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10. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
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What is the difference between a liberty and a right? Both words ...

What is the difference between a liberty and a right? Both words appear in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The distinction between the two has always been blurred, and today the concepts are often used interchangeably. However, they do refer to different kinds of guaranteed protections.

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Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
10a. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
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The 14th Amendment guaranteed "equal protection of the law" more than 130 ...

The 14th Amendment guaranteed "equal protection of the law" more than 130 years ago. The fact that it took so many years for its effects to be felt is testimony to the complexity of the decision-making process in a democracy. It took all three branches, active interest groups, and concerned individual citizens to bring the country closer to the ideal of equal rights for all.

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Political Science
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Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
10b. First Amendment Rights
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A careful reading of the First Amendment reveals that it protects several ...

A careful reading of the First Amendment reveals that it protects several basic liberties — freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. Interpretation of the amendment is far from easy, as court case after court case has tried to define the limits of these freedoms. The definitions have evolved throughout American history, and the process continues today.

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Political Science
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Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
10d. Citizenship Rights
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All countries have rules that determine who is a citizen, and what ...

All countries have rules that determine who is a citizen, and what rights and responsibilities come with citizenship. In the United States, the 14th Amendment gives constitutional protection of the basic rights of citizenship: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside." So citizenship is conferred on the basis of place of birth and the process of naturalization.

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Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
11. Policy Making: Political Interactions
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Public policy is a goal-oriented course of action that the government follows ...

Public policy is a goal-oriented course of action that the government follows in dealing with a problem or issue in the country. Public policies are based on law, but many people other than legislators set them. Individuals, groups, and even government agencies that do not comply with policies can be penalized. This complicated process goes through a predictable series of steps:

Subject:
Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
11a. Foreign Policy: What Now?
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United States foreign policy has changed dramatically from George Washington's day. Although ...

United States foreign policy has changed dramatically from George Washington's day. Although Americans always pay attention to the advice of their revered founder, the world is of course not the same. The many people that shape American foreign policy today accept the fact that the United States is a member of a world community that cannot afford to ignore the importance of getting along.

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Political Science
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Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
11b. Defense Policy
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Just as developing a coherent foreign policy is problematic in these post-Cold ...

Just as developing a coherent foreign policy is problematic in these post-Cold War days, so is the question of defending the country against possible danger from outside its borders. The avoidance of war, as indicated by the 1947 name change from "Department of War" to "Department of Defense" today holds the highest priority, and the hope that the United States can play a role in limiting violent upheavals around the world is reflected in both its foreign and military policies.

Subject:
Political Science
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Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
11c. Economic Policy
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Until the 20th century the country abided by the laissez-faire policy, which ...

Until the 20th century the country abided by the laissez-faire policy, which required a free market with little intervention from government. With the Great Depression came Keynesian economics, or the opposite belief that the government should manage the economy. Today, United States economic policy lies somewhere in between — government should regulate and sometimes manage, but should allow a free market whenever possible. Political and business leaders disagree on how much control is enough.

Subject:
Management
Political Science
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Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
11d. Social and Regulatory Policy
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Does the right to pursue happiness include access to a free public ...

Does the right to pursue happiness include access to a free public education? Do all Americans have an unalienable right to health care under this happiness umbrella? Should the unemployed be assisted in their times of need?

Subject:
Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
12. State and Local Governments
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Beneath the layer of the national government lies a complex web of ...

Beneath the layer of the national government lies a complex web of state and local officials and institutions. The nation's founders concern over tyranny transcended their separation of power among the three branches of government. Power is also divided by level, with each layer performing its designated responsibility. States and communities would even have the freedom to design their own institutions and create their own offices. This creates a multitude of "laboratories" where government leaders at any level could see which systems were successful and which were problematic.

Subject:
Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
12a. State and Local Governments: Democracy at Work?
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The vast majority of government employees work for local and state — ...

The vast majority of government employees work for local and state — not the federal — governments. Teachers, policemen, clerks at the motor vehicle office. Many of these people are state and local employees. This seems to confirm the general notion that government is in fact "closer to the people," and therefore more democratic. But the real evidence is contradictory.

Subject:
Political Science
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
12b. Financing State and Local Government
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Paying taxes is surely everyone's least favorite government-related activity. But taxing citizens ...

Paying taxes is surely everyone's least favorite government-related activity. But taxing citizens is one of the concurrent powers of government. Federal, state, and local levels all have the power to tax.

Subject:
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
12c. Who Pays for Education?
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Public education is the single largest expenditure for state and local governments ...

Public education is the single largest expenditure for state and local governments across the nation. Yet it is arguably the most criticized. Many people charge that public schools are faltering and that American academic achievements are far behind those in other countries. In recent years, many states and localities have experimented with improving public schools.

Subject:
Finance
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
13. Comparative Political and Economic Systems
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The world at the turn of the 21st century was becoming smaller, ...

The world at the turn of the 21st century was becoming smaller, as global interconnections made distant places seem close. At the same time, bloody nationalist conflicts turning neighbor against neighbor still raged. Government leaders around the world examined their own systems and each others to chart a course for the new millennium.

Subject:
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
13a. Comparing Governments
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No nation falls entirely into either category. It also dangerous to categorize ...

No nation falls entirely into either category. It also dangerous to categorize a nation simply by the moment in time during which they were examined. The Russia of 1992 was very different from the Russia of 1990. Both democratic and authoritarian governments change over time, rendering the global mosaic uncertain and complex.

Subject:
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
13b. Comparing Economic Systems
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There is no purely capitalist or communist economy in the world today. ...

There is no purely capitalist or communist economy in the world today. The capitalist United States has a Social Security system and a government-owned postal service. Communist China now allows its citizens to keep some of the profits they earn. These categories are models designed to shed greater light on differing economic systems.

Subject:
Political Science
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Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
13c. A Small, Small, World?
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he world is separated politically into countries. But does it always have ...

he world is separated politically into countries. But does it always have to be? Checking a map from a few years ago reveals many changes in political boundaries. Looking at a map from 100 years ago shows almost total change. That fact is hard for Americans to realize because the borders of the United States have changed only twice over the past 150 years — to include the new states of Hawaii and Alaska. Is it possible that in the near future borderlines between countries will have little meaning?

Subject:
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
1. The Nature of Government
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Do you believe in government "by the people, for the people, and ...

Do you believe in government "by the people, for the people, and of the people"? Few Americans would say no, especially since these words spoken by Abraham Lincoln in his 1863 Gettysburg Address are firmly imbedded in the American political system. Yet governments over the centuries have not always accepted this belief in popularly elected rule.

Subject:
Political Science
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Diagram/Illustration
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Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government
1a. The Purposes of Government
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Why do governments exist? One major reason is that they create rules. ...

Why do governments exist? One major reason is that they create rules. But what rules are necessary or desirable? That is open to question, and different types of governments have certainly created a wide variety of rules.

Subject:
Political Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
Independence Hall Association
Provider Set:
American Government