Leadership and Government
Leadership and Government Inquiry
Does It Matter How Leaders Are Chosen?

Download Entire Inquiry Here

Supporting Question 1- Who is in charge of the government?
  • Source A: iCivics, article about different heads of government,Who Rules?”, 2011  (Article available in Inquiry packet.) © 2011 iCivics, Inc
  • Source B: Congress for Kids, descriptions of two types of governmental, “Democracy” and “Democracy v. Autocracy,” 2015 (Image available in Inquiry packet) The United States has had the same type of government for more than 200 years. It’s called a “representative democracy.” Among the nations of the world, it is unusual for a system of government to last so long. Most governments are based on a written set of principles, sometimes called a “constitution” or a “charter.” When citizens directly participate by voting, the government is called a “democracy.”
  • Democracy vs. Autocracy (Image available in Inquiry Packet)The power and strength of government come from the people in a democracy. The word “democracy” comes from two Greek words: “demos” meaning “people” and “kratos” meaning “power” or “authority.” The United States is a democracy.
    Some countries have autocratic governments. The word “autocracy,” the opposite of democracy, comes from the Greek words: “autos” meaning “self” and “kratos” meaning “power.” In an autocratic government, one person or group holds all the power, without the participation, or sometimes even the consent, of the people.

Supporting Question 2- How are leaders of governments chosen?
  • Source A: Government profiles: Descriptions of how leaders are chosen and images of heads of state in selected countries (Profiles also available in Inquiry packet)

Created for the New York State K–12 Social Studies Toolkit by Binghamton University, 2015. 

     Barack Obama. President of the United States of America.
    Public domain. Pete Souza, photograph of President Barack Obama,
    January 2009.

     The Swiss Federal Council
    Used with permission. The Federal Council.


    Salman bin Adbul-Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.
      © Raed Qutena/European Pressphoto Agency.


      Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China.
      © Reuters.


    Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand.
      © Reuters.


      Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea.
      © Reuters.

Supporting Question 3- What can happen when leaders make decisions that people do not like?

  • Source A: "Thailand's Army Arrests Students for Using Salute from 'Hunger Games'"
  • Source B: "Thousands Protest in Hong Kong on Monday for Free Elections"