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History Through A Looking Glass


NC Civics Program

Pickup the newspaper on any given day and you will find headlines that would have been very familiar to those who launched this country. Subjects like taxes, foreign affairs, and power; the power that government has over our lives. These are the things that shape our modern world.

Covering our nations first three historical documents, this program lays bare the historical groundwork and patriotic ideas penned by our founding fathers in an easy to comprehend and enjoyable manner. Formatted as part history lesson, part open discussion, students will get the opportunity to participate in the program by understanding the forces and ideals at work during our nations beginnings. The students are left with a better understanding of the workings of government and history's connections to their 21st century world. This program is geared toward children ages eight (8) and over

(This program deals with the beginning of our government (1776), not the issues that are before us today. However, that does not mean they will not be mentioned.)

Grade 5:

Competency Goal 2:  The learner will analyze political and social institutions in North America and examine how these institutions respond to North America and examine how these institutions respond to human needsk, structure society, and influence behavior.


2.01 Analyze major documents that formed the foundations of the American idea of constitutional government.

2.02 Describe the similarities and differences among the local, state, and national levels of government in the United States and explain their legislative, executive, and judicial functions.

2.03 Recognize how the United States government has changed over time.

Competency Goal 4: The learner will trace key developments in United States history and describe their impact on the land and people of the nation and its neighboring countries.


4.04 Describe the causes and effects of the American Revolution, and analyze their influence on the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Advanced Placement (AP®) Social Studies - United States History 

COMPETENCY GOAL 3: The New Nation (1783-1816) The learner will identify, investigate, and assess the formation and effectiveness of the institutions of the emerging republic.


3.01 Identify and evaluate the events and compromises that led to the formation of a new government and differentiate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists views.

3.02 Investigate the effectiveness of the presidents and other officers of the federal government in leading the New Nation.

3.03 Assess the major foreign and domestic issues and conflicts experienced by the nation during this period and evaluate their impact on the new nation.

COMPETENCY GOAL 4: Nationalism, Sectionalism, and Reform (1816-1848) The learner will analyze the competing forces of nationalism and sectionalism and assess the effectiveness of the emerging reform movements.


4.01 Examine the reasons for the emergence of nationalism and sectionalism during this period, and assess their impact on America.

4.02 Examine the evolution of the American economy during the first half of the 19th century and identify key events, inventions, and ideas as well as determine their significance.  

COMPETENCY GOAL 5: The Era of Expansion (1828-1848) The learner will analyze the cause and effect of Jacksonian Democracy and Manifest Destiny.


5.01 Evaluate the extent to which the characterization of this time period as the era of the common man is correct.

5.02 Formulate reasons for the rise of the second party system in American politics.

American Government

Competency Goal 1: The learner will identify the basic foundations of the American political system and assess major changes that have occurred.


1.01 Recognize important European influences on the development of the American governmental system.

1.02 Identify fundamentals of the United States Constitution and changes made over time.

1.03 Distinguish between federal and state powers as established in the United States Constitution.

1.04 Analyze the intent of the Founding Fathers in the creation of our early documents.

1.05 Analyze the influences of the early documents on our present plan of government.

Competency Goal 3: The learner will examine the role and analyze the influence of political parties in the American political process.


3.01 Explore the early development of political parties and their impact on political parties today.

3.02 Examine the two-party system.

3.03 Evaluate the creation of third parties in American politics and their effect on political outcomes.

Advanced Placement (AP®) Social Studies - United States Government and Politics

COMPETENCY GOAL 3: The learner will analyze political parties, elections, interest groups, and mass media.


3.01 Trace the development and impact of political parties in the United States.

(a) Functions

(b) Organization

(c) Ideological and demographic differences between the two major parties

(d) Implications of the two-party system

(e) Impact of third parties

(f) Effects on the political process

3.02 Understand the operation and evaluate the role of elections in American politics.

(a) Current electoral laws including campaign finance

(b) Nomination process

(c) Constitutional mandates

(d) Workings and implications of the electoral college

3.03 Investigate the role and effects of interest groups and political action committees.

(a) Range of interests represented

(b) Activities and appeal of interest groups and lobbyists within certain demographics

(c) Ability of interest groups to exert pressure on political institutions to influence policy

(d) Unique characteristics and roles of Political Action Committees (PACs) in the political process

3.04 Evaluate the role of the mass media in the political system.

(a) Functions and structures of the media

(b) Impact of the media on public opinion

(c) Use of the media by political campaigns

COMPETENCY GOAL 4: The learner will examine and understand the institutions of national government: the Congress.


4.01 Examine the Constitutional framework for this institution.

4.02 Explain the legislative process.

4.03 Evaluate the informal institutional arrangements of power within Congress.

4.04 Analyze the linkages between Congress and the following:

(a) Public opinion and voters.

(b) Interest groups

(c) Political parties

(d) The media

(e) State and local governments

4.05 Understand the relationship of Congress to the Presidency, Judiciary, and Bureaucracy and their varying balances of power.