Instructions for operating the collapsible panels if you are are a screen-reader/keyboard user
Skip to main content
Indiana University

Introduction Navigation Bar



There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education.
In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race.1

These words, spoken many decades ago by former president John F. Kennedy, are still foundational to sustaining our constitutional democracy. Effective and responsible participation in a democracy requires the acquisition of knowledge and the development of intellectual and participatory skills.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.”2 As a student enrolled in this government course you will be preparing to become a well-informed citizen; ready to participate fully in our political system, which is a reflection of our constitutional democracy.

The textbook, Magruder’s American Government, in combination with the lessons will give you the opportunity to enhance and support your skills in critical and creative thinking and problem solving. You will also evaluate and critically analyze historic and current issues. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge by completing a variety of assignments.

In his famous Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln described his vision of democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The democracy that our Founding Fathers established and Lincoln echoed decades later can only be sustained by an educated population. You and other independent-study students are the bedrock of our future.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the word extra. I encourage you to be an extraordinary student!

1Quoted in U.S. Department of Education, National Standards for Civics and Government (Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic Education, 1994), p. I.
2 Ibid. p. V.