Due for Thanksgiving Break - 

    1) Read chapter 8 on Political Participation.  THEN outline it.  Please use your own words.

    2) Answer the following questions:

      a. Explain what the motor-voter law is. Describe its impact on registration, turnout and election outcomes.

      b. What are the four most important changes that have occurred in elections since the founding?

      c. Identify ways that African Americans were kept from voting after ratification of the 15th Amendment. 

      d. Describe trends in the voting behavior of 18–21 year olds from 1972 to today.

      e. What is the difference between the VAP and VEP?  Explain how these measures affect our thinking about the

          apparent decline in voter turnout.

      f. Summarize the results of the classic study of political participation in the United States by Verba and Nie.


  Due for Tuesday 11/17 Civil Rights

    1) Study for the Civil Rights Test. today  Remember material from prior chapters are fair game to be included.

    2) Have a great Thanksgiving Break, but don't forget to do the take home work in Chapter 8. 

  Due for Friday 11/17    Civil Rights

    1) Finish the questions for Chapter 6 on Civil Rights.  Please ensure you wrote in Complete Sentences.

    2) Something else to come which will ruin your Thursday evening.

  Due for Wednesday- 11/15    Civil Rights

    1) We will continue with our analysis of Civil Rights using the PowerPoint for Chapter 6.

    2) Finish Outlining Chapter 6 (all pages) on Civil Rights.  As before, make sure you are using your own words 

        and avoid copying the work of others.

    3) Begin working on the following Chapter 6 questions.

  Due for Monday 11/13 Civil Rights

    1) Watch this student made video which lists a handful of important Civil Rights cases.  Watch it.  It's creative.

       Afterwards, list each case/event mentioned and add a description for it.  Even the one about CMS.

    2) Read and outline Chapter 6, (pgs 130-145) on Civil Rights.  Outlining should be done in your own words and

       cover each paragraph's high points. Read it in detail... especially the part about nearby Harding High. We will

       begin quizzes each day at the start of class.

    3) We will use this powerpoint for class today.


  Due for Wednesday 11/8 Pol. Culture & Civil Liberties Test 

    1) Read the following article and answer these questions.  Did answering these help you understand the

        issues laid out in the article or would you have "gotten it" without them?  

    2) Prepare for the test by answering these questions.  Please do not neglect these.  They will be graded.

    3) Don't forget about the guest speaker,  tomorrow at the gym at 1:30 -2:30 pm if you can make it! Her

        controversial Video is here.

    4) Please remind your parents to vote in today's local bond election!

  Due for Monday 11/6 American Civil Liberties

    1) Please review the video on Civil Liberties and answer the following questions.

    2) Answer the following AP Exam question in Short Answer Format, making sure to answer the entire question!!!

     The Fourteenth Amendment protects civil rights and civil liberties.

           (a) Describe the difference between civil rights and civil liberties.

           (b) Identify the primary clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that is used to extend civil rights.

           (c) Describe a specific legislative action that extended civil rights to each of the following.

                   • Women

                   • Persons with disabilities

           (d) Identify the primary clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that is used to extend civil liberties.

           (e) Explain how civil liberties were incorporated by the Supreme Court in two of the following cases.

                  • Gideon v. Wainwright

                  • Mapp v. Ohio

                  • Miranda v. Arizona

    3) We will wrap up Civil Liberties and Political Culture today and test on Thursday, 11/9. Know your vocabulary.

    4) In Class we will review this article on Tax incentives.  Then watch a commentator's recent video.

    5) We will have the option of seeing this speaker tomorrow. at NWSA  Research her and prepare a few GREAT

         questions for her!  A video appears here but do your own research.

  Due for Thursday 11/2 American Civil Liberties

    1) Take a look at the following powerpoints.  Let me know which appeals most to you and why.  We will wrap up 

       Civil Liberties next class and test on Civil Liberties and Political Culture next week.

         Powerpoints:     #1           #2            #3             #4

    2) Complete the following quiz on Chapter 5 concepts.  

    3) Read the following article to find out the strange Red State Blue State Origin.  Its a term you have to know...

       now understand where it came from. 

    4)  (Optional) Read the NYT article on Gun Control at the following link.  Investigate the links included in the article

        to get a better sense of what laws apply and why the problem is not going to go away.

