AP U.S. Government & Politics

Class Description

Concepts like freedom, representation, and federalism have defined American government. But how did these values emerge as the guiding forces in our national life? How has political life and government evolved since the founding? SpringLight Education Institute’s AP United States Government and Politics will not only prepare students to score well on the AP exam, but will also teach students to analyze and interpret the Constitution, important political documents, and data to better understand American government and political culture. Students will learn the guiding structures and principles of American national government but will also develop the skills to analyze the factors that have shaped American politics over the last two centuries.

About the Instructor

Ms. Katherine Simpson graduated from Gordon College with a double degree in political science and English Literature. Her writing has been published by NPR stations across the United States. Ms. Simpson’s research and writing includes reporting on city government and a thesis on Toni Morrison. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and playing the harp.

Class Syllabus (subject to change/be added to)



Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
January 16 Ideals and Types of Democracy, Government Power and Individual Rights Barron, Chapter 1
January 23 Foundations of American Government: Articles of Confederation and Ratification of the Constitution, and Principles of American Government Barron, Chapters 2 & 3
January 30 Federalism: Intergovernmental Relations, Constitutional Interpretation, and Federalism in Action Barron, Chapter 4
Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
February 6 Congress Barron, Chapter 8
February 13 The President Barron, Chapter 7
February 20 The Judicial Branch Barron, Chapter 9
February 27 The Bureaucracy Barron, Chapter 10
Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
March 6 The Bill of Rights Barron, Chapter 5
March 13 Constitutional Amendments Barron, Chapter 6
March 20 Social Movements TBD
Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
March 27 Citizens and Public Opinion Barron, Chapter 12
March 30 Parties and Ideology Barron, Chapter 11
Unit 5: Political Participation
April 3 Voting TBD
April 10 Stakeholders: Parties and Interest Groups Barron, Chapter 14
April 17 Campaigns and Media Barron, Chapter 13
April 24 Public Policy Issues Barron, Chapters 15 & 16
Exam Review