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An introductory U.S. Government course, students learn about great statesmen who influenced the course of U.S. history by applying principles from America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence and U. S. Constitution.  Students also learn the importance of principles of good government and their proper implementation, or lack thereof, during times of racial inequality, attacks on the family and human dignity. During this semester course, Declaration Statesmanship will be the guiding text supplemented by Charles Rice’s indispensable work, 50 Questions on Natural Law.
       Advanced, Honors Track students also take a deeper look at the judicial branch of government through readings and assignments in Sandra O’Connor’s book The Majesty of Law. This text provides insight into the role of the U.S. Supreme Court and several of its landmark cases.   
       Government and Natural Law is a superb capstone course for St. Thomas Aquinas Academy’s Liberal Arts program. The works of ancient statesmen, philosophers, classical authors and playwrights, saints and Church Doctors, are more than just interesting studies--their wisdom is essential for us if we are to discern and defend right answers to critical questions facing Americans today. What answers ought we to give to the following: What is justice? What is law? What is the proper role of man-made law and government? Why does the Catholic Church teach what it does about human dignity, equality, Communism, abortion, IVF, euthanasia, and family life? Only those with a sound education can properly address the myriad of political, legal, ethical and social issues facing Americans in today’s declining culture. Only those with a sound education can properly exercise their responsibilities as a citizen in a democratic society. St. Thomas Aquinas Academy designed the Government and Natural Law course to help fill that educational need.


Prerequisites: This course is NOT a history course. It does depend on the student already having taken a full year of high school U.S. History. Or, at the very least, concurrent enrollment in a high school U.S. History course. If the student is concurrently enrolled in U.S. History, he will need to have completed the portion of the history course covering colonization through the Civil War.
       This course is ideal for the second semester of 12th grade. 11th grade students may also be comfortable with it. Most ninth and tenth graders will find this course too challenging as some weeks require reading from multiple sources. The course guide is very clear about what is required, and it is easy enough for an organized student to do, but we often find that younger students are not quite ready for the responsibility of utilizing multiple sources.
A Track placement requires that the student has already completed training in five-paragraph essays with Essay Writing A (the course plan studying the second part of Frode Jensen's Format Writing text).
Notes about the Govt & Natural Law resources: The Declaration Statesmanship set consists of three pieces: A Teacher's Manual, the Student Text, and a book of readings.  The Teacher's Manual is not referenced in the course plan since after the teaching-parent reads the "Teacher's Strategies" section on pages 41-51 the Teacher's Manual only needs to be used for assignment corrections.  For simplicity, the STAA course plan refers to the Student Text as "Ferrier" and the book of readings as "Readings."
       A Track students will also be studying Charles Rice's 50 Questions on Natural Law this semester.  The course plan refers to reading assignments in this book as "Rice."
       The Honors selections from Sandra O'Connor's The Majesty of Law are referred to as "O'Connor" in the course plan.
       Some outside readings are assigned as well.  Whenever the course plan refers to "Course Library" then a copy of the document is posted on the class webpage.  Students will need to sign in to the Student Zone to access these readings.    

Credit Information for Students in Grades 9 - 12: 18 week course plan (2 prep weeks and 16 academic weeks) = 5 credits; 0.3125 credits per completed academic course plan week.

Scheduling Suggestions: At least 4hr 40min each week for 16 weeks = A full semester (75+ hours).


Declaration Statesmanship: A Course in American Government: Student Book

  • Author: Richard Ferrier and Andrew Seeley
  • Publisher/Copyright: : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. .
  • ISBN: 1497537967        978-1497537965
  • Supplier: Retail or

This is one part of a three book set that includes Student Text, Selected Readings Text, and Parent/Teacher’s Manual -- you will need all three pieces. 268 pages; 4th edition.


This is the 4th edition, published in 2014.  If you have the 2004 edition, email STAA to see whether or not the STAA Study Guide for that older edition is still available.

Declaration Statesmanship: Teacher's Manual

  • Author: Richard Ferrier and Andrew Seeley
  • Publisher/Copyright: : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. .
  • ISBN: 1497538068        978-1497538061
  • Supplier: Retail or

The Parent/Teacher’s Manual includes detailed lesson plans, answers to review questions, paper topics, quizzes, and tests. 120 pages; 4th edition.


This book has a weekly lesson plan but we strongly  encourage using the following STAA adaptation of that lesson plan instead.  Take note that the STAA course plan (1) does  NOT require the student to write the papers assigned in the Teacher's Manual and (2) recommends doing only the assignments that  do not require any outside research.
Teaching-parents will need to read pages 11-32 in the Teacher's Manual (the section referred to as “Teacher Strategies”).  
Answers to the Review Questions are found in the Teacher's Manual as are the questions and answers for the Chapter Review Questions, Quizzes, and Tests.

Declaration Statesmanship: Book of Readings: Supplementary Readings

  • Author: Richard Ferrier and Andrew Seeley
  • Publisher/Copyright: : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. .
  • ISBN: 1497538165        978-1497538160
  • Supplier: Retail or

300 pages; 4th edition


50 Questions on the Natural Law: What It Is and Why We Need It

  • Author: Charles E. Rice
  • Publisher/Copyright: Ignatius Press, 1999: Ignatius Press, 1999. Print.
  • ISBN: 0898707501        978-0898707502
  • Supplier: Retail or

411 pages.


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition

  • Author: U.S. Catholic Church
  • Publisher/Copyright: 2nd ed.: USCCB Communications, 2000. Print.
  • ISBN: 1574551108        978-1574551105
  • Supplier: Retail or

920 pages. Any edition from any publisher will do. It is standard practice to reference the Catechism as "CCC" in print. The STAA course plans follow this practice.



Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice

  • Author: Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Publisher/Copyright: : Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004. Print.
  • ISBN: 081296747X        978-0812967470
  • Supplier: Retail or

352 pages.


Order this title if your student is interested in pursuing an Honors notation for Govt & Natural Law.
To earn the Honors notation for this course, the student must complete the following nine reading assignments and two writing projects in addition to the standard assignments listed on the gradebook:
[  ] GNL Readings 04H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 05H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 06H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 07H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 08H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 09H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 10H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 11H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Readings 12H (O’Connor)
[  ] GNL Paper 03H (John Marshall)
[  ] GNL Supreme Court Decision 09H

STAA Online, Graded Quizzes

  • Author: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy
  • Publisher/Copyright: Reno: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, 2014. Online quizzes.
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy

This course has online, graded quizzes available to students enrolled in Grades 9-12. The quizzes are available from August 1st through June 30th. Students will be sent quiz access instructions after they submit their Course Registration forms. See the "High School Orientation" booklet for more information about the quizzes. Students that do not have weekly computer access may complete a Dimension 2 assignment in lieu of each assigned quiz.



STAA Study Guide

  • Author: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy
  • Publisher/Copyright: Reno: St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, 2017. Print.
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier:

Detailed weekly plans, assignment details, and grading support for the high school courses can be found in the STAA Study Guides. Each high school student will need two study guides, one for each semester of the academic year. Individual course plan booklets may be purchased for students that are not following the general cycle sequence of the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy high school program. Match the historical cycle, the science cycle, and the track levels to your student's registered courses. Direct links for ordering the study guides will be emailed to you after you submit the Course Registration forms.



Submit the following to earn credit for this course:
  1. Semester Report form that lists the course plan weeks the student completed each quarter
  2. Gradebook or weekly assignment tracker
  3. GNL Assignment 07A*
  4. GNL Dialogue 15*


Want to register your student for this course?

Message your high school advisor to add the course. Be sure to mention the student, course number, and the quarter you wish to start the course.