Humanities 8 A

How can a study of government and governmental systems increase my appreciation of liberty and help me preserve and expand the liberty in my country?

Why Take This Course?

Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, [are] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties… – John Adams

In Humanities 8, delve into US History and politics.

In Humanities 8, delve into US History and politics.

Though liberty is almost universally desired, as Adams points out, the principles behind securing and maintaining liberty are not always obvious. It takes wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, to sustain freedom. The Founding generation understood these principles and created the most liberated country in the history of the world. Through simulation, biographies, original documents, and debate, in this Middle School Humanities course we learn the principles of liberty. We go in-depth in an exploration of the United States government, and the mechanics and purposes behind each branch created.

Expedition: US Government and Elections

In this expedition we deepen their knowledge of US politics and history. We study current events, and basic economic principles. The semester culminates as we prepare and present a self-selected topic in a “Situation Room” simulation scenario. We incorporate knowledge we have gained throughout the term into our presentations, and live presentations are open for parents and invited guests to observe.

Course Framework

Unit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4Unit 5
What principles are at the root of American liberty?What powers are given to the Executive Branch in The Constitution?What powers are given to the Legislative Branch in The Constitution of the United States?What powers are given to the Legislative Branch in The Constitution of the United States?In what ways can I help my nation maintain the liberty the Founders sacrificed to secure for me?
How will working hard in this course deepen my ability to think for myself?Which candidate in our class election best represents what I believe is right?What actions will I take in the simulation as a member of the Legislative Branch?What are some of the impactful cases that have hit the Supreme Court, and how have they changed our nation? How can I do a great job in my Situation Room presentation?
Why is having a balance in the 7 sectors of society and their institutions critical to maintaining liberty?How can I make an excellent campaign video that will inspire citizens of my classroom to vote for me?Are people collaborating and working together in the Legislative Simulation or shutting down?How can I make the Judicial Simulation a great learning experience?Why is it important to stay current on events going on around the world?
What did I learn from reading The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States and its amendments?How do diplomatic, intelligence and military forces work together under the President to protect AmericansWhat did I learn from watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?What are the dynamics of the Supreme Court from inside a trial?What can I do when government oversteps its bounds?

Texts for Live Course

Natalie Bober

Andrew Allison

Andrew Allison

Andrew Allison

David McCullough
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution, OR

The Real Thomas Jefferson, OR

The Real George Washington, OR

The Real Benjamin Franklin, OR

Richard MayburyWhatever Happened to Justice
Hamilton, Madison and JayFederalist Papers (selected - online)
Henry ThoreauCivil Disobedience (selected portions - online)

Texts & Materials for the Self-Paced Version

  • Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury
  • The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison and Jay

AND one of the following:

  • Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie Bober
  • The Real Thomas Jefferson by Andrew Allison
  • The Real George Washington by Andrew Allison
  • The Real Benjamin Franklin by Andrew Allison
  • 1776 by David McCullough


  • Recommended Grade: 8th
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Versions & Estimated Weekly Hours: Classic: 6 Hours / Honors: 8 Hours
  • Format: Live/Self-Paced
  • Credits: 0.5
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