  Due for Tuesday 10/31 American Civil Liberties

    1) Finish reading Chapter 5 and answer the remaining questions g-k. below  Make sure you define the following

         vocabulary on either index cards or a well written vocabulary sheet:

     “Clear and present danger” test        Conscientious objector        Creationism         Establishment clause

     Exclusionary rule        Free exercise clause          Giltow v. New York          Good-faith exception       Incorporation

       Libel/Slander       Mapp v. Ohio         Miranda           Preferred position           Prior restraint      Probable cause

      Red scare      Symbolic speech        Wall-of-separation principle           Sauron, the Dark Eye ( j/k)

    2) Read this interesting article about student intolerance on college campuses written by a LIBERAL professor...

      but criticizing the left.  I find myself moved by her concerns... and note she is not the only person to notice the

     tactics of students on the left who seem unwilling to tolerate opposing social or political views.  When I attended

      a decent campus in the 1890's, this behavior would not have been tolerated.  I am curious to know what

       YOU think of this recent transformation in American political culture. Please include your thoughts in a 1/2 page

       free write on the topic and whether the student's behavior is justified.  I'd appreciate it if you are 1) honest,

      2) put serious thought into the assignment and 3) are ready to share it with a college professor on a live

      conference call during class.  

  Due for Thursday 10/26 American Civil Liberties

    1) Read the first half of Chapter 5 and answer questions a-f.  (The remainder are due on Tuesday 10/31 if you

        want to get ahead of the game.)  

       a) Explain the "incorporation process whereby the Fourteenth Amendment extended the protections of the

           the Bill of Rights to give individuals protection from the states. Give specific attention to the Supreme Court’s

          decisions in the Gitlow and Palko cases.

      b. Explain the facts of the Schenck case, and the "Clear and present danger" test that emerged from it. 

      c. Identify four types of speech which are not automatically granted full constitutional protection.

      d. Define libel and explain how libel laws are applied to public figures in the United States.

       e. Explain how the issue of flag burning played out in Congress and the Supreme Court.

       f. Identify 7-8 practices which the Supreme Court has not allowed under the Establishment clause.

      g.  What are the considerations in the Court’s three part test for potential violations of the Establishment clause?

      h. What are two ways court systems can handle evidence seized illegally by law enforcement officers?

      i. Summarize the story of Miranda and the Supreme Court’s decision in his case.  (This one is not a happy ending)

      j. Identify some examples of ways in which the Supreme Court has “relaxed” the Exclusionary Rule in recent years.

      k. Describe 4-5 provisions in the USA Patriot Act.  Do you feel safer because of these restrictions?

    2) The test for Chapters 4 and 5 will be on Thursday 11/02.  Watch the following short videos, answer the

       questions and send them in the form to alan.vitale@cms.k12.nc.us

    3) While on the subject of videos, check out this hilarious and catchy Trump protest video. The age of the band 

       members surprised me but it was clever enough to make the cut.  Consider what it takes to compile the closing


  Due for Tuesday 10/24 American Political Culture

    1)  Make sure you know the terms from last week and be sure to have read Chap. 4.

    2) Complete the following vocabulary matching.

    3) Ryan and Daniel are both due to give presentations.  Please take the time to look up a reputable source on

       the Right To Die. 


    Due for Friday 10/16 American Political Culture

    1)  Define the following terms from Chapter 4:

       a. Blue states v. Red States       b. civic competence      c. civic duty        d. class consciousness

      e. Congregational           f. equal opportunity         g. Individualism           h. liberty        i. opposition party

        j. political culture            k. political ideology          l. political tolerance      m. inequality of outcome 

       n. inequality of opportunity

    2) Take a moment to read through this excellent outline of Chapter 4, Political Culture.  Highlight relevant sections!

    3) Then try tackling this quiz.  how did you do?

  Due for Wednesday 10/14 American Political Culture 

    1) Read Chapter 4 and answer the following questions.

          a. Identify and briefly comment on the five elements of American political culture.

          b. What are some things that you have learned in this chapter about political culture in Sweden and Japan?

          c. Summarize the findings of the study of political culture in the USA & Britain, Germany, Italy and Mexico.

          d. Discuss some ways that religion has played an important role in American political culture an

          e. Discuss 4-5 of the sources of American political culture.

          f. Identify the two sides in the culture war and contrast their beliefs, giving at least 5 examples for each.

          g. What is political efficacy and what is the difference between internal and external political efficacy?

          h. What are some explanations for why some highly unpopular groups continue to survive in our culture?

     2) Emily will give a talk on the Death Penalty.  Zach, Gavin, David Francesca and Josiah should read this.

         Katy, Marie, Larson, Reilly and Daniel should read this.  Grace, Mollie, Carmen, Maya should read this

         Frodo, Samwise, Sauron and Gandalf should read this

     3) Please take a moment to thank Senator Jackson for taking the time to visit the class last Thursday.  He actually

         reads his e-mail and would like to hear from you. His e-mail address is jacksonjla@ncleg.net    Please CC. me

         on your e-mail. (alan.vitale@cms.k12.nc.us)

    4) The article we read today from the NYT about gun owner's voting patterns was here.

  Due for Monday 10/12 Test on The Critical Period History 

   1) Make sure you review the events from the early American Critical Period (Articles of Confederation through Early

       Nation)  for today's test.  It will be short but challenging.

   2) We will resume class presentations with Grace and Emily both presenting today, before the test.

   3) Thank you for a great class with the Senator last Thursday.   I know several of you were interested in finding out how

       you can take part in the political process you are learning about and will discuss this in class today. The class 

       picture is here

  Due for Tuesday 10/10 History of American Government

    1) We have a rare opportunity to have a personal conversation with one of the most energetic and bipartisan

      senators in NC on Thursday.  I sincerely respect Senator Jackson.  One of the key issues he points to is the

      growing democracy deficit created by Gerrymandering, both in NC and across the USA.  It has been used by both

      parties but thanks to data analytics and a lack of public awareness, it has reached epic proportions and is

      responsible for a government which is sharply skewed in outlook and representation.  I have assigned 4 SHORT

     articles and videos. Please invest the time to make sure you can dig in and discuss the issue (among others) on

     Thursday.   I will wrap up Constitutional History on Tuesday in class... no reading needed. 

    2) Please watch this 6 min  HBO documentary on Gerrymandering.. It's part of a the "Vice" series.

    3) Read this editorial article from the leading analytical newspaper on politics:  The Washington Post.

    4) Watch this short CNN story on how badly NC is handling Gerrymandering. 

    5) There are solutions to gerrymandering. Read this interesting piece and this article about using statistics

        to resolve the problem.

    6) Last class, we discussed the status of US territories. Could it not be said we apply gerrymandering to them

        as well?  As you ponder that, please finish test corrections on the Federalism Test.  (I'll post test copy shortly).


  Due for Friday 10/6 History of American Government 

   1)  Start a governmental chart  which matches faces and names  of current government leaders to their jobs.

       You can have fun and find funny pictures of them in awkward situations. Add a short description of each job

       (What do they do?)
    2) We talked about the problems federalism creates for Drug Enforcement. Read the implications of drug

        legalization and the resulting federal Constitutional conflicts. 

   3)  We will run through a quick history of the AOC and Constitution next class, using this timeline. The terms

        should look familiar from APUSH.

  Due for Wednesday 10/4 Federalism.

    1) Test scores today were fine although a couple of you struggled a bit.  We will finish recapping the Federalism 

      ppt. Please make sure you read the chapter and take the time to look through the ppt and outlines assigned.

      (There will be more such ppt's to follow to help if you prefer them). 

   2) Expect an ungraded practice exam to gauge your general knowledge during the next class. It will help me plan

      what works best for you so don't worry about marking the wrong answer.

   3) Watch this comedic commentary on Puerto Rico & consider how it relates to Federalism.  It's funny but useful.

        Seriously, watch it and consider what Puerto Rico has done to raise money and how it has paid off.

    4) I am going to discontinue the mass shooting search because I am saddened by what it represents and wish 

      for change. I am sure our nation would do something if it had been an Al-Queda or a North Korean shooter

      but even this HORRIFIC event will end with bag checks and nothing else.  I'm sorry and hope to be proven wrong.  

  Due for Monday, 10/2 Federalism Test

    1) Nice job on Thursday's presentation Mr. Saxon.  It was short & well thought out.  After Riley's presentation, 

       we will take our Chapter 3 Federalism test.  To prepare review the chapter 3 outline and  know your terms.

