Crash Course Government and Politics


  • Judicial Decisions | Crash Course Government and Politics

    Learn about the factors that influence judicial decisions. The supreme court handed down some pretty big decisions on same-sex marriage (in Obergefell v. Hodges) and the Affordable Care Act (in King v. Burwell). It's important to remember that these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but influenced by the other branches of government, political affiliations, and past court decisions.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Civil Rights And Liberties | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we review civil rights and civil liberties. Often these terms are used interchangeably, but they are very different. Our civil liberties, contained in the Bill of Rights, once only protected us from the federal government, but slowly these liberties have been incorporated to protect us from the states. We'll take a look at how this has happened and the supreme court cases that got us here.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Freedom of Religion | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we discuss the first amendment and an individual's right to the freedom of religion. We'll examine some significant supreme court decisions and talk about how they've affected our interpretations of the law with respect to stuff like animal sacrifice and prayer in schools.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Freedom of Speech | Crash Course Government and Politics

    Free speech not only allows you to critique the government, but it also protects you from the government. It is essential to remember that not all speech is protected equally under the first amendment, and just because you have a right to free speech doesn't mean your employer, for instance, can't fire you for something you say (unless you work for the government and then things get a bit more complicated).

    Grades: 9-12
  • Freedom of the Press | Crash Course Government and Politics

    We conclude our discussion of the first amendment with freedom of the press. Like an individual's right to free speech, the press has a right, and arguably a responsibility, to tell the public what the government is doing. When considering Edward Snowden's NSA disclosures or Julian Assange's Wikileaks, it is just as important as ever to understand the role of the press in informing the public, as well as our role as citizens in staying informed.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Search and Seizure | Crash Course Government and Politics

    The fourth amendment says that you have the right to be protected against "unreasonable searches and seizures," but what does that mean, exactly? Well, it's complicated. The police often need warrants issued with proof of probable cause, but this isn't always the case - such as when you're pulled over for a moving violation. We also discuss the limitations of these protections and consider one group of people in particular that aren't protected equally-students.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Types of Bureaucracies | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this show, we discuss the different types of bureaucracies that exist. They are all part of the executive branch, but some work more directly with the president than others. Some bureaucracies exist solely to regulate industry, while others are expected to operate like corporations and make a profit.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Due Process of Law | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we discuss the 5th and 6th amendments and how they ensure a fair trial. We'll talk about stuff you tend to hear a lot about on tv, like the right to an attorney and a jury of one's peers, and terms like double jeopardy and pleading the fifth. Now, this stuff can get pretty complicated, which is where lawyers come in handy, but it's important to know your liberties to keep the police and other judicial officers in check.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Equal Protection | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we discuss the most important part of the Constitution-the Fourteenth Amendment. In particular, we discuss the "equal protection" clause and how it relates to our civil rights. We've discussed in previous episodes civil liberties, or our protections from the government, but civil rights are different as they involve how some groups of citizens are able to treat other groups (usually minorities) under existing laws.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Sex Discrimination | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we discuss employment discrimination, primarily against women in the workforce. Discrimination against women tends to be handled somewhat differently in the courts, as they are not a minority. Even so, the courts need a method for challenging issues to help further important government interests - this is called intermediate scrutiny. (If you'll remember, strict scrutiny is the most rigorous form of judicial review, and rational basis review is the least rigorous.)

    Grades: 9-12
  • Discrimination | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we wrap up our discussion of discrimination by looking more closely at those discrete and insular minorities referenced in the 14th Amendment. We'll talk about instances of discrimination of Asian, European, and Latino immigrants, Native Americans, non-English speakers, people with disabilities, and LGBT people. We'll also talk about federal and state responses to this discrimination.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Affirmative Action | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we'll explain what affirmative action is, who it is for, and why it still exists. We'll get into the court's rationalization for it in the 1970s, as well as its fall from favor in more recent years.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Public Opinion | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we talk about politics and public opinion - specifically how the public does (and does not) influence our elected officials.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Shaping Public Opinion | Crash Course Government and Politics

    Where do our political opinions come from? Most people's politics are grounded in their ideologies, but there are also other, external influences, such as the government itself, interest groups, and the media. We'll discuss how these influencers factor into the overall public opinion, and how their roles have changed over time.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Political Ideology | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we look at political ideology in America. We're going to focus on liberals and conservatives and talk about the influencers of both of these viewpoints. It's important to remember that political ideologies don't always perfectly correspond with political parties, and this correspondence becomes less and less likely over time.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Election Basics | Crash Course Government and Politics

    There are a lot of people in the U.S, and holding individual issues up to a public vote doesn't seem particularly plausible. To deal with this complexity, we vote for people, not policies, that represent our best interests. But as you'll see, this process was not thoroughly addressed in the Constitution, so there have been a number of amendments and laws at the state level implemented to create the election system we all know and (maybe) love today.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Gerrymandering | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we'll discuss a topic that makes voters and politicians alike angry - gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the process in which voting districts are redrawn in a way to favor one party during elections. As you'll see, this is why election outcomes during U.S. census years, which tend to be the time districts are redrawn, are a big deal.

    Grades: 9-12
  • How Voters Decide | Crash Course Government and Politics

    Like all decision-making, voter decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors, but the three we are going to focus on in this episode are party loyalty, the issues involved in an election, and candidate characteristics. This all might seem like common sense, but it's important to be aware of the factors that influence our decisions-especially when considering that many voters are not particularly well-informed.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Political Campaigns | Crash Course Government and Politics

    Political campaigns are a pretty big deal in the United States. For instance, the 2012 presidential election clocked in at the most expensive ever - at around $6 billion dollars! Needless to say, money plays a very big role in American elections. In this episode, we take a look at why we have campaigns in the first place, why the campaign seasons run for so long, and why campaigns cost so much.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Political Parties | Crash Course Government and Politics

    In this episode, we discuss political parties and their role in American politics. When most people think about political parties, they associate them with the common ideologies of the voters and representatives within that party, but the goal of a party is not to influence policies. The role of political parties is much simpler: to win control of the government.

    Grades: 9-12

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