Prerequisite: LEAP standing or consent of instructor.
This AP course is designed for Leap students interested in a college level U.S. Government course. Students will examine the foundations of democracy, the U.S. Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties, the branches of the government, the political process, and the effect of the media on elections. Students take a college board exam at the end of the course to determine if they qualify for college credit. This course is offered only second semester and can be taken by Leap students in their junior or senior year. This course satisfies the social science requirement.
I. Constitutional Underpinnings of U.S. Government A. Theories of democratic government B. Considerations that influenced the formulation and adoption of the constitution C. Separation of powers D. Federalism
II. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties A. Development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation B. Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties C. Impact of the 14th amendment on the constitutional development of rights and liberties
III. Political Beliefs and Behaviors A. Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and it's leaders B. Processes by which citizens learn about politics C. The nature, sources and consequences of public opinion D. The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life E. Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and behaviors
IV. Political Partier, Interest Groups and Mass Media A. Political Parties 1. Functions 2. Organizations 3. Development 4. Effects on political process 5. Election laws and systems
B. Interest groups including political action committees (PACs) 1. The range of interest represented 2. Activities of interest groups 3. Effects of interest groups on the political process 4. Unique characteristics and roles of PACs in the political process
C. Mass Media 1. Functions and structures of the media 2. Impacts of media on politics
V. Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts A. Major formal and informal institutional arrangements of power B. Relationships among these four institutions and varying balances of power C. Linkages between institutions and the following: 1. Public opinion and voters 2. Interest groups 3. Political Parties 4. The media 5. Sub-national governments
VI. Public Policy A. Policy making in a federal system B. The formation of policy agendas C. The role of institutions in the enactment of policy D. The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation E. Linkages between policy processes and the following: 1. Political institutions and federalism 2. Political parties 3. Interest groups 4. Public opinion 5. Elections 6. Policy networks