Principles of United States Government
Students explain the fundamental principles
and moral values of the American
government as expressed in the
Constitution and other essential documents
of American democracy.
State Standard GC.1
GC.1 Cite textual evidence and evaluate multiple points
of view to analyze the influence of ancient Greek,
Roman, and leading European political thinkers such
as John Locke, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, Niccolò
Machiavelli, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and William
Blackstone on the development of United States
Leading European Political Thinkers
John Locke
Charles-Louis Montequeiu
Noccolo Machiavelli
Jean Jacques Rousseau
William Blackstone
John Locke
John Locke FRS, widely known as the Father of Classical
Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician
regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment
thinkers. Wikipedia
Charles-Louis Montesquieu
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de
Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply
Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and
political thinker who lived during the Age of Enlightenment
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian
historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist
and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher,
writer, and composer of the 18th-century. His political
philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as
the overall development of modern political, sociological,
and educational thought.
William Blackstone
Sir William Blackstone KC SL was an English jurist, judge
and Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most
noted for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of
State Standard GC.2
GC.2 Determine the central ideas in passages from
Democracy in America to examine the character of
American democracy as articulated by Alexis de
Tocqueville. (H, P)
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French
political thinker and historian best known for his
Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the
State Standard GC.3
GC.3 Describe the purposes and functions of government as
outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution and
demonstrate an understanding of current application of
those purposes and functions by identifying current
government actions related to each of the six purposes.(P)
Preamble of the Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.
State Standard GC.4
GC.4 Explain how the Constitution reflects a balance
between the promotion of the public good and the
protection of individual rights.(H, P)
Balance of Public Good and
Protection of Individual Rights
As all the world now knows, Judge Shira Scheindlin has ruled
that the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk
policy amounts to “a policy of indirect racial profiling” that
violates the U.S. Constitution. But how did the she reach this
conclusion? The answer turns out to be pretty interesting. It
involves a number of statistical studies presented to the court
by expert witnesses for the plaintiffs (a number of New Yorkers
who claimed to have been stopped and frisked without cause)
and the defense (the city of New York). August 13, 2013 “The
Statistical Debate Behind the Stop-and-Frisk Verdict” Posted
by John Cassidy, New Yorker
What is “Stop and Frisk”?
The situation in which a police officer who is suspicious of an
individual detains the person and runs his hands lightly over
the suspect's outer garments to determine if the person is
carrying a concealed weapon.
One of the most controversial police procedures is the stop
and frisk search. This type of limited search occurs when
police confront a suspicious person in an effort to prevent a
crime from taking place. The police frisk (pat down) the
person for weapons and question the person.
Is It Fair?
David Floyd v City of New York
“NYPD stops are significantly more frequent for Black and
Hispanic citizens than for white citizens, after adjusting
stop rates for the precinct crime rates, the racial
composition and other social and economic factors
predictive of police activity. These disparities are
consistent across a set of alternate tests and
Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be stopped than
Whites even in areas where there are low crime rates and
where residential populations are racially heterogeneous
or predominantly White.”
Stop-and-Frisk Data
In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by the
police 532,911 times
473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent).
284,229 were black (55 percent).
165,140 were Latino (32 percent).
50,366 were white (10 percent).
Pop Quiz!!!!
One a scale of 1-10, for # of officers
assigned, how many were assigned to a...
a) Jimmy Buffett Concert?
b) Ludracis Concert?
c) Justin Bieber Concert?
d) A Thomas the Fire Engine Show?
e) The Ice Capades?
Imagine This....
People complain about flying today, being
searched at the airport.
Imagine Living Like That Every Day of
Your Life.....
State Standard GC.5
GC.5 Summarize (CC) with supporting evidence why the
Founding Fathers established a constitutional system that
limited the power of government. (H, P)
Founding Fathers
George Washington
James Madison
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
Benjamin Franklin
Alexander Hamilton
George Mason
Gouverneur Morris
Roger Sherman
James Wilson
Edmund Randolph
Other Readings
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Ballot or the Bullet” speech, Malcolm X
Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, 1786
Primary Readings
Magna Carta
Mayflower Compact
English Bill of Rights
Two Treatises of Civil Government, John Locke
Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson
The Federalist Papers – 1, 9, 10, 39, 51, 78
Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville
“The Social Contract” by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Magna Carta
Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The
Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin
charter originally issued in Latin in the year 1215
Mayflower Compact
The "Mayflower Compact" was signed on 11 November 1620
onboard the Mayflower shortly after she came to anchor
off Provincetown Harbor. The Pilgrims had obtained
permission from English authorities to settle in Virginia,
whose northern border at the time extended up to what is
now New York.
