British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

U.S. Government - How It Works (6 Parts)

Synopsis
This six-part series introduces key aspects of U.S. government and public policy. Using a combination of graphics, video footage and interviews with legal and political scholars, each episode exploress a particular dimension of American democracy while equipping students to candidly discuss political issues. Individual parts cover: The Legislative Branch (22160), The Executive Branch (22161), The Judicial Branch (22162), The Constitution and Foundations of Government (22163), Elections and Political Parties (22164), Citizenship and Civic Responsibilities (22165).
Language
English
Country
United States
Year of release
2010
Year of production
2010
Subjects
History; Law; Politics & government
Keywords
elections; government; legislation; United States of America; political history

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£59.00 each part;£299.00 series
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
6 x 26 minutes
Year
2010

Sections

Title
Citizenship and Civic Responsibilities
Synopsis
Is citizenship all about personal freedom and the rights of the individual? Or should the concept of the good citizen take precedence, underscoring the duties and contributions an individual owes to society? Where does immigration fit in? This programme helps students sift through various meanings of citizenship and the historical forces that have shaped it. With energetic visuals, expert interviews, and examples from past political struggles, the video explores citizen rights as given in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights; iterations of federal immigration law through the years; the history of Ellis Island as a conduit into citizenship; civic responsibilities and active citizenship; civil liberties and their importance; equal protection under the law.
Duration
26 mins

Title
Elections and Political Parties
Synopsis
A government of the people, by the people, and for the people isn’t possible without the laborious process of nominating and electing candidates, in a manner fair and free to all citizens. How did this process begin and how has it evolved over the course of American history? Does it even remotely resemble - for better or for worse - the manner in which its Founding Fathers gained high office? Using the 2000 election of George W. Bush and the uncertainties it exposed in the American electoral process as a departure point, this programme examines how political parties were started, and why; methods and campaigns that were launched to elect different Presidents to office; and the history of voting and the Constitutional amendments that made voting possible for all Americans.
Duration
26 mins

Title
Constitution and Foundations of Government, The
Synopsis
Why do written documents figure so prominently in the early history of the United States? There are plenty of explanations, but they all boil down to the philosophical ideas that drove the American colonies to declare their independence - and a profound awareness that those ideas should be inseparable from the rule of law. This programme explores the origins, outbreak and outcome of the American Revolution, the major political texts which grew out of that struggle, and their ongoing significance today. Topics include the heavy British taxation that helped spark the Revolution; the spirit and structure of the Declaration of Independence; the short-lived Articles of Confederation; the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; and their implications for U.S. government as we know it today.
Duration
26 mins

Title
Executive Branch, The
Synopsis
Many equate it with the Presidency, but the Executive branch of the U.S. government is far more complex than that. Containing departments and agencies that directly affect the health, safety, security, and prosperity of the American public, the Executive branch is an administrative mountain with the White House at its peak. This programme expands on that description, familiarising students with the most visible arm of U.S. leadership and its evolution through the years. Topics include the President’s roles as head of state, head of government, chief executive, and commander-in-chief; his or her responsibility to fill federal positions; relationships between the Executive branch and the other two branches, including the appointment of judges and the power to veto legislation. Selected presidents, from Washington to Lincoln to Obama, are concisely profiled.
Duration
26 mins

Title
Judicial Branch, The
Synopsis
On September 24th, 1789 the First United States Congress established the basic structure of the Federal Judiciary. With this act, the American legal system became an entity entwined with the fundamental notions of democracy and fair government, equal in power and authority to the Executive and Legislative branches. This programme guides viewers through the history of the Judiciary and illustrates how it works in theory and practice. Topics include the main purposes of the Judicial branch - specifically, interpreting the law, determining if laws are unconstitutional, and applying the law to individual cases; the various divisions and levels of courts, such as lower, appellate, and specialised courts; the unique powers of the Supreme Court; summaries of famous Supreme Court cases.
Duration
26 mins

Title
Legislative Branch, The
Synopsis
Although the office of the President personifies American leadership, the Legislative branch was actually designed to hold at least as much power as the Executive, if not more. Many of its Founding Fathers envisioned Congress as the primary governing body, given its closeness, politically speaking, to the people. This programme examines the origins, history, and activities of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Topics include the roots of today’s legislative branch in the Continental Congress of the Revolutionary period; the reasons why a bicameral legislature was ultimately deemed necessary; the unique characteristics of both legislative chambers; the specific functions of Congress, from writing and passing bills to ratifying treaties to declaring war.
Duration
26 mins

Production Company

Name

Films for the Humanities & Sciences

Email
custserv.@films.com
Web
http://ffh.films.com/ External site opens in new window
Fax
+1 609 671 0266
Address
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor
New York
NY 10001
USA
Notes
Films for the Humanities & Sciences is part of the US-based Films Media Group and specialises in selling programmes aimed at the HE and FE education and training market. The collection has thousands of titles and a range of separate subject catalogues is available in pdf format at http://ffh.films.com/landing.aspx?show=Catalogs/catalog_FFH.htm. Sale on video/DVD or online viewing via the Films on Demand service.

Distributor

Name

Viewtech Educational Media

Contact
Lynda Morrell
Notes
NB. Viewtech ceased trading in 2014 and the company’s products are no longer in distribution For over 30 years Viewtech distributed programmes from leading specialist educational producers from around the world and since 2002 it included titles previously distributed in the UK by Educational Media Film & Video. The extensive collection covered all subjects within the primary and secondary curriculum and some materials, particularly in the areas of study skills and business, are applicable to further/higher education.

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