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JamesHackerMP

"American Government" Classes in Canadian Universities/HS'

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An Australian told me that it's common in his country that American Government and history is a distinct class, and that you have to take it in high school. He knows people who live in Canada who, he said, told him the situation is the same. So I don't know if that's apocryphal or not but I was just wondering:

Is it required to take classes in US history and/or government at universities in Canada?

(Not trying to sound like an arrogant Yank: I'm just curious, because I figure that your teachers'/professors' views on US political science would be....quite different, to say the least. Not inferior or superior, just different. So Mostly, I was wondering exactly what--in very general terms---they teach you, or rather, force you to sit through....I guess what i am getting at is its perspective with which it is taught which again, I imagine, would be unique.)

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There is no distinct class on American government in high school. High school students take "social studies" or "humanities" classes up through grade 11 typically, with a history class in grade 12 being optional. These classes focus to a large extent on Canadian history and government, but do cover other countries around the world as well, certainly including the US.

As for university, what classes you take depends on what university you go to and what major you study. There are almost no classes that are universally required of all university students aside from a 1st year english language class.

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We never had a "US history" course in high school. But we had history courses or "social studies" that taught history, ie 20th century history, and there may have been a bit of US history sprinkled throughout those courses. Like Bonam Said.

Similar to what Bonam said, in my university, there were core courses for each major and the others you were free to choose from. In History and Political Science, there were no US history courses you were required to take. Though in Political Science I imagine you'd always run in to some US history. My friend took a US history and US government course, they were both taught by American instructors. Similarly, most African history/politics courses were taught by Africans. We're talking about people who are experts in their fields.

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My son's class in Gr7 took a large unit on War of 1812 (Northern battles of course). To understand the background they learned about the War of Independence. They then go into Confederation.....

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gotcha. I had another friend who went to university in Toronto (I forget which one) and he said they did teach American civics classes. But they were taught by Canadian professors with very different perspectives on US politics. (Which I guess is only natural.)

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Have any of you had the distinct "privilege" (call it what you will!) of having to read some of The Federalist? (AKA The Federalist Papers)? Know of it?

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An Australian told me that it's common in his country that American Government and history is a distinct class...

Why (North) American history in particular? Why not (South) American history?

Following usual practice (if it bleeds, it leads), European history is far more headline worthy. Between 1750 and 1950, how many Europeans died in wars? How many North Americans? South Americans?

[if those dates seem cherry-picked, how about 1990-2000? Or 1630-1670?]

======

I have never understood this meme that Europeans with their bicycles, castles and small apartments are somehow "civilized/sophisticated" whereas fat Americans with their guns are uncouth and violent.

Edited by August1991

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When I was growing up, we didn't exactly have a whole class on Soviet history and politics, but we probably should have. Although we did discuss it a lot in social studies class, of course.

Mostly I asked because I picked up a copy of The Federalist Papers and one of The Anti-Federalist Papers & Convention Debates. A pretty America-centric thing (well, duh, it was a book about why the voters of New York should ratify the proposed US Constitution) but nonetheless, I think it's interesting.

Then again, I think a lot of things are fascinating other people around me would find terribly dull. I've actually read the first 80 pp of The Wealth of Nations (which I see you have quoted in your signature). Not bragging, at all, because I certainly couldn't get through the thing, let alone to page 81. But someday...

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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Then again, I think a lot of things are fascinating other people around me would find terribly dull. I've actually read the first 80 pp of The Wealth of Nations (which I see you have quoted in your signature). Not bragging, at all, because I certainly couldn't get through the thing, let alone to page 81. But someday...

I have read "most of" The Wealth of Nations but I read "all" of War & Peace. (I ignored Smith's tables of prices of corn...and I also skipped quickly through Tolstoi's chapter on the hunt in War & Peace.)

But parts of The Wealth of Nations I have read numerous (many, many) times. The only part of War & Peace that I have re-read is the epilogue.

With that said, Smith has made me wonder about co-operation; and Tolstoi, because of Anna Karenina - which I've only read once, but every word - has often made me wonder about Anna, her husband, and why people do what they do.

=====

There you go, James Hacker MP (Member of Parliament?)

One measure of a good book is whether you re-read certain passages.

Another measure of a good book is whether you read it once, yet think years later about it.

Edited by August1991

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Well said!

I pity the people who, unlike us, haven't even tried to read books like The Wealth of Nations. I'm assuming you skipped the appendix "on the herring bounty" as well? Like I said I have only made it through 80 pp. With Adhd it's hard to read anything, let alone a book originally published in 1776.

Yes, the MP stands for, as I'm sure you know, Member of Parliament. James Hacker was the fictitious "Minister of Administrative Affairs" in Yes, Minister, a BBC britcom from the late 70s/early 80s, so he naturally carried the title MP as one of "Her Majesty's Secretaries of State". Then there was a special hour-long episode in which the Prime Minister resigned and he won the fight for the party leadership (after that, the series was called Yes, Prime Minister of course).

Did you ever pick up The Federalist? You sound like someone who reads intellectual things.

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When I went to middle school in the 1980s (in Saskatchewan), I remember one year of social studies being largely about the United States. We learned how it was settled, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution, the War of 1812, the Civil War and US involvement in the 20th century. As I recall, there was also a lot of comparing with Canada about how the two nations differed and how they were the same.

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