International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Political Spectrum: Teaching about American Political Ideologies and Increasing Civic Participation
Dr. James Moore

One of the most important aspects of American politics is the profound philosophical differences among liberals, conservatives, and moderates regarding human nature, the proper role and scope of government, and the nature of a moral and civil society. Unfortunately, research demonstrates that many Americans, especially K-12 students, lack a basic understanding of American political ideologies and how these ideologies impact our political, economic, and social policies and laws. This is untenable in a pluralistic democracy that requires and educated and active citizenry to function in an effective and just manner. Moreover, contemporary American politics is fraught with incivility and bitter partisan politics that hinders our ability to serve the public good and national security interests. This article will briefly examine the major ideological differences between liberals and conservatives and suggests methods and activities that can be implemented in social studies classrooms to improve knowledge, stimulate thought, and encourage active participation.

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