Advanced Placement US Government

We the People text

Course Schedule 1st Semeter 2015


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!


Woll, Peter.  American Government:  Readings and Cases. New York: Longman.

Rauch, Jonathan. Political Realism: How Hacks, Big Money and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy (this is a free on-line book -- download it from Google)!


Aug 13: Introductions AND Discussion of our semester -- setting norms

HOMEWORK to do before next class --

SET UP -- a Twitter account if you do not have one. If you use Twitter for personal social networking that you think might be inappropriate for professional work, then please set up an alternative Twitter account for use in this class!

TWEET -- a hello to our class hashtag #tgsapgov

Aug 17: Democracy and Government -- what are they

TWEET: YOUR defnition of the terms Democracy and Government -- one tweet for each term. Try to come up with your OWN definitions

IN-Class PARTICIPATE: in the PEW Political Typology Quiz (think about the effects of "Rep/Dem" 2 party system in the does the quiz complicate that picture? what good is the party system? what is polarizing/harmful about it?)


Aug 19: Faith and Trust in Government -- knowing our nation

Essential Questions: are we too cynical? is our frustration warranted?


READ: This article from 1999(!)

ASSESS: Purple America(scroll down and look at ALL the maps on this page -- esp the historical one at the bottom)

ASSESS: This graph --what is one conclusion the research suggests? Be prepared to share your thoughts!

ASSESS: This data -- what intrigues you? Write a 1-page reaction to the data. Explain the data and then explain what intrigues you about it and why.

Be prepared to share!

Aug 24: Zero in on Water as a policy arena

READ: Chpt 2 A 21st Century Water Policy (handout)

Questions to guide your reading:

1) What kinds of legislation drive federal water policy?

2) What is prior appropriation?

3) What is the relationship between federal regulations and state water distribution law?

4) Is groundwater law different from surface flow? If so, how?

5) How did the federal government affect Arizona's groundwater management?

6) What is the relationship of Congress to the Bureaucracy in federal water management law?

TWEET: An essential question that emerges from the reading above

READ: This article on the Animas River/Gold King Mine spill



Aug. 26: Reasons and solutions to cynicism....political engagement informed by political realism

READ: pp 1-18 (or about 1/2 of the document) read to the section "Chaos: Traditional Machines fall, Shadow Machines Rise" Political Realism-- this is a also a google book.


Aug 31: Continue discussion

READ: remainder Political Realism

WRITE: a 3-5 page blog on an essential question of your choice (from the class Tweets)


Sept 2: Essential Question Discussion: Is political realism consistent with "democracy"? What is citizenship? What should we, as citizens, expect of our government?

READ: This Article about why govt should be sexy EASY!

WATCH:this video on power (17 min)

This video called "Citizenville" (19 min) -- 1/2 the class -- see list on homepage

Citizen Muscle Boot Camp (20 min) -- 0ther 1/2

READ: Woll, Documents 2-3 (Beard and Roche) DIFFICULT! Please prioritize!

READ: Preamble to the Constitution (QUICK!)



WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW to be able, engaged, effective citizens?

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

Sept 8: The Constitution as framework

READ: Read the United States Constitution Articles 1-3and the Bill of Rights


Sept 10: Continue Constitution --

READ: The rest of the Amendments11-27

READ: Woll, Doc 5


Sept 15: Checks and Balances/Separation of Power and Blog workshop and Debate

WRITE (open note, open brain, open Constitution) -- 800-1000 word blog -- due hard copy in class! (you chose the prompt in class)

1) Some argue that the civic power the Constitution gives has been "democratized" over the years. Do you agree? Be sure to explain how you conceive of "democratization" and civic power 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? What kind of citizen is the Constitution most likely to promote?

3) Is there evidence of political realism in either the Constitution itself or in the procedures the founders took to write and ratify the document? Support your answer.


Sept 17: Constitutional Case for Federal Control of Water (or not) -- INTRO to primaries

Post revised blogs on our blog

Check out: the website for ONE candidate for president from each party

Tweet: a respectful observation to Twitter for each

READ: Vote Smart definition of primary elections

OR WATCH: Kahn Academy Video on primaries (same info as above just in a different format)


Sept 21: The Presidency -- Primary Introduction and the Electoral College

READ: This information on how to create an essential question just to the section titled "Two Sides of a Coin" (you can read more if you are interested, of course)

READ: about the Electoral College (read at least the main page, but read as much as you will make class discussion more exciting!)!

In-Class we will WRITE: essential questions regarding primaries and/or the Electoral College-- we will vote for the top 3 questions to form our discussion/debate for next class (to make this go faster, think of a question ahead of time)


Sept 24:  Essential Question Debate: (questions to be posted once we have chosen them)

BLOG: an entry that answers one of the essential questions. The blog should be 800 words (or longer) and have adquate support to convince the reader of the soundness of your argument


Oct 5: The Executive Branch and the Bureaucracy

RESEARCH and ASSESS: information on the American presidency --

PEW studies on presidential popularity, Gallup opinion on Obama presidency, Gallup historic approval numbers through George W., veto records, etc.

RE-READ: Article 2 of the Constitution (unless you remember it or have great notes)

RE-WATCH: Eric Liu on Power (unless you remember it or have great notes)

READ: Woll, Doc 48 and 49 (Rossiter and Neustadt)

READ and WRITE: One article on Obama's triumph on Iran with NO Republican support and apply Rossiter and Neustadt to this modern phenomena in a thought paper that is 1-2 pages single-spaced.



