UNIT I Guide
Focus of Unit: This unit focuses on the historical situation of the framers at the time of the Constitutional Convention. Emphasis will be placed on the features of federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances, that were incorporated into the Constitution to carry out limited government. Essential Questions: How have federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances been shaped and debated throughout our history? What are contemporary issues surrounding these principles? Timeframe: 21 Days, starting August 25th , 2014, and ending on September 26th, 2014. Curricular Objectives:
Examine the concept and theories of power. Consider Legitimacy and Authority, the Social Contract and the Natural Rights of Man. Trace the evolution of the Constitution from the flaws of the Articles of Confederation through various compromises demonstrating the intent of the framers and the eventual amendment process. Detail the growth of our federal government. Cite as an example the expansive use of mandates and grants. Unit Skills:
Students will develop skills in research using databases; organizing and delivering class presentations. Students will use technology to create informative presentations. Students will practice FRQ writing skills and AP test taking skills. Students will continue to develop study skills and note taking skills. Students will not only read for information, but read critically to assess that information. Readings:
Wilson, James Q/ DiIulio Jr., John J. American Government. 13th Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2013. Chapter 1, 2, 3.
Wilson Guided Reading Questions
Wilson Chapter 1: The Study of American Government
Explain the concept of legitimate political power. In other words, what makes political power legitimate? Explain Schumpeter’s definition of democracy in your own words. What is a republican form of government? What did the founders choose this over participatory democracy? When majoritarian politics are in play, how are the actions of leaders determined? What is meant by “elitism”?
How do elitist and pluralist views differ?
From where does the “elite” derive its power?
Why are power elite theorists disturbed by the public’s lack of political interest? According to pluralists, how is public policy created?
Explain why most framers could have been elitists.
Wilson Chapter 2: The Constitution
Part I: pages 20-29
Make a list of the points that the text makes on what the “Colonial Mind” was thinking at the time of the Revolution. Make a detailed list of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. What was Shay’s Rebellion, and what role did that play in the push for changing the Articles of Confederation? Make a chart comparing and contrasting the Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, and the Great Compromise. What other compromises involving the president and the Supreme Court were decided at the Constitutional Convention? Part II: pages 30-38
What is the difference between a democracy and a republic and how did the Constitution strike a balance between these two forms of government? What is judicial review?
List and define the two major principles of American representative democracy? What was the founder’s solution to the problem that people will pursue their own self-interest? How is that different from what ancient philosophers believed? What did Madison argue and propose in this context? Why did the Framers insist that the ratification of the Constitution be done by state conventions, not state legislatures? Explain in detail the Anti-Federalists objections to the Constitution, as well as their list of recommendations. What arguments did the Federalists use against having a bill of rights? Summarize the three provisions in the Constitution regarding slavery. Why didn’t the Founders abolish slavery? Part III: pages 39-47
What was Charles Beard’s interpretation of the Framers of the Constitution? What is now known to counter his interpretation? In the ratifying conventions, what were the economic divisions of those who favored the Constitution? According to the text, how has our understanding of the relationship between liberty and equality changed over time? Outline the criticisms presented of the separation of powers and the counter arguments. What are the proposals of those who believe the government is too large and who would seek changes in the Constitution to limit the government? What are the counter arguments? Wilson Chapter 3: Federalism
Part I: pages 50- 63
Define federalism and explain how such a system differs from a unitary or a confederal system. Make a chart listing the positive and negative aspects of federalism. What has been the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in McCulloch v Maryland? Explain the issue of nullification.
What is dual federalism? How has the Supreme Court supported the theory of dual federalism in recent years? Who are the two parties in the case Printz v United States? What are they fighting about? What part of the Constitution was involved in this case? Who won and on what basis? Define and explain the significance of initiative, referendum, and recall. Part II: pages 63-75
Define and explain the significance of grants-in-aid, categorical grants, revenue sharing and block grants. Since the 1960’s, how has the national government used grants-in-aid to assert its political dominance? How do states attempt to gain a greater proportion of the budgetary pie? Why do states prefer block grants rather than categorical grants? How does the government use conditions of aid and mandates to assert control over the states? Explain devolution and why the GOP in Congress embraced the idea of devolution in the 1990’s. What was the effect of the “devolution revolution”?
