Government

Government is a key part of any society and culture. Learn more about different types of government, politics and civic issues.

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The idea behind 9-1-1 is pretty simple: Give people a single, easy-to-remember number to call to receive help during any life-threatening situation. Learn how 9-1-1 got started and how it works.

By Julia Layton

Despite plenty of Hollywood films about the CIA and its spies, many people still don't know what the agency actually does. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of the CIA and the scandals that have rocked it through the decades.

By Caroline Wilbert

Find out what the FBI does, how it started, and what it takes to become an FBI agent. We'll also take a look at some of the tools and techniques used by the FBI and learn about J. Edgar Hoover.

By Ed Grabianowski

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To a typical kid, the only thing cooler than a firetruck is a person who rides in one. Take a closer look at what it takes to become a municipal firefighter and examine different elements of their training.

By Cameron Lawrence

The ACLU has worked to defend fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to privacy for 80 years, but not without controversy. Read about fascinating facts and history-changing decisions the ACLU has been party to.

By Ed Grabianowski

Although much of FEMA's recent press has been negative, for more than 20 years the agency has been a powerful force in helping Americans prepare for, deal with and recover from some of the worst disasters in history. What type of aid does FEMA provide?

By Ed Grabianowski

The foster care system is a relatively recent solution to the problem of parents being unable to care for their children. Separate and very different from adoption, foster care is usually meant to be a temporary situation. Find out how the system works and how people become foster parents.

By Tom Harris

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In an election year, political conventions take over the U.S. media, with political-party platforms and propaganda. But what real purpose do the conventions serve? And have they outlived their usefulness?

By Ed Grabianowski & Kathryn Whitbourne

Just about every U.S. president of the past 80 years has released his memoirs. But they don't all take the same format. We'll look at the variations and why -- apart from historical record -- former presidents feel compelled to put pen to paper.

By Katherine Neer

The FCC is the government group that reacted to Janet Jackson's Super Bowl exposure and to indecency violations by Bubba the Love Sponge. Learn about the FCC's obscenity criteria.

By Robert Valdes

A caucus, like a primary, is held to determine the party's nomination for president. Those candidates face their first big test during the Iowa caucuses. Why is it such an unusual piece of the election process?

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It's an all too terrifying reality: Thousands of children are kidnapped each year. The AMBER Alert system gets the word out quickly when a child is taken. Find out how AMBER Alert works.

By Kevin Bonsor

The idea of a "war crime" seems to be pretty redundant, but there are countless treaties that declare otherwise. Learn about the basic rules of war and about specific acts that have been designated as war crimes by the Hague and Geneva Conventions.

By Julia Layton

The world looks to the United Nations for guidance on important international matters. Find out what goes on inside the United Nations and what role it really plays in international politics.

By Marshall Brain

When the president goes anywhere by plane, he travels in the most amazing private jet in the world -- a flying White House complete with a gym! Take a tour of this amazing aircraft and see pictures from past and present.

By Tom Harris

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T­he idea of a military draft, also called conscription, has been around in one form or another since ancient times. Find out what would happen if the U.S. military needed more troops.

By Tom Harris

Do the digits in my social security number represent anything in particular, or is it just a random number? Do they recycle social security numbers so that if someone dies, that number goes back into action?

During an emergency, we are told to dial 911. How and why was that number selected as the emergency phone number for the entire United States?

By Kathryn Whitbourne

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensures air travel safety in the United States. In this article, you can learn about the history of the FAA and the duties the agency must fulfill.

By Jeff Tyson

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It's easy to tap a phone. Keeping a wiretap secret, now that's the tricky part. That’s where the recording equipment and surveillance teams come in. Learn how government spies and other pros go about listening in.

By Tom Harris

The 54 percent voter turnout may not be as bad as it seems.

By Dave Roos

The Electoral College is not an Ivy League school. Rather, it's a process for selecting the next U.S. president that actually carries more weight than the popular vote. Why is it there and should it be continued?

By Kevin Bonsor & Laurie L. Dove

In the U.S. presidential election system, the Electoral College plays an extremely important role in determining who the next president will be. Learn about the Electoral College system in this article.

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What do the numbers on a Social Security card mean? Are they random? And how easy is it for someone to steal your identity using your SSN? Find out all about Social Security numbers.

U.S. customs officers do far more than looking through people's bags at the airport. They enforce hundreds of laws for 40 different government agencies. We'll examine what U.S. Customs does and what you need to know about bringing goods into the U.S.

By Laurie L. Dove