Due for Thanksgiving Break (Sorry... )
1) Due for Thanksgiving Break - 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- 11/19 Civil Rights/Liberties Test
1) We are testing today on Chapters 5 and 6. Study hard. It's the last test before the holiday. I attached
a study guide of what you NEED to know for the test. It will be short, to the point and located here.
2) Watch the following video by a respected teacher on Civil Rights... It's really good information, even if you
already know everything.
2) Turn in your outline of Chapter 6 on Civil Rights. As before, make sure you are using your own words
and avoid copying the work of others. A good outline should be at least 3-4 pages. And IT MUST BE
3) Turn in the Chapter 6 questions.
4) Enjoy Your Spring Break. But first, enjoy your Thanksgiving Break.
Due for Thursday 11/15 Civil Rights/Liberties
1) Watch this student made video which lists a handful of important Civil Rights cases. Seriously.
It's creative. Afterwards, list each case/event mentioned and add a description for it. Especially the one
2) Start outlining Chapter 6, on Civil Rights. Outlining should be done in your own words, be handwritten
and cover each paragraph's high points. Read in detail... especially the part about nearby Harding High. We
will continue the newfound tradition of a quiz each day at the start of class.
3) Begin working on the following Chapter 6 questions.
4) Please watch this 5 minute video on Civil Liberties and answer the following questions.
Due for Tuesday 11/13 Pol. Culture & Civil Liberties
1) It is important to stay aware of political issues in the news. That includes reading quality newspapers like the
New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Simply put, they provide a level of analysis you
It will take you time to complete them accurately but doing them will certainly help your chances on the
3) Start reading Chapter 6 on Civil Rights. It's important. Plus, you have a long weekend and college applications
are done. Even better, most people like Civil Rights. But be warned, you know less about them than you
think. So please read. Or don't... either way, there will be a quiz on the first half of the chapter.
Due for Thursday 11/8 Civil Rights and Election Analysis
1) Finish the remaining questions from the Chapter 5 reading. They are due in class or e-mailed to me on
2) Thank you for picking the outcome of the 2018 Midterms. I have listed everyone's choices below. Good Luck!
Senate: NV AZ MO IN MT FL NJ House MN1 FL26 FL15 NC9 VA5 VA7 KY6 NY22 ME2 PN1 NJ3 NJ7 MI8 IL6 MT
Kate R D R D D D D D R R D D D R D R R R R D D R
Dana D R R D R D D D D R D R R R D R R R R D D R
Bell R D R D D D D D R R D D R R D D R R D D R R
T.J. R D D D D D D D D R D R R D D D R D D D R R
Brenda D R R R D D D D R R D R R R R D R R R R D R
Brandon D D D D D D D D D R R R R R D D R D D R R R
Alex D D R D R D D D R R D R D D D D D R D D D R
Maya D R D D D R D D R R D R R R R D R R D R R R
Aaron D D D D D D D R R R R R R D D D D D D R D R
Ilayai D D R D D D D D D R D R R D D D D D D D D R
Valerie D D R R D R D D R R R R R D D D D D D R R D
Zayda D D R D D R D D D R R R R D D D D R D R D D
Angelina D D D D D D D D D R D R R R D D R D D R D R
Shaana D D R D D D D D D R R R R D D D R D D R D R
Amelia D R R D D D D D D R D R R R D D R D D D R R
Santiago D R D R D R D D D R D R D D D R D D D R D D
Lawler D D R D D D D R R R D D D D D D D D D D D R
Flesch. D D D D D D D D D R D R R R D D R D D D R D
Whiteh. R R R D D R D R R R R R D R D D R D R R D R
Jackson D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D
Tarte R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Due for Tuesday 11/6 Civil Rights
1) Turn in the American Political Culture Test. I reserve the right to hold a small in class component to make
sure you did not just copy work on the take-home test.
