Advanced Placement US Government

We the People text

Course Schedule 1st Semeter 2010

Course Information

The following is your schedule of readings. This schedule is subject to change and probably will! I also reserve the right to ADD (or in rare occasions subtract) readings. You should have read the listed readings FOR THE DAY on which they are listed! Generally, we will have discussion the second day of each week and lecture on the first -- this is also subject to change!


Hudson = Hudson, William.  American Democracy in Peril: Eight Challenges to America’s Future.  CQ Press, 2006.

Woll = Woll, Peter.  American Government:  Readings and Cases. New York: Longman, 2009 – 18th edition. PLEASE HAVE THE MOST RECENT EDITION OF THIS!

SLD = Student Led Discussion

Our class this semester will be centered around the idea that we are political analysts hired by the United States Agency for International Development to consider whether or not democracy should be a prerequisite for American foreign aid. Click HERE to learn more about this project.


First Quarter = Lectures on Content Areas of Governance and Democracy to help you in prepping for the project

Gearing up for our Semester Project:

Aug 13: Introductions AND Discussion of our learning community

Aug 17: Discuss Summer Reading --Howard Fineman, The 13 American Arguments

Aug 19: Continue Fineman discussion

Aug 23: Film: The Ugly American

Aug. 25: Finish film and finish Fineman discussion

Aug 27: Senior Trip...WOO HOO!

Aug 31: begin Discussion of semester project and scheduling

READ: The USAID website -- esp. the following sections:

This is USAID

Our History

Our Work


Introductory Declarations and Discussions of Government and the Idea of Republican Democracy


Sept 2: Democracy Groundwork

READ: Introduction of Hudson (Hudson is THICK and will take time!)

Project: Ask 3 people NOT in this class what their definition of democracy is. Record their answers precisely. You will present.

Sept 7: Declaration of Independence and Woll Docs 2, 3, 4 AND Chapter 1 Sections 1 and 2 in the E-Text

Sept 10: Open day -- begin to design deadlines for USAID project


Abigail Adams James Madison
Abigail Adams: Advocate for colonial women's rights James Madison: Father of the Consitution

Sept 14: Constitution groundwork

READ: Woll Document 5, and Read the United States Constitution Articles 1-3and the Bill of Rights AND Chpt 1 Sections 4 and 5 E-Text

(Not using in 2010 -- Miroff handout -- pp 34-52 and 338-354)

Take Home Essay (open note, open Constitution) Submit via your PRIVATE Google Docs folder to Dr. Berry by 8 am Sept 18th. Essay should be a minimum of 1200 words. Worth 50 points.

1) Some argue that the Constitution has been "democratized" over the years. Do you agree? Be sure to explain how you conceive of "democratization" and give examples to support your argument from revlevant Constitutional amendments.

2) Evaluate the democratic nature of the original Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). Does the Constitution's Bill of Rights, checks and balances, and separation of powers facilitate or impede democractic access to government? Which type of democracy is the Constitution most likely to promote?

3) Describe the key checks and balances of the Constitution. Does this system lead to smoother and more efficient government? Why or why not?

Sept 16:  Federalism Groundwork

READ: Hudson Chapter 1

Project: Find one example of federalism in action here in Tucson and explain whether or not you think it encompasses democracy or not. Post it on Blogger by class time.


September 20: Design Class plan project


Sept 22: Congress lecture

READ: Congress Chpt in E-text


September 24: Substitute

The goal of today's class is to figure out your film (I know -- no small task). To do this, you should probably have a discussion as a large group (although maybe some of this stuff could be decided in small groups). Someone should be taking notes and someone should "facilitate" the discussion. The end product will be a video "pitch" of your film to Dr. Berry that will be due on Oct 9th. The pitch should be no more than 5 minutes long but longer than 3 minutes. Want to see 2 short examples of a pitch? Go to Chalkline or Ninja. Okay -- maybe you should do something in between these two!

