Due for Tuesday 2/20 Congress
1) Finish reading and outlining Chapter 13-Congress.
2) Answer the following questions from Chapter 13.
a. Discuss the relationship between ideology and civility in Congress in recent years.
b. Identify the factors that help to explain the way a member of Congress votes.
c. Describe the formal process by which a bill becomes a law.
d. Explain the ethical problems confronting Congress.
e. Explain what a “filibuster” is and how “Rule 22” applies to filibusters.
f. Generalize about the social characteristics of the typical member of Congress and describe
recent trends in membership.
g. What are some explanations for why congressional seats have become deeper Red/Blue?
h. Identify and explain the three views of congressional voting.
i. Why are members of Congress strong liberals and conservatives while the American people are
usually somewhere in the center?
j. Explain the three types of resolutions that Congress can pass.
k. Explain the four procedures for voting in Congress.
l. Identify 5-6 rules with respect to Congressional ethics.
3) Classroom roles will be assigned next class for the Congressional simulation we will participate in over the next
few classes. Please research your role as a Representative in the House. Your Assigned Districts are:
Katie- 2nd District of Tennesee
Carman- 2nd District of Alabama
Zach - 8th District of Illinois
Larson- 24th District of Texas
Grace- 11th District Ohio
Francesca- 2nd District of South Carolina
David- South Dakota
Reilly- 22nd District of New York
Marie- 3rd District of Nebraska
Mollie- 5th District Michigan
Josiah - 7th District of Missouri
Maya - 5th District of Maryland
Daniel- 2nd District West (by God )Virginia
Ryan- 3rd District of Louisiana
Emily- 11th District of Georgia
Complete the following Distict infromation sheet about your representative and their district. This is due on
Due for Friday 2/16 (In Class)
1) Complete this exercise about Congress using information from the actual www.senate.gov website.
Due for Wednesday 2/14 Finish Take Home Test
1) Finish the take-home test on the Media. There are two sections and while you should use your textbook if
you have questions, please don't collaborate without prior approval.
2) We are about to begin the most critical part of the course... Congress, The Presidency, the Courts and the
Bureaucracy. Be ready to focus on what may likely amount to about half of your AP exam by starting
reading chapter 13 pgs. 326-342. Answer the questions and be ready to define the terms before Friday's class.
Be ready for a Quiz on Wed!
Due for 2/12 Media, Interest Groups, Quarterly Review
2) Study for the Unit Review Exam on Media, Interest Groups, Elections, etc.
3) Thanks to those of you who came in for make-up tests.
Due for Thursday 2/8 The Role of the Media
1) Finish watching the video about the Media by FRONTLINE which examines the political, cultural, legal, and
economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Then answer these
2) Study the Chapter reading for the test next class.
3) Listen to examples of Conservative Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones and consider why he
appeals to so many conservative radio listeners. Then listen to a liberal Television show hosts Steven Colbert
of the same event at Davos. Lastly consider the watchdog role with regard to the upcoming 2020 census.
Due for Tuesday 2/6 The Role of the Media
1) Finish reading Chapter 12.
2) Finish answering these questions.
3) Read the following article from a website documenting US media issues. Its short & well written.
5) Soundbites have gone from about a minute to only 9 seconds on news broadcasts. Here's why.
Due for Friday 2/2 Interest Groups Wrap up
1) Scores for the Interest Group test were not as high as I hoped for. I am sure the fault is partly mine, as I
should have prepared you better. Perhaps you should have more closely read the text. Either way, if you'd like to
re-take a similar test, I will work with you to do so over the next week. Regardless, this is today's test (with
answers and brief explanations for each question) The good news... an AP score above a 60% is considered
passing and the class's short answers were solid. Let me know how I can help if you struggled.
2) Sadly, we cannot stop and must begin Ch. 12 on Media (pg. 298 -314). Read it closely... given the past year, I'd
expect a detailed question on the Media on this year's exam. We'll have a quiz next class with questions
pulled directly from the reading.
3) Begin answering these questions, which will be due on Tuesday 2/6.
