American Empire?

US Government and Politics

In how many countries are U.S. troops present?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. How surprising do you think this information would be to the average American?

  4. What is one reason the U.S. has a military presence in so much of the world?

  5. What is one consequence of the U.S. having a military presence in so much of the world?

  6. Which of the countries where the US has a military presence was most surprising to you?

  7. What would be a good title for this map?

  8. What do you think this map would have looked like 116 years ago?

  9. How do you think this map will look different in 20 years?

  10. In the comments section, explain whether you believe this is good news or bad news?

  11. Who are some members of the U.S. government who make decisions about levels of troop deployment?

  12. Imagine you objected to this level of U.S. Involvement. Describe the most politically efficacious step A U.S. Citizen could take to change this:

Action Extension

Post a copy of this map on social media or show a copy of this map to five of your friends. Ask them to share their reaction with you and then share highlights or an overview of their reactions with your president.

Learning Extension

Read this interesting article about the American Empire.

Visual Extension

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No Vacation Nation

AP US Government and Politics

How many paid holidays and vacation days does the U.S. government mandate by law?

CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What was most surprising about this information?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think the US has such a low level of vacation time compared to all other wealthy nations?

  5. What is one consequence of not having any mandated paid vacation time?

  6. Overall, is this good or bad news?

  7. What about U.S. history or the U.S. political system help explain why we are so different in terms of time off from the rest of the wealthy world?

  8. If workers get paid time off, who pays for it?

  9. Do you consider countries like Norway, Germany, or Sweden, all which get over 25 paid days off a year, to be lazy or economically weak countries?

  10. What questions do you have about this chart and information?

  11. Describe the different ways liberals and  conservatives might react to this chart:

  12. In the comments section, Based on paid vacation time, explain which country from this list would you most like to live in:


Learning Extension

You can read the entire report on our non-vacation nation from the Center for Economic and Policy Research


Action Extension

Contact your congressional representative and let them know what you think about the fact that the U.S. is the only economically advanced nation that gets 0 paid vacation time.


Bonus Chart For Absolutely No Good Reason

AP US Government and Politics

Federal Government Spending as share of GDP

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of the GDP did the federal government spend in 2016?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your silly prediction?

  2. Would you be embarrassed to share your prediction with your most special friend?

  3. How surprised are you by the overall portion of the GDP that the federal government spends?

  4. You do know what GDP means, don’t you?

  5. Spending by what other levels of government are not included in this chart?

  6. How do you think this spending level compares to other advanced post-industrial countries like Switzerland, Japan, or New Zealand?

  7. What are two trends in spending you see in the chart?

  8. Explain the cause of one of those trends.

  9. What is a consequence of one of these trends?

  10. Based on the trends in the chart, what portion of GDP do you think the US government will be spending by 2028?

  11. How familiar are most Americans with the data from this chart?

  12. Currently, what is the biggest single expenditure from the US government?

  13. Why do you think that is?

  14. Donald Trump, in his budget outline, has proposed increases in defense spending (very light blue section of chart) and decreases in "other" spending (darkest blue section of chart) for things like the NEA, NASA, and the CPB. Do you support that idea?

  15. If you had to cut any one area of spending in this chart, explain which area it would be.

  16. Which areas in this chart are entitlement or mandatory spending, and cannot be simply cut by a new budget?

  17. Overall, is this chart good or bad news?

  18. What would the framers of the Constitution think about this chart, besides “what the heck is a social security?”

  19. Former Treasury official Peter Fisher once said, the federal government is basically “a gigantic insurance company,” albeit one with “a sideline business in national defense and homeland security.” Based on the data from the chart, does Fisher's assessment seem correct?

Learning Extension

Read this swell new Pew Report putting federal spending in perspective.

Action Extension

Contact the POTUS, or if you're not at Mar-a-Lago, go to his website to share your opinion of US federal spending and what he should do about it!

Visual Extension (at absolutely no additional cost to the federal government)!!!

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Aw, that's adorable.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

Paternity Leave Me Alone

How many total weeks of paid leave is mandated to new parents by the American federal government?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this?

  3. What is the big story that this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, is the only one on this chart to offer ZERO mandated paternal leave?

