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Applied Civics

As citizens of the United States we are guaranteed rights under our constitution including the right to participate in our government. This participation entails responsibilities to our country and our fellow citizens. One of those responsibilities is that citizens be both educated and informed on the issues that affect our society. In attending a city council meeting, you will be exposed to how business is done by our local government, how people exercise their rights, and the ways in which local government functions.

Principles of Government: A Discussion and Assorted Ponderings

Consider the following questions during the City Council Meeting. How many people, not including students, are in attendance? What are the ages and demographics of those attending? Where is the meeting being held? Who has the responsibility for running the meeting? Are those in charge using formal procedures to conduct business? If so, describe the process. What are the major topics being discussed? How much time is spent on each topic?

The Framers developed the Preamble and articles around six broad ideas, or principles: Popular Sovereignty, Limited Government, Checks and Balances, Federalism, Judicial Review, and Separation of Powers. After your city council meeting, define and explain how the local government meeting is related to the following three:

  • Federalism
  • Popular Sovereignty
  • Limited Government

Secondly, think about the following questions:

  • As citizens should we have an obligation to attend local government meetings? Why or why not?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “Constitutional Democracy is not a spectator sport?”
    Please explain your answer in detail.


  • Be on time. 
  • Most government buildings have metal detectors and security screening at their doors, so it may take several minutes before you can enter City Hall.  Do not bring any weapons with you when you come to City Hall.
  • Dress to show that you respect city council chambers.  Do not wear shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, worn out jeans, or similar items.  You do not need to wear a dress or jacket and tie, but your clothes should be neat and clean.  Dress as though you are going to an important job interview or attending a special occasion.  Do not wear a hat into the courtroom unless you are wearing it for religious reasons.
  • Turn off/silence all cell phones & put away AirPods/Galaxy Buds/Headphones.
  • The way you act in council chambers should show that you respect city council.  Do not chew gum or eat or drink anything, do not talk to other people while city council meeting is in session. Remember you represent Americas HS and EPCC.