Welcome to CitizenU
CitizenU is designed to give students a critical perspective on politics and government. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret United States politics and the analysis of specific government case studies. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that make up the American political reality.
James Madison once said, “The very success of democracy depends upon the knowledge and skills of its citizens.”
At the conclusion of this course students will appreciate both the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. More importantly, the success of our democracy will be made more certain.
Soon instructions and lessons will be available at this site. Until then all enquiries can be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also welcome to the 21st century classroom. Thank you for joining an experiment in learning. Technology has always been a tool to advance learning. Whether it was the printing press or TV, new technologies have always provided new opportunities to learn efficiently. The Internet will do no less. Equality of opportunity can now fully be realized. Here at CitizenU we think this opportunity is just in time.
LESSON 1: FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT
Read The Origins of the American Constitution.
by Michael Kammen. Consider the questions below and blog your responses. You also can send your comments and questions to email@example.com.
1. FDR described “[the Constitution] a layman’s document, not a lawyer’s contract.” What did he mean? Would Michael Kammen agree? Explain.
2. According to this reading, why is an understanding of the U.S. Constitution essential?
3. At its origin, how did American constitutionalism differ from the English model?
4. Federalists and Anti-Federalists were present at our founding. They differed greatly on many issues. What two primary ideas did they both agree?
5. Despite its flaws, what remarkable achievement was codified into our constitution? What long lasting principle did they build into our political fabric?
6. What did the Founding Fathers think about changing the work they had done? How did they build this into their final document?
7. Bonus When writing to Hamilton, George Washington used a particular metaphor to describe what the constitution had created. What was the metaphor? How might we use that same metaphor today in this class?
Would You Rather Have...
Taking Turns Being a ‘Framer’
Directions: Read each of the following six (6) predicaments. Carefully choose the BEST option in each. Be prepared to qualify your decision. Blog your answers below. Interact with other blogs as well.
(1) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system with the most popular democracy possible - that is one that translated popular wants into laws and policies as efficiently as possible; or...
b. A political system that gave elected officials considerable latitude to do what they wanted to or felt best, without having to worry too much about public opinion?
(2) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system that could quickly make policy changes; or...
b. A political system where major changes in policy are very hard to effect and happen only rarely?
(3) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system that allows minorities to block governmental actions that they feel are unfair or unjust to them; or...
b. A political system in which the majority prevails, even in the face of minority opposition?
(4) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system that seeks to make its citizens virtuous and good; or...
b. A political system that leaves citizens alone to live as they wish?
(5) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system with the power centralized in one place, to allow coherent and consistent policy across an entire nation; or...
b. A political system with power decentralized, to represent the needs and wants of various localities?
(6) Would you rather have a . . .
a. A political system that assumes that people are generally self-seeking, and attempts to make the best of that fact; or...
b. A political system that seeks to make its citizens unselfish and concerned with the common good?
Complete the assignment The Root Principles of Government.