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

Databases

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.

2020 Presidential Election: Pro/Con NEW! - Tracks the views of the 2020 Presidential candidates on selected issues; additional issues will be added in the coming months (ProCon.org, non-profit organization). Project Vote Smart offers 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, with additional information on the role of money in politics (Center for Responsive Politics; site includes advertisements). High school and up.

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).

Annenberg Classroom VIDEO INTERACTIVE - 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)

Apportionment - See Redistricting links, below.

Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress NEW! - 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). USA.gov Resources for Teachers offers lesson plans, activities and worksheets for the classroom on taxes, U.S. currency, government jobs, and the three branches of government. 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; 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). 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 offers interactives, games & apps, 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 NEW! [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). 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. Includes a webcast feature. For high school and up (Library of Congress). Additional teaching & learning resources are available at Teaching About Congress (The Dirksen Congressional Center).

Constitution Guide - Full text of the U.S. Constitution, with interpretations for each article, section, & amendment; middle school and up (part of Annenberg Classroom). 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).

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

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 the American Way - Explores the history of American parties, issues, and the right to vote (Library of Congress). Election Process VIDEO is a collection of videos to help students learn about the Electoral College, caucuses, primaries, conventions and more (2016, PBS). For additional resources, see Voting (2016, Internet Scout Research Group, University of Wisconsin).

Fake News - See Fake News links.

Federal Budget Process - Explains how the federal budget is created (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 People's Pie Game INTERACTIVE (ICivics.org). High school and up.

First Amendment FAQ - Answers many common questions about freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly; for high school and up (Freedom Forum Institute; non-profit organization).

FlackCheck.org UPDATED LINK! 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 Fake News links. The learning resources formerly on FactCheckEd have been moved to Annenberg Classroom's Critical Thinking Lesson Plans [Archived page]. 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). Supreme Court [Archived page] VIDEO INTERACTIVE features Supreme Court history and landmark cases, with interactive quizzes, timeline, primary source documents, and videos (2006, PBS; site includes advertisements). For more on historically important court cases, see Famous Federal Trials (U.S. Federal Judicial Center) and C-Span's Landmark Cases VIDEO; 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 the present. Includes commentary, historical background, and election results; organized by year and theme (American Museum of the Moving Image). Political Campaigns VIDEO offers videos of 2016 (and earlier) election ads from Presidential candidates and political advocacy groups, plus related research and analysis (Stanford University). See also American Democracy on Television (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian).

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: Kids Page INTERACTIVE - Explains what the Legislature is and how a bill becomes a law in New Jersey, plus the state flag, seal, and symbols, interactive games & puzzles, and coloring pages. For elementary and middle school students.

Polling - Explains what public opinion polls and surveys are, and how they are conducted. Includes a glossary of terms (Roper Center, Cornell University). See also Polls: What Do the Numbers Tell Us? UPDATED LINK! INTERACTIVE, a more detailed examination of topics related to public opinion polling, including random samples, margins of error, confidence intervals, and what can go wrong. Includes interactives (Annenberg Media). High school and up.

Redistricting NEW! - 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 VIDEO; elementary and middle school (U.S. Census Bureau; hosted on YouTube). See also How Your State Gets its Seats: Congressional apportionment NEW! [Link opens a PDF] (U.S. Capitol Visitor Center).

Third Parties in American Politics - 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).

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

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

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

revised 10/19 jd

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