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US Government and Civics Introduction

Learn about U.S. Government and Civics! Understand your role in democracy, explore the foundations of American democracy, and discover the interactions between government branches. Dive into civil liberties, civil rights, and citizenship duties. Uncover political ideologies, beliefs, and participation. Become a better participant in our democracy. 

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Video transcript

- Hi, everyone, Sal Khan here. And I just wanted to invite you, or tell you a little bit about our course on US Government and Civics. The first question you might be wondering is why do I need to learn about government and civics? And what I would tell you is because you are a member of our democracy. A democracy does not work unless the people who make up the democracy are willing to be informed, willing to understand what rights they have, and potentially what rights they give up in order to have a better-functioning society. So if we wanna function as a society, you should pay attention to this course. And just so you know what this covers, we start with the foundations of American democracy. How did we get to where we are? You might not appreciate it. You might say, "Oh, democracy goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks." But the reality is, the modern form of democracy really started with American democracy and then it has been replicated throughout the world. So understand the tensions that the founders faced and how they got to a pretty nice balance that's at least worked for several hundred years. Then we're gonna talk about interactions amongst the branches of government. Some of y'all have heard about checks and balances, the executive branch, the judicial branch, the legislative branch. How does all of that work together? Then, civil liberties and civil rights. What are your rights? What are other people's rights? How do we make sure that they are guarded by things like the Bill of Rights? And also more modern versions of what civil liberties and civil rights actually mean. Then, we talk about citizenship. You might just think about citizenship as a bunch of privileges you get as a citizen, but there's also some obligations. So think about that a little bit. And then we're gonna talk about ideologies and beliefs, politics, things like political parties, which you're probably familiar with, maybe even tired of hearing about. But it never hurts to be armed with more information. And then, how do you become a better participant in our democracy? The topic of political participation. And then we have a bunch of other topics that you'll see that connect to even more modern world topics, things that are relevant in your everyday life. So take a journey with us in US Government and Civics and I...One, you'll learn a lot about the world. You'll be even more popular at dinner parties. But even most importantly, you will know how to participate in our democracy and make us a more perfect union.