This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
This course is designed to give high school students everything they need to know about being an American citizen. This is accomplished by presenting America’s philosophical roots, historical background, and political structure. By the end of this course, students will understand what it means to be an American.
This course seeks to get students ready to act in the world by introducing them to the political makeup of the country they live in. This will be accomplished by discovering America’s philosophical and political roots, America’s political structure, and how America’s political structure and philosophical roots have been expressed throughout American history. This is all done to get students to see how the very foundations of American government impact their everyday lives.
Weeks 1 & 2: Foundations of the United States Constitution – Topics discussed: American Philosophical roots, Principles of Government, The United States Constitution
Week 3: Federalism – Topics discussed: The Constitutional Basis of Federalism, How Federalism works, National Supremacy, What Federalism looks like today
Weeks 4, 5, & 6: The Legislative Branch – Topics discussed: Structure and organization of Congress, Elections, Leadership, Committees, Staff, Roles, Privileges, Powers, Lawmaking process, Tactics, and interest groups
Weeks 7, 8, & 9: The Executive Branch – Topics discussed: Origins of the Presidency, Becoming the President, Vice President, Presidential Powers, Limits on Power, Presidential character, Bureaucracy
Week 10: The Judicial Branch – Topics discussed: Federal Court System, Structure of the American Judicial System, Judicial Selection, How the Court works, Judicial Philosophy
Weeks 11 & 12: Rights and Duties – Topics discussed: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Duties as an American citizen
Course materials: This course will not utilize a textbook. We will instead utilize a series of primary sources that will all be accessible through sites like https://www.archives.gov/. We will also, from time to time, utilize news articles from events that are going on currently, in order to discuss how our government works in real-time.
Homework: Homework will consist of 6 discussion forum assignments, a midterm, and a final. The discussion forums are meant to get students to engage with their classmates in responsible discussion and debate. The assignments call for students to restate, in their own words, what our founding documents and other sources are saying. Then, they will look for examples of how this structural aspect works throughout history and in our lives today. After they have done this, they will be able to interact with their classmates in responsible discussion and debate on each issue. Each assignment should take about an hour to complete. The midterm and final exams will be multiple choice exams that are meant to be a review of the material covered in the course.
Class dates: Wednesdays, January 10 to April 10, 2024. No class Feb. 14 (Ash Wednesday) or March 27 (Holy Week).
Starting time: 10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes per class