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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Foreign Aid

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of the federal budget does the US spend on foreign aid?

WOW!

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What's the big story here?

  4. Why do you think the U.S. spends such a small portion of its budget on foreign aid?

  5. What is one consequence of spending such a small portion of our budget on foreign aid?

  6. Is this information good news or bad news?

  7. What exactly is foreign aid anyway, and where do you think most of this foreign aid goes?*

  8. What % of our budget do you think the average American thinks we spend on foreign aid?**

  9. Why do you think there's such a huge divide in what Americans think we spend and what we actually spend?

  10. What portion of US GDP do you think we spend on foreign aid?***

  11. If you were emperor/empress/emprex or czar/czarina/czar-x of America what percent of our budget would you spend on foreign aid?

  12. List three members of the US government who play a major role in formulating foreign aid spending and describe their role.

  13. In April, the State Department announced that it was halting all U.S. foreign aid going to the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador at the direction of President Donald Trump who said that the countries had done too little for the U.S. How much aid do those countries get?*

  14. In the comments section below, express your opinion of what portion of our budget we should spend on foreign aid: 

  15. Explain the opinion the following would probably have regarding foreign aid:

  • traditional US conservative

  • traditional US liberal

  • Anti-Federalist

  • Staunch Trump supporter

  • Staunch Bernie Sanders supporter

Learning Extension

I've put together an entire fantabulous lesson on foreign aid. Check it out and play our foreign aid party game at home!

Action Extension

Take our foreign aid quiz and then share it with your friends/fans/followers on facebook, Twitter, Myspace (kidding), Snapchat, or Instagram. After your "friends" answer what portion of the US budget they think we spend on foreign aid, share the actual amount and watch them freak out! Share your results in class or online.

Visual Extension*

Infographic: Where U.S. Foreign Aid is Going | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
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**

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***

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Money in the Tank

Do most Americans think that the amount of money the U.S. spends on defense is too much, too little, or just about right?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Identify one trend from the chart.

  3. Explain the cause of that trend.

  4. What is one consequence of that trend?

  5. If most Americans believe that we spend too much money on Defense, why did Donald Trump just request a nearly 5% increase in U.S. defense spending?

  6. How much money did Donald Trump request for the 2019 defense budget?*

  7. How do you think that compares to what the average American thinks the U.S. spends on the military?

  8. How much do you think partisanship impacts opinion about defense spending? (see below)

  9. Explain your opinion about the appropriate level of American defense spending.

  10. Describe the parts of the government that are involved in setting defense spending budgets.

  11. What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution say about the president’s military role?

  12. What does Article I of the U.S. Constitution say about the role of the Congress in defense?

  13. Explain whether a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist would be more likely to support a strong federal military.

  14. Explain what position the following ideologies would most likely take regarding the 2019 military budget proposal:

  • Socialist

  • Liberal

  • Conservative

  • Libertarian

*$727 billion

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read the Gallup report on Americans’ views on defense spending.

Action Extension

Contact your member of congress and let them know what you think about our nation’s current level of defense spending?

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

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Our Totally Random Chart that doesn’t really fit Anywhere Extension

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Hey Big Military Spender

What percent of the world's military spending belongs to the United States?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells about U.S. military spending?

  4. Is that a good thing/Happy Story?

  5. Why do you think we spend so much on the military?

  6. What is one consequence of America's military budget?

  7. Based on the data in the chart, How many of the top military spending nations are our allies?

  8. What question would you like answered about the chart?

  9. Imagine that you were the head of the Office of Management and Budget, (You down with OMB?) responsible for formulating the President’s overall budget. What information that is NOT provided in the chart would you like to know to help you make better budgeting decisions?

  10. Military spending has increased under POTUS Trump. Explain the connection between the base of POTUS Trump's electoral coalition and this increase in military spending.

  11. What branches of government are involved in setting the budget?

  12. What specific departments, agencies, and offices in the US government would be involved in making recommendations on military spending.

  13. Imagine a scenario in which POTUS Trump decides to slash military spending by 10%. Describe the methods that pro-military interest groups could use to try to counter his decision.

  14. According to the U.S. Constitution What specific military powers does the POTUS have?

  15. When you look at military spending as a portion of GDP how does the US compare to other countries?

  16. When you look at projected Military spending (below*), what conclusions can you draw about America's future role as world superpower?

  17. How likely is it that the United States will use its military might against Venezuela?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out this wicked cool global military data from data daddy himself, Max Roser. ANd check out his interactive military spending chart below.

Action Extension.

Think about how you could best influence American budget priorities and spending and then check out this ACTION page from the National Priorities Project. Whatever your opinion is regarding military spending, share your idea of the most efficacious way to influence American military spending in class and online.

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 Really Random extension

Foreign Policy First

What is the number one foreign policy priority for Americans?

  1. How accurate was your silly prediction? Or - How silly was your accurate prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell about American foreign policy priorities?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is a consequence of this?

