Credits: 0.5
Term: On Demand, Spring 2018

Student must be approved by the department head prior to enrollment. United States History recommended

Note: It is the expectation of VTVLC that students take the Advanced Placement Exam (AP® Exam) to receive Advanced Placement credit. Students need to be approved by the department head by completing and returning this AP Course Recommendation Letter Form.

Course Description:

Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam (AP® Exam ) in order to receive Advanced Placement credit. “Lights, Camera, Action” …Prepare to study the intricacies of the American Political Culture. The script is written and the actors participate daily in the drama of American politics. You will be “on location” to delve into primary source documents. You will go behind the scenes with stars such as the President, Congress people, and Supreme Court Justices. You will research the roles of the media, political parties, interest groups, states, candidates, bureaucracy, and the public in the governmental process. Finally, you will witness the large- scale production of policy building in the areas of economic/social policy, foreign policy and public administration.

Topics & Concepts:
  • Social Contract and the source of political power in the US
  • Basic Concepts of US Government-including judicial review, checks and balances, separation of powers, popular sovereignty, limited government)
  • Articles of Confederation-principles and weaknesses
  • Constitutional Convention-the plans and compromises
  • Ratification of the Constitution- Federalist & Anti-Federalists
  • Justice Marshall and the influence of the early US Supreme Court including McCulloch v Maryland and Marbury v Madison
  • Individual liberties and the Bill of Rights
  • Federalism and the changing roles of the national and state governments
  • Funded and un-funded Mandates from the federal government to the states
  • Federal funding to the states including grants and the effect of federal money on the policies of the states
  • Polling-the structure, effect and bias of questions
  • Voting and sources of public opinion
  • Constitutional Amendments expanding the right to vote including (XIX, XV, XXIII, XXVI)
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Reforms to encourage voting
  • Gender Gap
  • Effects of Media on voting
  • Kinds of primaries in the US
  • Structure and role of political parties in elections
  • Description of Third parties and their role in national politics and elections
  • Role of National Conventions in elections
  • Primaries and caucuses-structure and role in elections
  • Advantages of incumbency in elections
  • Campaign finance- rules and reforms in soft money contributions
  • Structure and analysis of Electoral college system
  • Role of interest groups
  • Federalist Paper #10 and the role of factions in elections
  • Structure and analysis of political action committees (PAC) in elections
  • Role of lobbyists in elections
  • Bicameral Legislature
  • Structure of House of Representatives
  • Reapportionment
  • Powers of House and Senate
  • Congressional Elections
  • Advantages of Incumbency
  • Term limits
  • Gerrymandering
  • House as Representatives of the people
  • Congressional Agenda
  • Legislative Strategy
  • Committee Structure
  • Congressional Leadership
  • Congressional Rules and Informal procedure
  • Congressional Voting Options and Pressures
  • Pluralism and Majoritarianism
  • Iron Triangles
  • Presidential Constitutional Powers
  • Expansion of Presidential Powers
  • Who elects the president?
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Vice Presidency
  • Presidential Cabinet
  • President International Role
  • Presidential Character
  • Bureaucracy
  • Bureaucratic Departments and Independent Agencies
  • Civil Servants
  • Administrative Policy Making
  • Regulation V Deregulation
  • Federal Court System
  • Supreme Court Justices
  • Judicial Restraint V Judicial Activism
  • Nomination Process
  • Supreme Court Operations & Procedures
  • Rule of Four
  • Solicitor General
  • Judicial Review
  • First Amendment Rights
  • Second Amendment
  • Fourteenth Amendment
  • Judicial Incorporation
  • Exclusionary Rule
  • Equality in the Judicial System
  • Civil War Amendments
  • Civil Rights Acts
  • School Segregation
  • Women’s Rights and Comparable Worth
    Landmark Supreme Court Cases – Marbury vs. Madison, McCulloch vs. Maryland, Dred Scott, Miranda vs. Arizona, Gideon vs. Wainwright, Gitlow vs. New York, Engle vs. Vitale, Schenck vs. U.S., New York Times vs. Nixon, Mapp vs. Ohio, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Brown vs. Board of Education, Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Rostker vs. Goldberg, Bakke vs. University of California
  • Policy Making Procedure
  • Issue Networks – Social Security
  • Foreign Policy Making – Presidential and Congressional Powers and Senatorial Powers
  • World view of Paradigms
  • Economic Policy
  • Competing Economic Theory
  • Reaganomics
  • Economic Troika
  • Budget Process
  • Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill
  • Budget Enforcement Act of 1920
  • Taxation

Offerings and courses subject to change. Please refer to the VTVLC Student Information System as the most up-to-date resource of current offerings and required materials for courses.