Making Democracy Work

About the League

What is our mission? How are we structured? What is our history?

Our Mission and Roles

The League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.

The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.

  • Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.

  • Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.

To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the LWV Information Services, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.

Our Core Values

- We are a nonpartisan political membership organization.
- We believe that grassroots initiatives and consensus building are the strengths of our organization.
- We believe that our organization models the principles of good governance.
- We consider well before taking action and prepare well before beginning to act.
- We believe that citizenship requires knowledge, as well as the ability and will to act.
- We believe that the responsibility of good government rests on the shoulders of its citizens.
- We believe that the rights of citizens at home and abroad are interdependent

Other League Organizations

History of the League of Women Voters

The St. Louis City and St. Louis County League of Women Voters came together at the St. Louis Women's Club to form one united league, the League of Women Voters of St. Louis, thus marking a truly historic moment in the life of one of the oldest Leagues in the country.

Our mission is as follows: The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Links to Useful Resources

Links for Teachers

LINKS FOR TEACHING "CIVICS"

Citizenship Documents Elections/Voting General Government History Miscellaneous Women

--CITIZENSHIP Learning Adventures in Citizenship - Web-based learning activities designed to explore the history of New York and allow students to learn more about the history of their own towns and participate in their own communities. Students can submit their work to the Kids' Contest section and view featured projects in the Kids' Lab. There are special sections for teachers and parents to learn how to use this site. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/newyork/laic/index.html

The American Promise - devoted to helping teachers bring democracy to life in their classrooms. This site is a supplement to the videos and teaching guide produced for the original PBS series. http://www.americanpromise.com

The PBS Kids Democracy Project - Activities and lesson plans designed to: introduce the structure and duties of local, state and federal government; understand how government affects our everyday lives, through laws, institutions and services provided in the community; identify the duties of the U.S. president and skills necessary to be a good president; understand the history of voting rights in America, and how voting and other forms of civic involvement are essential to a healthy democracy. The online activities are designed for students in grades three to six, with accompanying lesson plans. http://www.pbs.org/democracy/kids

"A Kid's Guide to the United States Congress" - http://www.usa-people-search.com/content-a-kids-guide-to-the-united-states-congress.aspx.

"We the People: Skills for Democracy" League of Women Voters of Minnesota lesson plan. K-6 citizenship curriculum based on the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The seven lessons tackle issues such as diversity, fairness, personal and community stability and safety, and what it means to be part of a group. Each lesson includes teacher guidance, specialized upper and lower elementary sections, activities for each lesson, suggested literature for coordinated reading assignments, and includes the National Civics Content Standards addressed by the lesson. http://www.lwvmn.org/PubsWeThePeople.asp

"We've Got the Power: Skills for Democracy" - League of Women Voters of Minnesota lesson plan, also available in Spanish. A curriculum designed to empower young people. It consists of 15 activity-based lessons focusing on the areas of: empowerment, exploring leadership for change, voting, current issues and acting as an empowered citizen. http://www.lwvmn.org/PubsWeveGotThePower.asp

--DOCUMENTS Core Documents of U.S. Democracy - Topics include historical documents, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, Constitution, etc., regulatory, office of the President, demographic, economic and miscellaneous documents. http://www.gpoaccess.gov/coredocs.html

-- ELECTIONS/VOTING CloseUp Foundation's "First Vote" - For high school students. A classroom-based voter registration, education, and citizenship program designed for use in one or two class periods. Gives students and teachers an opportunity to discuss the relationship between voting and other duties and responsibilities of citizenship. http://www.closeup.org/frstvote.htm

Election Comic Strips for Vocabulary Development/Election Terminology http://www.vocabulary.com/election.html

First Time Voters -- How Accurate Are Statistics & Polls? Learn about polls through the case study of a fictional election. http://www.learner.org/exhibits/statistics

Kids Voting USA - A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that educates young people about the significance of an informed electorate and about the importance of voting to sustain democracy. The Kids Voting program is a curriculum for grades K-12, supplied to the schools at no cost. Students learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The curriculum includes activities about the election process, evaluating information, understanding issues, and identifying leadership characteristics in candidates. The curriculum is comprehensive and grade-specific and seeks to develop information-gathering skills in students to aid in critical decision-making. http://www.kidsvotingusa.org/

