Individual citizens hold a variety of beliefs about their government, its leaders, and the U .S . political system in general; taken together, these beliefs form the foundation of U .S . political culture . It is important for students to understand how these beliefs are formed, how they evolve, and the processes by which they are transmitted . Students should know why U.S. citizens hold certain beliefs about politics, and how families, schools, and the media act to perpetuate or change these beliefs . Understanding the ways in which political culture affects and informs political participation is also critical . For example, students should know that individuals often engage in multiple forms of political participation, including voting, protest, and mass movements . Students should understand why individuals engage in various forms of political participation and how that participation may affect the political system .
Finally, it is essential that students understand what leads citizens to differ from one another in their political beliefs and behaviors and the political consequences of these differences . To understand these differences, students should focus on the demographic features of the American population and the different views that people hold of the political process . They should be aware of group differences in political beliefs and behavior . Students should also understand how changes in political participation affect the political system.
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