AP US Government Homework

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 6.4 "The Effects of Public Opinion"


For Discussion Only:

To what degree are we right to condemn politicians when they change their views to match the changing preferences of the voting public?


Other Politics News:

The pronoun primary for Democrats.

The impeachment needle may soon move on Trump.

Who is the real Rudy Giuliani?




Hypnotic letter painting skillz.



-Due Wednesday, October 23rd

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 6.3 "What Does the Public Think? "


For Discussion Only:

What has affected your political views? Friends, family, religious figures?


Other Politics News:

Trump's second term could be even crazier than his first.

The liberation of Mitt Romney... and who is Pierre Delecto anyway?

How Florida Republicans are talking about impeachment.



The Useless Web



-Due Tuesday, October 22nd

Homework 13

Please read Section 6.1 "The Nature of Public Opinion".  Also, please read Section 6.2 "How Is Public Opinion Measured?"



Written Work:

Some countries ban all polls a month prior to an elections.  Would it be a good idea to do this in the United States?  Why or why not?


Other Politics News:

Two person race?  Moderates and Bernie say not so fast.

Democrats have reason to worry after the last debate.

Lebron James turns out to be just another employee.




How Amazon has transformed the life of New York's Hasidic community.



-Due Monday, October 21st

Study Sheet for Test 2

Is now available here!


Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 5.5 "Equal Protection for Other Groups".  The study sheet for this Friday's test can be found here.


Also, please note that the calendar has been updated--see here for the changes.


For Discussion Only:

Are there other groups that deserve more protection from the state?


Other Politics News:

Warren's charmed campaign just entered a brutal new phase.

Turkey's aggression demands a firm response.

The Warren-Klobuchar smackdown America needs?



Was the death of cars greatly exaggerated?

What could go wrong if a city decided to release 1.5 million balloons to break a Guinness World Record?



-Due Thursday, October 17th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 5.4 "Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups" 


For Discussion Only:

What can or should be done to make up for the economic underdevelopment of Native American populations?



Other Politics News:

Tonight's debate has two front-runners and more also-rans than ever.

The Bidens concede.

Mike Bloomberg is strongly considering entering the presidential race as a Democrat.



The most disgraceful moment of LeBron's career?


-Due Wednesday, October 16th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 5.3 "The Fight for Women's Rights" 


For Discussion Only:

Should sex/gender be considered a suspect class? 



Other Politics News:

What was Rudy Giuliani doing in Ukraine?

The only conservative running for president is Joe Biden.

We investigated the Watergate scandal--we believe Trump should be impeached.



How, exactly, do barcodes work?


-Due Tuesday, October 15th

Homework 12

Please read Section 5.2 "The African American Struggle for Equality".  Also, please read this ACLU pro and con site on affirmative action.


Written Work:

Should race-based discrimination be allowed for college admissions?  Why or why not? Explain.


Other Politics News:

The truths that the White House letter just laid bare.

The Malthusian roots of climate extremism.

Punch back on China's NBA boycott.




Interesting piece on procrastination from the New Yorker.  Read it AFTER you finish the homework...

Amazing mashups (of Youtubers) by Kutiman and (of Muppets) by Pogo.



-Due Friday, October 11th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 5.1 "What Are Civil Rights and How Do We Identify Them?" 


For Discussion Only:

It has been said that in a democratic society, minorities only gain civil rights once majorities think they should.  To what extent is this a true statement?



Other Politics News:

Does Donald Trump know what his Syria policy is?

The world's wokest sports league bows to China.

Inside the making of Andrew Yang 2.0.




Behold the amazing hexaflexagon!


-Due Thursday, October 10th

Homework 11

Please read Section 4.4 "Interpreting the Bill of Rights".  Also, please read this conservative take on the right to privacy as well as Roe v. Wade.


Written Work:

Did the court go too far in its "discovery" of the right to privacy?  What do you think of the idea of "penumbras and emanations?"  Explain!


Other Politics News:

Will Trump's swing voters remain loyal in 2020?

