Democracy Around the World

AP Government and Politics

In a Pew survey of 38 countries* (see list below), of the following ways of governing a country, which is the most popular: Representative Democracy, Direct Democracy, Rule by Experts, Rule by a Strong Leader, Rule by the Military?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is most surprising in this data?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one political consequence of this data?

  6. Is this good news?

  7. If we had the data from 1937 (80 years ago, and on the eve of WWII) how do you imagine that data would compare to today's?

  8. How different do you think this data is going to be in 10 years?

  9. What percent of statistics are made up on the spot?

  10. Which of those five types of government would you say is more like the current government of the United States?

  11. Imagine the earth was under attack by Martians (I know they don't exist, bear with me). Explain whether you think that would make earth-people more or less democratic.

  12. American Democrats and Republicans don't always see eye to eye. However, if the typical American Democrat and the typical American Republican took this survey, how much do you believe their answers would differ?

  13. Explain the circumstance in which you believe that democracy is not the best form of government:

  14. Since the rule of POTUS Trump, would you say the US has become more or less democratic (with a small d)?

  15. This data is taken from citizens from different countries, of which some are democratic (Japan), somewhat democratic (Turkey) and non-democratic (Russia). How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of democratic countries?**

  16. How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of non-democratic countries?**

  17. How would the data differ if you only surveyed American citizens?

  18. How do you think education level impacts the survey data?**

  19. How do you imagine political ideology (left v right) impacts the survey data?**

  20. Explain whether you think that most people living in a non-democratic country are yearning to be free (in other words, do they secretly want to live in a democratic country)?

  21. Are you having a nice day?

  22. If you were in charge, would you allow every single person in the world who wanted to live in a democratic country to move to America?

  23. Imagine a democratic country elected non-experts (I know, it's hard to imagine!!!!) who ran their government very poorly, and then let's imagine a second country that was undemocratic, but ruled by experts who ran a very efficient and good government. Explain which of the two countries you would prefer to live in:

  24. Rank the 38 countries* from the chart below from most to least democratic. Which three would be at the top of the list (most democratic), which three would be at the bottom of the list, and where exactly would the U.S. under our current POTUS rank?

  25. You know, you should thank your teacher for giving you this cool class starter right now. They could be giving you a quiz or a test or a 5 paragraph essay or something like that but instead they are giving you this awesome information. So hey, why don't ya show them some love!

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on the state of democracy.

Action Extension

Think about one thing you could do to make your country more democratic and one thing you could do to make your country less democratic. Share your answer in class or online. And don't forget to thank your teacher!

The 38 Countries*

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Bonus Charts!!!!**

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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

Head of State v Head of Government

AP US Government and Politics

Is the US head of state also the head of government?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is a head of state?

  3. What is a head of government?

  4. Who is both the head of state and the head of government in the US of A?

  5. How rare is it for a country to have one person who is both head of state and head of government?

  6. How different is the US system from other countries?

  7. Explain whether you would advise the US to have a separate head of state and head of government?

  8. What is one political consequence of one person being both head of state and head of government?

  9. What provision makes the head of state the same as the head of government?

  10. Why do you think the framers did this?

  11. Is the head of government directly elected in most countries?

  12. Is the head of government directly elected in the US?

  13. Why do you think that is?

  14. What is one possible consequence of this?

  15. Is this a good thing?

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on government leadership.

Action Extension

Create or sign a petition on Change.org supporting a constitutional amendment decoupling the head of state from the head of government! Share your results with your member of congress, then share your results in class or online.

Bonus Chart

Foreign Aid

¿What country gets the most U.S. foreign aid per capita?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this map tell?

  3. What surprised you most about this map?

  4. Why do you think our foreign aid is given out this way?

  5. What is a consequence of our foreign aid being given out this way?

  6. Is this good news?

  7. What questions do you have about this information?

  8. Last year the U.S. gave out about $35 billion in foreign aid. In general, do you think the U.S. should give out less or more foreign aid?

  9. In the comments section, list one way you would alter this distribution of U.S. foreign aid?

Action Extension

Here's the list of the top five recipients of last year's $35 billion of U.S. foreign aid.

  • Israel: $3.1 billion

  • Egypt: $1.5 billion

  • Afghanistan: $1.1 billion

  • Jordan: $1.0 billion

  • Pakistan: $933 million

Make your own top five list of which countries you think should receive foreign aid and send it to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Voting Rates

¿How does the US voting rate compare to other OECD (wealthy) countries?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What questions does this chart raise for you?

  3. Explain whether you plan to vote after you turn 18?

  4. Why is the US voting rate so low?

  5. What is one consequence of such low US voting rates?

  6. What patterns do you see in voting rates across the world?

  7. What is one mechanism of the US electoral system that leads to such low voting rates?

  8. What is one thing the US government could do to increase voting rates?

  9. In the comments section, explain whether you think the US government should try to increase voting rates:

Action

Here's some things you can do with what you've learned:

  • Register to vote

  • Register others to vote

  • Figure out who to vote for. How do your beliefs align with the 2016 presidential candidates?

  • Volunteer for a candidate who you support like (R) John Kasich or (D)Martin O'Malley

  • Volunteer for an interest group whose goals you support

  • Create and put up a flyer on campus urging students to support a particular candidate

  • Create and put up a flyer on campus urging students to oppose a particular candidate

  • Make a voting guide with information about candidates’ positions on certain issues that are important to you

  • Update your facebook status saying who you would vote for and why

  • Follow your favorite candidate on Instagram

  • If you aren't old enough to vote, convince someone old enough to vote to vote the way you wish you could vote

  • Make a fake advertisement (video, print, digital ad) for your favorite candidate

  • We vote on Tuesday!!! Tuesday! Not a great day to get people out to the polls. Check out the Why Tuesday? website to take action on moving election day

  • Be a county poll worker at this year’s elections (it's a great service to your community and you'll get paid)

  • Make a 20 second video urging your fellow students to vote . Put a cat in your video. People love cats. Upload your video to YouTube and watch it go viral and change the outcome of the 2016 presidential election

  • Organize a mock election at your school

  • Add your own smart idea: