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Defining characteristics of the parliamentary system are the supremacy of the legislative branch within the three functions of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and blurring or merging of the executive and legislative functions.

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A market economy is a dynamic and flexible system for producing and distributing the goods and services that the people of a country need and want.

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The essence of democracy is majority rule, the making of binding decisions by a vote of more than one-half of all persons who participate in an election. However, constitutional democracy in our time requires majority rule with minority rights.

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A person who has liberty is free to make choices about what to do or what to say. A primary purpose of government in the United States and other constitutional democracies is to protect and promote the liberty of individuals.

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Liberalism is a theory of government that pertains to individuals’ personal and private rights to liberty.

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Justice is one of the main goals of democratic constitutions, along with the achievement of order, security, liberty, and the common good.

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Judicial review is the power of an independent judiciary, or courts of law, to determine whether the acts of other components of the government are in accordance with the constitution.

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The judicial component of government is independent in order to insulate its members from punitive or coercive actions by the legislative and executive departments of the government.

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In a constitutional democracy, the mass media—newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and websites—are for the most part privately owned, independent, and free of government control.

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Government is the institutional authority that rules a community of people. The primary purpose of government is to maintain order and stability so that people can live safely, productively, and happily.

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Modern federalism is the division of governmental powers between a central national government and provincial or state governments within the country. Powers granted exclusively to the central government are supreme.

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Equality in a constitutional democracy means equal justice under the law. No one is above or beyond the reach of the law, and no one is entitled to unfair advantages or subjected to unequal penalties based on the law.

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A primary defining characteristic of democracy is the regular occurrence of free, fair, competitive elections in which practically all the people of a country can vote to select their representatives in government.

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In a constitutional democracy, there is bound to be diversity among the people. It may be expressed as diversity in ideas and interests, diversity in social and political groups, diversity in religion, race, and ethnicity, and diversity in centers of power.

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Democracy in the governments of countries today is representative, meaning that the people rule indirectly through their elected public officials. Democracy today is also constitutional, meaning that government by the people’s representatives is both limited and empowered to protect equally and justly the rights of everyone in the country.

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Constitutionalism is a way of thinking about the relationship between the rulers and the ruled in a community. It combines two concepts, limited government and the rule of law, that permeate the constitution, a country’s framework for government.

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A constitution is the basic law and general plan of government or a people within a country. The purposes, powers, and limitations of government are prescribed in the constitution. It thus sets forth the way people are governed or ruled.

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The common good (sometimes called the public good) may refer to the collective welfare of the community. It also may refer to the individual welfare of each person in the community.

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Civil society is the network of voluntary associations, or non-governmental organizations, that are separate from the institutions of the government but subject to the rule of law. Apart from the government, civil society is a private domain that serves the public good.

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All democratic countries provide formal and informal opportunities for civic education, or teaching and learning about citizenship. Formal civic education is carried out through the curriculum of schools, and informal civic education occurs through the interaction of individuals in various societal organizations.

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Citizenship is the legal relationship between citizens and their government and country. Citizens owe their government loyalty, support, and service. The government owes the citizens the protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty, property, and equal justice under law.

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A citizen is a full and equal member of a political community, such as a country or nation-state. Such membership is a necessary condition for the establishment and maintenance of a democracy.

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Authority is the legitimate use of power by rulers over the individuals they rule. It is a government’s justification for exercising power over the people within its jurisdiction.

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Accountability means that the government in a democracy is responsible to the people for its actions. This responsibility is primarily ensured by periodic public elections through which the people choose their representatives in government.

Handout

In this lesson, students will explore the fundamental reasons for the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment. Students will engage in a simulation and identify the history and evolution of the confrontation clause.