What a Trump v. Warren race would look like.

Don't be fooled--Chief Justice Roberts is as partisan as they come.




Richard Feynman explains how rubber bands work. Fascinating stuff.





-Due Tuesday, October 8th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 4.3 "The Rights of Suspects"


For Discussion Only:

To what have we gone too far in protecting the rights of the accused?



Other Politics News:


Did Trump just self-impeach?

A crazy idea to get things done in Washington.




Elites against western civilization?


-Due Monday, October 7th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 4.2 "Securing Basic Freedoms"


For Discussion Only:

To what extent should religion be removed from the public square entirely?



Other Politics News:

If Trump goes down, he's taking everyone with him.

The impeachment trap.

Why Biden won't survive the Trump impeachment.




Why are some languages spoken faster than others?


-Due Thursday, October 3rd

Homework 10

Please read Section 4.1 "What Are Civil Liberties?".  Also, please check out this short video on the potentially oxymoronic concept of "Substantive Due Process"


Written Work:

To what extent does the existence of "substantive due process" enable an activist court--liberal or conservative--to read whatever rights it wants into the Constitution? Is substantive due process a bad idea?



Other Politics News:

The 48 hours that sealed Trump's impeachment.

Nancy Pelosi will regret rushing into impeachment push.

Like everything else, impeachment divides voters.




The fastest growing religion in America? Atheism.

And the first randomized study of restorative justice shows that it more or less doesn't work--especially for African American students.



-Due Wednesday, October 2nd

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 3.5 "Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism"Also, check out this article from the New York Times from a couple of years ago.


For Discussion Only:

Given the tremendously low turnout in local elections, to what extent should we be worried about our federalist system?



Other Politics News:

Did Nancy Pelosi just make one of the most colossal blunders in modern American politics? Or is this the time to act?

Did Trump betray his country?

And here's a basic primer on impeachment.




How, exactly, does TikTok hold our attention?



-Due Thursday, September 26th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 3.4 "Competitive Federalism Today"


For Discussion Only:

Is "venue shopping" a bug or a feature of American federalism?  What do you think and why?



Other Politics News:

How will Elizabeth Warren's rise shake up the Democratic field?

Does Donald Trump actually want to be impeached?.... and a playbook for Republicans on Ukraine?

The Democrats' platform of urban decline.




Just a normal video of a guy in a kayak being slapped in the face by a seal with an octopus.

Should invasive species be killed?



-Due Wednesday, September 25th

Study Sheet for Test 1

Is now available here!


Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 3.3 "Intergovernmental Relationships"  



For Discussion Only:

To what degree is it fair for the states to take the lead in policymaking due to their closer proximity to the people?



Other Politics News:

Could the latest Trump scandal actually lead to impeachment?

But actually, impeachment won't solve any of our problems.

We are not doomed.




Impressed by the eloquence of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but hate his conservative opinions?  Here's a roundup of some of the times that he sided with liberals--or at least civil libertarians.



-Due Tuesday, September 24th

Homework (No Number)

Please read Section 3.2 "The Evolution of American Federalism"  



For Discussion Only:

The book lays out three different types of federalism--dual, cooperative and "new."  Which do you think is best, or is there another type of relationships that would be even better?



Other Politics News:

The global climate strike is showcasing a new effective generation of climate activists!

...or is it all just about indoctrination?

And David Brooks writes a column from the year 2050.



This is a pretty cool video.


-Due Monday, September 23rd

Homework 9

Please read Section 3.1 "The Division of Powers."   Also, please read James Madison's Federalist 45 on the powers of the states. Finally, check out this link to Forum of Federations--a network of all the nations in the world that are federations.



Written work:

If it were politically possible, would it be better to transform the United States into a unitary state?  Why or why not?  Explain. (Assume that we could still be divided into states/regions for administrative purposes, but that the central government would decide all major issues.)



Other Politics News:

Jamelle Bouie from the New York Times argues that Democrats need to start playing hardball and pack the courts.

The National Review's Kevin Williamson totally disagrees.

