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IT IS IMPORTANT for you to read this introduction completely so you will be prepared to successfully complete all of the activities and assessments in this course. This introduction also provides valuable study suggestions and resources. As you proceed through this course, be sure you follow all the directions provided, and complete all the activities and assessments in the order in which they appear.
This course will introduce you to the three branches of the American federal government: the legislature (Congress), the executive (the president), and the judiciary (the court system). You will learn how each branch of government operates, and you will study the powers that each branch possesses. Each branch of government is able to “check” the others, meaning that no branch of government can become all-powerful.
The government’s powers come from the United States Constitution. This course will analyze the Constitution, noting its provisions for each branch of government. In addition, you will study some important legal cases that have affected constitutional interpretations.
Throughout American history, politicians have debated the ideal level of government activity in society. After the American Revolution, many people perceived national government as the greatest threat to liberty. The Framers of the Constitution had to limit the government’s powers (with the Bill of Rights) to win support. As the United States grew, however, people expected the government to assume additional responsibilities and take an active role in protecting civil rights. This course will teach you about the rights and liberties associated with American citizenship, and allow you to form your own views about the proper role of government.
American Government: National Level is divided into six units: