U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 22: Foreign Policy and Defense

Student Web Activity

"The Department of State"

In this chapter you learned about United States foreign policy, how the executive and legislative branches share foreign policy powers, the roles of the Departments of State and Defense, and the tools of foreign policy. You also have learned that the Department of State was the first executive department created and that the secretary of state ranks in importance just below the president and vice president. In this activity you will take a closer look at this influential department.

Destination Title: U.S. State Department

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
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Start at the U.S. State Department Web site.

  • Click on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice under the heading "About the State Department" in the menu on the left.
  • Click on Meet the Secretary in the menu on the left and explore the Duties of the Secretary of State.
  • Click on About the State Dept. in the menu at the top, and then on Department Organization to read about the mission and structure of this department.
  • Return to "About the State Dept." Under "More @ State," click on Great Seal.
  • Browse through the information, taking notes as you go.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

Summarize the primary duties of the secretary of state.
In one or two sentences, describe the mission of the State Department.
What is the internal structure of the State Department?
Describe the meaning of the various symbols used in the Great Seal of the United States.
Now that you have learned more about the duties and responsibilities of the secretary of state, create a one-page résumé for an imaginary person applying for the position. What kind of education, skills, and experience would such a person need to have? If you do not know the correct format for a résumé, there are many Web sites that can help you get started.
US Government: Democracy In Action
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