SYLLABUS AP Government and Politics
Dan Thiessen, Bakersfield Christian High School
Government by the People, Burns, Peltason, Cronin, Magleby -
National Version 21th Edition
Woll, Peter, ed. American Government: Readings and Cases, 15th Ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2004
Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison and John Jay (edited by Benjamin Wright).
The Federalists: the Famous Papers on the Principles of American Government.
Fifth Printing. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2004
AlEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, Democracy in America, 2 vols. (1835)
Supplemental articles from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, US news and World report, Fox NewsChannel, the Bakersfield Californian
Internet sources providing access to international news agencies
Lectures, critical writing assignments, tests, quizzes, and projects
the intent of this course is to increase understanding of the American political system, its framework, traditions and values with the goal of having each student pass the Advanced Placement Exam. This course is concerned with the nature of the American political system, its development over the past two centuries. We will examine in detail the principle processes and institutions through which the political system functions, as well as some of the public policies which these institutions establish and how they are implemented
At the end of the school year, students successfully completing this course will:
1. Know important facts, concepts and theories pertaining to US Government and Politics
2. Be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to US government and politics
3. Understand the political process and their consequences.
4. Understand the political behavior ,principles and procedures used to justify political structures
Quizzes- relevant content questions (will not be announced) 50 pts
Tests- Each section of the text book and lecture topics 100 pts
Home work-text book and handouts assignments 50 pts
Projects- Presidents poster and party platform project 100 pts
Classroom assignments- AP study questions 50 pts
Note book- Chapter outline, terms, and newspaper articles 50 pts
Currents events-students are required to keep a daily log of articles 50 pts
that are taken from one of the supplemental reading materials,
analyzing their content in written form, that well be graded on
Understanding of how they relate to concepts and themes.
The Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics program is designed to teach U.S. constitutional government based on principles of philosophy, political beliefs and behavior, political parties and interest groups, national institutions and policy processes and law. Emphasis is given to the relationship of the citizen to the structure and function of the American constitutional system.
AP Government and Politics is a highly structured, very demanding college-level course. Students are REQUIRED to thoroughly read the college-level text and outline each chapter, as well as the supplemental reading assignments. It is imperative that a high-level academic environment exists and that the student is dedicated to learning, is highly motivated, and is willing to put forth both in and outside of the classroom the time and effort required for a course of this intensity.
I. The American System
Aug. 18- Aug. 29
12.1 Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values of American democracy as expressed in the U.S. Constitution and other essential documents of American democracy.
12.7 Students analyze and compare the powers and procedures of the national, state, tribal, and local governments.
12.9 Students analyze the origins, characteristics, and development of different political systems across time, with emphasis on the quest for political democracy, its advances, and its obstacles.
A. The Study of American Government
Writing assignment on the founding of a representative Government
B. The Constitution
Writing assignment on the separation of state and federal government
D. Section Test on all Material
E. Practice test written and multiple choice on AP questions
Woll Readings: Locke- Second Treatise……..
Roche – The Founding Fathers
Beard – Framing the Constitution
Madison – Federalist #47, #48, #51
Tribe – How not to read the Constitution
: Madison #39
McColluck v. Maryland
Bryce – Merits of the Federal System
II. POLITICAL BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS-
September 1-September 19
12.2 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the scope and limits of rights and obligations as democratic citizens, the relationships among them, and how they are secured.
12.3 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of voluntary personal, social, and economic relations that are not part of government), their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principles for a free society.
A. Political Culture and Ideology
Writing assignment on the political culture of the United States
B. The American Political Landscape
C. Public Opinion, Participation and Voting
D. Section Test on all Material
Woll Readings: Ginsberg/Shefter – Politics by other Means
III. POLITICAL PARTIES, INTEREST GROUPS, AND MASS MEDIA- September 22- October 3
12.6 Students evaluate issues regarding campaigns for national, state, and local elective offices.
12.8 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the influence of the media on American political life.
A. Interest Groups
B. Political Parties
writing assignment on the influence of 3rd parties.
C. Campaigns and Elections
D. The Mass Media
E. Section Test on all Materials
F. From the Internet: Find current data that is charted on PACs. Analyze the chart of the information given and write an explanation of the existing data shown and its effect on a present policy within the government on both the Federal and State level
Woll Readings: Madison – Federalist # 10
Key – A Theory of Critical Thinking
Key – the Responsible Electorate
Isaacson – Running with the PACs
Sabato – The Misplaced Obsession
Sorauf – The Special Politics
Truman – The Governmental Process
IV. INSTITUTIONAL OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT: THE CONGRESS, THE PRESIDENCY, THE BUREAUCRACY AND THE FEDERAL COURTS
October 6 – October 24
12.4 Students analyze the unique roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government as established by the U.S. Constitution.
