US flag Government & Politics See also:
CURRENT EVENTS
HISTORY
SOCIAL STUDIES
STATES & COUNTRIES
Useful Websites: GOVERNMENT & LAW

Databases

World Almanac for KidsWorld Almanac for Kids - Resources for homework, reports, and projects in a fun format from a trusted source; written for students in 4th - 8th grade. Covers a wide range of topics, including Forms of Government and U.S. Government (in TOPICS, under SOCIAL STUDIES). If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to enter your library card barcode to begin.

Ebsco Points of View Reference CenterEBSCO POINTS OF VIEW REFERENCE CENTER - Another research source for students presenting opinions from multiple sides of current controversial issues. Essays provide questions and materials for further thought and study and are accompanied by thousands of supporting articles from political and social publications. If you're using Points of View Reference Center on your home computer, you'll have to enter your name, library card barcode, and PIN to begin.

African Americans in Congress - See Black Leadership, below.

American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith VIDEO - Explores the concepts and mechanisms of American democracy from the founding era to the present, including sections on Voting & Voting Rights, Democracy Beyond the Ballot, and Diversity. (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian)

American Women in Politics - Facts about women in U.S. politics, including lists of women currently in Congress or statewide elective office, current and historical information about women officeholders and candidates, state-by-state facts about women officeholders (including Women in New Jersey Politics), data on the gender gap and voting patterns, women of color in elective office, and firsts for women in U.S. politics. High school and up (Rutgers). Women in Congress offers historical essays, links, biographical profiles, and images of each woman Member from 1917 to the present (U.S. House of Representatives). African American Women in Congress offers brief biographies of past and current women in the Congressional Black Caucus, and a record of their achievements. See also Women in the Senate (U.S. Senate). Women in Politics: A Very Short History provides an overview of women's involvement in U.S. political & social movements, from the suffrage movement to the present (Clio Visualizing History; non-profit organization). For more on women's fight to get the vote, see Votes for Women links.

Apportionment - See Redistricting links, below.

Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress - Information about and images of past & current Asian Pacific American (APA) Members of Congress, and essays on the institutional and national events that shaped successive generations of APAs in Congress (U.S. House of Representatives). See also Diversity in the Senate, below.

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government INTERACTIVE - Explains how our government works. Separate sections for ages 4 to 8, 9 to 13, and 14 and above (U.S. Government Publishing Office). See also Children's Books and Web Sites about the U.S. Government and related links, below.

Black Leadership VIDEO - Interviews with dozens of leaders from the black community, exploring the early influences on their lives, along with 'issues of black leadership and the transformational role of the civil rights movement in America' (2014, University of Virginia). Congressional Black Caucus traces the history of the participation and contribution of African Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on various political issues such as fair housing, criminal justice, voting rights, and more; see also African American Women in Congress (Congressional Black Caucus Foundation). Black Americans in Congress, offers information and images of past and current black Members of Congress, and essays on historical events that have influenced African Americans in Congress (U.S. House of Representatives). See also African Americans of the Senate (U.S. Senate), and Diversity in the Senate.

Children's Books and Web Sites about the U.S. Government - A list of recommended books and websites for kids (grades K-12), covering campaigns & elections, Congress, the Constitution, the Presidency, how government works, and more. Description and appropriate grade level are provided for each book (U.S. Senate); see also Recommended Reading for Kids: Voting & Elections and Recommended Reading for Kids: Presidential Picture Books (South Plainfield Public Library). Kids in the House INTERACTIVE describes what Congress is and how laws are made, plus links to more resources for kids and teachers, with separate pages for Young Learners, Grade School, Middle School, and High School (Office of the Clerk, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC). The Legislative Process VIDEO is a series of short videos explaining each step in the process of enacting federal laws; text transcripts included. For high school and up (Library of Congress et al.). Learn About Congress VIDEO INTERACTIVE APPS offers interactives, games, and videos designed to show you how Congress works and how citizens can become more involved in our democracy; for K-12 (Center on Congress, Indiana University). See also Congressional Committees [Link opens a PDF] (2014, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center). See Explore Capitol Hill VIDEO to learn about the history, architecture, art, and landscaping of the U.S. Capitol Building and the other buildings & grounds on Capitol Hill (Architect of the Capitol, Washington, DC). Visit the Capitol VIDEO offers video tours of the U.S. Capitol, along with other government-related learning resources (U.S. Capitol Visitor Center). Congress.gov: U.S. Congress on the Internet VIDEO posts information on bills being considered by the Congress or Senate, or in Committee. Includes links to the House and Senate, as well as some agencies. Also includes live in-session video webcasts. For high school and up (Library of Congress).