English Bill of Rights
The English Bill of Rights is an English precursor of the
Constitution, along with the Magna Carta and the Petition
of Right. The English Bill of Rights limited the power of the
English sovereign, and was written as an act of
Parliament. As part of what is called the “Glorious
Revolution,” the King and Queen William and Mary of
Orange accepted the English Bill of Rights as a condition
of their rule.
Two Treatises of Civil Government
The Two Treatises of Government is a work of
political philosophy published anonymously
in 1689 by John Locke.
Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in
Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now
Independence Hall), approved the Declaration of
Independence, severing the colonies' ties to the British Crown.
Federalist Papers
Beginning on October 27, 1787 the Federalist Papers were first
published in the New York press under the signature of
"Publius". These papers are generally considered to be one of
the most important contributions to political thought made in
America. The essays appeared in bookform in 1788, with an
introduction by Hamilton. Subsequently they were printed in
manyeditions and translated to several languages. The
pseudonym "Publius" was used by three man: Jay, Madison
and Hamilton. Jay was responsible for only a few of the 85
articles. The papers were meant to be influential in the
campaign for the adoption of the Constitution by New York
State. But the authors not only discussed the issues of the
constitution, but also many general problems of politics.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more
perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.
Democracy In America
De la démocratie en Amérique is a classic French text by
Alexis de Tocqueville. Its title translates as On Democracy
in America, but English translations are usually entitled
simply Democracy in America
“The Social Contract”
Of The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (Du
contrat social ou Principes du droit politique) (1762) by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau
theorized about the best way in which to set up a political
community in the face of the problems of commercial
society which he had already identified in his Discourse on
Inequality (1754).
“Letter from Birmingham Jail”
The Letter from Birmingham Jail is an open letter written
on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter
defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to
racism, arguing that people have a moral
responsibility to break unjust laws.
“The Ballot or the Bullet”
“Mr. Moderator, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends
and enemies: I just can't believe everyone in here is a
friend, and I don't want to leave anybody out. The question
tonight, as I understand it, is "The Negro Revolt, and
Where Do We Go From Here?" or What Next?" In my little
humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the
ballot or the bullet.” … Malcolm X
Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
“... Jefferson wanted to be remembered for,
besides writing the Declaration of
Independence, was writing the Virginia
Statute for Religious Freedom and founding
the University of Virginia, …”
Group Work
Go to your group in an orderly manner
Group Assignments:
Group 1 – GC.1
Group 2 – GC.2
Group 3 – GC.3
Group 4 – GC.4
Group 5 – GC.5
Group Work
Group Reading Assignments:
Group 1 – Magna Carta
Group 2 – Mayflower Compact
Group 3 – English Bill of Rights
Group 4 – Two Treatises of Civil Government
Group 5 – Declaration of Independence
Group Work
Group Reading Assignments:
Group 1 – Federalist Paper 1
Group 2 – Federalist Paper 9
Group 3 – Federalist Paper 10
Group 4 – Federalist Paper 39
Group 5 – Federalist Paper 51
Group Work
Group Reading Assignments:
Group 1 – Federalist Paper 78
Group 2 – Constitution
Group 3 – Democracy in America
Group 4 – “The Social Contract”
Group 5 – “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
Group Work
Group Reading Assignments:
Group 1 – “The Ballot or the Bullet”
Group 2 – Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
Influence of Ancient Greece and Rome
In the year 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a
system of political reforms that he called demokratia, or “rule by the
people.” Although this Athenian democracy would survive for only two
centuries, Cleisthenes’ invention was one of ancient Greece’s most
enduring contributions to the modern worl
At about the same time that popular government was introduced in
Greece, it also appeared on the Italian Peninsula in the city of Rome.
The Romans called their system a rēspūblica, or republic, from the
Latin rēs, meaning thing or affair, and pūblicus or pūblica, meaning
public—thus, a republic was the thing that belonged to the Roman
people, the populus romanus.
Go to Your Groups
Work on your standard today.

Democracy In America