Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

High School American Government, part 1: Politics Basics


Politics and Political Science

What questions does political science answer?
     who governs?
     for what ends?
     by what means?

Politics and Government

Compare and contrast governmental politics with politics in other societal groups.
extends to the whole society
can legitimately use force.

The Purposes of Government

Identify the purposes for which government is established.
Maintain order in society.
Provide for national defense.
Provide "public goods".
Regulate society.
Transfer income.
Protect individual liberty.

The Meaning of Democracy

Outline the major principles of democracy.
Recognition of individual dignity and personal freedom.
Equality before the law.
Widespread participation in decision making.
Majority rule, with one person equaling one vote.

The Paradox of Democracy

What is the role of constitutions in context of considering the inherent conflict between majority rule and individual freedom. 
Constitutions are the principal means of limiting government power.

Direct verses Representative Democracy

Compare and contrast representational government and direct government.
Direct democracy,  in which everyone participates in every public decision,  is very rare. Representative democracy means that public decisions are made by representatives elected by the people, in elections held periodically and open to competition, in which candidates and voters freely express themselves.

Who Really Governs?

Show how elitism and pluralism reach different conclusions about who governs in America.
The elitist perspective on American democracy focuses on the small number of leaders who actually decide national issues. A pluralist perspective focuses on competition among organized groups in society,  with individuals participating through group membership and voting for parties and candidates in elections.

Democracy in America

Evaluate the implications of the elitist and pluralist views for the realization of American democratic ideals.
Democratic ideals are widely shared in our society, but you must make your own informed judgment about how they play out in American politics.


  1. Politics is:
    1. the study of political science
    2. the study of who gets what, when and how
    3. the analysis of conflit
    4. the "queen" of the social sciences
    5. the study of market transactions in the private sector
  2. The widespread acceptance of something as necessary, rightful and legally binding is:
    1. constitutionalism
    2. democracy
    3. legitimacy
    4. equality
    5. parsimony
  3. The measurement which purports to show the total economic performance of the nation in terms of the production of goods and services is called the:
    1. prime development rate
    2. gross development rate
    3. domestic development rate
    4. gross domestic product
    5. gross national happiness
  4. Which of the following are considered "domestic ideals"?
    1. one person, one vote
    2. majority rule
    3. widespread participation in public life
    4. elites rule
    5. limited access to government and politics among the masses
  5. Unlimited government power over all aspects of life is a definition of:
    1. totalitarianism
    2. authoritarianism
    3. demagoguery
    4. socialism
    5. populism
  6. The closest approximation we have to direct democracy in America is:
    1. the Native American Congress
    2. the New England town meeting
    3. Congressional elections
    4. Presidential appointments
    5. state legislative elections
  7. The idea that democracy can be achieved in a large society by bargaining, compromise and competition between interest groups would be consistent with
    1. pluralism
    2. classical liberalism
    3. elitism
    4. systems theory
    5. egalitarianism
  1. 2
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  4. 3
  5. 1
  6. 2
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High School American Government


  1. Are you going to link all of these to your original post, so we have one handy place to refer to them all?


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