Year 13 — Politics

Term 1: Optional Ideology - Nationalism

Students will examine the phenomenon of nationalism, from its rise with the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau in the late 18th century and its roots in the French Revolution. Students will also analyse the rise of a more cultural form of nationalism, particularly through the works of Herder and Fichte. Students will compare the different forms of nationalism throughout history, particularly the liberal nationalism prevalent in most Western democracies, the expansionist nationalism evident in the 19th century and the more virulent forms of racial nationalism during the short twentieth century. There will also be an examination of the future of nationalism in modern politics and the effects a recent rise in nationalism may have on supranational bodies such as the UN and EU.

Students to sit a complete Paper 2. This will be one source question, one essay question and one essay question on ideologies.

Chauvinistic nationalism

A form that believes that one nation is superior to another


Often referred to as imperialism is the control of one country over another


The idea of an independent area that is ruled and governed by one government


A group of people who are united by language, history or culture and who often have a common geographical location


The concept of being able to rule themselves, making their own decisions and therefore independent

Liberal nationalism

The idea that focuses on the interest and identity of their own nation and has little interest in self-determination

Conservative nationalism

The idea that rejects the notion of a country being control by another and therefore reject colonialism and imperialism

Expansionist nationalism

A inclusive nationalism concept that accepts that anyone is free to join the nation as long as they share their values

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Individuals will be able to learn the concept of nationalism and form ideas in favour and against it. This will help them develop their own views

Create a supportive community:

Through the use of discussion, students will be able to understand the different views regarding nationalism and form an argument to where they stand. Students will be encouraged to discuss advantages and disadvantages and therefore understand different points of view that might differ from their own

Term 3: Congress and US Presidency

2.1 The structure of Congress

2.2 The functions of Congress

2.3 Interpretations and debates around Congress.

3.1 Formal sources of presidential power as outlined in the US

Constitution and their use.

3.2 Informal sources of presidential power and their use.

• The electoral mandate, executive orders, national events and

the cabinet.

• Powers of persuasion including the nature/characteristics of

each president.

• Executive Office of the President (EXOP), including the role of

the National Security Council (NSC), Office of Management

and Budget (OMB) and the White House Office (WHO).

3.3 The presidency

3.4 Interpretations and debates of the US presidency

Two essays. 1 on Congress and another on Presidency


Made up by the House of representatives and the Senate it makes up the law making branch of the US

House of Representatives

It is a chamber of the legislative branch that is elected from districts with roughly the same population


A chamber of the legislative branch that is made up of 100 senators, with 2 senators representing each state


The current holder of a political office.


A technique used in Congress to stall a bill/law. This is normally done by a member speaking for as long as they can without giving up the floor of the house/senate and therefore delaying the ability to vote on a bill

Midterm elections

An election that takes place every two years where the whole of the House of representatives gets voted on and a third of the senate


The responsibility of congress to check the actions of the executive branch of government


When the house of representatives/senate can not agree on the passing of a bill. Normally due to voting through party lines that leads to a bill not being passed. In recent years this has led to not agreeing budgets

Commander in chief

The highest authority in the US armed forces and its one of the powers of the President of the US

Electoral mandate

The concept of authority being granted to a political figure to put in place their preferred policies once they have been elected

Executive orders

The concept of a rule that is passed on by the executive branch of the government. Although it does not go through congress it has the force of the law


The immediate support staff of the president

Formal powers

Powers given by the constitution

Informal powers

Powers granted to the president that are outside the constitution


The power of stopping a bill from becoming law.

Imperial presidency

The concept that the president has become too powerful and is acting outside the guidelines of the constitution

Duel presidency

The concept that there are two different presidents depending on whether they are dealing with national or foreign affairs

Imperilled Presidency

The idea that the president is too weak and can not control the bureaucracy of the office

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

It helps the individual understand how the congress is organised in the US and how it compares with that in the UK. It helps understand how the power of the presidency or congress work to ensure the separation of powers and check and balances in the US

Create a supportive community:

It supports students in analysing and evaluating ideas within a contextual setting enabling them to compare the US with the UK

Term 4: Supreme Court and Civil Rights

4.1 The nature and role of the Supreme Court

4.2 The appointment process for the Supreme Court

4.3 The Supreme Court and public policy

4.4 The protection of civil liberties and rights in the US today.

4.5 Race and rights in contemporary US politics

4.6 Interpretations and debates of the US Supreme Court and civil


Two essays, one on affirmative action and another on the supreme court

Supreme Court

It is the highest court in the US that has the responsibility to listen to cases of constitutional importance


The branch of government in charge of interpreting and applying the law in the US


The name given to a member of the Supreme Court in the US


The process where congress presents charges against an official in the government

Judicial Review

A power given to the Supreme Court to allow it to decide whether a law passed by Congress is constitutional

Stare Decisis

The concept that a judges judgment is bound by the decision made by other judges in the past. This is commonly referred to as precedent

Conservative justice

The idea that a judge makes decisions based on a conservative view of the constitution which leads to conservative policy outcomes

Liberal justice

The idea that a justice supports the liberal interpretation of the constitution which as a result leads to liberal policy outcomes.

