Lesson 7.1 – Overview of the US Government system

In this lesson we will study the different parts that make up the US government system. In Module 6 we learned how the US government was setup to preserve the political and economic interests of the wealthy, capitalist class. In this lesson, we will study the actual system that was setup (the different parts that makeup our government).

Watch – Intro Video

READ and WATCH – Reading 7.1 – “Overview of US Government and Politics”


WATCH – Video 7.1 – “How is Power Divided in the United States Government?

This video presents a clear overview of the concept of division of power. As you watch, keep notes on the different responsibilities given to the three branches of government. For example: what are the things that only the executive branch of government can do? What about the legislative and judicial branches?

Lesson 7.2 – American Federalism

READ – Reading 7.2 – Introduction and the Division of Powers

This reading introduces the idea of federalism in American government, starting with the concept of the division of power:


READ – Reading 7.3 – Intergovernmental relationships

This reading discusses how the different parts of the US government interact with each other, offering an example of how federalism functions in the government:


READ – Reading 7.4 – Contenting and controversial issues facing federalism today

In this reading, we encounter some of the key issues that face American government today: immigration and marriage equality. The debates between the opposing sides in these issues, show some of the typical ways in which federalism influences how the government acts in situations of contention and division of opinion.


READ – Reading 7.5 – Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

Here, we read about some of the big debates about federalism: for and against:


COMPLETE – Self-Assessment Exercise 7.1


Here, you can check your answers:


WRITE – Discussion Board 7.1

Head over to Discussion Board 7.1.

WRITE – Module 7 Response Paper

  1. Given our previous discussion about how the wealthy, capitalist classes wrote the Constitution, can you find ways in which the structure of US government seems to represent the interests and wishes of the class of wealthy Americans? (for example: federalism, division of power, electoral college, the way elections are held, etc…). Be specific and use examples. Note: this is an important question, and spend some time on it – I think some version of it will be on our first exam.

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