attitudes toward police officers. Think back on your childhood. Did you hear your mom or dad say, "If you ever get lost, find a police officer, and they will bring you home", or did you hear "Oh no! Slow down! It's the cops!"? One gives you a good feeling toward police, and authority in general, while the other instills fear.

    Our environment continues to shape our political opinions as we grow, and when we become eligible to vote, we also decide whether to join parties or interest groups or even whether or not to participate in political marches or other forms of protest. Some of us may grow up in a political void and feel alienated, while others try to use the government to promote racist and hate-filled agendas; when their voices are rejected, or even "silenced", they feel disenfranchised and resort to violence. In a democracy, hearing everyone's voice is the goal, even if we do not like what our fellow citizens are saying.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 25 hours.

    • 2.1: Political Culture

    • 2.2: Political Socialization and Public Opinion

    • 2.3: Media

    • 2.4: Interest Groups

      • 2.4.1: Power of Special Interests

    • 2.5: Political Parties

      • 2.5.1: Two-Party vs. Multiparty Systems

      • 2.5.2: Comparing Parties and Interest Groups

    • 2.6: Elections

    • 2.7: Other Forms of Participation

    • Unit 2 Assessment