Due for Wednesday 1/31 Interest Groups
1) Study for the TEST on Interest Groups today. Watch the State of the Union if possible. Its rumored to be a long
one, filled with self-congratulatory language & guests highlighting the President's beneficence. If so, what policies
or concerns are missing (besides humility)?
2) An interesting article about a teacher who may have gone too far. Optional, but worth the short read. Thoughts?
Due for Monday 1/29 Interest Groups
1) Finish reading Chapter 10 and answer the following questions.
a) How do interest groups employ “ratings?” What are some examples of groups who employ such devices
and why are they also problematic?
b. Summarize what political scientists know about trends in PAC activity and what we know about the influence
of PACs on congressional voting.
c. Identify three restrictions on former executive branch employees who want to represent clients before
d. What three regulations were placed on lobbyists and lobbying activity in March of 2007?
2) Learn the following terms and draw a picture for each showing you understand its significance.
3) Finish watching the class video about interest groups.
Due for Thursday 1/25 Interest Groups
1) Read Chapter 11 pgs. 270-283 on Interest Groups. Then answer the following questions:
a. Discuss the four reasons identified by the authors for why interest groups are so common in this country.
b. Explain how government policy contributed to the rise of interest groups since the 1960s.
c. Identify some of the defining characteristics of institutional and membership interests.
d. Identify and explain the three types of incentives which mass-membership organizations offer.
e. Describe the three types of feminist organizations.
f. Discuss the rise and fall of the union movement with attention given to causes of decline and recent trends in
g. Why are federal grants and contracts a topic of interest in relation to interest groups and how have recent
administrations attempted to affect the relationship between them?
Due for Thursday 1/18 ---> Moved to Tuesday 1/23: Your long awaited Midterm!!!
1) A champion will be crowned. Study for your midterm. Remember the guide? Its perfect to recap what's on
the Exam. If you want to know what not studying looks like, enjoy the impending government shutdown. Its a lock
after the Conservative wing of the GOP known as the "Freedom Caucus" (Caucus as in group of politicians,
not election) derailed a deal with Democrats on DACA. GOP Speaker Paul Ryan has claimed it would be
unconscionable to shut down government because "it would hurt our troops". I fear it will hurt a lot more
than our troops: poor children, government employees, handicapped services, etc. What's odd is that the
GOP already has far more than the 218 votes needed to pass a House spending bill. The political posturing
is a sure sign the GOP leadership is so weakened they may be incapable of reaching a deal w/ moderates
even if leaders like Ryan wanted to. The lesson from all this? STUDY. Something in America should be working
this weekend, even if its' not your government. Seriously... take a moment to review the budget scenario by
friendly periodical owned by Fox. and the NYT and WP have been targeted for offering a contrarian view. Know
what's behind the shutdown well enough to explain it on an exam and be sure you understand the
CONSEQUENCES of what will happen when our government does shutdown. Then go impress you parents
with your knowledge. Then run for office... I'll vote for you. depending on your grade on the midterm.
Due for Tuesday 1/16 Elections Wrap Up
1) Be ready to tackle the Elections Test today by reading the following guidebook section. Seriously read through it
and decide if you think a guide book is worth it. It does break things down using straightforward language.
Pay close attention to the chart showing Campaign Finance limits.
2) Watch this comic video by Stephen Colbert about PAC's. Colbert made a comic 2016 run for office and created
a PAC. Later, he transferred the funds to a SuperPAC to demonstrate how broken the system has become.
In doing so, he demonstrated how easy it is to spend money on whatever you want and secretly coordinate with
candidates using PAC money. His work explains how Trump, Gingrich and Palin use hundreds of millions of
dollars for anything they want, even paying for their lavish lifestyles years after the election was over. It also
explains how easy it is to flout the Federal Commission because of political gridlock. The video melds clips from
various Colbert shows. Enjoy.... even if it's impact on our political system is kinda scary. Thanks Citizens United (2010)!
3) Watch this video by another AP Gov teacher... its a little dry but it does a nice job analyzing the themes you must
know for the Elections test today.
