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Overview
Democracy in America
 

A video course for high school, college and adult learners ; 15 half-hour video programs, print guide, and Web site

Now on DVD

Democracy in America, a video course in civics, covers topics of civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions recommended by The Civics Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress developed by the U.S. Department of Education. The 15 half-hour video programs, hosted by national television correspondent Renée Poussaint, and related print and Web site materials provide inservice and preservice teachers with both cognitive and experiential learning in civics education.

Produced by the Educational Film Center. 2003.

Closed Caption     ISBN: 1-57680-675-8

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Related Resources See all
Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers
Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12
A Biography of America
The Constitution: That Delicate Balance
Primary Sources: Workshops in American History
 
Social Sciences Discipline Page
Individual Program Descriptions

VOD1. Citizenship: Making Government Work
This program introduces basic concepts of government, politics, and citizenship. It explores the tension between maintaining order and preserving freedoms, the essential role of politics in addressing the will of the people, and the need for citizens to participate in order to make democracy work. Go to this unit.

VOD2. The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible?
This program examines the search for balance between the original Constitution and the need to interpret and adjust it to meet the needs of changing times. It explains the original Jeffersonian-Madisonian debate, the concept of checks and balances, and the stringent procedures for amending the Constitution. Go to this unit.

VOD3. Federalism: U.S. v. the States
This program explores federalism as a Constitutional compromise, especially in terms of present-day conflicts between people who believe that power should reside primarily in the national government and those who want government authority retained within the states. Go to this unit.

VOD4. Civil Liberties: Safeguarding the Individual
This program examines the First, Fourth, and Sixth Constitutional Amendments to show how the Bill of Rights protects individual citizens from excessive or arbitrary government interference, yet, contrary to the belief of many Americans, does not grant unlimited rights. Go to this unit.

VOD5. Civil Rights: Demanding Equality
This program looks at the nature of the guarantees of political and social equality, and the roles that individuals and government have played in expanding these guarantees to less-protected segments of society, such as African Americans, women, and the disabled. Go to this unit.

VOD6. Legislatures: Laying Down the Law
This program explores the idea that legislatures, although contentious bodies, are institutions composed of men and women who make representative democracy work by reflecting and reconciling the wide diversity of views held by Americans. Go to this unit.

VOD7. The Modern Presidency: Tools of Power
This program shows that the American Presidency has been transformed since the 1930s. Today, presidents are overtly active in the legislative process: they use the media to appeal directly to the people and they exercise leadership over an "institutional presidency" with thousands of aides. Go to this unit.

VOD8. Bureaucracy: A Controversial Necessity
This program reveals how the American bureaucracy delivers significant services directly to the people, how it has expanded in response to citizen demands for increased government services, and how bureaucrats sometimes face contradictory expectations that are difficult to satisfy. Go to this unit.

VOD9. The Courts: Our Rule of Law
This program examines the role of courts as institutions dedicated to conflict resolution, with the power both to apply and to interpret the meaning of law in trial and appeal courts. It shows the increased power of the Supreme Court through its use of judicial review and the difficulty of creating a judiciary that is independent of politics. Go to this unit.

VOD10. The Media: Inside Story
This program explores the media as an integral part of American democracy, highlighting the scrutiny they impose on the performance of public officials, the interdependence of politics and the media, and the power the media wields in selecting the news. Go to this unit.

VOD11. Public Opinion: Voice of the People
This program examines the power of public opinion to influence government policy, the increasing tendency of public officials to rely on polls, and the need to use many forms of feedback to get an accurate measure of public opinion. Go to this unit.

VOD12. Political Parties: Mobilizing Agents
This program shows how political parties perform important functions that link the public to the institutions of American government. Parties create coalitions of citizens who share political goals, elect candidates to public office to achieve those goals, and organize the legislative and executive branches of government. Go to this unit.

VOD13. Elections: The Maintenance of Democracy
This program explores the crucial role of strategy in the two-stage electoral campaign system; the opportunities for citizens to choose, organize, and elect candidates who will pursue policies they favor; and the need for campaigns to increase voter turnout by educating citizens about the importance and influence of their vote. Go to this unit.

VOD14. Interest Groups: Organizing To Influence
This program shows how America's large number of corporate, citizen-action, and grass-roots interest groups enhance our representative process by giving citizens a role in shaping policy agendas. Go to this unit.

VOD15. Global Politics: U.S.A. and the World
This program examines the need for the United States to use the tools of foreign policy in ways that recognize the growing interdependence of nations — implementing both traditional and new forms of military, trade, and diplomatic strategies to promote benefits for America and the world as a whole. Go to this unit.

 

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