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A Kid's Guide to U.S. Politics
A short book that describes the political history of the United States of America. This book is told in a way that kid's can understand, it is very easy for kid's to read and there is a glossary for any words kid's don't understand.
Chapter 1: The Start of U.S. Politics
The U.S. political system has changed quite a few times over the lifespan of the U.S. The U.S. officially separated from Great Britain after the Revolutionary war. The war ended in 1783 and the United States of America was born. This means that, just like babies, America had parents. The U.S.’s parents are known as the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers created the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which set up the structure of the government.
Chapter 2: Democratic Republic
The type of government that the Founding Fathers set up was called a democratic republic. This means that we elect people to represent us and our beliefs instead of purely representing ourselves. In a democracy we would take a vote on every law that was proposed, but instead we vote for an elected official who vote on our behalf, which is what we would do in a republic. We then have to hope our official votes for what we believe should happen. Any legal citizen over 18 can cast a vote for almost any legal position. The most popular of these elections is the Presidential Election.
Chapter 3: General George to President Washington
The first president of the United States was George Washington. George Washington served as president for a 2 terms. Each term is 4 years, so he served a total of 8 years as president. During his farewell speech in 1796 he warned against political “factions” (parties) so the U.S. did exactly what he warned against, they created factions. Political parties are organized groups of people with mostly similar views. These parties work together to get their candidate (the person they want to fill a position) elected to that position.
Chapter 4: The First Political Parties
The first political party was known as the Federalist Party. This party began in 1787. The reason it was created was to argue for a strong central government.
Later in 1796 a new party was formed to oppose the federalist. They called themselves the Anti-Federalist. They supported having a limited federal government and giving more power to the state and local governments (small government).
WHAT YOU DON”T KNOW-
The Anti-Federalist also referred to themselves as Democratic Republicans.
Chapter 5: Abraham Lincoln
The Civil War was a war between two sections of the country. The North wanted slavery abolished, whereas the South wanted to retain slavery. The president who abolished slavery was Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president who served from March of 1861 until April of 1865 when he was assassinated.
Chapter 6: How FDR Changed Politics
During the 1860s the majority of the northern United States was republican. The republican values were much different than they are today. They supported the majority of governmental power going to the federal government, the abolishment slavery, and creating a currency that is used worldwide. This may sound like an alternate universe from the Republicans you’ve come to know, that’s because during Franklin Roosevelt's (FDR’s) presidency this changed.
Chapter 7: The Great Depression
In an attempt to repair the country after the Great Depression he launched welfare, pensions, and many different programs to help America recover financially. The Democratic Party had always been in support of small government and the free market. After Roosevelt was elected he began doing everything he could to get the US out of the depression and after recognizing the overwhelming public support Roosevelt had, his party strongly supported him. The Republicans for whatever reason decided to change their former beliefs. They took the belief that you can’t fix the problems caused by the depression just by spending more money; you have to let the free market work those issues out which is the opposite of what FDR was doing.
Chapter 8: Politics Now
As you can tell, political parties have changed quite a few times over the years. Currently the U.S. has a two party system with small groups within the parties. There are also independent voters who aren’t a part of a specific party. When choosing a party, it is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to always vote for who your party nominates. Vote for someone who has the same vision as you or someone who supports the same things you support. Lastly, just because your parents support something doesn’t automatically mean you have to too. Ask them why they support it, look into it, then make your decision. Politics are important, your voice is important, your vote is important.
Chapter 9: Glossary
Political System- The system in which people are elected and govern.
Founding Fathers- The group of men who created the United States of America.
U.S. Constitution- United States owner’s manual that can be updated as times change.
Bill of Rights- The first ten amendments of the constitution. The most important rules in the owner’s manual.
Democratic Republic- We vote for people and those people vote on issues.
Presidential Election- An election held every 4 years in which we vote for someone to be president of the united states.
Candidate- Someone who is running for an elected position in the U.S. government.
Abolished- To get rid of permanently.
Retain- To keep.
Assassinated- A public figure (a famous person) being murdered.
Welfare- The government giving financial support for medical purposes to people who can’t afford it.
Pensions- Regular payment made to retired people that is paid for by their employer.
Free Market- Privately owned businesses deciding the prices for things.
Nominates- Nominating a person for an official position. This person would be called a nominee.