A. Congress: The People’s Branch
Writing assignment on leadership change and its affect on Congress
B. The Presidency: The Leadership Branch?
C. The Judiciary: Balancing Branch
From the Text: Page 373-Graph on Diversity on the Federal Bench- Analyze the
Change that is taking place in diversity on the Federal Bench...Explain from the
Information given, from the graph, the significance of the changes in the federal
Bench that effect decisions from the court.
D. Bureaucrats: Real Power?
E. Section Test on all Materials
Woll Readings: Barber - The Presidential Character….
Reedy – The Press and the President
Wildavaky – The Two Presidencies
Milkis – The Presidency and Political Parties
Woll – Constitutional Democracy
Wilson – The Rise of the Bureaucratic…..
Dodd - Congress and the Quest for Power
Cook – Media Power and Congressional…….
Marbury v. Madison
Bork – The Tempting of America
Brennen – How the Supreme Court Works
Dickerson v. United States
Brennen – For” Loose” Construction
V. CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
October 27- November 21
12.5 Students summarize landmark U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments.
A. The development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation
Chapter 16, 17, & 18
B. Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties
Chapter 16, 17, &18 C. The impact of the Fourteenth Amendment on the constitutional development of rights and liberties
Chapter 16, 17, & 18
D. Section Test on all Materials
Woll Readings: Engel v. Vital
John Stuart Mill – Liberty of Thought
Collin v. Smith
Gideon v. Wainwright
Brown v. Board of Education
Roe v. Wade
Regents v. Bakke
VI. PUBLIC POLICY-
December 1- December 12
12.10 Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses of tensions within our constitutional democracy and the importance of maintaining a balance between the following concepts: majority rule and individual rights; liberty and equality; state and national authority in a federal system; civil disobedience and the rule of law; freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial; the relationship of religion and government
A. The Politics of National Policy
Chapters 19 - Making of Social Policy
• The Role of Government in Social Policy
• The Early History of Social Policy in the United States
• Types of Social Policy
• The Expansion of Social Policy in the 20th Century
B. Chapter 20 - Making foreign and Defense Policy
• Vital interests in the 20th Century
• The Foreign and Defense Policy Bureaucracy
• Participants in foreign and Defense Policy
• Foreign and Defense policy Options
C. Chapter 28 - Making State and Local Policy
• Higher Education
• Social Services
• Law Enforcement
• Planning and Urban development
• The importance of Stat and Local Policy
1. Students not taking the Advanced Placement Government exam will be required to take a comprehensive exam on test date set for seniors. The exam will cover all material previously studied. Students taking the AP exam will not be required to complete the final exam.
2. Students must understand at the outset that there is extensive reading, from supplemental reader and other sources, and that it must be completed in advance of the material being covered in class.
3. They are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of all topics treated in the text, reader, and the classroom.
4. There will be examinations approximately very section, or as appropriate to the coverage of the material. These examinations will last approximately fifty-minutes and are either 50% multiple choice and 50% essay or 100% essay. Each test will be the same format as the AP Government Exam. Multiple choice will consist of five answers from which to choose. The essays can be either five-point, single question or a number of shorter interpretive writings.
5. The reading assignments for each chapter are also very important. You will have questions on each test from the reading assignments. These readings will not necessarily be reviewed in class prior to examination. They are used to expanding on the information in the chapters.
6. Each student will be required to keep a hard cover 3 ring binder for assignment, homework, tests and quizzes. These notebooks will be checked every two (2) weeks and will be given a grade. Students will be given instruction in class the first week of school on how to arrange their notebooks.
7. Students will start class with a reading and analysis of an article from the newspaper or the internet provided. One paragraph summarizing the article and a second that analyses the article in conjunction with the chapter topic that the class is on for that week. e.g. Federalism and an article on National and State government involvement in Immigration reform. Students will keep a daily copy of these articles that will be placed in their notebook for reference to related topics.
8. Assignments are due the date assigned. Late papers or assignments will not be accepted as per school and department policy.
9. Outside reading materials will be provided in Handout form from the instructor and are to be kept in their notebook.
10. The students will analyze the graphs and tables provided in the Government by the People Textbook to explain key course concepts. On a weekly basis students will be asked to write written interpretation of the chapter graphs and statistics and discuss how this information reinforces the text’s content.
If absent for 3 days or less, students must make up all work within a period of time equal to the number of days absent. For absences more than 3 days, students and parents must
contact the teachers to determine a reasonable due date for assignments missed during the absences .Questions or concerns about dates will be addressed by the Dean of Academics or the Principal.
No homework or long term assignments will be accepted late except for teacher and administration exceptions . If absent for 3 days or less students must make up all work within a period of time equal to the number of days absent. For absences more than 3 days students and parents must contact the teacher to determine a reasonable due date for work missed during the absences. Questions or concerns about dates will be addressed by the Dean of Academics or the Principal. Students are expected to turn in homework before leaving school for a school-sponsored event. Exceptions may be made by the Academic Dean. Students are responsible for making up any assignments, tests and quizzes missed during school-sponsored events within one day of the absence.