AP U.S. Government and Politics

This list is representative of the materials provided or used in this course. Keep in mind that the actual materials used may vary, depending on the school in which you are enrolled, and whether you are taking the course as Independent Study.

For a complete list of the materials to be used in this course by your enrolled student, please visit MyInfo. All lists are subject to change at any time.

Scope & Sequence : Scope & Sequence documents describe what is covered in a course (the scope) and also the order in which topics are covered (the sequence). These documents list instructional objectives and skills to be mastered. K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

Course Overview

AP U.S. Government and Politics is an introductory course on selected United States government and politics topics designed to be equivalent with a one-semester introductory college-level survey course. This course meets guidelines outlined in the College Board’s AP U.S. Government and Politics Course Description and incorporates the most recent changes required in course content and preparation for the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam. The course encourages students to hone critical thinking skills as they analyze and interpret information and data in primary and secondary source readings, news reports, graphs, and tables to learn how to ask and respond to challenging questions and become responsible citizens. A fundamental theme of the course is active citizenship, with emphasis on critical thinking about political issues, while helping students learn how to become involved in the political process. Compelling and thought-provoking examples from contemporary politics are presented in the course to stimulate student engagement.

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Course Length

One Semester

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no specific prerequisites

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Course Outline

Unit 1: Building a System of Government

Chapter 1: One Republic—Two Americas?

Chapter 2: The Constitution

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Historical influences on writers of Constitution; Theoretical influences on writers of the Constitution; Articles of Confederation structure and reasons for failure; Compromises at Constitutional Convention; Rationale for and examples of separation of powers; Rationale for and examples of checks and balances; Reasons for the Bill of Rights; Formal and informal amendments processes

Chapter 3: Federalism

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Federalism and its comparison with unitary and confederal systems; Advantages and disadvantages of U.S. federal system; Sources of federalism in U.S. Constitution; Vertical and horizontal control as limits to national power; Historical evolution of federalism; Challenges to modern federalism

Unit 2: People and Politics

Chapter 6: Public Opinion and Political Socialization

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Public opinion and its impact on government actions; Process of political socialization and its impact on political attitudes, opinions, and behavior; Impact of demographic characteristics on political behavior; Forms of social media and their impact; Impact of world opinion on U.S. policy decisions; Opinion polling and factors that distort polls

Chapter 9: Campaigns, Voting, and Elections

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Eligibility requirements for president, senator, and representative; Reasons for becoming a candidate; Planning a campaign; Evolution of campaign finance regulation; PACs and current regulations; Current model of presidential campaigns; Impact of primary system on nomination process; Electoral process in the United States and its relationship to democratic theory; Historical restrictions on voting and changes made to end them; Impact of technology on voter turnout, fraud, and public trust; Electoral college and its impact

Chapter 7: Interest Groups

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Interest groups and reasons for so many groups in the United States; Reasons for joining or not joining interest groups; Different types of interest groups; Sources of interest group political power; Direct and indirect techniques used to influence government decisions; Legislation regulating reporting of lobbying efforts and its efficacy

Chapter 8: Political Parties

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: The role of political parties in U.S. political system; Major components of political parties; Reasons for formation of political parties in the United States and their changing strength over time; Comparison of demographics of those who identify as Democrats and Republicans; Differences in party positions on economic and social issues; Factors reinforcing a two-party system and reasons for little success of third parties in national elections; Rise of political independents and their potential impact

Chapter 10: The Media and Politics

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Evolution of American media; Functions of media in American society; Impact of all forms of media on political campaigning; Media influence on voters; Relationship between government and media sources; Critical analysis of news stories

Unit 3: Political Institutions

Chapter 11: The Congress

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Majors powers of Congress as granted by U.S. Constitution; House of Representatives vs. Senate; Processes of reapportionment and redistricting; Role and importance of committees in lawmaking process; Leadership structure of each house; How a bill becomes a law; Construction of federal budget and process for approving budget

Chapter 12: The Presidency

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Formal and informal roles of the president and their constitutional or political origins; President’s powers as commander-in-chief; War Powers Act; President’s role in legislative process; Executive tools to initiate or block legislations; Emergency and executive powers of the president; Impeachment process for presidents; Supporting executive offices; Vice president’s job and circumstances in which vice president becomes president

Chapter 13: The Bureaucracy

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Concept and necessity of bureaucracy; Bureaucratic theory; Structure and function of executive departments, agencies, independent regulatory agencies, and government corporations; Federal bureaucracy hiring process and reforms in system over time; Critiques of large bureaucracies and types of reform; Tools and polices for shaping policy and regulation; Relationship between Congress, its committees, interest groups, and bureaucracy

Chapter 14: The Courts

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Stare decisis; How judges decide cases; Judicial review and its constitutional and judicial origins; Produce graphic illustration of federal court system; Process of cases moving through court system; Nomination process for judges and Supreme Court justices; Judicial activism and restraint and their connection to recent court decisions; Constitutional and political constraints on Supreme Court

Unit 4: Public Policy

Chapter 15: Domestic Policy

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Public policy and policymaking process in American national government; Principles underlying American health-care system and problems; Environmental policies and role of EPA; Energy policy; National policies for ending poverty and alleviating economic downturn issues; Immigration issues and proposed reforms to system

Chapter 16: Economic Policy

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Policy and human impact of the financial crisis of 2008; Fiscal and monetary policy; Tools for shaping economic policy; Annual deficit and national debt and their impact on American life and policies; Progressive and regressive taxes and the U.S. taxation system; Entitlement programs and their relationship to economic policy; Role of the Federal Reserve Bank and Board of Governors; Impact of exports and imports on American economy; World Trade Organization

Chapter 17: Foreign Policy and National Security

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Foreign policy, diplomacy, and national security and how they shape the U.S. position in the world; President’s role in setting foreign and national security policy and how it differs from Congress’s role; Evolution of U.S. foreign policy; Origins of the war on terror and its influence on domestic policy and foreign relations; Current security and diplomatic challenges; Nuclear weapons and efforts to control proliferation

Unit 5: Civil Rights and Liberties

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Protection of civil liberties in Bill of Rights; Application of Bill of Rights protections to states; Freedom of religion and separation between the state and religion; Protection of political expression and dissent; Importance of freedom of expression; Protection of privacy rights in personal and public life; Threats to privacy rights by technology and security interests; Rights of the accused and role of the Supreme Court in defining due process over time; Modern threats to civil liberties

Chapter 5: Civil Rights

Topics addressed in Learning Outcomes: Civil rights; Equal protection of the law in the Constitution; Current discrimination in the United States; Limits of state and federal law in guaranteeing equality; Role of the Supreme Court in civil rights; Significant civil rights court decisions; Significant events in civil rights campaigns by African Americans, women, Latinos, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community

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K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

  • Course Overview (as seen above)
  • Course Outline
  • Lesson Time and Scheduling