U.S. Government commences its examination of the grand American experiment in democracy with a general overview of the purpose, types, origin, and formation of governments. Students will explore how colonial self-rule, English law, and weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation influenced the formation of the U.S. Constitution. Students will investigate the principles of the Constitution and the federal system. The purpose, powers, and relationships among the American institutions of self-government—Congress, Presidency, and the Judiciary—will be examined as well as federal, state, and local governments. Students will become aware of their civic responsibility to vote and participate in the governmental process as they gain understanding of the functions and organization of political parties, the evolution of the two-party system, and the influence of public opinion and political ideology on government decisions.