U.S. Government

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American Politics: Tracking U.S. Government, Political Parties, Elections and Political News

The Web is the most efficient source for current information about domestic and international politics. This Guide teaches you about the U.S. government and the election process; tells you how to get politically involved yourself; and highlights the best sources for political news at home and abroad. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

U.S. Government

The following sites provide an overview of the U.S. government and how it functions. You'll learn about the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and can track hearings and other federal activity using these resources.

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  • Most government documents are available for public viewing, and some are available online. The Library of Congress Web site is a good place to start looking for documents.
  • Many government organizations have their own Web sites. All government sites have a ".gov" at the end of their names.
  • You can find the names and contact information of all of your state and local representatives online, but you can also pay a virtual visit to the places where decisions are made. Visit the U.S. Capitol online, or take a historical tour of the White House.

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For information about the U.S. government in general ...
For information about the executive branch of government ...
For information about the legislative branch of government ...
For information about the judicial branch of government ...
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American Political Parties

The Democrats and Republicans have had a longstanding rivalry in American politics. To learn more about each party and how you can get involved, visit the sites below. You'll also find information on many of the third parties that influence American politics.

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  • To read news, opinions, and blogs from members of your chosen party, see the "Op-Ed News" section of this guide.

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To figure out where you stand politically ...
For information about the Democratic party ...
For information about the Republican party ...
For information about third parties ...
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American Elections

Use the resources provided to learn about the nuances of the election process, read up on the candidates themselves, and to find out how you can register to vote.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Although some sites are great resources for general information about elections and issues, when it comes to accuracy and objectivity, nothing beats the comprehensive voter's guide that you get in the mail (even if it is as big as your phonebook).
  • The members of the Electoral College actually determine the winner in presidential elections, although their votes are dictated by the popular vote.
  • When you register to vote you can name a political party with which to be affiliated. Only registered party members can vote in a party's primary election.
  • Find out more about past and current elected officials in the "U.S. Government" section of this guide.

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To register or vote ...
For election law, the Electoral College, or voting history ...
To research a candidate or issue ...
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U.S. Political News

This guide shows you where to look for reliable and immediate coverage of national politics and events. You'll find information from major media sources as well as worthwhile blogs that express the opinions of plugged-in pundits and political junkies.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • For great explanations of the news, see findingDulcinea's News Section. You'll get summaries of the latest headlines along with links to the background information that can help you better understand the whole story.
  • If you want to watch an online video from a news site and your computer indicates that you need to download a new application first, here are a few resources.
  • If you'd rather read opinion, see the "Op-Ed News" section of this guide.

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For news and commentary ...
For information about U.S. foreign policy ...
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World Political News

In this rapidly globalizing world, the impact of international politics has never been more significant than it is today. Learning about what happens in countries outside the United States allows us to be more informed voters and citizens of our own country.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • For information about the United States and foreign policy, see the "U.S. Political News" section of this guide.
  • One way to keep up with breaking news from around the world is by using RSS feeds. (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.) An RSS feed brings you headlines and, typically, a one- or two-line summary of each story. You can use an "aggregator" such as Netvibes.com to collect RSS feeds from your chosen sources and compile a page of headlines from around the world tailored to your personal interests.

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For statistics or historical information about countries or events ...
For a simple explanation of the different forms of government ...
For international news sources ...
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Op-Ed News

Knowing the full range of facts and opinions makes you a well-informed and well-rounded citizen. Use the following resources to track trends in liberal and conservative media, and to get a deeper look into the headlines through op-eds that analyze the issues.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Looking for news without opinionated commentary? See the "U.S. Political News" section of this guide.
  • Not sure what your political stance is? Find out in the "American Political Parties" section of this guide. You'll find links to a few quizzes that will help you determine where you fall in the political spectrum.

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For liberal opinion and commentary ...
For conservative opinion and commentary ...
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