Common Sense Government for Life

Common Sense Government for Life is available as one semester package. The course materials were developed to work in a college, AP, or non-AP high school classroom setting, but many of the materials are suitable in whole or in part at all grade levels. The course materials are designed to encompass the needs of any type of learner by focusing on a Read, Watch, Listen, and Do learning pedagogy.

  • Designed for students who may only take one government course in their life
  • A semester long introduction into the American Founding, American Institutions, and American experience in self-government.
    • 15 Modules = 4 American Founding Modules + 3 American Institutions Modules + 8 Modules covering the American Experience
  • 215 KeyGovernment Concepts Aligned with National , AP, and C3 Framework Standards
  • Equivalent to a 3 credit hour high school or college course
The downloadable course packages contains all of the following resources:
  • Common Cartridge
    • Import into most Learning Management Systems (LMS’s); Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Schoology, and many more
    • Contains a full semester’s worth of assessment materials broken down by module
  • Teacher Files
    • Electronic course files (.docx) are contained for easy adaption into your classroom
    • Additional lesson activities
  • eTextbook
    • The course readings and multimedia (videos and audio clips) are built into a rich text format designed to engage and enhance the learning experience
    • Teachers receive a numerical code after registration to login to the Common Sense Government for Life eBook. Share that same code with all of your students
    • eBook syncs between web browser and mobile app


  • By signing up for our Mailing List you will receive
    • New free resources such as study break articles, mini-lessons, and bell ringers
    • Free Classroom Lessons
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    • Summer Job Opportunities for Teachers and much more!


This course examines the principles of American politics through careful consideration of the American Founding, American Institutions, and the American experience in self-government. It was developed by professors and staff affiliated with Utah State University. The course meets both national standards for government and civics, and AP standards.

Part 1: The American Founding

Module 1: Pre-Revolutionary America and the Creation of a New Nation

  • Section 1: The Seven Year’s War
  • Section 2: John Locke and Liberal Philosophy
  • Section 3: The Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and Parliamentary Authority
  • Section 4: Samuel Adams
  • Section 5: Thomas Paine
  • Section 6: The Declaration of Independence

Module 2: The Articles of Confederation, Shay’s Rebellion and the Constitutional Convention

  • Section 1: The Articles of Confederation
  • Section 2: George Washington’s Circular Letter to the State
  • Section 3: Shay’s Rebellion
  • Section 4: The Call for Constitutional Convention

Module 3: The Constitution

  • Section 1: The Large State Plan: The Virginia Resolutions
  • Section 2: The Small State Plan: The New Jersey Proposals
  • Section 3: The Great Compromise
  • Section 4: The Federalist

Module 4: Separation of Powers

  • Section 1: Federalism
  • Section 2: Federalist 39
  • Section 3: Federalist 45
  • Section 4: Separation of Powers
  • Section 5: Federalist 47
  • Section 6: Federalist 48-50
  • Section 7: Federalist 51

Part 2: American Institutions
Module 5: Congress

  • Section 1: The Powers of Congress
  • Section 2: The House of Representatives, the Senate, and Representation
  • Section 3: Elections
  • Section 4: Committees, Parties, and Organization
  • Section 5: The House of Representatives and Federalist 52
  • Section 6: The Senate and Federalist 62
  • Section 7: Congress in Action
  • Section 8: Lee Hamilton Puts a Positive Spin on Congress

Module 6: The Presidency

  • Section 1: The Powers of the Presidency
  • Section 2: The Federalist: Discussion of the Executive Branch
  • Section 3: The President, the Executive Branch, and the Growth of the Presidential Power
  • Section 4: From the Institutional to the Rhetorical Presidency
  • Section 5: George Washington and the Institutional Presidency
  • Section 6: Abraham Lincoln and the Outer Limits of the Institutional Presidency
  • Section 7: The Rhetorical Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt and Beyond
  • Section 8: Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
  • Section 9: John F. Kennedy
  • Section 10: Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Section 11: Regan’s Semi-Return to the Institutional Roots of the Presidency

Module 7: The Supreme Court

  • Section 1: The Constitutional Design of the Judiciary and the Federalist
  • Section 2: Judicial Review
  • Section 3: Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and the Growth of Federal Authority
  • Section 4: The Supreme Court of the United States in Operation

Part 3: The Experience in American Government
Module 8: From Dual Federalism to Cooperative Federalism: the Civil Wars, Progressivism, and National Politics

  • Section 1: Redefining the United States of America
  • Section 2: Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Section 3: The Gilded Age to the Progressive Era
  • Section 4: World War 1, the New Deal, and Beyond

Module 9: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

  • Section 1: Civil Liberties
  • Section 2: Civil Rights
  • Section 3: Civil Rights, Race, and the Constitution
  • Section 4: The Supreme Court and Civil Rights
  • Section 5: Civil Rights for Women
  • Section 6: Gay Rights

Module 10: Political Parties and Elections

  • Section 1: Elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate
  • Section 2: The Electoral College and Presidential Elections
  • Section 3: Vice Presidential Elections
  • Section 4: Political Parties
  • Section 5: American Party Systems
  • Section 6: Why Do People Vote

Module 11: The Policy-making Process, Then and Now

  • Section 1: Policymaking Process: An Overview
  • Section 2: Problem Identification
  • Section 3: Policymaker Agenda
  • Section 4: Policy Formulation and Adoption
  • Section 5: Budgeting
  • Section 6: Policy Implementation and Evaluation

Module 12: Bureaucracy

  • Section 1: What is Bureaucracy?
  • Section 2: Development of the American Bureaucracy
  • Section 3: Bureaucracy in American Politics

Module 13: The Media and Politics

  • Section 1: The “Fourth Estate”
  • Section 2: History of the Media
  • Section 3: The Radio and Regulation
  • Section 4: Modern Media

Module 14: America: Past, Present, and Future

  • Section 1: A New Nation in the World
  • Section 2: American Foreign Policy in the 19th Century
  • Section 3: American Foreign Policy in the 20th Century
  • Section 4: The Cold War
  • Section 5: The End of History?

