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Ms. Vessey Room 142

Lotus School for Excellence

Course Description:
AP United States Government and Politics is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of
government and the processes of the American political system, with an emphasis on policymaking and
implementation. This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Exam.
AP Exams: The exam for this course is the morning of Tuesday, May 10th 2016. All students enrolled in
this course are expected to take this exam. The full fee to take this exam is $89, although students are
typically responsible for much less through state and federal fee reduction programs. Fees are due to the
main office during first semester specific date to be announced. If this is an issue for any reason (multiple
tests, multiple family members, etc.) please see me.
Communication: Students and guardians of students may contact me via email at any time with any
concern or question about the course. I will also be available for tutoring sessions will be on an as needed
basis on Fridays after school, unless otherwise announced.
Contact Information:
CoolSIS- One way in which I am able to communicate with the student and parent is through CoolSIS.
Students behavior and grades are updated daily.
Intervention: If you feel you need extra help in this course please notify me immediately. I will set up a
time with you to go over the material. I will be happy to set up tutoring sessions or assist in any per
assignment way. AP classes move at a quick pace. Students may feel like they are falling behind or
confused. Please see me as soon as you feel like this and set up a time for us to discuss the course. It is
highly encouraged that students use each other as a resource. It is recommended that you form study
groups and/or partners but by no means necessary.
Edwards, George C., Martin P. Wattenberg, and Robert L. Lineberry. Government in
America: People, Politics, and Policy, 16th ed. New York: Longman, 2014.
Supplemental Text
Kaminski, John P., and Richard Leffler. Federalists and Antifederalists: the Debate over the
Ratification of the Constitution. Madison: Published for the Center for the Study of the American
Constitution Madison House, 1989. Print.
American Government: Readings and Cases, Woll, Peter et al., 19th ed. New York: Longman Publishing,
Other Materials
Assigned and used in class: articles from current newspapers, such as The New York


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence
Times or The Wall Street Journal; news magazine excerpts from Time, Newsweek, or The
Economist; news footage, documentaries, and films; C-SPANs coverage and current events materials;
numerous websites. This also includes videos and supplemental materials from the aforementioned text.
Course Outline:
This course meets every day for 55-minute class period for a full school year. A monthly outline will be
distributed to students, listing approximate dates for readings, tests, projects and other assessments.
Students are responsible for keeping up with reading assignments and being aware of, and ready for,
quizzes, tests, and essays. Class will primarily consist of lecture, discussions on readings and political
issues, debates, writing, and addressing any student inquiries.
AP Course Information:

Course Plan:
Skills Covered: Sequencing, Cause and Effect, Data Analysis, Compare and Contrast, Map Skills,
Summarizing, Categorizing, and Reading Comprehension.
Writing Components:
Students must answer numerous freeresponse questions with essays as well as other written
assignments that demonstrate their ability to analyze and interpret the structure and actors within American
government and politics. Writing these essays prepare students for the essay section of the AP
U.S.Government and Politics Exam. Essays are given in class and in take-home format due to time
constraints during the class period.
Quick Reference:
- The percentage (%) next to the Unit Title is the estimated percentage of the AP Exam
focusing on that topic.
- Dates may shift
8.4-8.8 Introduction, Text Overview, AP grading, Constitution packets
We, the People of the United States, . . .

UNIT 1. Constitutional Foundations (5-15%) (Chapters 1, 2, & 3)

A. Underlying ideological and philosophical traditions of the U.S. Constitution
B. Separation of powers
C. Checks and balances
D. Federalism
E. Theories of democratic government
Content Focus: Students should understand the doctrines and historical background to the Constitution;
reference A-E


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence
Primary sources - (excerpts from) Federalists and Antifederalists: the Debate over the Ratification of the
Woll ch. 1: Second Treatise on Civil Government, Federalist 47, 48, 51, How Not To Read The Constitution
The Declaration of Independence
US Constitution
Analysis and discussion activities
FRQ and Chapter Self-Tests
. . . in Order to form a more perfect Union, . . .