Is Tucker Carlson the most important pundit in America?



Amazing Japanese mochi making.


-Due Friday, September 20th

Homework 8

Please read Section 2.5 "Constitutional Change." Also, take a look at these failed amendments and these proposed amendments.


Also, please read James Madison's Federalist 10 and 51


Finally--here's a fantastic site that allows you to explore the ratification of the Constitution in depth.


Written work:

Did the Framers make the Constitution too difficult to amend?  What do you think of the amendment process in general?  Did seeing the failed or proposed amendments change your mind? Explain.



Other Politics News:

The New York Times's travesty of journalistic ethics.

Does Joe Biden have a race problem?

The abortion mysticism of Pete Buttigieg



Here's an interesting map of the United States with 50 new states--all with more or less equal population.



-Due Thursday, September 19th

Homework 7

Please read Section 2.4 "The Ratification of the Constitution." Also, THE CONSTITUTION. Read it in FULL! Get thee to the interactive Constitution. Even if you do have a physical copy, the site is worth a visit.


Written work:

Pick a scholarly article from the Interactive Constitution website  and creatively disagree with it.


Other Politics News:

The media has officially lost its damn mind.

How the Kavanaugh confirmation process silenced women.

America is a foreign policy control freak.




Proof that my no laptop policy is awesome?

Drilling. It kills your desire to learn... doesn't it?



-Due Wednesday, September 18th

Homework 6

Please read Section 2.3 "The Development of the Constitution."  Also read this article about the Constitutional Convention, which gives a bit more of a behind-the-scenes look.


Here's a quote from famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, on the Constitution:


There is much declamation about the sacredness of the compact which was formed between the free and slave states, on the adoption of the Constitution. A sacred compact, forsooth! We pronounce it the most bloody and heaven-daring arrangement ever made by men for the continuance and protection of a system of the most atrocious villany ever exhibited on earth. Yes—we recognize the compact, but with feelings of shame and indignation, and it will be held in everlasting infamy by the friends of justice and humanity throughout the world. It was a compact formed at the sacrifice of the bodies and souls of millions of our race, for the sake of achieving a political object—an unblushing and monstrous coalition to do evil that good might come. Such a compact was, in the nature of things and according to the law of God, null and void from the beginning. No body of men ever had the right to guarantee the holding of human beings in bondage. Who or what were the framers of our government, that they should dare confirm and authorise such high-handed villany—such flagrant robbery of the inalienable rights of man—such a glaring violation of all the precepts and injunctions of the gospel—such a savage war upon a sixth part of our whole population?—They were men, like ourselves—as fallible, as sinful, as weak, as ourselves. By the infamous bargain which they made between themselves, they virtually dethroned the Most High God, and trampled beneath their feet their own solemn and heaven-attested Declaration, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights—among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They had no lawful power to bind themselves, or their posterity, for one hour—for one moment—by such an unholy alliance. It was not valid then—it is not valid now. Still they persisted in maintaining it—and still do their successors, the people of Massachusetts, of New-England, and of the twelve free States, persist in maintaining it. A sacred compact! A sacred compact! What, then, is wicked and ignominious?


Written work: Do you agree or disagree with the above quote?  If you do agree, were there any alternatives? What do you think?



Other Politics News:

The emoluments clause is meaningless.

Joe Biden is problematic.

Why treating Uber and Lyft drivers in California as company employees is not going to work.




Moore's Law graphed vs real CPUs & GPUs 1965 - 2019--surprisingly fascinating.



-Due Tuesday, September 17th

Homework 5

Please read section 2.2 "The Articles of Confederation." Also, please read the Articles of Confederation in its entirety, found here.


Written work:

1) To what extent were the Articles of Confederation feasible blueprints for the new nation?


2) Analyze at least one article in the Articles.  Show why it's a good or bad idea.


Other Politics News:

Debate verdicts!  Who won?  Warren! Biden! Trump!

No matter what, a Warren v. Sanders fight to the death is looming.

The meritocracy is ripping America apart.





