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Ch 1: AP US Government and Politics: Introduction to the Study of American Government

About This Chapter

Watch these video lessons to gain an overview of American government, including key vocabulary and concepts. You can assess your understanding of these materials by using the self-test quizzes at the end of each lesson.

AP U.S. Government and Politics: Introduction to the Study of American Government - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

The U.S. government is tasked with - among other things - protecting American citizens and facilitating economic and social relationships. The video lessons in this chapter will teach you how the U.S. system of government compares with other types of governing systems. Experienced instructors provide lessons on democracy and politics, and how those two forces affect how government operates. In these lessons, you'll learn:

  • Types of government and how they function
  • Characteristics of American democracy and government
  • Principal American ideals and values
  • How politics affects government and decision-making
  • Why shifts in political power occur

Videos Objective
What is Government? - Definition, Role & Functions Define government, and describe its purpose.
Traditional Types of Government: Definitions, Strengths & Weaknesses Define various types of government, and describe their similarities and differences.
What is Democracy? - Definition, Types & Principles Discuss the concept of democracy, and describe the various ways in which it is carried out, such as direct democracy and representative democracy.
The Core Principles of American Government Identify key political and cultural ideals that contribute to Americans' national identity through government.
The New American Democracy: Definition & History Describe the phenomenon of the permanent campaign, and outline the factors that contribute to it, such as prominent primary elections and the influence of mass media.
The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution Discuss the philosophical movement that influenced Americans' move toward independence.
America's Core Values: Liberty, Equality & Self-Government Describe the concepts of liberty, equality and self-government within the context of American history.
Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict Discuss politics, its role in government, and the conflict it causes.
The Rules of American Politics: Democracy, Constitutionalism & Capitalism Define these three elements of American politics, and describe how they function in the political process.
Political Power: Definition, Types & Sources Describe types of political power and how those in power make decisions.
Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views Compare and contrast these thinkers' writings on politics and government.
Shifting Power From Majority to Only a Few: Factors & Process Name factors that contribute to power shifts from the majority to a minority, such as single-issue voters and campaign resources.

12 Lessons in Chapter 1: AP US Government and Politics: Introduction to the Study of American Government
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Government? - Definition, Role & Functions

1. What is Government? - Definition, Role & Functions

In this lesson, we will examine the various definitions of government. Then we will take a close look at the functions of the U.S. government and the role it plays in citizens' everyday lives.

Traditional Types of Government: Definitions, Strengths & Weaknesses

2. Traditional Types of Government: Definitions, Strengths & Weaknesses

In this lesson, we will explore several traditional types of government. We will define each type and take a close look at its strengths and weaknesses.

What is Democracy? - Definition, Types & Principles

3. What is Democracy? - Definition, Types & Principles

In this lesson, we will study the nature of democracy. We will define the term, take a look at the types of democracy, and examine its basic principles.

The Core Principles of American Government

4. The Core Principles of American Government

In this lesson, we will examine a few of the core principles of American government. We will pay special attention to the ideas of popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism.

The New American Democracy: Definition & History

5. The New American Democracy: Definition & History

In this lesson, we will explore the phenomenon of the 'permanent campaign,' which has changed the face of American democracy. In doing so, we will take a close look at the factors that led to this political development.

The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution

6. The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution

For a thousand years, Europe had been living in the Dark Ages until a series of philosophical, religious and scientific movements helped turn on the lights. The Enlightenment began in Europe, but quickly spread throughout America in the 1700s and helped set the stage for a revolution against British rule.

America's Core Values: Liberty, Equality & Self-Government

7. America's Core Values: Liberty, Equality & Self-Government

In this lesson, we will examine a few of America's core values. We will focus especially on liberty, self-government, equality, individualism, diversity, and unity.

Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict

8. Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict

In this lesson, we will explore the concept of politics. We will examine the various definitions of the word, take a close look at the role of politics in government, and investigate the conflicts sometimes caused by politics.

The Rules of American Politics: Democracy, Constitutionalism & Capitalism

9. The Rules of American Politics: Democracy, Constitutionalism & Capitalism

In this lesson, we will explore the three rules of American politics: democracy, constitutionalism, and capitalism. We will define each rule and see how it works to keep the political system running smoothly.

Political Power: Definition, Types & Sources

10. Political Power: Definition, Types & Sources

In this lesson, we will take a close look at political power. We will define the term, examine its elements, and learn about several theories that help determine who gets to use political power.

Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views

11. Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views

In this lesson, we discuss the two premier English political theorists of the 17th century: Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. We'll also take a look at their impact on Western philosophy in contemporary and modern times.

Shifting Power From Majority to Only a Few: Factors & Process

12. Shifting Power From Majority to Only a Few: Factors & Process

In this lesson, we will explore factors that have shifted power from the majority of voters to specific groups. We'll pay special attention to voter participation, single-issue voters, uninformed citizens, the nomination of candidates, and campaign expenses.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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