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Power and Empowerment

Following this Pathway, participants are introduced to the concept of power in politics and government, focusing on the United States. Participants explore the purpose, authority, and limits of political power. Looking at power in the context of democratic government, they consider how "we the people" can be politically engaged and empowered to participate in civic life.

Concepts and Topics

  • ideals and realities of political power
  • popular sovereignty: government of the people, by the  people, and for the people
  • legitimacy of government
  • checks and balances and separation of powers
  • federalism and shared powers: local, state, and national governments
  • representative institutions and electoral democracy
  • jury as a democratic institution
  • civic action and democracy
  • civil disobedience
  • making and enforcing law

Suggested Cases

Aaron Burr treason trial, McCulloch v. Maryland, Johnson impeachment trial, Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer, Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, U.S. v. Nixon, Batson v. Kentucky, Gonzales v. Raich, Kelo
v. New London