HGov: Politics

Power and Politics mrd

Political thinking is the careful gathering and sifting of information in the process of forming knowledgeable views of political developments. Political thinking is a key to responsible citizenship, but many citizens avoid it by virtue of paying little attention to politics.

Cultural ideals help shape what people expect from politics and inspires them to work together for a collective purpose. However, politics is more than shared ideals and common effort. It is also a struggle for power and advantage. Political scientist Harold Lasswell described it as the struggle over “who gets what, when and how.” 

It is the process through which society settles its conflicts.

There are two sources of political conflict. One is scarcity. Because societies do not have enough wealth to satisfy everyone’s desires, there is conflict over the distribution of resources. Another source of political conflict are differences in values. People see issues differently as a result of differences in their beliefs, experiences, and interests.

Politics is the process by which it is determined whose values will prevail in society. Those who have power win out and are able to control governing authority and policy choices. In the United States, no one faction controls all power and policy. Majorities govern on some issues, while other issues are dominated by groups, elites, corporations, individuals through judicial action, or officials who hold public office.

Politics in the United States plays out through rules of the game that include democracy, constitutionalism, and free markets. Democracy is rule by the people, which in practice refers to a representative system of government in which the people rule through their elected officials. Constitutionalism refers to rules that limit the rightful power of government over citizens. A free market system assigns private parties the dominant role in determining how economic costs and benefits are allocated.



HGov: Summer Assignment Chapter 1

Honors Gov logo      Welcome to our class for the 2015-16 school year. The purpose of the summer assignment is to help you get a head start and be more comfortable with the Honors Government course in September. In Honors Government, you will learn the functions of the three branches of the U.S. Government and know important facts, concepts, and theories pertaining to U.S. government and politics. You will understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences, including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures, and the political effects of these structures and procedures. You will understand the roles, rights, responsibilities, and the participatory obligations of citizens in the United States.

Why do we study government? A study of government usually brings a collective “ugh” from most high school students. They have had many civics lessons since elementary school and they are sure they know enough to function in society or at least know where they can find the facts necessary to answer a question.

In 2012, as Americans prepared to pick the next president of the United States that November, a survey found that one out of three U.S. citizens failed the civics portion of the immigrant naturalization test. The survey of more than 1,000 voting-age Americans asked respondents 10 random questions from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services civics exam, which is administered as part of the immigration process, and found that 35 percent answered five or less questions correctly. More than 97 percent of immigrants applying for citizenship pass the test.

Native-born citizens scored best on questions related to history and geography and struggled most with questions about the function of government, specifically on questions about the Constitution and those that asked to identify current policy-makers. Other parts of the study show respondents were overwhelmingly confused about powers granted to the federal government and those granted to individual states.

Here are some questions that gave respondents the most trouble:
85 percent could not define “the rule of law.”
75 percent did not know function of the judicial branch.
71 percent were unable to identify the Constitution as the “supreme law of the land.”
63 percent could not name one of their state’s Senators.
62 percent did not know the name the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
62 percent could not identify the Governor of their state.
57 percent could not define an “amendment.”

A concurrent survey found that almost 77 percent of Americans believe that all native-born citizens should be able to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test and 60 percent think that passing it should be requisite for receiving a high school diploma.

We study government to become informed voters, to understand our Constitutional rights, to know our responsibilities under the law and to think about how processes can be improved to benefit society.

Homework Assignment:
1. Textbook: Chapter 1 American Political Culture Read pages 5 – 33.
2. Edmodo: Take the sample Citizenship Test B.


HGov: Summer Assignment


Reading Assignment-med

Honors Gov students are required to read Unit 1 (Chapters 1-5).
Chapter 1: American Political Culture pp5-33
Chapter 2: Constitutional Democracy pp37-67
Chapter 3: Federalism pp71-101
Chapter 4: Civil Liberties pp.104-139
Chapter 5: Equal Rights pp.142-176


7-11 Day

Did you know?

7-11 day-med


APMacro Exam Scores

AP Macro exam scores are out. Congrats to those who passed. For those of you who scored a 4 or 5, this Excellence paw is for you.

Paw - Excellence_sm


AP Macro Scores Available

Find your score at apscore.colllegeboard.org/scores



AP Macro Exam Scores

AP scores are coming out. I’ve heard from some of you. For those that passed the AP Macro exam with 3s, 4s, or 5s  …  this Determination paw is for your efforts. Our official release day is this Thursday 7/9.

Paw - Determination_sm