2) Read the first half of Chapter 5 and answer questions a-f. (The remainder g-k are due on Thursday 11/8 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) Watch the following short videos, answer the questions on a seperate sheet.
Due for Friday 11/2 American Political Culture Test
1) In honor of Mr. Lawler, we changed the in class test to a take home test. Please finish this for turn in on
Tuesday 11/6, no excuses.
2) We will have 2 student presentations today. Be ready to go!
3) To achieve a cool prize, make your predictions for the following 2018 Midterm races. If you are like most
budding political analysts, you will have to look at the map projections of polling experts like Nate Silver or
CNN Political Center. (There are more resource links in the document). Take your time and research your
predictions which are due on Friday, 11/2! Mrs. Sears, Mr. Lawler and Mr. Whitehead will all pick against
you. Beat them... It's not hard if you just use the maps and common sense!
If I do not get your results on the political challenege, you will be given a fail. The results must be turned
in today by 5 pm at the latest. You may e-mail it to me at email@example.com Please do not blow this.
Due for Tuesday 10/30 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) Angelina is due to give her presentation today.
Due for Friday 10/26 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? Print your finish page showing your score and turn it in.
4) Shaana (and Taylor?) will present today.
Due for Wednesday 10/24 Final Discussion- Federalism and Start of 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) Kate will present on the Female Conscription today.
3) The article we read today from the NYT about gun owner's voting patterns was here. Note how this is now the
best measure of whether an American will vote Democratic or Republican.
Due for Thursday 10/17 Test on the Constitution and Federalism
1) Study. Make sure to go over the Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 as both will be on the test.
Due for Tuesday 10/15 The Critical Period and Federalism
1) Make sure you review the events from the early American Critical Period (Articles of Confederation through Early
Nation) and Ch.3 Federalism for Thursday's test. It will be short but challenging.
Due for Friday 10/12 History of American Government
1) Please watch this 6 min HBO documentary on Gerrymandering.. It's part of a the "Vice" series. Enjoy.
2) Read this editorial article from the leading analytical newspaper on politics: The Washington Post.
3) Watch this short CNN story on how badly NC is handling Gerrymandering.
4) There are solutions to gerrymandering. Read this interesting piece and this article about using statistics
to resolve the problem.
5) Last class, we discussed the status of US territories like Puerto Rico. Could it not be said Congress
applies gerrymandering to them by excluding them from voting in elections as well?
6) During your class Friday, we will: (This is NOT homework)
A) Start with a student presentation- Maya on Federal Aid for College Tuition (30 mins)
C) Watch video #2, Crash Course Federalism (15 -20 mins)
- Complete the following questions as you watch the video.
D) Briefly discuss the differences between the 2 videos and which was more useful.
Due for Wednesday 10/10 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) During your class today, you will: (This is NOT homework)
-start with a student presentation- Bell Pitkin on Overpopulation (25 mins max)
- Watch this Frontline documentary on Hurricane Katrina to see how Federalism may not always
work as intended. (55 mins)
- Complete these questions as you watch the video. If the sub needs help with setup, please assist!
Due for Monday 10/8 Federalism.
1) 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 next week to gauge your general knowledge. It will help me plan
what areas to focus upon so don't worry about the score... It just demonstrates what you know, and
what you will learn as the course goes on.
3) Watch this 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 as a territory and whether it has
paid off. interestingly, this was made before the devastating hurricane of last year... things are significantly
Due for Thursday 10/4 Federalism
Due for Tuesday 10/2 Constitution Test
1) Prepare for Constitution Test today. Simply put, know your amendments and sections of the Constitution.