National Election Studies - Guide to public opionion and electoral behavior. Provides tables and graphs that display the ebb and flow of public opinion and electoral behavior and choice in American politics since 1948. http://www.electionstudies.org/

The 30 Second Candidate - PBS Democracy Project. Look inside the world of political advertising. http://www.pbs.org/30secondcandidate

VoteSmart Classrooms - Activities for students or teachers to evaluate candidates and monitor their work. The Project Vote Smart Database can be used by students to find out more about those who wish to represent them or those who currently do. http://www.vote-smart.org/resource_classroom.php/

--GENERAL American Bar Association (ABA) Division for Public Education - Provides publications, programs and resources designed to educate and inform youth, undergraduate college and university students and adults about the law and the justice system. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/home.html

Ask ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) - More than 1100 lesson plans written and submitted by teachers from all over the United States. http://www.eduref.org/

Center for Civic Education - Teachers resource section. http://www.civiced.org/

Close Up - A nonprofit and nonpartisan civic education organization that offers weeklong government studies programs in Washington DC that strengthen participants. knowledge of how the political process works, increase their awareness of major national and international issues, and motivate them to become actively involved in the world around them. The programs are open to all, regardless of academic achievement, leadership experience, or financial status, and include sessions for students with visual, hearing, or physical impairments and other health concerns. http://www.closeup.org

Congress Link - Provides information about the U.S. Congress, how it works, its members and leaders, and the public policies it produces. CongressLink is directed to teachers of American Government and civics. It is multi-featured, offering original content, including lesson plans and historical materials, and up-to-the-minute information about Congress. http://www.congresslink.org

C-Span Classroom - Free resources for teaching Civics & U.S. Government. Online student activities, programming information, an archive of support materials, lesson plans, and links to additional resources. http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) - Hundreds of education resources from Federal agencies. http://www.free.ed.gov/

Gateway to Lesson Plans - One-stop access to high quality Internet lesson plans, curriculum units and other education resources. Conduct full-text, subject, keyword, or title searches, then select desired grade or education level and submit the search. thegateway.org/

Lesson Plans & Resources for Social Studies Teachers - Dr. Marty Levine, Professor Emeritus of Secondary Education, California State University, has gathered more than 600 lesson plans and resources from the Internet which social studies teachers will find useful. http://www.csun.edu/~hcedu013/index.html

National Council for the Social Studies Online - Resources for teachers, comprehensive resources including lesson plans, notable children's books, Internet resources, PBS Democracy Project, upcoming TV programs of note. http://www.ncss.org/

Sites for Teachers - A list of the teacher's resource and educational sites on the web. http://www.sitesforteachers.com/

Social Studies Resources - Comprehensive list of government and history/social studies links. www.csun.edu/~hcedu013/res.html#Government

Teacher Guide for the Professional Cartoonist - Lesson plans for all levels using editorial cartoons as a teaching tool in Social Sciences, Art, Journalism or English. http://www.cagle.com/teacher/

Teachers Network - Helps teachers integrate web-based lessons into the classroom. Access to curriculum and technical specialists. http://www.teachnet.org/

WNET School - New York City Channel 13's web service for K-12 teachers. http://www.thirteen.org/teach/index.html

GOVERNMENT Ben's Guide to US Government - Virtual Ben Franklin explains branches of U.S. Government and how they started. Learn about citizenship, elections, symbols, and more. bensguide.gpo.gov

HISTORY

History and Politics Out Loud - An archive of politically significant audio materials; includes more than 100 recordings and transcripts of Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. http://www.hpol.org

MISCELLANEOUS Look Who's Footing the Bill - Interactive lessons about the national debt. http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/democracy/debtquest.html

Pew Research Center - An independent opinion research group, sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts, that studies public attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues. The Center's main purpose is to serve as a forum for ideas on the media and public policy through its research. http://www.people-press.org/

Social Studies School Service - Resource for buying supplementary learning materials, including books, CD-ROMs, videos, laserdiscs, software, charts, and posters. Editorial staff and teacher consultants evaluate titles and materials providing short and objective descriptions. http://www.socialstudies.com/

WOMEN Women in World History Curriculum - Biographies, lesson plans, resources. http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/

Links for Kids

Ben's Guide to US Government - Virtual Ben Franklin explains branches of U.S. Government and how they started. Learn about citizenship, elections, symbols, and more. bensguide.gpo.gov

