• Unit 1 Foundational Concepts and Principles


    The United States of America is unique among nations because it was founded upon principles and ideals. What unites us as Americans is our shared commitment to those principles and ideals. Any analysis of the structure of the American government requires that students first understand the foundational concepts that are the rationale for constitutional democracy. This unit will ask students to explore the key concepts and principles upon which the government of the United States was established.

    “Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.” 

    Eleanor Roosevelt


    Students will be able to...

    • Defend why as a US citizen, it is your duty to help preserve freedom and to ensure justice and equality for yourself and all American citizens.
    • Elaborate on the reasons for how citizens, civic ideals, and government institutions interact to balance the needs of individuals and the common good.

    • Evaluate how every human being is entitled to certain “natural” rights. Determine the value of the concept of natural or human rights arising from basic common religious or philosophical concepts about the dignity of each human being as defined by John Locke; “life, liberty, and property”. 

    • Evaluate how the American ideals that people should rule themselves and that the government should protect human rights are clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

    • Compare how the government plays an essential role in every country and affects the lives of people throughout the world.

    • Weigh the roles of government in creating institutions--primarily courts-- to resolve conflicts among individuals through litigation with state court systems. 

    • Recognize the importance of elections as a way the public identifies and approves those individuals who will make political decisions for the common good and, therefore, why elections are inherently controversial and critical thinking skills need to be used to understand facts and issues. 

    • Evaluate the idea that Native Americans exist beyond stereotypes and history books. Today, Native Americans are voicing concerns about environmental and human rights issues, shaping their own tribal communities and the future of the country.