If you have memorized the study guides and the terms on the matching sheet, you will be fine. Thank you
for accommodating our guest speakers. It has forced us to adjust the calendar but there is value in meeting
the men you read about. Please remember to let me know where you plan on volunteering to fulfill the
2) Please take a moment to thank Senator Jackson and/or Tarte for taking the time to visit the class. They
read their e-mail and would like to hear from you. Jackson's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Tarte's aide is Larry@jefftarte.com Please CC. me on your e-mail. (email@example.com)
Due for Friday, 9/28 Constitution and Federalism Test and Senator Tarte's Visit
1) Senator Tarte will visit the class today, I have been called away to deal with damage from the Hurricane but
sincerely appreciate Sen. Tarte's willingness to visit. Please make sure to research his record and the electoral
race. Read this recent article in the Observer discussed the 2018 election in his district. Mr. Lawler will be there
in my stead to greet our guest.
chapter 3 outline and know your terms.
3) 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!
4) 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? (Horrifying example)
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? (NC's limiting early voting criticized)
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 Wednesday- 9/26 Federalism
1) 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 initially quite attractive to state officials?
G. Explain what the terms “second-order” and “third-order” devolution refer to.
Due for Monday 9/24 Federalism
2) Make sure you review the bolded terms on Federalism. I promise to have an entertaining game ready but
it only works if you do too. Needless to say, there will probably be a quiz. (I have to pretend to teach after all)
2) Watch the following Crash Course on Federalism. Then answer these questions.
3) Based on the documentary we watched on Thursday, List at least 3 mistakes made by each of the following:
Local Government State Government Federal Government
4) If you doubt whether Congress should have known about the danger, Watch this short PBS documentary. Why
did nobody pay attention? There was a shockingly clear warning! Worse yet, what does it imply about other
US cities disaster response?
Due for Thursday 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 and it lives in MC463. I've seen it lurking in the ceiling tiles
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? Find another reliable source on either side of the debate.
"ANNOTATED" just means it comes with helpful commentary... check it out for an easier assignment.
2) Begin reading chapter 3 on Federalism here or straight from the book. Then answer the following questions.
3) Prepare for Senator Jackson's visit by readingthis short article on Gerrymandering. Please read this for
understanding. The senator is one of the leading experts on this topic in NC and has made this a key issue.
Read it as we are working now to reschedule Sen. Jackson as quickly as possible.
Due for Thursday 9/13 Constitutional Review and Guest Visit
3) Remember to stay up to date on national news. Current events are fair game on any future test. Plus it gives
you material to ask about with guests like Economist Jeff Scott or Senator Jeff Tarte or Senator
Jackson who we are working to re-schedule
Due for Tuesday 9/11 Constitution Review
1) I am moving the Constitution test to 9/24. Forgive me, but we were able to secure 3 guest speakers in the next 2
weeks, including state senators, from each party and an economist considered for Secretary of the Treasury
by the Libertarian party. I'd always prefer real life experience in front of textbook learning but in the meantime,
please continue to study the Amendments, history & structure of the Constitution for the test.
3) Don't forget about the Rho Kappa meeting today at 4:25 pm in the library. Officer elections will be conducted.
4) Our short 10-15 minute individual presentations and debates which begin today. Thank you Aaron for leading
off! Obviously, there will be no presentation on a guest speaker day.
5) In a twist, a hurricane is forming in the Atlantic with an unusually high chance to hit the NC coast on Friday. It
is rare for a hurricane to take this path as only one other has hit land from that angle, a hurricane in 1932. It is
fueled by unusually warm water in the mid-Atlantic which many blame on a warming climate. There is an
interesting split in the climate models regarding the storm's path. The American NOAA models predict it will
turn north and hit NC's Outer Banks. The European funded models call for a course that makes direct landfall
with the mainland. The American models used to be the dominate predictor but lack of funding may have
allowed the European models to leapfrog our advantage. If the hurricane turns north and skirts the
Outer Banks, it tells us American expertise is alive and well. If the hurricane's path hammers the NC coast
it's a "Sputnik" reminder that budget cuts are relegating Americato a less dominant role. Yes,
its just a weather forecast but it offers insight into government funding of NOAA (and science in
general.) Let's see how this storm trends. It will make for some excitement (and rain) for next weekend.