Due for Thursday 1/11 Elections
1) Make sure your team is ready to submit a 10 question (or less) poll. It's due today to allow it to be answered
by students in your target audience. Also chose which 5 "planks" you may want to select for your platform.
They are formally due next class for each candidate.
2) Once we get poll results back, you will be given time to craft a message campaign using $50 (monopoly dollars)
to run a 1 week campaign. You will also be asked to record a 3 minute speech which will be played for the target
audience immediately before they vote next week. Each of the four activities, ( 1) Poll, 2) Platform, 3) Message
Campaign and 4) Final Address) will be graded. Any member not contributing will be penalized.
3) Make sure you study for the test on Elections next class. Expect identifications , a short and a long
essay question about elections in the AP GOV format. What could be more fun? A midterm?
Due for Tuesday 1/9 Elections
1) The class will be divided into campaign teams as follows:
Candidate Katy Candidate Mike Candidate Daniel
Election Team Election Team Election Team
Ryan Zach Emily
David Francesca Maya
Reilly Gavin Larson
Your mission will be to put together a short campaign targeting another class. You will be given time in class to
develop a poll, craft your campaign's message, and design a way to communication with your voters.
Due for Winter Break
1) I strongly encourage you to get involved in the political system by volunteering locally with a campaign. It is
easy and fun, and will pay dividends in both this class and your career ahead. Simply put, the contacts you will
make can be life changing. Just ask students from the last two years. An opportunity to do this with Senator Jeff
Jackson can befound here. If you chose to sign up for a time, let me know so I can add extra credit to your grade
before the gradebook closes.
with a tragic excuse like "I didn't have enough time" or "I decided I want to work the fry machine for the rest of my
life". Most of last year's class received college credit for US Government from their university... lets be honest,
it was because you all know how to take care of business!
3) Read Chapter 10. Its called "Elections" so you can imagine its importance in a course about democratic
government. Then answer the following questions:
a. Explain four major ways in which presidential and congressional elections differ. Explain each!!!
b. The local orientation of legislators have what three important effects on how policy is made?
c. List the qualifications for members of the House and members of the Senate.
d. Explain the role of ideology in primary elections and in the general election. Why do the authors suggest a
candidate has to run two different elections to win and what must they do during the main elections.
e. Explain the difference between valence and position issues and discuss the use of each in our campaign.
f. Explain how presidential candidates can qualify for matching funds in primary campaigns.
g. Describe three important changes in the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002.
h.. The text suggests money does not make much of a difference in who wins or loses the general election
because all of the major candidates have it. What are four other things that don't make much of a difference?
i. What are some ways that campaigns do make a difference?
4) Here's an interesting political protest video adapted for the current era. It borrows from the legacy of the
Vietnam protest era and provides an interesting example of political culture. Watch it now before net
neutrality is gone. Besides the song is both catchy and one of Mr. King's favorites.
Due for Monday 12/18 Political Parties Test
1) Study for today's test on political parties!!! (Last Test of the YEAR!)
2) Consider this amazing Blog known for combining statistics with political analysis. This article discusses what
2018 may hold for the Democrats and Republicans. Midterm elections have always been difficult for the party
in charge but Trump's polarizing stances on immigration, taxes and heathcare may make for some rough
weather ahead for the GOP. Its a fascinating read and I don't think Republican voters understand the wave that's
building. The article is short, easy AND fair game for the test.
3) Please read this short follow up regarding how the Jones win will change the way the GOP will operate and
helps explain why Republican leader McConnell doesn't want to seat Senator-elect Jones in 2017. This site
is easy to understand and has superb analysis. If you have dropped the ball on readings of late, pick it up here.
With semester grades around the corner, you could use some easy points. I added a little mood music to fit
the news of the week.
4) I'll post a holiday packet for the break. It will not be difficult but it will "set the table" for your midterm,
scheduled a week after you return from the holidays.
Due for Thursday 12/14 Political Parties
4) Here is the Pictochart for the Democrats and Republicans.
