Welcome to the AP Government website! AP United States Government and Politics, more commonly known as AP Government, is a class currently offered here at Warren Mott. The class is taught by Mr. Carpenter. This webpage will offer an outline for the course. In AP Government, you study the general concepts used to interpret America's government, and you analyze specific examples of these concepts. The class itself is mainly an analytical perspective on government and politics in America.
Mr. Carpenter, most commonly known as Carp, has been teaching at Warren Mott for over fifteen years. Along with AP Government, he also teaches Government and Economics, courses needed to graduate taken junior year for a semester each. Mr. Carpenter's hobbies include: watching CSPAN, playing golf, and playing with his dog Toby.Mr. Carpenter's Weebly
The study of modern politics in the United States requires students to examine the kind of government established by the Constitution, paying particular attention to federalism, the separation of powers, and checks and balances. Understanding these developments involves both knowledge of the historical situation at the time of the Constitutional Convention and an awareness of the ideological and philosophical traditions on which the framers drew. Familiarity with the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of key provisions of the Constitution will aid student understanding of theoretical and practical features of federalism. Students should be familiar with a variety of theoretical perspectives relating to the Constitution, such as democratic theory and elitism.
Individual citizens hold a variety of beliefs about their government, its leaders, and the U.S. political system in general; taken together, these beliefs form the foundation of U.S. political culture. It is important for students to understand how these beliefs are formed, how they evolve, and the processes by which they are transmitted. Students should know why U.S. citizens hold certain beliefs about politics, and how families, schools, and the media act to perpetuate or change these beliefs. Understanding the ways in which political culture affects and informs political participation is also critical. To understand these differences, students should focus on the demographic features of the American population and the different views that people hold of the political process. They should be aware of group differences in political beliefs and behavior. Students should also understand how changes in political participation affect the political system.
Students should understand the mechanisms that allow citizens to organize and communicate their interests and concerns. Among these are political parties, elections, political action committees (PACs), interest groups, and the mass media. Examination of issues of party reform and of campaign strategies and financing in the electronic age provides students with important perspectives. Students must also consider the political roles played by a variety of lobbying and interest groups. Important features of this section of the course include an explanation for why some interests are represented by organized groups while others are not, and the consequences of this difference in representation. Students study what interest groups do, how they do it, and how this affects both the political process and public policy. Students are expected to understand the role of the media in the political system. In addition, the impact of the media on public opinion, voter perceptions, campaign strategies, electoral outcomes, agenda development, and the images of officials and candidates should be explored and understood by students.
Students must become familiar with the organization and powers, both formal and informal, of the major political institutions in the United States: the Congress, the presidency, the bureaucracy, and the federal courts. Students should understand that these are separate institutions sharing powers and the implications of that arrangement. The functions these institutions perform and do not perform, as well as the powers that they do and do not possess, are important. Students are also expected to understand ties between the various branches of national government and political parties, interest groups, the media, and state and local governments.
Public policy is the result of interactions and dynamics among actors, interests, institutions, and processes. The formation of policy agendas, the enactment of public policies by Congress and the president, and the implementation and interpretation of policies by the bureaucracy and the courts are all stages in the policy process with which students should be familiar. Students should also investigate policy networks and issue networks in the domestic and foreign policy areas. The study of these will give students a clear understanding of the impact of federalism, interest groups, parties, and elections on policy processes and policy making in the federal context. Students should be familiar with major public policies.
An understanding of United States politics includes the study of the development of individual rights and liberties and their impact on citizens. Basic to this study is an analysis of the workings of the United States Supreme Court and familiarity with its most significant decisions. Students should examine judicial interpretations of various civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and expression; the rights of the accused; and the rights of minority groups and women. For example,students should understand the legal, social, and political evolution following the Supreme Court's decisions regarding racial segregation. Students should also be aware of how the Fourteenth Amendment and the doctrine of selective incorporation have been used to extend protection of rights and liberties. Finally, it is important that students be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Supreme Court decisions as tools of social change.