Congress for Kids - Interactive, fun-filled experiences designed to help students learn about the foundation of our federal government and how its actions affect them. Uncle Sam is the guide through website, introducing youngsters to a new skill or knowledge, or reviewing a skill they already have, or even testing their knowledge. http://www.congressforkids.net

First Gov for Kids - Provides links to Federal sites and sites from other organizations especially designed for young people. Links are grouped by subject. http://www.kids.gov

Government Sites for Kids - a listing of U.S. Federal Government web sites that have been designed for children and youth. http://www.westga.edu/~library/depts/govdoc/kids.shtml

History and Politics Out Loud - An archive of politically significant audio materials; includes more than 100 recordings and transcripts of Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. http://www.hpol.org

Kids Voting USA - A nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to securing democracy for the future by involving youth in the election process today. http://www.kidsvotingusa.org/

Rock the Vote - A non-partisan, non-profit organization founded by members of the recording industry, dedicated to protecting freedom of speech, educating young people about issues, and motivating young people to participate by registering, voting, and speaking out. http://www.rockthevote.com/

The PBS Kids Democracy Project - Go inside the voting booth, be president for day, find out how government affects you. Online activities aimed at grades 3 through 6. http://www.pbs.org/democracy/kids

The 30 Second Candidate - PBS Democracy Project. Look inside the world of political advertising. http://www.pbs.org/30secondcandidate

Project Vote-Smart - A non-partisan, non-profit voter information center that provides addresses, campaign finance and voting records on candidates and elected officials, including President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislators. Find your representatives when you enter your address. http://www.vote-smart.org

Other Links:

CATEGORIES: Civil Liberties - Diversity - Elections - Federal Government Agencies - Housing - Issues - Legal Information - News - Polls - Political Information - Schools - Women's Issues

For Campaign Finance Please see current League Study Money and Politics

CIVIL LIBERTIES Bill of Rights Defense Committee - A national organization that encourages communities to take an active role in an ongoing national debate about anti-terrorism measures that threaten civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Their website provides information about proposed anti-terrorism legislation and anti-terror cases with civil liberties implications in the courts. Contains links to many articles covering: threats to civil liberties; grassroots movements; college issues; articles and information on legislation aimed at protecting civil liberties and articles and information on introduced legislation that may threaten civil liberties. http://www.bordc.org Center for Democracy and Technology - Works to promote constitutional liberties in the digital age. Concerns include free speech, government surveillance and data privacy. http://www.cdt.org Civilrights.org - Provides relevant and up-to-the minute civil rights news and information and contains searchable archives of news features and background information. http://www.civilrights.org First Amendment Center - Offers general information on First Amendment issues; news and information on how the courts understand and apply the First Amendment in various types of situations. Research materials are organized by topic under the five freedoms of the First Amendment: speech, press, religious liberty, assembly and petition. http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org

DIVERSITY DiversityLinks - An annotated directory to websites which provide social and cultural connection and communication, educational resources, business and career opportunities for people and groups that are underrepresented on the Web. http://www.lib.cmich.edu/departments/reference/diversity/links.htm Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - A non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to the advocacy of a positive image of Islam and equal treatment and rights for Muslims in America through media, protests, conferences, action alerts, and numerous publications. http://www.cair-net.org

ELECTIONS Fair Vote - FairVote conducts research, analysis, education and organizing to ensure voters can exercise their right to vote and elect representatives who reflect the nation.s racial and political diversity. Their Voting and Democracy Research Center presents informative and objective research on the results and consequences of our elections. It provides its Monopoly Politics report and its data collections on plurality elections in the United States, redistricting in all 50 states and state election results. http://www.fairvote.org

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov Thomas - Federal legislation: bills summary and status, bills text, public laws by law number. Congressional record: most recent issue, text search for past issues, roll call votes. House and Senate Committees: home pages, schedules, hearings and reports. http://thomas.loc.gov First Gov - Official U.S. government portal to 30 million pages of government information and services. Easy, one-stop access to all online U.S. federal government resources. http://www.firstgov.gov Fed Stats - Gateway to statistics from over 100 U.S. federal agencies. http://www.fedstats.gov Fed World - U.S. Department of Commerce National Technical Information Service. Central source for scientific, technical and business related government information. http://www.fedworld.gov Government Accountability Office - Provides extensive reports and testimony on a wide-range of issues including disaster preparedness, terrorism, homeland security, welfare federal budget, etc. http://www.gao.gov OMB Watch - A nonprofit research and advocacy organization that focuses on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the substantive areas that OMB oversees: federal budget, taxation and government performance; information and access; nonprofit action, advocacy, policy and technology; and regulatory policy. http://www.ombwatch.org U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov

