A Curriculum on American Government
Dear Friends, Once again we come to a special month in the history of the United States. During this month we will celebrate 210 years since the signing of the U. S. Constitution. To accompany this celebration, NCCS is pleased to announce the completion of a major educational project we have been working on for several years.
"But Do You Have a Curriculum?"As we have visited with thousands of people across this land and encouraged hundreds of teachers of both adults and youth to include in their history studies the story of the Founding Fathers, they would usually ask something like, "But do you have this material in curriculum format, with reading assignments, quizzes, projects, and examinations?" Until this month, we were able to answer only that we were working on it, but now at last we can say, "Yes, we have it!" NCCS is announcing this month the completion of the study course entitled "American Government and U. S. Constitution, Part I, The Five Thousand Year Leap". It is an in-depth curriculum teaching the Twenty-eight Principles of Liberty: Ideas which are changing the world. This teaching curriculum is designed for schools - public, private, and home. It contains: A textbook, suggested course schedule, teaching objectives for each lesson, reading assignments, quizzes, examinations, and actual lesson presentations in either audio or video tape format. We have even included suggested course requirements and grading standards. Let me tell you how this project came about.
The Publication of a Monumental BookWhen Dr. W. Cleon Skousen published The Five Thousand Year Leap in 1981, I was fortunate enough to receive one of the first copies right off the press. I had heard about the project, which lasted actually several decades, and was most anxious to see the result. Little did I know how much it's reading would be a life-changing experience for me. As I read the text, I immediately noticed something special about the book. Very easy to read, it seemed to bring the confusion of politics into clear focus. Dr. Skousen has said many times that the Founders' success formula would solve nearly every problem we have in America today. When one studies these principles one by one, he cannot help exclaiming, "This is right, this is all true, this is really what we should be doing!." It gives one a feeling of confidence in today's confused world. I became so excited about the principles in this book that I determined others need to feel the enthusiasm of these foundational principles of freedom. Since 1981, I have traveled not only my own state, but into nearly every state in the union teaching these principles. I found it does for others what it did for me. I have seen state legislators turn on to these principles, I have seen ministers recognize these principles as godly, I have seen citizens from all walks of life recognize common ground with the Founders through these Principles of Liberty.
Eager Students in the Rising GenerationAs was mentioned in earlier letters, I have particularly seen the youth of the rising generation pick up on these principles. I have grown to love to teach these to young people. They seem to be able to easily recognize the hypocrisy of many situations in public life today and they are searching for answers. There is no greater reward a teacher can have than to see his students come alive to the freedom story and begin to identify with and think like America's Founding Fathers. As they do, they begin to ask, "Why are we not doing this today?" They also carry the feeling of these principles into their homes. I have had many parents express to me that they have never had such interesting and informative family discussions since their high school student began telling what he or she was learning about the Founding Fathers. Young people seem to have peeked interest in current events when approached in the right way. Not only are they interested, they are able to dissect the situation and describe the correct solution to many problems which exist in America today. Is there any more important subject to have our young people learn in our time than that of being able to restore and preserve our liberty? I think not. As Cicero said, there is something godly about this endeavor.
A Study of Correct Principles Applies to All HistoryThis curriculum is a study course which will help students develop a firm foundation for the study of all history. Once a student has a working knowledge of the only correct and proven principles for freedom, prosperity, and peace, then other history classes can be taught from a whole different perspective. American History, for example, becomes a study of how the Untied States, throughout its 200 plus years, has either supported the principles of liberty and prospered, or how we have violated these principles and suffered. A skillful teacher can use the history and events of our own country to reinforce the value of the 28 Principles of Liberty. I have seen young people divide up United States history into 20 periods of time, relate events in each period to the principles, and then describe to the class how the adherence to or departing from correct principles has changed the course of American history. Also, World History can be taught in terms of mankind's struggle for freedom. Once the ideal form of government has been studied and the principles learned, one can evaluate other countries throughout history and analyze the causes of their successes and failures. Judging from our most recent experience this is a study course which is loved by high school students, supported by parents, sought after by lawmakers, and endorsed by citizens across the nation.