What are the explanations that the book gives for why members of Congress pass laws that cause governors and mayors to complain about the role of the federal government? Supplemental Readings
1. Zinn, Howard. “How Democratic is America?.” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2001. pg 2-13 Study Guide Questions:
1. Describe Zinn’s definition of democracy and explain why it may be controversial. 2. List Zinn’s 10 criteria for evaluating a democracy and take brief notes on the examples he cites to prove his thesis. 2. Hook, Sidney. “How Democratic is America? A response to Howard Zinn.” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2001. pg 14-25 Study Guide Questions:
1. What problems does Hook have with Zinn’s definition of democracy? 2. In part II, what are Hook’s most persuasive rebuttal arguments? 3. In the final section, III, how does Hook defend the American democracy? 3. Abraham, Spencer. “Unfunded Mandates: The Negative Effects.” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2001. Pg 56-58. 4. Miller, George. “Unfunded Mandates: Laws That Bind Us Together.” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2001. Pg 59-62. Classroom Activities:
August 25- Introduction to AP
- AP curriculum/syllabus/class expectation
- Book Handout
- HW- read Wilson pgs 2-11 and answer appropriate chapter 1 guide questions in journal August 26- What is Government? Purposes of Government?- Lecture on purposes of government - HW- read Howard Zinn’s “How Democratic is America?” and answer guide questions in journal. Be prepared for class discussion. - Summer Assignment is due August 29
August 27- Distribution of Power
- Lecture/Discussion: How democratic is the US?
- HW- Hook reading with guide questions. Wilson pgs 12-17 and finish chapter 1 guide questions. August 28- Forms of government
- Lecture on authoritarian and democratic forms of government - HW- Finish outlining primary source reading if needed.
August 29- Argument Writing: Is US a democracy?
- Compose written argument using Zinn, Hook, and various sources to answer the question. - HW- read Wilson pgs 20-29 and complete guide questions. Study for quiz on Wilson chapter 1. September 2- Chapter 1 Quiz
- Take quiz on chapter 1
- Start organizer on failures of the Articles of Confederation - HW- Complete organizer on weaknesses of Articles of Confederation. September 3- Problems of Liberty- Articles of Confederation -Debrief organizer
- View brief video clip on development of the Constitution
- HW- Read Wilson pgs 30-38 and complete appropriate guide questions. September 4- Constitutional Principles
- Notes on 6 constitutional principles
- Computer lab assignment to find relevant current events related to the 6 principles. - HW- Complete “Designing a Political System” handout using Federalist papers #10 and #51. September 5- Constitution and Liberty
- Read Centinal I and Brutus I and discuss the position of the Anti-federalists regarding the Constitution. - Reflection Response: Would you have been a federalist or anti-federalist? Why? - HW- Read Wilson pgs 39-47 and complete guide questions in journal. September 8- Constitution and Liberty
- Discuss methods to amend the Constitution
- Complete guide questions on amendment process and examine current events related to amending the Constitution (learner.org video clip) - HW- Study for quiz on Wilson chapter 2
September 9- Quiz/ Intro to Federalism
- Take brief quiz on Wilson chapter 2
- Introduction to Federalism by outlining powers using Venn diagram. - HW- read Wilson pgs 50-63 and answer guide questions.
September 10- Federalism- Introduce Federalism project in Batcave computer lab. Spend entire class starting project. - HW- Work on project. Unfunded Mandates Pro/Con Reading. I will collect the essay response on September 19 September 11- Federalism: Grants and mandates
- Learner.org clips with discussion on 2 controversial programs - HW- Read Wilson pgs 63-75 and answer guide questions.
September 15- Federalism- Research/work on project in Media Center for entire class - HW- Work on project.
September 16- Federalism: Devolution
- Lecture on block grants and devolution
- Free Response practice question
- HW- Work on projects.
September 17- Federalism
- Work on federalism project.
- HW- finish projects - presentations are Sept 20, 23, 24.
September 18- Federalism
- Computers available for groups to put final preparation together for presentations September 19- Federalism: Real World Examples
- Students will present and discuss findings related to federalism (project) - (medical marijuana, SCHIP, abortion, gun control, and welfare reform will present) September 22- Federalism: Real World Examples
- Students will present and discuss findings related to federalism (project) - (immigration, education NCLB, same-sex marriage, Obamacare, and environment will present) - We will discuss expectations for Free Response Questions
- HW- Study for exam on unit I- See below for test specifications September 23- Free Response Question- 25 minutes to respond to essay question.September 24 - AP Style Multiple Choice Test, 40 questions, 5 distractors for each question, including data analysis items
Wilson Chapter 1 Vocabulary
Class viewPower elite view
form more perfect union
promote general welfare
Wilson Chapter 2 Vocabulary
Articles of Confederation
New Jersey Plan
Checks and Balances
Separation of powers
Bill of Rights
Bill of attainder
Ex post facto laws
Wilson Chapter 3 Vocabulary
conditions of aid