AP Gov't Unit II: Executive Branch, the Bureaucracy, & an Intro to Political Parties

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Possible Essays




Unit Overview
Sections of your AP Gov't book that will be helpful in preparing for this exam:
  • All of Chapter 13 on the Presidency (you took notes on this)
  • Sections of Chapter 8 on Political Parties (esp. 240-245 & 251-261)
  • All of Chapter 15 on the Federal Bureaucracy (you have some notes on this topic from the CP book)
Some of the Key Concepts you'll want to review:
  • The specific duties of the President
  • The qualifications (official and otherwise) needed to become President
  • The process of electing the President, and the aspects of running a successful political campaign
  • The role of the Vice President
  • The key constitutional powers of the President
  • The informal sources of power that Presidents utilize to expand their role
  • The ways that the power of the President is limited by Congress and the Courts
  • Detail the major roles of the President: Head of State, Chief Executive, Chief Legislator, etc.
  • The responsibilities of the various Cabinet departments
  • The role that executive agencies play within the executive branch
  • The duties of regulatory commissions and their positive and negative effects on our nation
  • Key government corporations and their roles in providing services
  • The ways in which the bureaucracy carries out legislation, shapes policy, and deals with client groups
  • The role political parties play in running our government
  • The reasons why the U.S. Constitution favors a two-party system
  • The history of political parties in the United States

Possible Essays (these are all past FRQs from the AP exam - I will eliminate one, and you will choose one of the remaining two questions):


1. A number of factors enable presidents to exert influence over Congress in the area of domestic policy. However, presidents are also limited in their influence over domestic policymaking in Congress.
(a) The Constitution grants the president certain enumerated powers. Describe two of these formal powers
that enable the president to exert influence over domestic policy.
(b) Choose two of the following. Define each term and explain how each limits the presidentís ability
to influence domestic policymaking in Congress.
  • mandatory spending
  • party polarization
  • lame-duck period

2. Presidential approval ratings fluctuate over the course of each presidential administration.
  1. Identify two factors that decrease presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect.
  2. Identify two factors that increase presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect.

3. A significant feature of the Electoral College is that most states have a winner-take-all system.
  1. Describe the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college.
  2. Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature feature of the electoral college system affects how presidential candidates from the two major parties run their campaigns.
  3. Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature hinders third party candidates.
  4. Explain two reasons why the electoral college has not been abolished.