Ch 39: Introduction to American Government

About This Chapter

Gain a basic understanding of American government through this chapter featuring lessons on types of government, democracy in America, and major influences on the development of government in the US. Learn about constitutionalism, the core values of America and major political theories through these video lessons and self-assessment quizzes.

Introduction to American Government - Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an introductory education on the major factors that have shaped and influenced American government. Lessons cover basics like the definition of government and the various types of government, as well as the core principles of the US government. Learn about the history of democracy in America, the American Enlightenment, and America's core values.

As you progress through the chapter, you will gain an understanding of politics and governmental conflict, the rules by which US politics are governed, and political power in the US. By the end of this chapter, you should be familiar with:

  • Definition and functions of different government types
  • Principles and values of American government
  • The history of American government and politics
  • Intellectual and social revolution of the American Enlightenment
  • Governmental conflict in politics
  • Democracy, constitutionalism and capitalism as rules of politics
  • Political theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
  • Factors that shift power from the majority to specialized groups

Knowledgeable instructors will walk you through each short, engaging video lesson, and a transcript of each video highlights important terms. Revisit key points from the video lessons using the jump feature, and test your understanding of the material with corresponding self-assessment quizzes. You can track your progress through the course by visiting your Dashboard.

11 Lessons in Chapter 39: Introduction to 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.

The Core Principles of American Government

3. 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

4. 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.

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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.

What is Democracy? - Definition, Types & Principles

9. 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.

Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views

10. 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

11. 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

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Other Chapters

Other chapters within the OSAT Middle Level Social Studies (CEOE) (027): Practice & Study Guide course

Support