Free-Response Questions from Past AP Exams
Is Congress effective in exercising legislative oversight of the federal bureaucracy? Support your answer by doing ONE of the following: a.
Explain two specific methods Congress uses to exercise effective oversight of the federal bureaucracy. OR
Give two specific explanations for the failure of Congress to exercise effective oversight of the federal bureaucracy.
The Constitution was an attempt to address problems of decentralization that were experienced under the Articles of Confederation. a.
List three problems of decentralized power that existed under the Articles of Confederation. For each problem you listed, identify one solution that the Constitution provided to address the problem. b.
Some have argued that the tensions between decentralized and centralized power continue to exist. Support this argument by explaining how one of the following illustrates the continuing tension: •
The Supreme Court is commonly thought to be “above politics.” However, one can argue that the appointment of Supreme Court justices is political. a.
Identify three characteristics of Supreme Court nominees and discuss how each characteristic has been politically relevant during the appointment process. b.
Identify two methods that have been used by interest groups to influence the appointment process. Explain how each of these methods has been used to influence that process.
The United States Constitution has endured for more than two centuries as the framework of government. However, the meaning of the Constitution has been changed both by formal and informal methods. a.
Identify two formal methods for adding amendments to the Constitution. b.
Describe two informal methods that have been used to change the meaning of the Constitution. Provide one example for each informal method you described. c.
Explain why informal methods are used more often than the formal amendment process. 2.
Many scholars and observers have argued that the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution has become the single most important act in all of United States politics. a.
Identify which provision of the Fourteenth Amendment was applied in one of the following Supreme Court cases. For the case you select, explain the significance of the decision in United States politics: •
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
Identify which provision of the Fourteenth Amendment was applied in one of the following Supreme Court cases. For the case you select, explain the significance of the decision in U.S. politics. •
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Explain how each of the political factors listed below makes it difficult for the federal government to enact public policy. Provide one example for each explanation. a.
Weak party discipline
Growth in the number of interest groups and political action committees (PACs).
The concept of “divided government” in the U.S. means that one political party can control the executive branch while another controls the legislative branch. This poses problems for the President in making appointments to federal offices a.
Describe two problems that divided government poses for the President in making federal appointments. b.
Identify and explain two ways Presidents try to overcome the problems described in (a). 2.
Political institutions can present both obstacles and opportunities to racial minority groups in their efforts to gain political influence. a.
Identify one feature of one of the following and explain how that feature has presented obstacles to racial minority groups in their efforts to achieve political goals: •
The U.S. political party system
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