  5. Based only on family leave, would you rather live in a country which offered mandated paternity leave or a country which offered no mandatory parental leave?

  6. Of course, there are also no laws forbidding employers from offering paid parental leave. What kind of people then, get paid parental leave?

  7. What is one consequence of this?

  8. Explain whether you think it is better to leave decisions about parental leave to companies or whether this should be mandated by the government?

  9. What would a libertarian say about this?

  10. Do. you think private companies should be allowed to abuse workers or discriminate against them or should that be regulated by the government?

  11. Because of federalism, do you think that we have similar laws in each state regarding mandated paid parental leave?

  12. Explain whether the data from this chart is good news.

  13. In general, what is American public opinion regarding mandated paid parental leave?*

  14. How much does party identification impact Americans’ views on paternity leave?*

  15. How much does age impact Americans’ views on paternity leave?*

  16. How much does gender and income impact whether Americans actually take parental leave?*

  17. Americans making over $75,000 a year take, on average, TWICE as much paternity leave as Americans making under $30,000 a year. Describe how that impacts the American Dream and Equality of Opportunity.

  18. What about American political culture and values explains why we are the only modern post-industrial (rich) country that does NOT give any mandated paid paternity leave?

  19. What is one positive consequence of not having paid paternal leave?

  20. What is one negative consequence of not having paid paternal leave?

  21. Let’s say you wanted America to have a national policy of mandated paid parental leave. What House or Senate committees might have jurisdiction over this topic?

  22. Let’s say you wanted America to have a national policy of mandated paid parental leave. What interest groups might join you in your fight and how might they partner with you to make this policy happen?

  23. Imagine you wanted to change the rules of paternity leave in the US. What part of the US bureaucracy would be tasked with these sorts of rules?

  24. Explain how US federalism might complicate the issue of a universal paternity leave from the US government?

  25. In the comments section below, explain whether you personally think the US should grant mandated paid leave to mothers or fathers.

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Read this article from The Week about how the US ended up with the worst maternity leave laws on earth.

Action Extension

Contact your US Senator and share your opinion about paid paternity leave.

Our World in Data Extension


Our Animals in Clothing Extension

 

Party Conventional Wisdom

The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Charlotte, NC (whoot, whoot). Over the past century, what U.S. city has been the home to the most political party conventions?

Infographic: Democrats Pick Milwaukee for 2020 National Convention | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
  1. How accurate was your ridiculous prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this silly map?

  3. In your opinion, what is the most important American city that has never had a convention? (Pro-tip: Orlando is not really that important).

  4. Why do you think Chicago is the city that has had the most conventions? (Windy City- coincidence???? Just Sayin’)!

  5. Why do you think the Democrats are holding their 2020 nominating convention in Wisconsin, a state Obama won in 2008 and 2012?

  6. Why do you think the Republicans are holding their 2020 nominating convention in (whoot! Whoot!) North Carolina (N. Cakalacky)?

  7. Since 2008, what kind of state has hosted every national political convention?*

  8. What explains that trend?

  9. Why do we have national political party conventions, anyway?

  10. And what happens at National Conventions?

  11. Now that you have read, internalized, and memorized Federalist No. 10 and are an expert on James Madison (163 centimeters tall - five foot four inches) and his feelings towards factions, explain what Madison would have thought about party conventions.

  12. If you were the head of the Democratic National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention.

  13. If you were the head of the Republican National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention. (Pro tip: you’re not).

  14. Based on the silly map above, describe any regional differences in the location of party conventions for the two major parties.

  15. Explain whether you think national nominating conventions increase or decrease democracy.

  16. Explain whether independents get a national party convention?

  17. How are delegates to conventions decided, anyhow?

  18. What is it about Cleveland that the Democratic Party hates so much that they have never had a convention there?????

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Listen to this insane Here and Now report. *Warning: Graphic language. The following NPR report may not be suitable for all listeners.

Action Extension

Did you know that mere mortals like you can attend a national party convention?!?! Contact your favorite political party and ask them what you need to do to attend the 2020 national party convention. You might just be surprised by what you learn. Share their response in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

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Our Animals in Clothing Extension


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A Totally Random and Unrelated Visual Extension

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