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Civics Resources: Intro to Civics

Citizen privileges and obligations, as well as its rights and duties.

What is Civics? (Copyrighted resources, but can be used for personal, educational, non-commercial use. Link to it, don't download or copy content beyond cited quotes/paraphrases.)

Videos: Civics (Copyright Protected, but Open Access = free to watch. Don't download, or use quotes/paraphrases without citation.)

Wikipedia Creative Commons License makes it an Open Educational Resource (OER)

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Wikipedia is a good place to get background information and vocabulary. Since it is crowd sourced and transient (not permanent) it should not be cited. To get the most accurate and authoritative information to cite, go to USA.gov.

--- Terminology or Vocabulary ---

Autocratization: Democratic backsliding is a process of regime change towards autocracy that makes the exercise of political power by the public more arbitrary and repressive. This process typically restricts the space for public contestation and political participation in the process of government selection. Democratic decline involves the weakening of democratic institutions, such as the peaceful transition of power or free and fair  elections, or the violation of individual rights that underpin democracies, especially freedom of expression. (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

Types of Governmental Democracies: Democracy has taken a number of forms, both in theory and practice. Some varieties of democracy provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others.However, if any democracy is not structured to prohibit the government from excluding the people from the legislative process, or any branch of government from altering the separation of powers in its favour, then a branch of the system can accumulate too much power and destroy the democracy. (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

Representative Democracy: Representative democracy places power in the hands of representatives who are elected by the people.[3] Political parties often become central to this form of democracy if electoral systems require or encourage voters to vote for political parties or for candidates associated with political parties (as opposed to voting for individual representatives).[4] Some political theorists (including Robert Dahl, Gregory Houston, and Ian Liebenberg) have described representative democracy as polyarchy.[5][6]  (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

RepublicThe term republic has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister.

The Founding Fathers of the United States often criticised direct democracy, which in their view often came without the protection of a constitution enshrining inalienable rights; James Madison argued, especially in The Federalist No. 10, that what distinguished a direct democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure.

"The principles of republican government embedded in the Constitution represent an effort by the framers to ensure that the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would not be trampled by majorities." What was critical to American values, John Adams insisted, was that the government be "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend."

As Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U.S. constitution, Elizabeth Willing Powel asked him "Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?". He replied "A republic—if you can keep it." (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

--- The Organization of U. S. Government ---

Branches of the U.S. Government - Learn about the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the U.S. government. (USA.gov)

---Points of View ---

  • ALEC: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States. ALEC has produced model bills on a broad range of issues, such as reducing regulation and individual and corporate taxation, combating illegal immigration, loosening environmental regulations, tightening voter identification rules, weakening labor unions, and opposing gun control.[9][10][11][12] Some of these bills dominate legislative agendas in states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine.[13] Approximately 200 model bills become law each year.[9][14] ALEC also serves as a networking tool among certain state legislators, allowing them to research conservative policies implemented in other states.[11] Many ALEC legislators say the organization converts campaign rhetoric and nascent policy ideas into legislative language.[6] (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)
  • Corporate personhood or juridical personality is the legal notion that a juridical person such as a corporation, separately from its associated human beings (like owners, managers, or employees), has at least some of the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by natural persons.[1] In most countries, a corporation has the same rights as a natural person to hold property, enter into contracts, and to sue or be sued. Granting non-human entities personhood is a Western concept applied to corporations. (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

  • PAC: In the United States, a political action committee (PAC) is a tax-exempt 527 organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation.  (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

  • The separation of church and state is a philosophical and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the state. Conceptually, the term refers to the creation of a secular state (with or without legally explicit church-state separation) and to disestablishment, the changing of an existing, formal relationship between the church and the state.[1] Although the concept is older, the exact phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from "wall of separation between church and state", a term coined by Thomas Jefferson. The concept was promoted by Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke.  (Wikipedia excerpt 2023)

---- Individual Civil Rights ---

Free OER Textbook: OpenStax.org: American Government

Unit 1  Students and the SystemChapter 1  American Government and Civic EngagementChapter 2  The Constitution and Its OriginsChapter 3  American Federalism

Unit 2  Individual Agency and ActionChapter 4  Civil LibertiesChapter 5  Civil RightsChapter 6  The Politics of Public OpinionChapter 7  Voting and Elections

Unit 3  Toward Collective Action: Mediating InstitutionsChapter 8  The MediaChapter 9  Political PartiesChapter 10  Interest Groups and Lobbying

Unit 4  Delivering Collective Action: Formal InstitutionsChapter 11  CongressChapter 12  The PresidencyChapter 13  The CourtsChapter 14  State and Local Government

Unit 5  The Outputs of GovernmentChapter 15  The BureaucracyChapter 16  Domestic PolicyChapter 17  Foreign Policy

Free OER Textbook: OpenStax.org: Political Science

Unit 1  Introduction to Political ScienceChapter 1  What Is Politics and What Is Political Science?

Unit 2  IndividualsChapter 2  Political Behavior Is Human BehaviorChapter 3  Political IdeologyChapter 4  Civil LibertiesChapter 5  Political Participation and Public Opinion

Unit 3  GroupsChapter 6  The Fundamentals of Group Political ActivityChapter 7  Civil RightsChapter 8  Interest Groups, Political Parties, and Elections

Unit 4  InstitutionsChapter 9  LegislaturesChapter 10  Executives, Cabinets, and BureaucraciesChapter 11  Courts and LawChapter 12  The Media

Unit 5  States and International RelationsChapter 13  Governing RegimesChapter 14  International RelationsChapter 15  International Law and International OrganizationsChapter 16  International Political Economy

References

Index

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