Can you make bread out of weeds growing on the side of the road?

How Japan's bullet trains changed travel.



-Due Monday, September 16th

Homework 4

Please read section 2.1 "The Pre-Revolutionary Period." Also, please read the Declaration of Independence in its entirety, found here.


Written work: To what extent has the United States lived up to the revolutionary ideals of the Declaration of Independence? Explain.


Other Politics News:

Biden is leading because electability is a thing.

The Biden-Warren confrontation we've been waiting for.

Zak Cheney-Rice's response to Ross Douthat's piece on white nationalism here.




Want to engage in a bit of military procurement through the Department of Defense?  No problem!  Simply master this organizational chart.

And... why are window ACs stuck in the past?



-Due Friday, September 13th

Homework 3

Please read section 1.3, "Engagement in a Democracy." Also, check out this backgrounder on Robert Putnam as well as this piece he wrote for the New York Times a couple of years ago.   For an opposing POV, check out this piece from Pacific Standard as well as this one.


Written work: Have you ever gotten involved in trying to change society?  If yes, how and why?  If no, why not?  Also, what degree of confidence do you have in your own ability to cause change in the world?


Other Politics News:

How John Bolton got himself fired.

I was a Chinese nationalist.  The Hong Kong protests changed my mind.

San Francisco's assault on the NRA is dangerous to our democracy.




Would terraforming Mars be a bad idea?

Bonkers animation from last year showing how devastating a storm surge during a hurricane can be.




-Due Thursday, September 12th

Homework 2

Please read section 1.2, "Who Governs?"  Also, check out this very interesting interview with Robert Dahl.  You can watch the video, or just read the transcript below it.


Written work: Which perspective do you think does a better job of describing the United States: pluralism or elite theory?  Why? Explain


Other Politics News:

Dear Bernie: here's how you can still win--before your chances slip away.

Four things that are not white nationalism.

The hate-crime spike in New York City has nothing to do with white supremacy.




Myers-Briggs--the bogus personality test that conned the world.



-Due Wednesday, September 11th

Homework 1

We are beginning to use the OpenStax textbook.  It can be found here.  Please note that OpenStax also has iOS and Android apps if you prefer to read the text on your phone or tablet.  For class, please read section 1.1, "What is Government?"  Also, please read these excerpts from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government.  Finally read this short George Orwell essay about good writing: "Politics and the English Language." Let it be your guide.



Written work: What are Locke's hypotheses, and to what extent do you agree with them?


What format should this work be in?  It should be:

1) In PDF form.  You should be able to use Word or any other word processing software to save as PDF. Also Macs and some other programs allow you to print to PDF.  Also, Google Docs allows you to save as a PDF. PLEASE NOTE THAT HOMEWORK SUBMITTED IN .DOC OR .DOCX FORM IS NOT GRADABLE!

2) Double spaced

3) No longer than two, but no shorter than one page.

4) Titled "HW 1, John Smith" if your name were John Smith

5) Uploaded into our shared Dropbox account by the start of class Monday.


Other Politics News:

Dismissing Donald Trump as a crumbling, unfit fool will get us four more years--don't buy it!

CNN's climate change town hall was insane.

The enduring mystery of Tulsi Gabbard.



Mike Diva is getting a lot of attention for directing Lil Nas X's new video, but who can forget the amazing "Japanese Donald Trump commercial" that he made back in 2016?



-Due Monday, September 9th


Please go to this form and enter in your information! Also, check out this interesting video about the tiny subway that runs under the U.S. Capitol.




1) Make sure you have a Dropbox account!


2) Share a folder with me.  The format should be as follows:  If your name were Joe Biden and you were in my 9th period AP US Gov class, the folder would be entitled: Joe Biden, 9.  My e-mail address for sharing is mpolazzo@gmail.com


3) Upload a headshot (not a whole body picture) of yourself that (a) is not too large and (b) actually looks like you. Place it in the shared folder. Name it joebiden.jpg (substitute your first and last names).  Please note that all headshots should be in JPEG form!




-Due Friday, September 6th