COURSE OVERVIEW – This course focuses on the philosophical and institutional foundations of the American political system. These concepts are organized around FIVE UNITS.
Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
The U.S. Constitution arose out of important historical and philosophical ideas and preferences regarding popular sovereignty and limited government. Compromises were made during the Constitutional Convention and ratification debates, and these compromises have frequently been the source of conflict in U.S. politics over the proper balance between individual freedom, social order, and equality of opportunity.
Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
Because power is widely distributed and checks prevent one branch from usurping powers from the others, institutional actors are in the position where they must both compete and cooperate in order to govern.
Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Through the U.S. Constitution, but primarily through the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, citizens and groups have attempted to restrict national and state governments from unduly infringing upon individual rights essential to ordered liberty and from denying equal protection under the law. Likewise, it has sometimes been argued that these legal protections have been used to block reforms and restrict freedoms of others in the name of social order.
Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
American political beliefs are shaped by founding ideals, core values, linkage institutions (e.g., elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media in all its forms), and the changing demographics of citizens. These beliefs about government, politics, and the individual’s role in the political system influence the creation of public policies.
Unit 5: Political Participation
Governing is achieved directly through citizen participation and indirectly through institutions (e.g., political parties, interest groups, and mass media) that inform,organize, and mobilize support to influence government and politics, resulting in many venues for citizen influence on policy making.
Textbook: Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy (2014 Election Edition) 16th Edition, 2016 By Edwards, Wattenberg, Lineberry.
Internet access (for my website and Google Classroom)
notebook/ binder/ folder for notes and a folder for packets/ handouts
Community service requirement
a) Tests (50%)
-full period exams (any combination of Multiple Choice or FRQ or Argumentative Essay)
-any papers assigned during the quarter *☺
- the format of make-up exams will be determined by the teacher
b) Quizzes (30%)
- expect quizzes on assigned textbook readings, articles, and flashcards
- a consistent commitment to studying and reading is the key to success!
TO MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY OF UNRELEASED COLLEGE BOARD MATERIALS, AND COPYRIGHTED TEXTBOOK MATERIALS, MOST EXAMS AND QUIZZES WILL NOT BE RETURNED FOR STUDENTS TO KEEP; those exams and quizzes will always be available for student review, however.
c) Graded assignments/Classwork Activities/ projects (20%)
-full credit for assignments handed in the day they are due
-late assignments are accepted, but penalized
**Grade sheets will be handed out periodically to update you on your progress**
Regular attendance is paramount to success in a college level course.
More than 5 absences (whether EXCUSED or UNEXCUSED) per quarter will require make-up work beyond that day’s regular classwork, assignment, quiz or exam which the student will still be responsible for completing. The nature of this make-up work will be determined by the teacher and will be completed under the teacher's supervision. This will occur on the 6th absence, the 7th, the 8th, etc, for every absence above 5.
1. Find a "Study Buddy" in any of the AP Gov classes
2. Taking notes as you read helps you in many ways:
a. allows you to be better prepared for a possible quiz
b. gives you a comprehensive outline for the chapter exam
c. provides you with outline notes for larger assessments (i.e. midterm and AP Exam)
3. Review books can be a helpful addition to your assigned reading, NOT A SUBSTITUTION.
4. ASK FOR HELP. The responsibility to seek help is yours.
I will be using Google Classroom throughout the year to provide assignments, links, review material, in class activities and ongoing projects.