Foundational Documents

The American political experiment is rooted in the rule of law.  Law is a set of codified norms.  This shared culture of ideas involves clearly writing down what we believe and what we stand for.  These foundational documents are in no way the only documents that matter, but it is a start.  Any library that hopes to understand American government and politics should begin with these fundamental testimonials. 

The Documents

The Essentials

Socrates wrote, "Just as others are pleased by a good horse or dog or bird, I myself am pleased to an even higher degree by good friends...And the treasures of the wise men of old which they left behind by writing them in books, I unfold and go through them together with my friends, and if we see something good, we pick it out and regard it as a great gain if we thus become useful to one another." Read these DOCUMENTS and become a useful citizen. For each you will find a corresponding activities below.                                                                                                                                             

Critical Words

"With Words We Govern"

buzzword  n. jargon; or, a vague vogue word intended to trigger a stereotyped response.  In a 1974 book, Buzzwords, Robert Kirk Mueller defined the word on the cover as "words, phrases or zingo-lingo used by an in-group, a cult, or the cognoscenti for rapid communication within the group...It refers also to the verbal, intellectual one-upmanship of the cant, slang, jargon, argot and pseudo-tribal language, used by relatively small groups for their own benefit and to help isolate the group from the hoi polloi...a sort of pro’s prose." William Safire


On Demand

These visuals will make the complex simple and the confusing clear.  To be literate is more then the ability to read.  It is to be learned.  Watch and learn.


Tool Box

Malcolm Gladwell has written, "Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds."  Practice here and now.