Civics 101 Podcast - 'What's the difference between the House and the Senate? How do congressional investigations work? What is Federalist X actually about? Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.' High school and up. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Constitution Guide - Full text of the U.S. Constitution, with interpretations for each article, section, & amendment; middle school and up. Part of Annenberg Classroom VIDEO INTERACTIVE which offers free learning resources on the Constitution and related topics. Includes the Annenberg Guide to the Constitution, which provides the original text and then explains it in plain language. For middle & high school students and teachers (Annenberg Public Policy Center). For more in-depth analysis, see CRS Annotated Constitution, which includes historical background, commentary, and important court cases for each article, section, clause, and amendment; high school and up (Cornell University; site includes advertisements). See also Explore the Constitution INTERACTIVE and Constitution FAQs (National Constitution Center). Constitutional Rights Foundation's Online Lessons aim at educating America's young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society (non-profit organization). Timeline of the United States' Constitutional Law INTERACTIVE traces the development of constitutional law in America through 2015, including the original adoption of each of the state constitutions, landmark legal rulings, and key historical events (2017, Oxford University Press). The First Amendment Encyclopedia is a collection of more than 1,500 articles on First Amendment topics, court cases and history, written to be accessible by young people and the general public (Free Speech Center, a nonpartisan, non-profit public policy center; Middle Tennessee State University). First Amendment FAQ answers many common questions about freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly, including many questions related to school policies; for high school and up (Freedom Forum Institute; non-profit organization).

Core Documents of U.S. Democracy - See America's Founding Documents and related links.

Courts - See Justice 101 and related links, below.

Current Events, Issues & Controversies - Selected links to the best websites for current events information and analysis, mostly for high school and up. (South Plainfield Public Library)

Diversity in the Senate - Profiles of some past and current African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans who served in the U.S. Senate (U.S. Senate). See also Black Leadership, American Women in Politics, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress, Hispanic Americans in Congress, and general Diversity/Multicultural Resources.

Elections: Project Vote Smart - Information on campaign finances, issue positions, special interest group ratings, voting records, and more, of federal and state candidates and officeholders (non-partisan civic educational organization). Opensecrets.org provides detailed data on campaign donors and spending for each of the Presidential, Senate, and Congressional candidates, plus a Money in Politics Timeline NEW! that gives an overview of campaign finance from 1789 to 2021 (Center for Responsive Politics; site includes advertisements). High school and up. Elections the American Way explores the past and present of American parties, issues, and the right to vote (Library of Congress). Election Collection VIDEO is a collection of videos to help students learn about the campaigns, debates, the Electoral College, caucuses, primaries, conventions, redistricting, and more (2020, PBS). See also Civics 101 Podcast, above, Living Room Candidate, below, 2020 Presidential Election: Pro/Con [Archived page] (ProCon.org, now part of Britannica® Group) and Explaining Election 2020 [Archived page] (Associated Press). For additional resources, see Voting (2016, Internet Scout Research Group, University of Wisconsin).

Fake News - See Fact Checking & Fake News links.

Federal Budget Process - Explains how the federal budget is created (2018, Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives). Think you can do a better job deciding how tax dollars should be spent? Give it a try with the interactive Federal Budget Allocation INTERACTIVE activity (Indiana University Center on Representative Government). High school and up.

First Amendment - See Constitution links, including First Amendment links, above.

FlackCheck.org [Archived page] VIDEO - 'Uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns' (2012, videos hosted on YouTube; may include advertisements). See also Fact Checking & Fake News links. The learning resources formerly on FactCheckEd have been moved to Annenberg Classroom's Critical Thinking Lesson Plans. High school and up (Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania).

Hispanic Americans in Congress - Information and images of past and current Hispanic Members of Congress, and essays on historical events that have influenced Hispanic Americans in Congress (U.S. House of Representatives). See also Diversity in the Senate, above.

