AP GOVERNMENT - Mr. Pugh
Throughout the semester, in order to fine tune your "AP Gov't "
essay-writing style, you will write a series of short essays relating to
the topics covered in the course. On the actual AP test you will be have
100 minutes to write four essays.You may be asked to respond to the topics
by either (1) "describing", (2) "analyzing", (3)
"explaining", (4) "discussing" (5) "identifying",
or (6) "comparing and contrasting". You will also be asked to interpret charts, graphs or cartoons.
Your quickwrites must follow the
AP ESSAY RUBRIC.
Example: Identify specific techniques from Hardball
which the President could use in order to deal with the allegations made
against his character during theKenneth Starr investigations ?
1) In a recent decision the Supreme Court held that states may
outlaw homosexual behaviour between consenting adults . Given the value
systems of liberals, conservatives and libertarians, compare or contrast
how "typical" individuals in each of these groups would be likely
to react to this decision ?
2) List the four basic principles underlying the Constitution
and describe the connection between these principles and America's
experience in colonial and revolutionary times.
3) Explain how the Constitution corrected weaknesses of
the Articles of Confederation ?
4) Refering to each of the topics listed below, explain how
the U.S. Supreme Court has acted as a "tool of social change"
in the 20th century. (15 pts.)
Rights of the Accused
5) Explain the significance of McCulloch v. Maryland in
the evolution of federalism ?
6)Choose four specific historical events, Supreme Court
rulings or individuals and explain how each of them helped to significantly
enlarge the role of the Federal government. (15 pts.)
7) Contrast the approaches of any two recent U.S. Presidents in
their attempts to reshape federalism.
8) Contrast the two competing views of federalism.
9) Politicians have claimed that elections are determined as a
result of the fact that "all politics is local".
Assess the validity of this statement by citing specific examples
10) Explain the role of (a) polling, (b) news coverage, and (c)
political advertising in presidential campaigns.
11) In addition to the powers and duties of the president as set
forth in the Constitution, describe at least three other key
factors which have expanded the power of the presidency in the 20th century.
12) List the special skills presidents need for crisis management.
13) Evaluate Neustadt's thesis that the essential power of the
presidency is the "power to pursuade".
14) Explain what Barber means when he says the presidency is "much
more than an institution".
15) Describe and give examples of the four presidential character
types that Barber develops.
16) Explain the advantage incumbency gives to a member of Congress.
17) Some people have argued that to be truly representative, a
legislature should mirror the characteristics of the people it is supposed
to represent. Analyze the make-up of the U.S. Congress and explain
whether or not Congress is representative in this sense (Give specific
examples with respect to race, gender, education and previous
18) Explain the relationship between Congress and the President
with regard to
a) the formulation of domestic policy (ex. the federal budget). (see
b) the formulation of foreign policy. (see Ch. 20)
For these topics simply write (and highlight) your thesis statement
and list the examples you would use to support it.
19) 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."
and contrast the policies of Reagan (and Bush) to those of Clinton as they
relate to economic philosophy and implementation. Take a position and analyze
how each president applied economic philosophy to create an economic policy.
20) The United States government has created what it calls a poverty
line. This concept establishes the point at which an individual is considered
living in what has been called a "culture of poverty." (Ch. 19)
what attempts have been made through public policy to find solutions to
this so-called culture of poverty.
attempts at reforming the welfare system.
other entitlement programs aimed at providing security for Americans.
21) Special interest groups are often criticized as being divisive
as well as hindering the legislative process. Give examples that both refute
and support this statement regarding the relationship special interest groups
have with the development of public policy issues. (Ch. 17)
00) Explain how social or demographic characteristics (such as
education, income, ethnicity, religion and region) are linked to a person's
political values ?
00) Explain: "Presidential elections are no longer
contests between candidates and ideologies; they are battles among media
00) "There isn't a dime's worth of difference between Democrats
and Republicans". Support or refute this position with
concrete illustrations focusing on party ideologies and organization.
00)Explain what, according to Madison, was the principal cause
of "faction" in his times ?
00) Explain Madison's proposals for dealing with the problem
of "faction" ?
00) Describe two contempory issues which have caused "faction".
1) What are the common charges made against PAC's and are they valid
2) What are some of the problems that may arise from the efforts to control
A) Fat cats and large cash contributions corrupt the system and are damaging
to American democracy...campaign reform is essential.
B) Cash contributions to politicians, regardless of the amount, are an
example of "freedom of expression" and are perfectly compatible
with American democracy.
1) Assume you are the outgoing President, what are three specific pieces
of advice would you give to a new President to enable them to be successful
1) Does being the "leader of his party" give the President
significant power in government ?
2) Do you agree or disagree with Rossiter that the presidency has been
a "clear beacon of national purpose" at critical moments in U.S.
1) Some people have argued that to be truly representative, a legislature
should mirror the characteristics of the people it is supposed to represent.
Is the American Congress representative in this sense ? (Give examples with
respect to race, gender, education and occupation.) - Text Ch 11
2) Describe the major influences that help legislators decide how to
vote on particular issues. - Text Ch 11
1. Describe the formal and informal processes of bureaucratic
policymaking. - Text Ch 13
2. Explain the "rational comprehensive" model of decision making
and compare it with real-world decision making. - Text Ch 13
The ability to demonstrate an understanding of both the formal and
informal powers of Congress, the presidency, the bureaucracy and
the courts and how they interract with political parties, interest groups
and the media is the key to scoring highly on the AP essay section. That
is the purpose of these particular questions.
"The creation of government policy is a result of interactions and
dynamics among individuals , interest groups and government institutions
(specifically Congress, the White House, the bureaucracy and the courts)
". Choose either an economic, domestic or global policy issue to illustrate
how a specific policy is formed. - Text Ch 17 through 20
Political parties were historically the principal means by which the
"average" citizen could organize and communicate their interests
and concerns to their government. Explain why certain segments of the population,
however, (ex. corporations, farmers, the elderly and various organized lobbies)
are able to exert a much greater amount of pressure and influence on the
government than the "average" citizen. - Text Ch 8 and 10, PBS
Video: "So You Want to Buy a President ?"
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. - Text Ch 12