United States and Texas Government I: Political Dynamics
Web Component, Video-based course
26 half-hour videos
Video Previews / Course Demonstration
Texas Politics and You: Preview Video
Voices In Democracy: Preview Video
This course includes United States and Texas government lessons as Part 1
of the series. Lesson Titles/Descriptions
- Democratic Voices in a Changing Society - Explains how people in a representative democracy can affect change in the government to address current and future societal needs.
- Texas: Who We Are - Describes important social and economic challenges and dilemmas confronting Texans in the 21st century; identifies two populations and the possible implications of the rising needs for public services occurring at the same time the revenue resources appear to be diminishing. Illustrates how demographic factors influence the quality of life.
- The Living Constitution - Illustrates the constitution as a living document as it is interpreted and changed to reflect the conditions of the times.
- The Texas Constitution - Explains how the Texas Constitution is amended, explains what accounts for the fact that it has been amended 377 times (through 1997) and examines the advantages to interest groups in having their particular concerns addressed in the Constitution.
- The Constitution in Crisis - Describes how the constitution has weathered varied crises such as the Civil War, presidential assassinations, and Watergate.
- The Politics of the Environment - Examines environmental issues; identifies how individuals can impact environmental policy and the quality of life in their communities; and explains the challenge of providing for a clean and safe environment within the confines of avoiding excessive regulations.
- Federalism - Illustrates the complexity of the balance of power between the state and national governments as experienced over the life of the country.
- Federalism and Texas - Provides a brief history of federal-state relations with the emphasis on the current trends toward devolution power and responsibility swinging back to the states; explains how the government and politics of Texas is affected by the federal system; takes a look at state initiatives to meet the needs of the growing number of uninsured children; and explores the issue of which government is best suited for specific tasks.
- Intergovernmental Relations - Implementation of the welfare program is used to illustrate how intergovernmental relations are necessary in solving problems which cross-governmental jurisdictions.
- Local Governments in Texas - Profiles one major metropolitan area and identifies different types of local governments and examines their major functions as they address important issues.
- Public Opinion and Political Socialization - Illustrates how social and demographic characteristics are linked to political values and public opinions.
- Political Culture - Profiles three political subcultures of Texas in relation to Daniel Elazar’s classifications and assesses how these subcultures affect attitudes, politics and public policy.
- Participation in Democracy - Shows a wide variety of political activities which can be used to provide a voice for the participants.
- Community Involvement - Examines the concept of citizenship and public involvement and analyzes the importance of citizens engaging in a common life beyond their private endeavors. Family Pathfinders, a National Issues Forum, and Communities Organized for Public Service are examined to understand and evaluate trends of community involvement.
- Mass Media and Government - Illustrates the interdependent and sometimes adversarial relationship between media and government.
- Media and Public Agenda - Explains the importance of an independent press to a democratic society, explains and analyzes the degree of influence the media has in shaping public policy and assesses different types of news received from print, television, talk radio, and the Internet.
- Interest Groups - Describes the different types of interest groups and illustrates the techniques they use to influence the branches of government.
- Interest Groups in Texas - Describes techniques used by a variety of interest groups to influence governmental policy and examines why interest groups are especially powerful in Texas.
- Political Parties - Illustrates how individuals can get involved in political party activities and how continued involvement creates increasing personal political power over time.
- Political Parties in Texas - Discusses the role and operation of political parties in Texas, including the campaign process and party structure; defines party platforms and assesses whether a winning candidate keeps campaign promises.
- Media and Elections - Describes why media are so important to political campaigning and analyzes how candidates control and respond to the media as the media carry out their responsibilities in providing election news.
- Third Parties in Texas - Explains the goals of current and recent third parties; discusses the history and impact of La Raza Unida; examines reasons that statewide electoral success has been extremely difficult in Texas; and assesses the contributions of third parties.
- Presidential Elections - Summarizes the various strategies used by candidates in the 1996 presidential election including media, polling, and fund raising.
- Campaigns and Elections - Discusses the benefits of campaigns and elections, examines what motivates a person to run for public office, and evaluates campaign strategies and outcomes in elections where there is low voter turnout.
- Congressional Elections - Examines the major aspects of congressional campaigns including funding, media, polling, and use of volunteers and media consultants.
- The Ballot Box: Voting Under Texas Law - Explains why voting is important and how election law and high voter turnout combats voter fraud, discusses the expansions of voting rights and reasons for low voter turnout, and assesses the impact voting rights have on the selection of leaders and the implementation of policies.