Due for Friday 9/7 Constitutional Analysis
1) The basis for the US Government is the Constitution. Despite that, many "PROUD" AMERICANS don't
recognize our founding documents. We often forget the drafters of the Constitution were also error prone.
Still, we have a pretty good government, the oldest Republic in the modern era. (The Romans still
beat us for longevity but I haven't heard much from them lately) To prepare
for your 1st test, on Thursday, 9/13 complete the following chart analyzing Articles 1-7 of the Constitution.
The Constitution and Amendments chart are a big part of what you need to know. Both will be due on Thursday
9/13 before the test.
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 bribe, I'll assign another set. Either way, I'll collect 'em today.
3) Please finish the movie and complete the questions for the documentary on New Systems of Gov't
Due for Wednesday 9/5 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.”
3) Read this expert consulting firm's analysis of the 2018 election and make 3 observations that surprised or
Due for Friday 8/31- 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 send me your information if you family makes less than $65,000/year if you want me to submit
your names to a scholarship matching service. There is no cost and it may help you pay for college.
4) If you wanted to finish the short video on racial politics in the US, the link to the remainderis here. If you just
want to watch a funny but disturbing dog video, go here instead.
Due for Wednesday 8/29- AP US Government
1) Read the2016 Election Analysis in preparation for next class. Highlight relevant parts and prepare at least 3
questions for class discussion. The article points out the 2016 victory for Trump was so narrow that a change
in the vote of three counties would have flipped the outcome to Hillary Clinton. If that doesn't tell you how
close the race was, nothing will.
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 your
political standing in class.
4) Ask your parent to fill out the Parent handout survey. It's fast and may tell you more than you think.
5) Find a newspaper story that involves an issue that involves a Constitutional issue, read it and come in prepared
Observer, etc Expect a current events quiz... nothing ridiculous but be aware of the news headlines.
6) As an aside, I was saddened to see the president would not honor the passing of Senator John McCain.
McCain could not lift his arms due to injuries sustained during torture and internment during the Vietnam War.
His Senatorial service was filled with kindness & decency and a willingness to take on powerful interests.
He championed campaign finance reform, decried torture and supported bipartisan healthcare reform.
He clashed with party leaders while trying to remove special interest money from elections and limit
wasteful "porkbarrel" spending by Congressmen on both sides. He lost the 2000 SC primary to "W" Bush after
Bush supporters spread rumors McCain had a black grand child in a racially divisive campaign. (They actually
adopted a daughter from Bangladesh who had a cleft palette before they got her treatment) Sadly, it worked
and put Bush in the White House. Although I worked with the Bush team in DC at the time, I was so moved
with the grace McCain handled the personal attacks that I "quietly" voted for him in the Virginia primary.
I didn't always agree with him but it was hard not to respect his integrity and decency. When a poorly informed
voter tried to insinuate Obama was an Arab radical during the 2008 election, McCain refused to exploit the
moment and spoke out in support of his opponent. It helped cost him the election, but he did so anyway.
Others have embraced this group of voters and fanned their fears, often irrationally.
I last met McCain in person 8 years ago in passing. The Senate and the nation are lesser for his loss.
Nonetheless, Trump mocked McCain's passing and refused to allow the White House flag to remain at 1/2 staff.
Virtually every other flag around Washington DC and the nation ignored the President and kept their
flags at half staff until Trump relented and declared a period of mourning for McCain this afternoon. It was
beneath the presidency to engage in such antics, but worth noting that only 20% of Republicans in Arizona
supported McCain while 80% of the AZ GOP supports Trump. In fact, both sitting Senators from the state
would have eventually been replaced by hyperpartisan replacements. What this says about Arizona and
the nation remains to be written but it fills me with sadness to see the passing of an icon.
Due for Monday 8/27- Welcome to AP US Government with Mr. Vitale. Your first assignment will be:
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 will be posted shortly.