Learning to Think Like the Founding FathersCan any other knowledge be more helpful to the rising generation in America today? America desperately needs better and stronger leaders. We need leaders who know correct answers. I believe this course is a giant step forward in preparing such leaders. Any teacher who catches the vision of this work must receive our encouragement and support. I agree with Benjamin Franklin who said any teacher who has recognized within himself the talent to teach young people, "is as strongly called as if he heard a voice from heaven."
Curriculum Outline and Suggested Class ScheduleThe course American Government and U.S. Constitution has two parts. Part I is the present study and is entitled "The Five Thousand Year Leap - The Twenty Eight Principles of Liberty". It contains 27 lessons. Each lesson could extend over 1 to 3 class periods depending on the length of each class. Part II is entitled The Making of America. It will contain approximately 43 lessons. Together the entire course is 70 lessons, however, each part can stand on its own if desired. In testing this curriculum it has been found ideal to have a block of time, say one hour and forty-five minutes (1 and ¾ hours) for each class period containing one lesson. Some schools have the option of such scheduling. In this case, the complete course (Parts I and II) can be taught in one semester. If, however, such flexibility is not available and a teacher has only 50 or 55 minutes per class period, then each lesson and its accompanying activities would have to be spread over two periods and it would necessitate a complete school year to finish.
Lesson PresentationsWe, at NCCS, desire to make it as easy and practical as possible to conduct these series of lessons. We have, therefore, developed three options:
- The teacherfollows the outline and the lesson objectives, becomes so conversant with the material that he can conduct a class discussion himself as he skillfully teaches these concepts. This, of course, is always the preferred method. A live teacher/presenter is always the best for many reasons.
- The material may be presented in audio tapeformat which is taken directly off the video tape. This may be preferred because of cost and if the teacher is unfamiliar with the material. A textbook is required to follow the taped discussion.
- We have made video tapesavailable of every lesson in this course. This, of course, is preferred in a large class setting where the teacher is not comfortable with the material. Also, many human interest stories and insights are included in the taped lesson presentations which may be helpful in understanding the material. Once again, a textbook is required to follow the taped discussion.
A Sampling of Lesson ObjectivesEach lesson has several objectives which the students must be able to know or discuss in order to successfully go on to the next lesson. As you read through each objective, imagine what it would be like if many American youth and adults were to be conversant with these concepts.
- Tell of the miraculous effect of the "28 great ideas" upon the United States, as described by President George Washington.
- Give two specific warnings from the Founders to prevent the government from moving to the political left toward tyranny.
- Name several concepts in our American system of government that have their basis in natural law.
- What was the counsel of James Madison, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin concerning the need for future generations to maintain virtue and morality?
- Describe the founders' efforts to prevent public offices from becoming monetary attractions.
- Ideally, how should minorities cross the "culture gap" and become accepted into society?
- What are the natural results of a government assuming the authority to take from the "haves" and give to the "have nots"?
- What is an unalienable right? What is a vested right?
- How do unalienable duties relate to unalienable rights in both public and private arenas? Give some examples.
- At what point are the people justified in altering or abolishing their government?
- What is a democracy? Why does democracy always end in tyranny?
- Why will the Constitution never be obsolete or old-fashioned?
- Why is an attack on private property rights actually an attack on life itself?
- Identify four areas where, according to the founders and Adam Smith, government can legitimately intervene in the economy.
- How did James Madison describe the distribution of powers between the national and state governments?
- What did Washington say about the advisability of classifying foreign nations as friends or enemies?
- What is the responsibility of children to their parents? Does it have roots in natural law?
- What fundamental principles have U.S. political leaders violated in the process of accumulating today's massive national debt?
- Can you provide evidence that the founders regarded themselves and their countrymen as master servants rather than a master race?