About This Chapter
U.S. & Massachusetts Government - Chapter Summary
Study this collection of political science lessons to review topics related to the United States and Massachusetts governments. Our expert instructors outline U.S. government principles and examine important documents, including the U.S. Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. You'll also take a look at the roles of America's branches of government and outline the process of U.S. citizenship. By the end of this chapter, you'll be able to:
- Define the role and functions of government
- List the core principles of the American government
- Describe America's core values of liberty, equality and self-government
- Summarize the preamble, articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
- Describe the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780
- Assess the division of powers between the national government and state governments
- Recognize the powers, responsibilities and challenges of state and local governments
- Explain the purpose and roles of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government
- Understand how a bill becomes a law
- Compare direct and indirect elections
- Know the basic factors of citizenship and a civil society
- Outline the process and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship
Taught by subject-matter experts, these lessons are concise, engaging and straightforward. This approach helps make your studying experience easy, enjoyable and effective. As you work through the chapter, you can make sure you fully understand the definitions and concepts you learn by taking our short self-assessment quizzes. You can print lesson transcripts for further study and your progress through the chapter is tracked on your Dashboard.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments
The U.S. Constitution is one of the most important documents in history. It establishes the government of the United States, and its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, assures every U.S. citizen the rights we have all come to hold dear.
5. The Bill of Rights: Summary & Analysis
Why do Americans have certain freedoms? This lesson reviews the events leading to the Bill of Rights. It also summarizes each of the ten amendments and analyzes the importance of each one.
6. Division of Powers Between the National Government and the States
The U.S. Constitution uses federalism to divide governmental powers between the federal government and the individual state governments. This lesson explores this division of powers by looking at Supreme Court decisions.
7. What Is State Government? - Powers, Responsibilities & Challenges
The United States has a federal government and each of the 50 states has a state government. This lesson explains the organization of state governments, and explores the powers and responsibilities of state governments.
8. What Is Local Government? - Definition, Responsibilities & Challenges
Each of the 50 states has a state government. Within those states, each county and municipality also has a government. This lesson explains the organization of local governments and explores the powers and responsibilities of local governments.
9. The 3 Branches of Government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial
In 1787, leaders from each of the states gathered to write the United States Constitution. The Constitution sets out how our nation is governed and creates a system that separates powers between different branches. This lesson explores the three branches of our federal government.
10. Massachusetts Constitution of 1780
In this lesson we explore the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Written by three renowned figures in colonial history, the constitution is considered a precursor to the U.S. Constitution written seven years later.
11. How a Bill Becomes a Law: Formal Process
In this lesson, we will review the process of how a bill becomes a law. We will take a closer look at what steps have to be taken, how a bill is changed and how it is signed into law.
12. Direct vs. Indirect Elections
In this lesson, we explore the difference between indirect and direct elections. You will gain insight about what is meant by the Electoral College when you vote for president and how this differs from a popular vote.
13. Civil Society and Citizenship
Citizenship and civil society are important concepts in the study of political science. In this lesson, you'll learn what citizenship is and what it means for people that hold it. You'll also learn about the important role of civil society in a democracy.
14. US Citizenship: Process & Responsibilities
This lesson will delineate the procedure of U.S. naturalization. It will also explain the responsibilities and mandatory duties of citizenship, as well as the Selective Service Act.
15. Types of Elections: Primary, General & Special
The process of electing a political candidate can involve several different types of elections. This lesson describes the different types of primary elections and explains both general and special elections.
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