AP Government & Politics


Welcome to the AP GoPo site.  Below you will find the readings, worksheets, video content, and other resources that we use for our five units of study.  I have also included links to various supplemental content that if the unit interests you, you may enjoy.  To the right, I have the Town Hall schedule as well as a reading guide to our second assigned text, Hardball by Chris Matthews.  The class syllabus can be found here

Hardball Reading Guide
Town Hall Schedule & Documents
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Unit 1 - Design of Power

Our first unit is an analysis of the foundations of our governmental system.  We examine key philosophical influences and notable sources of thought, early failings in rule,  our governing documents, and how power is meant to be shared.  Key areas of focus include the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other amendments, the system of federalism, and changes in power over the years.

Readings for the Unit



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Video Content

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Other Resources

To Learn More...

Unit 2 - Consolidation of Power
(Group Political Participation)

Our second unit is an analysis of how people form groups in a political environment and how those affect policy and government action.  The key areas of study in this unit are Political Ideology, the Media, Political Parties, and Interest Groups.  There are also focuses on how groups utilize information to convey their ideas to the broader public and how the average citizen gets the majority of information.

Readings for the Unit

Textbook Chapter 6 - Ideologies

Textbook Chapter 7 - Media

Textbook Chapter 8 - Political Parties

Textbook Chapter 10 - Interest Groups

"Interest Groups and the American Political System" - Rozell & Wilcox
"Feeding Frenzies" - Larry Sabato

The Southern Strategy - A. Greenblatt



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Ch 6 Lecture - Political Ideology.jpg
Ch 7 Lecture - Media.jpg
Ch 8 Lecture - Political Parties.jpg
Ch 10 Lecture - Interest Groups.jpg

Video Content

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Democracy in America Interest Groups.jpg
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Other Resources...


To Learn More...

"Obama's Deal" (Frontline) - (2010) - Dir. Michael Kirk

"News War" (Frontline) - (2007) - Dir. Raney Aronson-Rath

Unit 3 - The Obtaining of Power
(Individual Political Participation)

Our third unit is an analysis of how individuals use power in a governmental system.  There are two primary focuses in this unit.  The first is the citizen in context of voting, and the second is the citizen in context of becoming an elective official.  The primary topics are the basics of voting, electoral systems and their challenges, campaigning, the Electoral College, election reform and divisions real and imagined within the electorate.

Readings for the Unit

Textbook Chapter 9 - Campaigns and Elections

"One Nation, Slightly Divisible" - David Brooks

"No Place for Amateurs" - Dennis Johnson
"Why Americans Still Don't Vote" - Piven and Cloward

"How Political Consulting Works - Or Doesn't" - Molly Bell



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Video Content

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Other Resources...


To Learn More...

What It Takes: The Way to the White House - Richard Ben Cramer
The War Room (1993) - (Dir. Hegedus & Pennebaker)

Tanner '88 - (1988) - (Dir. Robert Altman)

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime - John Heilemann & Mark Halperin

Bob Roberts - (1992) - (Dir. Tim Robbins)

Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories From Presidential Campaign History - John Dickerson

Unit 4 - The Application of Power
(Policy-making Bodies)

Our fourth unit is an analysis of how the major policy making branches of government work and what forces act on them.  Covered in this unit is the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Legislature of the federal government.  Major areas of focus include how the powers of these branches overlap and where they hold checks and balances over each other.

Readings for the Unit

Textbook Chapter 12 - The Presidency
Textbook Chapter 14 - The Federal Bureaucracy
Textbook Chapter 11 - Congress
"The Paradoxes of the American Presidency" - Cronin and Genovese

Federalist Paper #70 - Alexander Hamilton

How to Measure For a President - John Dickerson

Siena College Presidential Rankings

Locked in the Cabinet selection - Robert Reich

Bureaucracy selection - James Q. Wilson
"Congress: The Electoral Connection" - David Mayhew

"Home Style" - David Fenno
"The Congressional Experience" - David Price



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Ch 11 Lecture - Congress.jpg

Video Content

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Democracy in America Legislature.jpg
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Other Resources...


To Learn More...

Unit 5 - The Interpretation of Power
(The Courts and Civil Liberties)

Our fifth unit is an analysis of how the last branch of the government plays a key role in policy through judicial review and judicial interpretation.  Included in this unit are Supreme Court cases that highlight Civil Rights and Civil Liberties enjoyed by citizens and how they have changed over the years.

Textbook Chapter 15 - The Federal Courts
Textbook Chapter 4 - Civil Liberties & Public Policy

Federalist Paper #78 - Alexander Hamilton
"How the Supreme Court Arrives At It's Decisions" - William Brennan Jr.


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Video Resources

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To Learn More...

Gideon's Trumpet - Anthony Lewis

Separate But Equal - (1991) - Dir. George Stevens Jr.

A Civil Action - Jonathan Harr

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court - Jeffrey Toobin