In the pitch, you need to explain the structure of the film and the content/responsibility of each section. You also need to decide EXACTLY what content you need to cover in order to give adequate background to justify your "recommendations" to USAID. If you would like to offer OTHER recommendations to USAID (in addition to the democracy question), feel free. In fact, check out this video!! I would suggest you set a deadline SOON for when ALL research should be done so that the "opinion" of the film can be decided rather quickly (the next few weeks?).

Some things to consider:

The history of and the current structure of USAID that you think it's important to include.

A preliminary list of the kinds of countries you may want to research to help lend context for your recommendation to USAID.

A list of the content that each group will be responsible for.

A decision on the tone of the film (including your approach to the intellectual approach)

A decision on who you expect the audience(s) to be.

A list of filming locations and interview subjects.

A list of how you may decide to present the information.


You must ALSO provide to Dr. Berry (at the end of Friday's class) a written document with:
A list of who is taking responsibility for each task

A description of the work tasks for each group.

3 deadlines for and lists delineating short term and long term aspects of the project.

A brief description of any obstacles you are encountering or any questions you still have about the project.



September 28: Presidency Lecture

READ: Presidency Chpt in E-text


Sept 30:  Finish Congress and the Executive Branch and then Work Day on Project


October 4: Bureaucracy Lecture

READ: Bureaucracy Chpt in E-Text

Task: Research 1 of the Federal Departments on the Internet. Find the mission and 3 functions of that department. Post your findings on our blog -- use the name of your department as the title of your blog!

October 6: Judiciary Lecture  


October 8:  Project Work Day!


October 13: Project Deadline: Pitch of film due to Dr. Berry

Postponed Media Lecture

READ: Woll: Document #s: 36, 37

Media Chpt in E-Text


Begin Student-Led Discussions on Content areas (note: blogs are due TWO days before our discussion! Polls are due 5 days before our discussion...and PLEASE VOTE!)

October 18: Poll Day Nate and Josh

October 20: Keely and Nate! SLD = Federalism/Const

READ: Woll: Document #s: 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 17

Project Deadline: Each person's research is due. Please submit to Dr. Berry and share with the WHOLE class via a google doc!

October 22: Josh and Andie SLD = Congress

READ: Woll Documents: 56, 57, 58, 59, 62


October 26: Research Discussion day -- creat thesis for film!


October 29: Christine and Sam Chinn SLD Presidency

READ: Woll:  Document #s: 46, 47, 48, 49


Nov 2: Work Day and Election brief

READ: Elections Chpt in E-Text AND follow the election

Nov 4: Polls Lauren, Bev, Andie

READ: Local and national media on outcomes of elections and be ready to discuss (and name your sources in discussion!) on Nov 10th!


Nov. 8: Work Day


Nov. 10: Nicole and Steffi SLD -- based on the actual election! Elections

Project Due Date: First Roughs for each section due!


Nov 12: Bev and Abri SLD Judiciary

READ: Woll Documents: 64, 65, 67, 68, 70 and Hudson Chpt 2 The Imperial Judiciary


Nov 16: Michael and Lauren SLD Bureaucracy

READ: Woll: Document #s: 54 and 55 and Hudson Chapter 8 the National Security State AND Chapter 4

Take Home Essay (due Nov 23) The bureaucracy has often been called the "fourth branch" of government, but it is not provided for in the original Constitution.  Explain what the bureaucracy is and the ways in which it is both within the system of checks and balances and the ways in which it is outside the system.  In the end, assess whether or not the bureaucracy is a democratically checked institution or not
Be sure to include in your discussion cabinet appointments, administrative discretion, and the power of independent regulatory agencies.

Nov. 18: Poll Day Abri and Sam S. and Nicole


Nov. 23: POLL DAY Jacob and Keely and Steffi

Happy Turkey Day! Cornucopia


Nov 29: Work Day

Dec. 1: Sam S. and Jacob SLD Media SLD review William Hudson, Chapter 4 and read Media Article

Dec. 3: 2nd ROUGH of Film DUE HERE!!!!! Film Editing Day!

And Poll Day Christine, Sam Chinn, Michael

Dec. 7: Editing

Dec 9: Review Day

Dec. 14-17: Semester Exams Final Film DUE! :~)

Enjoy Winter Break! Snowflake