   2)  Watch this video to prepare... its a good summary of the chapter's issues. It's well worth your time and notes

        you take on this video can be used on Monday's test.  They must closely follow the video to be usable though!

   3)  Using Rock the Vote’s Election Center, compare voter regulations in your state and answer the following:

         Select your state on the map and answer the following:

          a) When is the registration deadline for the next election?

          b) How far in advance of the election is this deadline?

          c) Does your state offer early voting?

          d) Does having committed a felony affect eligibility to vote in your state?

     Now choose another state... perhaps one you or your parent were born in:

          a) When is the registration deadline for the next election?
          b) How far in advance of the election is this deadline?
          c) Does your state offer early voting?
          d) Does having committed a felony affect eligibility to vote in your state?

    What are the advantages of each state having flexibility in how elections are administered? Are there drawbacks?

  Due for Thursday - 9/28 Federalism

    1) Watch this 30 min documentary on Federalism.  The information is good despite the documentary's

         age as it uses Federal programs to make its points.  Then answer these questions

    2) Using Chapter 3 on Federalism, answer the following questions:

       A. Explain the differences between political systems which are unitary, confederal or federal.

       B. Summarize the views of federalism held by Hamilton and Jefferson. Which view appears to have won out?

       C. Summarize the facts which led up to McCulloch v. Maryland and the importance of the Court’s decision.
       D. Explain what “nullification” refers to and note two examples of “nullification” politics in American history.
       E. Discuss at least 2 recent S. Ct. decisions which suggest the doctrine of dual federalism is not 100% dead.
       F. What are three reasons federal grants were initiallyquite attractive to state officials?

      G. Explain what the terms “second-order” and “third-order” devolution refer to.

    3) There is real value in our discussions and we are mulling over material which will show up on the exam.  

        For example, today's talk about protests was an excellent analysis of Civil Liberties and the Title IX was 

        another way to  view Federalism.  Even so, I'll have to tighten up on timing and will introduce a couple

        of minor changes. to facilitate this  The test on Federalism will be on Monday!

  Due for Tuesday 9/26 Federalism

   1) Make sure you review the bolded terms on Federalism.  I promise to have an entertaining game ready but

      it only works if you do.  Needless to say, there will probably be a quiz. (I have to pretend to teach you something

      after all).

   2) Watch the following Crash Course on Federalism. Then answer these questions.

   3) Based  on the documentary we watched on Wednesday, List at least 3  mistakes made by each of the following:

                 Local Government               State Government               Federal Government

     If you doubt whether Congress should have known about the danger, watch this short PBS documentary.  Why did

      nobody pay attention? Its a shockingly clear warning!  Worse yet, does it imply other US cities are in danger? 

​​  Due for Wednesday 9/20      Federalism and More Constitutional Review
   1) Go back over Chapter 3 on Federalism (here) and then complete the following term matching.  Take time to learn

       the bolded terms you don't know. A quiz is watching you from the corner.  You can't see it but it knows what you

       don't know and it lives in MC463.  
   2) Complete the Constitutional Scavenger Hunt page 2.  It's Constitution Week after all. but you can think of it

      as your best friends birthday if that helps you. Once again, you can use this annotated Constitution for reference.

    3) As a teacher, I recognize we all have legitimate difference of opinion on social issues.  However, I worry about

        people who make up facts or operate without researching economic truths. For example, read this analysis of

        the costs/benefits of immigration to the USA and ask whether most Americans are aware of it.  What counter

        arguments facts can be marshaled in response? Go ahead and conduct a fast search to find a reliable source. 

    4) Don't forget to  complete the Constitutional study guide... a Fun challenge awaits on Wednesday, (This week's


  Due for Monday 9/18       Federalism and a bit of Constitutional review

   1) Read chapter 3 on Federalism here or you can read from it straight from the book.  Then answer the

       following questions.   

   2) Complete the Constitutional Scavenger Hunt page 1.  You can use the annotated Constitution for reference.

    3) Good news... The Wall Street Journal issues will begin arriving today.  I am going to ask you to start reading

        and commenting on political news stories.  When we do this, it will be important to have a sense of humor and

        avoid personally berating those you disagree with, even when they use foul and personally offensive language. 

        Someone using my name attempted this last year on the Charlotte Observer discussion boards.

