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Learning About Government


Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government provides a student-friendly overview of the functions and branches of the government.

game_icon.svg.pngThe Brookings Democracy Dashboard

  • Displays trends in democracy and governance in seven key areas
    • Elections administration
    • Democratic participation and voting
    • Public opinion
    • Institutional functioning in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
    • Media capacity



Political Socialization
  • The process of a person becoming part of a political ideology is called political socialization
    • This is a never ending process, it continues throughout life
      kennedy family.jpg
      The Kennedys, a Famous Political Family
    • However, beliefs tend to be consistent
      • Older populations have generally undergone the most political socialization
    • Many different factors influence how someone is socialized
      • Religion, education, family, friends, media, gender, age, etc...
      • These factors are referred to as agents of socialization
        • Primary agents of socialization develop political orientations directly
          • Ex) Family
        • Secondary agents of socialization are less direct and personal
          • Ex) Media
  • Parents play a large role in socializing their children to their beliefs
    • Many children join the same political parties as their parents
      • A 2005 study from Gallup polled teens aged 13-17:
        • 7% identified as more conservative than their parents
        • 21% identified as more liberal than their parents
        • 71% identified as about the same as their parents
        • Click here for more details


external image Reports.gifFor a study on how students and adults view history, see Famous Americans: The Changing Pantheon of American Heroes. Sam Wineburg and Chauncey Monte-Sano. Journal of American History (2008).
  • Wineburg and Monte-Sano surveyed 2000 11th and 12th graders from all 50 states; they also surveyed 2000 American-born adults.
  • They found remarkable similarities between the lists generated by each group.
  • Importantly, they concluded "the people who come to the fore are those who acted to expand rights, alleviate misery, rectify injustice, and promote freedom."



Source:
1. WFU article. http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/1999/1/02/demo/Glossary/glossaryhtml/psocialization.html