Voting is an important part of America’s past and present. Voting is a way in which citizens of the United States can express their points of view and choose a government that represents them. All citizens who are 18 or older have a say in how their country is run. For our democracy to run as it should, educated voting should be a priority for all citizens.
What Is a Democracy?
A democracy is a government in which the people are represented, either directly through their votes or through a representative system, like that of the United States. Democracy means that all citizens have the right to affect what happens in their government, and the majority opinion will control what legislation is put into action.
- A Unique Discussion of What a Democracy Is: Explore a somewhat critical analysis of how democracy is often viewed and how it is actually used in practice to prevent any group from lacking representation.
- Types of Democracy: Learn about the different types of democratic governments that exist and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- Is the United States a Democracy? Take an intriguing look into the history of democracy in the United States and the opinion of the founding fathers on democracy.
What Is an Election?
An election is a chance for citizens of a country to voice their opinion on an issue or choose a candidate for public office. The winner is chosen by a majority of the votes cast. Elections for different public offices in the United States occur at different times, with the presidential elections occurring every four years. Elections also occur from the local level up to the national level.
- Functions of Elections: Learn how elections can work within a democracy and how they affect countries that use them.
- What Is an Election? This page gives a basic outline of the voting process for kids.
- Election Basics: Crash Course: Use this website to learn all about the election process in the United States.
- All You Need to Know About U.S. Elections: Look at some graphics about our elections and read about how elections, the Electoral College, and the branches of government all work together.
- Test Your Election IQ: After you read all about the U.S. government and elections, this quiz can see how much you remember.
- Election Lessons: Learn about our elections and how the government is set up to handle elections.
What Is Voting, and Where Can You Register to Vote?
Voting in the United States is a right awarded to all adults, excluding non-citizens and some felons. By voting, the people of the U.S. can contribute to their country and ensure that the majority is represented. Each state has different guidelines for how to register to vote.
- The Process of Electing a President: Use this lesson to learn the details behind how voting results in a president being elected.
- Election Crimes, Rules, and Penalties: FAQs: Read important information on what is legal and illegal when it comes to voting.
- Do I Have a Right? Pretend to be a lawyer and decide on cases involved in voting rights.
- The True History of Voting Rights: Learn a detailed history of voting rights in the United States.
- All About How Votes Are Processed: See how one vote counts through an analysis of the Electoral College, caucuses, and national conventions.
- State Voting Laws and Requirements: Research to see what each state requires of its voters.
- Voting Policies in the United States: Learn the national rules regarding voting.
- Voting Rights in America: Find out who can and cannot vote in the U.S. electoral system.
- Know Your Voting Rights: Look here to ensure that none of your voting rights have been violated.
What Are the Political Parties?
There are several different political parties in the United States. The two biggest parties are the Republican and Democratic parties, but there are also many others. The main differences between the parties center around issues like personal rights, government rights, and whether the government should have a larger or smaller role in the day-to-day lives of citizens.
- S. Political Parties: Read about all of the American political parties and what they stand for here.
- Political Parties and Their Fundraising: Take a look at the money raised by the major political parties in different election cycles here.
- Political Typology Quiz: Where do your beliefs fall on the political spectrum?
What Is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is a group of people who are elected by the public to represent them in voting for federal officials. States are awarded Electoral College votes based on their population, and these representatives are the people who actually vote for national congressional, senatorial, and presidential candidates.
- About the Electors: Read about the electors who are part of the Electoral College.
- What Is the Electoral College? Use this page to learn in detail all about the Electoral College and how it works within United States elections.
- The Electoral College: This is an objective analysis of and glance into the Electoral College process.
- Lesson of the Day: How Does the Electoral College Work, and Why Does it Matter? Examine the question of whether the Electoral College should be part of the election process in the U.S.
What Are the Branches of the U.S. Government?
There are three branches of the United States federal government. These include the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. By having government rights and responsibilities spread across three branches, there is a division of power that results in a checks-and-balances system. This prevents any single branch from having too much power.
- Legislative Branch: Learn the powers and limitations of the executive branch.
- Branches of Government: Read all about the three branches of government and the limits and powers of each.
- Three Branches of Government: Analyze the three branches of government here.
What Powers Does the President Have?
The president can veto laws and legislation and can make some executive decisions outside of the power of Congress or any other level of government. The president also serves as a representative of the United States in dealings with other countries.
- Executive Power From a Legal Perspective: Delve into the legality of executive powers within the U.S. Constitution.
- The President of the United States: Learn the basics regarding the powers of the United States president.
- Presidential Powers Under the U.S. Constitution: This legal analysis looks into the rights and limitations of presidential power.
- The Powers of the Presidency: Read an article that focuses on presidential power to learn how it came into play historically and what that means for the government today.
What Is the U.S. Constitution?
The United States Constitution is the document created to dictate how the American federal government works. It contains the basic structure of the government as well as some rules and regulations that must be followed in all government decisions.
- The Constitution: Read about what the Constitution is on this page.
- Constitution Annotated: Study an annotated version of the Constitution to more deeply understand parts that might be a bit confusing.
- S. Government for Kids: The Constitution: This is a great starting point for kids to learn about the Constitution and how it affects their lives in the United States.
What Is the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the Constitution and serves to guarantee certain rights to all individuals and citizens of the United States. It includes the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to due process within the courts.
- Bill of Rights History: Learn about the passage of the Bill of Rights.
- Bill of Rights Summary: Read a summary of the Bill of Rights.
- Bill of Rights in Simple Language: The Bill of Rights can be confusing, but this guide can help dissect each part into simple, common language.
Why Is the Bill of Rights Important? Read about the controversial addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution and why this document is vastly important today.