Swing Justice

The idea that a justice votes both in a conservative and a liberal way depending on the case

Judicial activism

The idea that a court is likely to change the interpretation of the law in a way that it will have wide ranging effects on society

Judicial restraint

The idea that the court avoids changing the interpretation of the constitution in a way that changes the policy and therefore has an effect on society

Civil rights

Any right that is given to a person as a citizen. These often include the right to vote and equality

Affirmative action

The action by public institutions to positively discriminate in favour of a group that has historically been disadvantaged.

Imperial judiciary

The idea that the judicial branch is so powerful that other branches of government ineffectively conduct checks and balances

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Enables the individual to reflect on how the laws in the US helps/hinders the idea of civil rights for all its citizens. Allows the individual to be analytical in their approach to their work and use context when evaluating a piece of work

Create a supportive community:

Great focus is given to civil rights and the role of the judiciary in implementing the law to ensure a fair society. It allows for debate on current social issues which can then be incorporated into their work and view in society

Term 5: Democracy and Participation

5.1 Electoral systems in the USA.

5.1.1 Presidential elections and their significance.

• The main processes to elect a US president, including the

constitutional requirements, the invisible primary, primaries

and caucuses, the role of National Party Conventions and the

electoral college, and the resulting party system.

• The importance of incumbency on a president seeking a

second term.

5.1.2 Campaign finance.

• The role of campaign finance and the current legislation on

campaign finance, including McCain-Feingold reforms 2002

and Citizens United vs FEC 2010.


• progressive attitude on social and moral issues, including


• greater governmental intervention in the national economy

• government provision of social welfare.


• conservative attitude on social and moral issues

• more restricted governmental intervention in the national

economy while protecting American trade and jobs

• acceptance of social welfare but a preference for personal


Mock examination


The way the public chooses who represents them by voting


The mainly right wing party in the US


The mainly left wing party in the US

Presidential primary

The official way to vote for the presidential candidate for each party

Invisible primary

An informal process where candidates must win support and funding in order to become a candidate in the presidential primaries

Party convention

The official meeting for each party where delegates vote for the candidates that will represent their party in the presidential election.

Soft Money

Money spent indirectly to support a particular candidate's campaign

Hard money

Money that is donated directly to a political candidate


A political action committee that is created to donate money to a particular campaign by any organisation or institution

Super Pac

A super political action committee is an organisation that can spend money on their own campaigning for a cause of candidate they believe in, but who can not donate that money to a particular campaign

Campaign finance

A set of laws and regulations put in place to control the funding of political campaigns

Super Tuesday

A Tuesday during the campaign season when a large number of states hold their primaries


The concept where there are groups within individual parties that have similar ideological positions. E.g. Progressive Democrats, Moderate Democrats, Conservative Democrats

Interest groups

Any group whose aim is to influence policy in order to give an advantage to the people they represent


The way interest groups try to influence the options of the government or law makers

Grass roots

The part of an interest group that is made up by members of the public who work together to raise the status of an issue or cause

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Students will be able to understand what encourages participation in the political process in the US and compare it to that of the UK. They will also develop an understanding for the different parties in the US

Create a supportive community:

Students will be able to form discussions on political engagement on ways that this could be improved both globally (US in this case) but also locally.

US Constitution and Federalism: Term 2

1.1 The nature of the US Constitution.

• Vagueness of the document, codification and entrenchment.

• The constitutional framework (powers) of the US branches of


• The amendment process, including advantages and

disadvantages of the formal process.

1.2 The key features of the US Constitution (as listed below) and an

evaluation of their effectiveness today.

• Federalism.

• Separation of powers and checks and balances.

• Bipartisanship.

• Limited government.

1.3 The main characteristics of US federalism.

• The nature of the federal system of government and its

relationship with the states.

1.4 Interpretations and debates around the US Constitution and


• The extent of democracy within the US Constitution, its

strengths and weaknesses and its impact on the US

government today.

• The debates around the extent to which the USA remains

federal today

Two essays on the US constitution


A set of rules, principles and laws that shows how a state is governed and organised

The US Constitution

A document ratified by the founding fathers in 1789 that sets out how the politics will be organised in the US


Constitution is written down and all the laws can be found in that document


A feature of a codified constitution that relates to how rigid the laws are and the difficulty in amending such laws

The Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments of the US constitution which limits the powers of the government over individual personal liberties

Enumerated powers

Specific powers granted by the constitution to institutions. They will include the power to declare war or set taxes

Implied powers

Powers that are not written and defined explicitly in the constitution that are granted by some vague phrases in it

Checks and balances

The mechanism stated in the constitution that protects against one branch of the government from having excessive power or passing extreme laws

Separation of powers

The idea that each branch of government would consist of different individuals with strictly differentiated powers


Conducting politics which run along party lines and supported by one party.


Two parties working together on an issue/topic where they compromise usually to pass a bill

The legislative branch

Two house of congress elected by the voters

The executive branch

Branched made up by the President, Vice president, The cabinet and federal agencies

The judicial branch

Made up by the supreme court, the lower courts. Judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate


The idea or principle that central government from all other state governments who when unified make up the federal government


The transferring of power from central government to regional institutions


A form of democracy where different groups represent different interests and must compromise when making political decisions


The redrawing of electoral district boundaries to favour one party/candidate over another

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

It will inform the individual on the rule of law in the US and how the law is based around the constitution

Create a supportive community:

Students will appreciate how the US constitution is in place to protect the rights of all citizens both domestic and foreign that go to the US.