AP US Government and Politics A&B

Course Description

This course examines the U.S. political system. Students in this course will discuss political ideology, the development of the political system and democratic institutions. Students should, according to the College Board, gain an “analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States.” Furthermore, students will study “both the general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples” throughout history. The class discussion will require that students acquire a “familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. politics.” The main emphasis of the course, however, is to be able to apply a basic comprehension of the U.S. political system to contemporary events.

Course Requirements

Grade Level

9 – 12

Materials

American Democracy Now, Fifth Edition, AP Edition
ISBN-13: 978-0076788279
ISBN-10: 007678827X

Cracking the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam 2019
ISBN-13: 978-0525567608
ISBN-10: 0525567607

Duration

2 Semesters

Credit Value

1.0

Prerequisites

None

Semester A

Enduring Understandings of this Course:

  • Understanding both the historical and theoretical underpinnings of our system of government is useful in helping citizens understand its contemporary workings.
  • Federalism involves the division and sharing of powers and responsibilities between and among national, state, and local governments. Federalism has evolved over time due to court decisions, social and economic concerns, and political actions.
  • Civil liberties and civil rights have both limited and expanded the scope of government.
  • Linkage institutions in our democracy include public opinion and the mass media. Political socialization determines the level and character of participation in the American political system.
  • Linkage institutions in our democracy include political parties, elections, and the mass media. These function as intermediaries between the people and the government and impact the policy agenda.

Semester B

Enduring Understandings of this Course:

  • Analysis and evaluation of the structure and organization of the United Stated Congress by considering membership, leadership, qualifications, and powers of both houses is critical to an informed citizenry.
  • While the Constitution grants the president a few national security, legislative, administrative, and judicial powers, the president’s power has increased over time.
  • Bureaucrats shape policy as administrators, implementers, and regulators.
  • The courts play a vital role in our system of checks and balances through the exercise of judicial review. Many Supreme Court decisions have had far-reaching effects on public policy throughout American history.
  • The central function of government is to make and implement public policy.
  • Entitlement programs are a formidable barrier to a balanced budget.