        Feel free to read. You will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "COMMENTS" link

        to see them but they give you an idea of what is written. Interestingly, several of the posts my alias responded to

       subsequently deleted their original posts, which I guess is a win.

    4) More Good News... following our appeal to the Zone Admin, we have been allowed to re-invite

        Senator Jackson to visit the class. Hope he can re-commit.

  Due for Thursday 9/14 Constitution Test

    1) Study for the Constitution test.  You should know the Amendments, and the major points of the 7 Articles  of the


     2) Complete the Constitution quiz given in class.

  Due for Tuesday 9/12 Constitutional Analysis

    1) The basis for the US Government is the Constitution.  Despite that, many "PROUD" AMERICANS don't recognize 

        our founding documents.  We sometimes forget the drafters of the Constitution were also error prone.

        Despite that, we have a pretty good government, the longest running Republic in the modern era.  (The Romans

        beat us for longevity but I haven't heard much from them lately)  To review the summer assignment and prepare

        for your 1st test, on Thursday, 9/15 complete the following chart analyzing Articles 1-7 of the Constitution.  It and 

        the Amendments chart are a big part of what you need to know.  

    2) Have a go at this matching exercise from Chapter 2.  Its going to be a blast.  If you want to do more of them,

        e-mail me and for a small donation, I'll assign another set.  

    3) Don't forget about the short 10-15 minute debates which begin this week.  Names & dates are found here.

  Due for Friday 9/8 Constitution

    1) Complete the following worksheet listing the Constitutional Amendments.  Take some time to add illustrations

      for each... after all, its an Arts School, right?  A quiz on the Amendments will follow.

    2) Finish Reading Chapter 2 and answer the following questions: 

           a) How did James Madison’s notions of human nature play an important role in the framing of the Constitution?

           b) Explain why the Constitution did not include a bill of rights. Then explain why one was added.

           c) Discuss whether “women were left out of the Constitution.” 

  Due for Wednesday 9/6- Introduction to the Constitution

   1) From Friday's class: Read the Background to the Constitutional Convention and find the answers to the
      following questions about the Constitution.  More background can be found by watching this documentary.  

   2)  Get to know your textbook... It is waiting at home for you, ready to become your most loyal friend.  Read pgs

        20-36 and answer the following questions: 

      a)  List and discuss the shortcomings of government under the Articles of Confederation.

      b. Discuss the backgrounds of the writers of the Constitution, and explain why these men tended to be

          mistrustful of the notion of democracy.

      c. Compare and contrast the Virginia and New Jersey plans, and show how they led to the Great Compromise.

      d. Explain why the separation of powers and federalism became key parts of the Constitution. Hint: the Framers’

          intention was NOT to make the system more democratic, nor efficient. 

​  3) Don't forget to bring the election analysis of 2016 assignment from last week... We're going to dissect the rise of

      Trump.  and of course,     Have a great weekend.

  Due for Friday 9/1/16- AP US Government 

    1) Begin picking out a discussion topic you would feel comfortable leading a 10-15 minute class discussion

       on over the course of the fall semester.  Topic choices and date selection will occur next class.  Possible

       ideas can be found in the discussion link to the left. 

    2) Complete the 100 question Civic Immigration test... Please play it straight (dont' cheat) and print out your final

         score.  I'm curious to know how what the national average would be if this test were given to Americans.

    3) The fact check for Ted Cruz's reasons for not voting against Hurrican Sandy's relief were thoroughly debunked. 

        Does that make his current request for Texas relief funds hypocritical?   

    4) Get ready to begin the readings and formal classwork this weekend... its been a nice first week!


  8/30/16- Welcome to AP US Government with Mr. Vitale.  Your first assignment will be:

  1) Read the 2016 Election Analysis in preparation for next class.  Highlight relevant parts and prepare at least 3 

      questions you want to ask. 

  2) Return your signed copy of the Syllabus.

  3) Complete the first 2 Political Ideology Links .  Print out your "findings" page for each so we can discuss in class
       on Thursday.

  4) Ask your parent to fill out the Parent handout survey.  It's fast and may tell us a lot about you too.

  5) Find a newspaper story that involves an issue that involves  the Constitution, read it and come in prepared to

       discuss it. Good places to look include the New York Times,  Wall Street Journal,  Washington Post,  Charlotte

        Observer, etc



AP US Government