5) Here are the predictions for tonight's Election:
Roy Moore Jones
Vitale 54% Ryan- 36%
Marie 47% Daniel- 73%
Josiah 52% Katy -52%
Due for Tuesday 12/12 Political Parties
1) Read the following article... its about 20 pages but well written and detailed stuff. It's considered to be one
of the pre-eminent articles about the state of the political system. Then answer these questions. (The questions
go in order and will be due by Thursday, 12/16.)
2) In a display of audaciousness, the GOP tax plan has touted the support of "hundreds" of economists. I have
had difficulty finding any prominent economists who supported the GOP claims on behalf of their plan. This
SHORT article may explain why. If this is true, why has there been so little outcry about the tax plan, still in
3) Read the following article analyzing the viability of the current tax plan.
Due for Friday 12/8 Political Parties
1) Answer the following questions about Political Parties in chapter 9:
a. Describe political parties in the second party (or Jacksonian) system.
b. Identify some of the reforms & causes by the Progressives and assess their impact on political parties.
c. Explain the two types of political realignment and identify the three clearest examples of such alignments.
d. What are the 2 major explanations scholars employ to explain the presence of the two-party system in USA?
2) Read the following list of platform positions and identify which party you think provided each by marking
Democrat or Republican for each provision.
3) Colleges have long been considered a liberalizing influence. In last years election, there was an overwhelming
correlation between the amount of education completed and a voters chance of endorsing a Democratic
candidate. Conservatives hypothesize this is because college professors tend to be more liberal. Experts
suggest it is because the educational experience exposes students to new ideas and people which conflict
with Conservative narratives. For example, educated Americans are more likely to challenge the recent
tax plan which has been debunked by most respected economists, including the government's accounting
office. Regardless of why college graduates tend to be more liberal, This article highlights the way legislatures are
now dealing with public college funding. Read it and consider what this means for the nation.
Due for Wednesday 12/6 Political Parties
1) Finish reading Chapter 9 on Political Parties.
2) Find a political advertisement you found to be effective and be prepared to bring the link in to explain its
3) Read this additional short reading. I know it was posted a bit late but will offer extra credit to those who
can read and discuss its short text.
Due for Monday 12/4 Political Participation
1) Prepare for today's test by memorizing every word of Chapter 8 like it was the Gettysburg Address.
Then finish the term matching handout given out in class for Chapter 8.
2) Read through the powerpoint on political participation.
3) Start the reading for Chapter 9 pgs. (202-212) Then answer these questions:
a. Identify the three political arenas in which political parties exist.
b. Describe how American political culture affects the power of political parties.
c. How do Americans differ in their attitudes about parties from Europeans?
d. Explain why some of the Founding Fathers were so negative about political parties.
4) The term "Dog Whistle" means a symbol or phrase that a candidates' political followers identify, even if their
candidate didn't actually spell it out for them. An example might be a Dixiecrat politician showing an image of
a black criminal in handcuffs to stoke racial fears or a liberal politician showing wealthy Wall streeters to stoke
class consciousness. Watch this commercial and see how many symbols or phrases act as GOP "dog whistles".
(If you find 5 or more, you're getting it!)
Due for Thursday 11/27 Political Participation
1) Please define the following vocabulary pictionary for Chapter 8 with a definition and a picture for each term:
a. Australian (Secret) ballot b. campaigners c. communalists
d. complete activists e. Democrats f. inactives
g. motor-voter law h. parochial participant i. registered voters
j. Twenty-sixth Amendment k. voter apathy l. voting-age population
m. voting-eligible population n. Voting Rights Act of 1970
o. voting specialists p. white primaries
2) The test on Chapter 8 will be on Monday, 12/4. To help prepare, watch this 6 minute video by another teacher.
We will have a quiz to start next class and this video will be tremendously helpful.
3) To make you smile, I wanted to include 4 real campaign ads that actually ran for real candidates. Enjoy
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
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
4) Please remind your parents to vote in today's local bond election!
Due for Monday 11/6 American Civil Liberties
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.
• 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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Please CC. me
on your e-mail. (email@example.com)
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.
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,
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
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?
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
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
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