  5. What story does this chart tell about political polarization in America?

  6. Why is there such a high level of political polarization in the US?

  7. What is one consequence of this high level of political polarization on U.S. foreign policy?

  8. In general, do you think Americans worry more about domestic or foreign policy?

  9. In general, do you think American politicians worry more about domestic or foreign policy?

  10. If you were the president and you saw this huge gap in what foreign policy issues are important to Democrats and Republicans what would you do about it? How would you lead?

  11. Can you think of a time inAmerican hisotry where people, regarddless of their party afiliation, agreed on foreign policy priorites? I can…what time can you think of?

  12. You may have noticed the President Obama undid many of the George W. Bush foreign policies that Democrats found most unsettling (Guantanamo). You may have also noticed that Donald Trump undid many of the Obama foreign policies that Republicans most disliked (Iran treaty). What do you predict will happen in terms of undoing foreign policy when Joe Biden/Nikki Haley/Dwayne “The POTUS” Johnson/__________ becomes our next president?

  13. What does this general undoing of the predecessor’s policy do for the coherence of American foreign policy and for the global strength of America.

  14. Does this ping-pong undoing of American foreign policy empower or disempower the people who actually carry out that policy in the US government?

  15. Who are some of the top presidential advisors or members of cabinet who play a role in shaping and executing foreign policy?

  16. Claim: foreign policy making is a non-democratic process. Respond to this claim with at least two pieces of evidence or reasons to support your answer.

  17. Why do you think Democrats are so concerned about climate change, and why are Republicans so worried about illegal immigration? And if we could prove that illegal immigrants were causing climate change, would that be something we could all agree on?

  18. According to the chart, what foreign policy issues do Democrats and Republicans most agree on and what do they most disagree on?

  19. Imagine that you thought the American government was making huge mistakes in creating and implementing foreign policy. What would be an effective way for a young citizen to try to influence American foreign policy?

  20. Describe what power the U.S. Congress has in terms of foreign policy making.

  21. If you were asked to list the ten most important foreign policy issues to America, what would your list look like?

  22. How does age impact foreign policy priorities?*

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Quick, before we elect a new president/foreign policy, take a look at this Pew story on foreign policy priorities.

Action Extension

Family time! Ask ten folks to rank the biggest foreign threats to America. Share the results of your survey in class or online.

Extended Therapy Pet Extension

This must be photoshopped !!!!!! Nope.

This must be photoshopped !!!!!! Nope.



Life During Wartime

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of your lifetime has the United States spent at war?

Washington Post

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this chart?

  3. How different would the answer be for your parents?

  4. List two reasons the US has been at war so frequently during your lifetime?

  5. What are two consequences of the US being at war so much?

  6. Which of these wars have we won and which have we lost?

  7. How has US warfare personally affected you?

  8. What members of the White House and the executive branch are involved in planning and executing wars?

  9. What would the typical US Republican and Democrat have to say about the % of the last half century the US has spent at war?

  10. We currently have a volunteer military - in which no Americans presently are forced to serve. If we abandoned this system, and instead, EVERY American had to serve and fight in the US military, how would that impact our foreign and military policy and the frequency of warfare?

  11. Is the investment in our current warfare worth the cost in lives, money, and international standing?

  12. If you were born after 2000 (you probably were) you've never lived in a country that was NOT at war. How has that impacted you and your generation?

  13. Do you believe that POTUS trump is likely to continue to keep us in a perpetual state of warfare?

  14. What is the longest war America has ever fought?

  15. What do you imagine the future of the US and war will be for the next 25 years?

  16. In the comments section, explain which of the wars we have waged during your lifetime have been worth fighting:


Learning Extension

Read the Washington Post article about our life during wartime.


Action Extension

Ask five friends what portion of their lives have been spent during wartime, then share this chart with them. See how their prediction compares to yours. As a class, copy and post this chart on the wall of the school hallway. Leave a blank space on the poster for students to comment.


Bonus Charts

US bff?

AP Government and Politics

Of all the world's countries, which has the least favorable view of the U.S.?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising is this information?

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

  4. What are two things that most of the countries that dislike the U.S. have in common?

  5. Why do you think these critics dislike the U.S. so much?

  6. What is a consequence of having so many countries dislike the U.S. so much?

  7. Do the views of the citizens of a country always translate into the policies and positions of the governments of their countries?

  8. Why do you think that the "Top Ten Fans" countries like the US so much?

  9. Now that Donald Trump is president how do you think this list and these attitudes might change?

  10. How does the information from this chart affect U.S. foreign policy?

  11. It's not surprising that Israel and South Korea like the U.S., but which of the "Top 10 Fans of the U.S." countries surprised you most?

  12. Many of the countries that dislike the U.S. the most are America's allies. In the comments section, explain how they could be our allies and dislike us at the same time:


Learning Extension

Read the 2015 Pew Global Attitudes Report to find out more about global attitudes towards the U.S.