Module 15: The United States: Past, Present and Future

Part 1: The American Founding

  • Legitimacy
  • Consent
  • Equality
  • Rights
  • Republican
  • Liberal political philosophy
  • Radical
  • Politics
  • Reconciliation
  • Self-government
  • Prudence
  • Self-evident
  • Unalienable
  • Usurpations
  • State of nature
  • Constitution
  • Confederation
  • Sovereignty
  • Ratification
  • Political wrangling
  • “Firm League of Friendship”
  • General welfare
  • Full faith and credit
  • Convention
  • Delegate
  • Republic
  • “Enlargement of the Orbit”
  • Faction
  • Resolutions
  • Bicameral
  • Unicameral
  • Political propaganda
  • Tyranny
  • Anarchy
  • Amelioration
  • Federalism
  • Dual Federalism
  • Cooperative Federalism
  • Jurisdiction
  • Supremacy Clause
  • Separation of Powers
  • Partial Agency/Checks and Balances
  • Parchment barriers
  • Pragmatic approach
  • Constituents

Part 2: American Institutions

  • Legislative powers
  • Bicameralism
  • Bankruptcy
  • Representation
  • Single member district
  • Gerrymandering
  • At large elections
  • Incumbents
  • Constituents
  • Patronage
  • Earmarks/pork barrel
  • Franking privilege
  • Electoral connection
  • Filibuster
  • Standing committee
  • Select committee
  • Joint committee
  • Conference committee
  • Proposal power
  • Speaker of the House
  • President Pro Tempore
  • Gate keeping authority
  • Majority/minority leaders
  • Majority/minority whips
  • Oversight power
  • Gridlock
  • Logrolling
  • Energetic President
  • Institutional Presidency
  • Rhetorical Presidency
  • Formal and Informal authority
  • Delegated powers
  • Judicial review
  • Presidential (Executive) actions
  • Usurpations
  • Progressivism
  • Judicial authority
  • Judicial review
  • “Least dangerous branch”
  • Inferior courts
  • Original jurisdiction
  • Appellate jurisdiction
  • Limited Constitution
  • Life-tenure
  • Writ of mandamus
  • Implied powers
  • Enumerated powers
  • Expressed powers
  • “The rule of four”
  • Stare Decisis
  • Precedent

Part 3: The American Experience in Self-Government

  • Dual Federalism
  • Slavery
  • States’ Rights
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Cooperative Federalism
  • Reserved Powers
  • Gilded Age
  • Progressivism
  • New Nationalism
  • World War 1
  • Great Depression
  • New Deal
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil rights
  • Segregation
  • Due process
  • Bill of rights
  • Federalist 84
  • 14th amendment
  • 19th amendment
  • The Declaration of Sentiments
  • Selective incorporation
  • Jim Crow laws
  • Color-blind Constitution
  • Equal protection clause
  • Seneca Falls Convention
  • The Feminine Mystique
  • Executive order 10450
  • Terms
  • 15th amendment
  • 19th amendment
  • 26th amendment
  • 17th amendment
  • Electoral College
  • Realignment theory
  • Federalists’ party
  • Democratic-Republican party
  • Jeffersonian Democrats
  • Whig party
  • Democrats
  • Republicans
  • Single-member district elections
  • Gerrymandering
  • Federalist 68
  • 12th amendment
  • Popular vote
  • Ray v. Blair 1952
  • Adverse selection
  • Plurality
  • Majority rule
  • Run-off election
  • Winner-take-all
  • Duverger’s Law
  • Political party
  • Convention
  • Primaries
  • Open primary
  • Closed primary
  • Presidential primary
  • Policymaking process
  • Rent seeking
  • Policy agenda
  • Policy symbolism
  • Unintended consequences
  • Perverse incentives
  • Federal register
  • Monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy
  • Social Security
  • Domestic policy
  • Foreign policy
  • Initiatives
  • Referendums
  • Recall
  • Washington Monument Strategy
  • Pork-barrel spending
  • Free-rider problem
  • Party Press
  • Penny Press
  • Yellow Journalism
  • Muckraking
  • Media Technologies
  • FCC Regulations
  • Internet and media Democratization
  • The “Fourth Estate”
  • Censorship
  • Prior restraint
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Fairness doctrine
  • Equal time rule
  • Foreign Policy
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Monroe Doctrine
  • Isolation
  • Interventionism
  • Exceptionalism
  • World War 2
  • League of Nations
  • United Nations
  • Cold War
  • Détente
  • War on Terror
  • The Jay Treaty
  • Roosevelt Corollary
  • Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930
  • Good Neighbor Policy
  • Marshall Plan
  • Truman Doctrine
  • NATO
  • Warsaw Pact
  • MAD
  • Domino Theory
  • Containment
  • Bay of Pigs
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963
  • Gulf of Tonkin
  • Tet Offensive
  • Hostage Crisis


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