How to Disagree with People VIDEO - 'There's a lot of disagreeing going on in the world right now. So, it's time to teach us kids how to disagree with people without making everybody feel terrible.' In this entertaining video, Kid President explains his 6 Steps to Learning How to Disagree with People. (2016; video hosted on YouTube; site includes advertisements)

iCivics INTERACTIVE - An interactive website designed to teach middle school students about civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. Includes interactive games, lesson plans and related curriculum materials. (Founded by the late Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor)

Justice 101: Inside the Courtroom - Explains the legal justice system. Includes a Legal Terms Glossary, FAQs, Courtroom Images, an Introduction to the Federal Court System, and the various steps in the Criminal Justice Process. Advanced middle school students and higher (U.S. Department of Justice). See also How Courts Work (American Bar Association; site includes advertisements). The Supreme Court [Archived page; some media features may not work] INTERACTIVE features Supreme Court history and landmark cases, with interactives, timeline, and primary source documents (2006, PBS; site includes advertisements). For more on historically important court cases, see C-Span's Landmark Cases, Part 1 & Landmark Cases, Part 2 VIDEO, and Famous Federal Trials (U.S. Federal Judicial Center); high school and up. For information about past & present Supreme Court judges, see Supreme Court Justices. For official websites of the Supreme Court and U.S. courts, see U.S. Courts. Additional materials about the federal courts may be found on the U.S. Courts Educational Resources page; for high school students and teachers.

Landmark Court Cases - See Justice 101 and related links, above.

Latino Americans in Congress - See Hispanic Americans in Congress, above.

Legal Eagle and Respect - The Legal Eagle is a legal newspaper for kids in grades 5 and up; covers issues such as climate change, fake news, voter fraud, food safety, and many others. Respect is a newsletter on legal issues related to diversity, for grades 6 and up; covers issues such as religious discrimination, criminal justice reform, voter suppression, policing & race, and many others. Both are published three times a year and are available as free PDF downloads, or in printed copies by subscription. The site also offers related publications (New Jersey State Bar Foundation)

Living Room Candidate VIDEO - Video of more than 250 Presidential campaign television commercials from every election year beginning in 1952 up to 2020. Includes commentary, historical background, and election results; organized by year and theme (American Museum of the Moving Image). See also American Democracy on Television (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian). See also Elections links, above.

Lobbying Ethics - Explains what government lobbying is, how lobbying relates to ethics, and what kinds of ethical dilemmas lobbying presents. Includes fictional cases for discussion, plus additional resources on lobbying and government ethics. High school and up. Part of a collection Ethics Focus Materials and other Ethics Resources. (Santa Clara University)

N.J. Legislature: Our Legislature UPDATED LINK! - Explains how the Legislature works in New Jersey. See also N.J. Legislature: History UPDATED LINK! and About NJ Government NEW!.

Polling Fundamentals - Explains what public opinion polls and surveys are, and how they are conducted. Includes related classroom materials (Roper Center, Cornell University). High school and up.

Redistricting - A brief description of how redistricting (the periodic re-drawing of electoral district boundaries) affects the democratic process and how it might be reformed, with links to additional information; high school and up (FairVote.org; a non-profit, nonpartisan organization). All About Redistricting includes the latest news on redistricting and partisan gerrymandering; high school and up (Associate Professor Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School). For a simple animation explaining the basic principle of dividing seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states based on population figures, see The U.S. Census and the Amazing Apportionment Machine (2010) VIDEO elementary and middle school, and What is Apportionment? (2021) NEW! VIDEO, high school and up (U.S. Census Bureau; hosted on YouTube). See also How Your State Gets its Seats: Congressional apportionment [Link opens a PDF] (U.S. Capitol Visitor Center).

Third Parties in American Politics [Archived page] - Explains the history of the two-party system and the important roles of third parties in American politics; high school and up (Interview with Professor J. David Gillespie, Presbyterian College; 2004, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State). See also Cliffs Notes: Third Parties in American Politics

U.S. Congress - See Congress.gov, above.

U.S. Constitution - See Constitution links, above.

U.S. Courts - See Justice 101 and related links, above.

Women in Congress - See American Women in Politics, above.

revised 4/22 jd

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