In order to fine tune your essay writing skills you will be assigned a series of brief essays relating to the topics covered in the course. On the actual AP test you will have 100 minutes to write four essays.

All essays requiring a thesis must follow the


  The quickwrites will be graded according to the following formula:

ROUGH DRAFT = 5 points / PEER REVIEW = 5 points / FINISHED PRODUCT = 10 points

The finished product should incorporate the peer review corrections.


Woll supplement

1) TBA


2) Evaluate the following statement: "Who gets what, when, how and why is usually determined by politics (ex. party rivalry, party discipline, conflicting interest groups, log rolling, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", etc.) rather than focusing on what is in the best the interests of the public".

Chapter 9 and Hardball

3) Assess the validity of the statement "all politics is local", specifically with regard to elections. Cite at least three examples.

Chapter 8

4) Assess the validity of the statement "We are witnessing the beginning of the end of political parties as a mainstay in American politics."

Presidency Handout, Notes and Chapter 12

5) Based on the section on Presidential Power in the (pink) handout, plus your notes, assess the validity of the following statement.

"Presidential greatness is, to a large extent, determined as a result of a president being in the right place at the right time".

Be sure to use historical examples in the essay as well as define the criteria you believe is necessary to characterize a president as great.

Chapter 10 , Overview and PBS Video "So You want to Buy a President "?

6. To what extent do special interest groups have an impact on the development and implementation of public policy ?

Chapters 15 and 16

7.  In the 20th century the U.S. Supreme Court has often acted as an "instrument of social change".
Identify key supreme court decisions and assess the impact of these decisions speficically with regard to:

a) due process (the rights of the accused)

b) civil rights (equal protection under the law with regard to minority groups, gender, religion, sexual orientation, reproductive choice, freedom of expression, etc.)

c) desegregation

14th Amendment Quickwrite

The Supreme Court ruled in Barron v. Baltimore (1833) that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states. Explain how the Court has interpreted the Fourteeenth Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the states. In your answer, briefly discuss the Court's decision in one of the following cases to support your explanation.

Gitlow v. New York (1925)

Wolf v. Colorado (1949)

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

Imperial Congress Quickwrite

In the 1970's, in order to limit the power of the President and to reassert congressional authority in the policy-making process, Congress passed the following.

The War Powers Act

The Budget and Impoundment Control Act

Briefly describe the provisions of each of these two legislative acts and evaluate the extent to which each act has affected the balance of power between the presidency and Congress in the 1990's.

Chapter 17

Describe the main difference between an issue network and an iron triangle. Use the example of telecommunications to explain why issue networks have become the main policymaking system.


Clinton campaign strategist James Carville is credited with identifying the key theme of the 1992 election when he advised candidate Clinton that "It's the economy stupid."

Compare and contrast the policies of Presidents Reagan and Clinton with regard to economic philosophy and implementation. Specifically refer to Reagan's successful efforts to pass tax reform legislation with Clinton's deficit reduction program.