AP US Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics Syllabus

 Welcome back to school! I am very excited to be your teacher this year.  This course is designed to provide a college-level experience and preparation for the AP Exam in U.S. Government.  This course is concerned with the nature of the American political system, its development over the past two hundred years and how it continues to function today.  It examines in detail the structure and purpose of the Constitution, the principle processes and institutions through which the political system functions, and the creation and implementation of public policy.  An emphasis is placed on interpreting documents, mastering a significant body of factual information, and writing critical essays.

 This is a challenging course and will require a great deal of work on both your and my parts.  Students will be expected to learn and retain information that is in their readings, but it not always directly addressed in class.  Please feel free to contact me either through e-mail or by phone with questions or concerns throughout the year.


Text Books

·         American Government: Continuity and Change –bought by the student

·         The Logic of American Politics- given out by the teacher

 -Students will be given numerous handouts and readings therefore it would be helpful to have a three ring binder to keep them all organized.


Current Events


Students are responsible for keeping up with daily events in the nation and the world.  There will be many opportunities to discuss current political events within the class.  Students will need to skim the front page of a major newspaper (ex: The Washington Post) –this can be found online, and/or watch news programs on such channels as CNN or PBS on a daily basis.


Using Graphs, Maps and Charts

Students are tested on their understanding of quantitative and visually presented information (maps and graphs) at regular intervals in the quiz and test assignments.


 Will be as follows:

·         tests and projects  45%

·         quizzes 25%,

·         homework 15%

·         participation/class work 15%.


Ø  Essays will vary in length depending on the topic and are graded on content, use of documentary and outside supporting evidence, grammar, spelling, and evidence of critical thinking. 

Ø  An Essay can be counted as test, quiz or homework grade.

Ø  Work turned in late will be marked down one grade for every day that it is late.  After two days it will be marked as a zero

Ø  There will be at least two test grades and two quiz grades per quarter.

 Ø  CHEATING AND PLAGERISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC ZERO along with an invitation to meet with the honor committee.  Resubmitted work cannot earn a score higher than a 60%

 Ø  There will be weekly multiple choice quizzes on the previous week’s information.  Notes will also be checked weekly and consitute a large portion of the homework grade.



The AP Exam is 2 hours and 25 minutes long.  It consists of a 45-minute multiple choice section of 60 questions (five possible answers for each) which account for 50% of the final exam score.  There is also a 100-minute free response (essay) section of 4 mandatory essays which collectively account for the remaining 50% of the final exam score.  You must answer ALL the essay questions; you will have no choices.  The exam is scheduled for Monday, May 3, 2010.

Reading Schedule  

(only some of the many documents are listed)


1                       Aug. 24-28                    Intro./  Brief Review of US Political History


2      Aug. 31-Sept.4               Chapter 1: The Political Landscape

                                                Documents: The Magna Carta

                                                                     Tom Paine’s Common Sense


      3                Sept. 8-11         Chapter 2: The Constitution

                                                Documents: Madison’s notes on the Convention

                                                                   The Federalist Papers: #68


     4                 Sept. 14-18       cont….

                                                Debate on Ratifying the Constitution of “Fredonia”


     5                 Sept. 21-25       Chapter 3: Federalism


     6                 Sept. 28-Oct.2   Chapter 4: State and Local Government


     7                 Oct.5-9             Chapter 5: Civil Liberties

                                                Document: Gitlow v. NY ruling


     8                 Oct.12-16          Civil Liberties Cont.


     9                 Oct.19-23          Chapter 6: Civil Rights

                                                Document: Brown v. Board of Ed. Ruling


    10                 Oct.26-29          Civil Rights Cont.


    11                 Nov.2-6             Chapter 7: Congress


    12                 Nov.9-13           Mock Congress


    13                 Nov.16-20         Chapter 8: The Presidency


    14                 Nov.23-24         Chapter 9: The Federal Bureaucracy

                                                Watch: Frontline: Cheney’s Law

Thanksgiving Break

    15                 Dec..1-4            Bureucracy Cont.


    16                 Dec.7-11           Chapter 10: The Judiciary

                                                Document:       Marburry v. Madison ruling

Dred Scott Decision


    17                 Dec.14-16         Review for Exam


    18                 Dec21-25          Exams and Break

    Christmas Break


    19                 Jan.4-8 Judiciary Cont./ Mock Trial


    20                 Jan.11-14          Chapter 11: Political Socialization and Public Opinion                                                                             Documents: graphs of public opinion


    21                 Jan.19-21          Chapter 12: Political Parties


    22                 Jan.25-29          Chapter 13: Voting and Elections


    23                 Feb.1-5             Chapter 14: The Campaign Process


    24                 Feb.8-12           Chapter 15: The Media


    25                 Feb.16-19         Chapter 16: Interest Groups


    26                 Feb.22-26         The Media and Interest Groups Cont.


    27                 March1-5           Chapter 17: Social Welfare Policy


    28                 March 8-12        Social Welfare Cont..


    29                 March 15-19      Chapter 18: Economic Policy

                                                Document: The Federal Budget


    30                 March 22-26      Economic Policy cont.


    31                 March 29-30      Chapter 19: Foreign and Defense Policy

                                                Document: Executive orders related to Gitmo

Easter Break

    32                 April  12-16       Foreign Policy Cont.


    33                 April19-23         Review


    34                 April26-30         Review


    35                 May3-7             AP EXAM MONDAY MAY, 3rd


                        May 10-14         Work on Research Paper

                        May 17-20         Last Day of Class (Thurs)

                        May 21-26         EXAMS