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Interest Groups
Guide: Interest Groups at Work

These resources highlight the function of interest groups in U.S. government and public policy. Use this collection of primary and secondary resources to support students' understanding of the activities and contributions of interest groups in asserting citizens' policy preferences, as well as different issues surrounding interest groups themselves. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • A government's structure determines how political parties will form and operate
  • Political parties strongly influence the operation of democratic governments
  • Media, public opinion, and policy are interrelated in a democracy
  • The type of media a public consumes influences their understanding of policy and government action
  • Interest groups can be both an effective citizen tool for expression and, if too powerful, a threat to democracy
  • Voting rules and regulations affect election outcomes
  • Interpreting campaign contributions as free speech allows those with money greater access to lawmakers

Key Questions

  • In what specific ways do interest groups help individual American citizens better express their policy priorities?
  • What are two drawbacks of the presence of interest groups in our political system?


  1. Overview: Interest Groups at Work
  2. Visuals: Interest Groups at Work (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-What are Interest Groups?
  7. Lesson: 2-Types of Interest Groups
  8. Lesson: 3-What Interest Groups Seek to Do
  9. Lesson: 4-How Interest Groups Reach Their Goals
  10. Lesson: 5-Lobbyists vs. Interest Groups
  11. Lesson: Closing
  12. Glossary Terms: interest group
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Abortion: antiabortion and abortion rights protestors
  14. Photos & Illustrations: National Corn Growers Association ethanol rally
  15. Reference Articles: 527 Groups
  16. Reference Articles: independent advocacy groups
  17. Reference Articles: Lobbying
  18. Reference Articles: Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995
  19. Reference Articles: Political Action Committees (PACs)
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: Political Ads: Issue Advocacy or Campaign Activity? (CRS, 2012)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: League of Women Voters: Mission, Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions Statement

MLA Citation

"Interest Groups at Work." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156140. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156140

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