HOUSING Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) - The Center presents a broad range of issues in the housing sector including emerging factors affecting housing and our communities. It publishes reports, working papers, conference proceedings, and research notes that can be downloaded. http://www.jchs.harvard.edu

ISSUES Applied Information Resources - A public policy research and community information organization that provides citizen education on public issues. Content primarily focuses on the Greater Cincinnati area. http://www.airinc.org Center for Public Integrity - Conducts investigative research and reporting on public policy issues in the United States and around the world. http://www.publicintegrity.org Kids Count - A national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the U.S. Ten key measures comprise an index of child well-being used to rank states. Supplemental data on education, health, and economic conditions for each state is also included A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://www.kidscount.org Policy Matters Ohio - A nonprofit research organization based in Cleveland, funded primarily by the George Gund Foundation. It offers analysis of issues that matter to low- and middle-income workers in Ohio, providing information citizens need in order to have a voice in the economic debate. http://www.policymattersohio.org Sustainable Cincinnati Indicators - A diversified coalition of organizations in the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area has developed key indicators measuring the economic, environmental, and social health of the Tri-state metropolitan area in order to guide community action. http://www.sustainablecincinnati.org Sustainable Cincinnati 2002 Indicators Report http://www.hamilton-co.org/hcrpc/local_initiatives/sustainable_cinti_2002.pdf

LEGAL INFORMATION American Bar Association (ABA) Division for Public Education - Provides publications, programs and resources designed to educate and inform youth, undergraduate college and university students and adults about the law and the justice system. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/home.html Legal Information Institute - A comprehensive and easy-to-use resource listing general legal information and online resources. It contains many links to: US federal law sources; federal caselaw; state constitutions and codes; and US and state government information sites. http://www.law.cornell.edu U.S. Courts - Offers information about and links to the federal court system. http://www.uscourts.gov

NEWS Center for Media and Democracy - Investigates and exposes how the public relations industry and other professional propagandists manipulate public information, perceptions and opinion on behalf of governments and special interests. http://www.prwatch.org Stateline.org - Compiles a news report each weekday linking to the day's top news in the 50 state capitols, along with news stories and analysis by its staff of Washington-based reporters. It is a project of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.http://www.stateline.org

POLLS PollingReport.com - Updated daily nonpartisan site that reports the results of the latest national polls from research organizations, such as Zogby, Gallup, Time, CNN/USA Today/Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, FOX/Opinion Dynamics and more. http://www.pollingreport.com

POLITICAL INFORMATION Kids Voting Ohio - A nonpartisan organization that educates young people about the significance of an informed electorate and the importance of voting to sustain democracy. It encourages young people to become good citizens and informed, lifelong voters. Curriculum for grades K-12 is available. http://www.kidsvotingohio.org/ Institute for Politics Democracy and the Internet - Run by the Graduate School of Political Management of the George Washington University, Washington D.C. to promote online politics. Provides links and research findings. http://www.ipdi.org/ Political Information.com - A targeted search engine for politics, policy and political news. http://www.politicalinformation.com Politics1.com - "A non-partisan portal for political resources, news, and information on party politics, federal/state candidates and government. http://www.politics1.com

SCHOOLS School reviews http://www.publicschoolreview.com/

WOMEN'S ISSUES Center for American Women and Politics - Part of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the Center compiles information about women in government and politics. It offers state-by-state information about women who have served, or are currently serving, in the U.S. Congress, statewide elective executive offices and state legislatures. http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~cawp Institute for Women's Policy Research - A non-profit, public policy research organization, IWPR informs and stimulates debate on public policy issues of importance to women and their families. http://www.iwpr.org National Women's History Project - A non-profit organization providing information and publications about women's history. http://www.nwhp.org National Women's History Museum - Founded in 1996, the NWHM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to presenting, and celebrating the rich history of women's contributions that have shaped American culture and society. http://www.nwhm.org