 


Action Extension

Last summer, as I traveled around Turkey and Greece, I tried to be a good ambassador for the U.S. Think of a way an American student could be a good ambassador without even leaving home. Become an e-pal with a student from one of the Top Ten Critic Countries. 


Bonus Map & Bonus Question

¿Why does everybody hate New Jersey?

United Nations

AP Government and Politics

What percentage of Americans have an unfavorable view of the United Nations?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. I find it interesting that about 31% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the United Nations and about that same number approve of the job President Trump is doing. Are they the same people? Explain the connection between these numbers:

  4. Take our online survey about the U.N. and then explain why you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the United Nations:

  5. What exactly does the UN do and that related to the United States?

  6. Why do you think that almost 2/3 of Americans have a favorable view of the U.N.?

  7. What is one consequence of such high American support for the U.N.?

  8. How do you think partisanship impacts opinion of the U.N.? (see above chart).

  9. How have partisan opinions on the U.N. changed over time?

  10. Why do you think Democrats and Republicans have such different views on the U.N.?

  11. Who are some of the most important government officials in the U.S. government who make policy relating to the U.N.? 

  12. How much money does the U.S. contribute the the United Nations annually and what does it get for that investment?

  13. How do you think American attitudes about the United Nations compare to other countries?*

  14. How do you imagine the following people feel about the U.N.?

  • Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

  • A Fox News anchor

  • A high ranking civil servant working in the U.S. State department

  • A journalist for the Huffington Post

  • A strong supporter of multilateralism

  • A strong supporter of unilateralism

  • Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea. Also known as "Rocket Man" by Donald Trump but not Elton John

  • President Donald Trump

  • President Barack Obama

  • An unemployed 58 year old male heterosexual factory worker in Troy, Michigan

  • A fully employed female graphic designer in Portland, Oregon

Learning Extension

Read the Pew report on attitudes towards the United Nations. And just for kicks, watch President Donald J. Trump's entire United Nations speech.

Action Extension

Contact the U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley and let her know what you think of the UN.

Bonus Chart*

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The only thing we have to fear is...!

How did the average American answer the following question: "How worried are you that you or someone in your family will be a victim of terrorism?"

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. The answer to this question has changed dramatically over the past year and a half. Why do you think that is?

  4. List any events or issues over the past year and a half that may contribute to these changes?

  5. What is one consequence of the trend you see in the chart?

  6. If the trends from this chart were to continue, what do you think these numbers will look like in 4 years?

  7. How worried are you that you or someone in your family will be a victim of terrorism?

  8. Explain your answer:

  9. How much do you think the data from this chart explains the outcome of the 2016 presidential election?

  10. How different do you think the answer to this question is for Democrats and Republicans?*

  11. Currently, do you think America is more the home of the brave or the home of the fearful?

  12. What are some US government policies that are a consequence of Americans' fear of terrorism?

  13. If you were POTUS what steps would you take to calm American fears.

  14. Explain whether you think the POTUS is trying to calm American fears more, or fan the flames of American fears?

  15. In his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," What the heck does that mean and do you agree with FDR?

  16. Be creative! If Donald J Trump had a quote about fear what do you think it would be?


Learning Extension

Check out these great PRRI charts about terrorism and other American fears.


Action Extension

Contact the White House to advise the president of one thing he could to to calm American fears:


Bonus Charts*


And here's a bonus video clip of FDR.

Immigration in the Nation

In your state, what is the most commonly held job by immigrants?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this map tell?

  3. What most surprised you about this information?

  4. How many first generation immigrants do you know?

  5. Is the information in this map good news or bad news?

  6. How different do you think this map would have been a century ago?

  7. Which state's data is the most similar to what you expected?

  8. Which state's data is the least similar to what you expected?

  9. Based on this map, what generalizations can you make about immigrant jobs in America.

  10. Why do immigrants come all the way to our county for these jobs which are generally low-pay and low-prestige?

  11. Explain how the sorts of jobs depicted in the map being held by immigrants impacts American workers.

  12. Explain how the data from this map impacted the 2016 presidential election.

  13. Describe the story of your family's immigration to the US?

  14. If Donald Trump had his way & the US erected an impassable border fence & then evicted all the undocumented aliens, how would our country be different?

  15. In the comments section below, advise an immigrant about whether they should move to the US or not:


Learning Extension

Read the NY Times story, Losing hope in the U.S., Migrants Making Icy Crossing to Canada.


Action Extension

Everyone has a different story, but whether it was crossing the Bering Strait on foot, surviving the Middle Passage in the belly of a slave ship, slipping across the Sonoran Desert at night, or steaming the Atlantic from Liverpool, at some point, everyone's family immigrated to the US. Talk to your parents and relatives to find out more about your family's immigration story. Share the details of your immigration story online or in class.