Foundational Civic Principles and Values


Why America Is Free

Why America Is Free (WAIF) teaches US Government Civics principles in a basic manner, but emphasizes the habits and characteristics of good citizenship, the civic values generally held and depended upon for American society to function well.


Governmental Principles


The supreme law of the United States government is the US Constitution.


All people are created equal under the law and have unalienable rights such as liberty, justice, freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. Each right has corresponding responsibilities and limitations.


Government derives its power from the people it governs, and its purpose is to serve and protect the rights of all citizens equally.


The United States is a  nation of laws, all of which must comply with the US Constitution.


Rule of Law:  The laws that direct people's behavior must be set out openly, respects fundamental rights, be applied equally, and be followed uniformly until they are changed through an established process.


Representative Democracy/Republic:  Representatives elected by citizens make the laws.


Federalism: Under the Constitution, the federal government controls some matters, and state governments or individuals retain control over other matters.


Separation of Powers & Checks and Balances:  The government is divided into three branches, each with separate powers. These branches are: legislative (makes laws); executive (carries out those laws); judicial (insures that laws comply with the Constitution). The different branches each also serve as watchdogs over the behavior of other branches.


Values of Good Citizenship


  • Good character requires doing the right thing and is achieved one decision at a time.
  • Be honest.
  • Be trustworthy; keep your word and fulfill your obligations.
  • Obey the law.
  • Be fair in treatment of others.
  • Treat others with respect, even when disagreeing.
  • Respect for the property of others.
  • Take responsibility for one's own actions.
  • Be kind and compassionate toward others.
  • Help others and serve the community, working for the good of all.
  • Stay informed, and acting responsibly for improvement.



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