UNIT 2. People and Politics (10-20%) (Chapter 6)

A. Beliefs about the U.S. government and its leaders
B. Formation of personal political beliefs
C. The motivation for and effects of public opinion/political participation
D. The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life
E. Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and
Content Focus: Students should understand the institutional guarantees to political and civil rights granted
under the Constitution; reference A-E
Primary sources - (excerpts from) Federalists and Antifederalists: the Debate over the Ratification of the
Woll ch. 4: Divided We Govern, Democratic Practice and Democratic Theory
Analysis and discussion activities
Essay- Personal Political Views
. . . establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility ,

Unit 3.Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media

(10-20%) (Chapters 7, 8, 9, & 10)

A. Political parties and elections

1. Evolution of party systems
2. Organization
3. Ideological and demographic differences
B. Interest groups, including Political Action Committees (PACs)
1. Lobbying
2. The effects of interest groups on the political process
C. The mass media
1. The functions and structure of the news media
2. The impacts of the news media on politics
3. The news media industry and its consequences
Content Focus: Students should understand the mechanisms of transmitting interests to government
action: reference A-C with sub sections


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence
Primary sources - (excerpts from) Federalists and Antifederalists: the Debate over the Ratification of the
Federalist 10
Woll ch. 5: Interest Groups and the American Political System, The Misplaced Obsession With PACs
Analysis and discussion activities
FRQ and Chapter Self-Tests
Mass media project
Midterm: AP Practice test week: Test strategies, AP practice test, simulated table reads, and test

Course pacing for the Spring will be adjusted according to the first semester and the needs of
the students
provide for the common defense,

Unit 4 Institutions of National Government:

(35-45%) (Chapters 11,12,13,14 & 15)
The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts
A. The major formal and informal institutional arrangements of power
B. Relationships among these four institutions and varying balances of power
C. Linkages between institutions and the following:
1. Public opinion and voters
2. Interest groups
3. Political parties
4. The media
5. National, State and local governments (similarities and differences)
Content Focus: Students should be familiar with the workings of the electoral process: reference A-C with
sub sections
Primary Sources- Woll- ch. 6: Federalist 70, Presidential Power, The Presidential Character
Woll ch. 8: ALL / Woll ch. 9: ALL
Analysis and discussion activities
FRQ and Chapter Self-Tests


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence

promote the general Welfare, . . .

Unit 5. Public Policy (5-15%) (Chapters 16, 17, & 18)

A. Policy making in a federal system
B. Formation of policy agendas
C. Enactment of policies by Congress and the President
D. The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation
E. Linkages between policy processes and the following:
1. Political institutions and federalism
2. Political parties
3. Interest groups
4. Public opinion
5. Elections
6. Policy networks
7. Federalism
Content Focus: Students should understand the workings of the legislative process; the functions and
powers of Congress: reference A-E with sub sections
Analysis and discussion activities
FRQ and Chapter Self-Tests
Unit 5 Exam
. . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . .

Unit 6. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (5-15%) (Chapters 4 & 5)

A. The development of civil rights and civil liberties by judicial interpretation
B. Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties
C. The impact of the 14th Amendment on the constitutional development of rights and
D. Workings of the Supreme Court
1. Most significant decisions
2. Strengths and Weaknesses
3. Tool of social change
Content Focus: Students should understand the impact on humans daily lives in regards to their civil rights
and liberties: reference A-D with sub sections
Primary Sources- Woll- ch. 3: ALL
Analysis and discussion activities
FRQ and Chapter Self-Tests
Unit 6 Exam
. . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence
AP Exam Review

AP EXAM: Tuesday, May 10th 2015

Current Issues in Depth, Film Analysis during High School Finals
Analysis and discussion activities:
Current Events Analysis
Political Cartoon Analysis
Film Clips and Analysis
Web Research and Data Analysis
Class-created games or activities
Socratic Seminar or Debate*
*These types of discussion assist in analyzing the above examples and/or evaluating and
assessing students.
During the course of the year in AP US Government and Politics TV shows, movies and other
audiovisual resources may be shown in class (more than likely we will view clips rather than entire
features). The content of these support materials are always pre screened by Ms. Vessey and relevant to
the content being taught at that particular period in class. The ratings of these audiovisual recourses range
from PG to PG-13.
It is my understanding that Lotus does not necessarily support all that is portrayed in the movie, but
does recognize its educational value. You may contact the teacher with any questions.
By signing the syllabus form I have given my child permission to view the audiovisual recourses
relevant to the content in this class.
I have read the above information very carefully and fully understand what my responsibilities are for this
class. I fully accept and understand the consequences of my actions should I choose to violate any of the
procedures/expectations listed above.
Please sign and return to Ms. Vessey (AP Government).
No textbooks will be checked out to students until this is signed and returned.
Student Name

Parent Name

Student Signature


Parent Signature


Parent E-mail This is a crucial form of communication and the best way to get a hold of me as well!


Ms. Vessey Room 142
Lotus School for Excellence
All work must be done in pen (blue or black if turned in), notes can be in any color you wish, typed
assignments when required
o College ruled loose leaf paper
o File folder for any loose papers given out

You will get

o A monthly Calendar & Syllabus
o Vocabulary flip chart
o 1 current event and 1 document analysis
o Any information given to you by Ms. Vessey