Policy, Public Interest, and... Margarine?


Laws are put in place. Sometimes, they are amended. Sometimes, they are repealed. Sometimes, we forget all about them! So what changes? We do! Public policy is just that– a series of laws, regulations, and guidelines that work together to address an issue. For example, we now regulate where and when people can smoke, we tax tobacco when it is sold, and we have public health campaigns to discourage tobacco use-- combined, that is public policy.

Let’s take a closer look at how the public can inform and impact public policy over time. It’s a DBQuest with extra butter (or margarine) on top!


This material is based upon work supported by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, Outreach, and Workforce Initiative Programs under Grant No. HQ0034-21-S-F001. The views expressed in written materials or publications, and/or made by speakers, moderators, and presenters, do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Defense nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Students will be able to...

  • Explain how legislation can change over time and the role of public opinion in these changes
  • Describe how different interest groups approached the issue of oleo taxation
  • Use evidence from informational texts to support analysis and answer questions
  • Identify the audience and bias for each source