Oct 7: Finish Bureaucracy

RESEARCH: 1 of the Federal Departments on its homepage (do NOT use wikipedia!). Find the mission and 3 functions of that department. Post your findings and analyze the accessibility of the site in the google doc that Dr. Berry shared with you -- use the name of your department as the title of your section!

And look at and the section on federal acquistion regulations -- pay attention to the regs on how the bureaucracy contracts for goods and services!


Oct 12: Finish Bureaucracy and Congress Intro

READ: WOLL docs 56-58 and 60

RE-READ: Article 1 (really! even if you think you remember it!)

RE-TWEET: Something you find of use from either Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) Rep. Martha McSally's (R) Twitter or tweet something from sites

Oct 13: WATCH DEM DEBATE and tweet in real time (if possible) for extra credit on your next Thought Paper!



October 19: Discuss Democratic Debate

October 21: Finish Congress

FIND and LINK: one opinion-editorial article on this Congress (or the last Congress, but do not go back more than 1 term) on our blog and write a paragraph post offering the opposite opinion of that found in the article.

TWEET a QUESTION: Write a question for one of our congressional representatives on an issue you find to be very important -- tag them in it! Be respectful!

QUESTION: Write an essential question for class about the nature of Congressional work.


October 23: Debate Executive Branch and Legislative Branch power....and list what citizens should know about these two!

WRITE: Thought Essay (open note, open book) Submit in hard copy. Essay should be 4-6 pages double-spaved.

Essential Question: Eric Liu wants citizens to understand that government is about power. Be sure to explain the powers that are both expressed and implied in the Constitution and then answer these questions: Which of the two branches (Exec and Leg) is more powerful than the other and why and to what extent can the average citizen exercise their own power on the 2 branches?


October 26: SIGs, Campaign Financing

READ: WOLL docs: (split up among class)

Student Led Discussions -- You will all be responsible for leading 1 discussion on the topic I've assigned below. As a student leader you and your partner are responsible for creating essential and clarifying questions and making sure that we achieve a sophisticated understanding of the complexity of the topic as well as have an opportunity to weigh in on the controversies presented in the readings. You are leading discussion NOT lecturing! Those in charge of and engaing in the discussion will be observed and assessed by those not participating. Those watching will also take detailed notes of the discussion to share with the group.

ALL READ: Woll Doc 36

Group 1: Voters and Elections -- READ Woll, Docs 37 and 38

Student Leaders: Asha and Keely

Discussants:  Ben Showard and Karam

Group 2: Campaign Finance Reform -- READ Woll Docs 42 and 45

Student Leaders: Ben Petersen and Sarah and Daniel

Disscussants: Asha and Spencer and Keely

Group 3: Interest Groups -- READ Woll Docs 43 and 44

Student Leaders: Karam and Spencer and Ben Showard

Disscussants: Daniel, Ben Petersen, Sarah


October 28: Finish SIGs and Financing; Begin Semester Project Essay Workshop

IDEATE: choosing the knowledge section essays

WATCH: This video on What Every American should know (50 min)


Nov 2: Finish Ideating

Brainstorm the top 8 things you've learned this semester that you think citizens should know to be able to exert civic power (note this is not necessarily the same as governmental power)! Write them down so you don't forget them!

Nov 4:

Choose: one civic cause or issue that you are passionate about that resonates locally

Research: 4 opportunities in Tucson for citizens to become involved and have influence in that cause/issue. ONE of these MUST be governmental. By involvement and influence we can mean many things-- education, activism, observation...but it must be a locally-based opportunity. An example for Dr. Berry might be the environment.


Also -- find 2 opportunities to be involved in local politics.....that's all I'm gonna say! TWEET that opportunity.



1)The possibiilty of having influence (exercising power) in that cause via the government...are most of the obvious opportunities SIGs? Are they non-profit? What's the difference or is there one?

2) The ease with which you were able to find the opportunities

3) The extent of the power you would be able to exert...could you become MEANINGFULLY involved in the cause via these opportunities?


Be ready to offer your assessments.


Nov 9: Doing citizenship through Tucson water policy

Inquiry Work -- can/should we, as citizens, get involved in shaping the future of water policy/governance at the local, state and federal levels?

Project Deadline: Rough drafts of Knowledge Essays -- Assignment and Rubric

Nov. 12: Workshop on Knowledge essays and planning for the DO essays! What skills do citizens need? What can they DO to be involved?



Nov 16: How to DO citizenship...Skills in-class workshop

Nov 18: The Values Workshop In the end...what must we VALUE if we want our (relatively) peaceful civil society to continue and even "improve"?

Nov 23: Rough Skills papers due to DB -- hard copy!!


Happy Turkey Day! Cornucopia


Nov 30: Inquiry Work Day

Dec 2: Final Skills essays due Inquiry Work day

Dec 7: Rough Values essays due -- workshop

Dec 9: Final Values essays due....


READ: Forbes article on successful presentations


Enjoy Winter Break! Snowflake




NOT FOR 2015:



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!

 SLD = Congress

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


SLD Presidency

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


SLD Judiciary

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


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.

Media Article


Find ONE piece of electioneering material. In a 2-3 blog describe the material (you may also attach it or provide a link for it), and answer the following questions in paragraph form:

1) What symbols/images are being portrayed and to what ends?

2) What words are used and what emotions do they elicit?

3) Who seems to be the intended audience? How do you know?

4) Assess the realism of the piece.

5) What issue positions are evidence in the piece? If there are no issues addressed, what was the message?

6)What sorts of things are included and what is left out? Does this surprise you?

7) Assess the effectiveness of the material -- its overall persuasiveness and its overall appeal.