There is no substitute for being in class, but in case you do miss, here's a recap of what's going on:

Week of 9/19

  • 9/19: Congressional Powers Notes & Quiz

Week of 9/12

  • 9/12: Reading Notes on the Senate
  • 9/13: Discussion of President Obama's Jobs Bill
  • 9/14: More Jobs Bill
  • 9/15: West Wing Episode: The Midterms
  • 9/16: Constitutional Interpretation Notes & Judicial Ideology

Week of 9/6

  • 9/6: House Simulation
  • 9/7: House Simulation
  • 9/8: Work on House Packet
  • 9/9: Discussion Groups

Week of August 29:

  • 8/29: Notes and Quiz on 48-58 in CP book (Articles of Confed and the Cons Convention)
  • 8/30: Wrap Up from the 29th, House/Senate Comparison, Introduction of House Simulation
  • 8/31: Speech Research
  • 9/1: Speech Writing
  • 9/2: Start of House Simulation

Week of August 24:

  • 8/24: Introduce Class
  • 8/25: Political/Ideological Survey (see me for handout)
  • 8/26: Gov't Overview Chart (3 branches plus Bureaucracy)





Read Federalist #10 and answer these questions:

1.     How does Madison define “faction”?  What are some examples of factions today?

2.     What are two methods of curing the mischiefs caused by factions?

3.     What are 2 ways of eliminating the causes of a faction?  Why are both unacceptable?

4.     According to Madison, what is the primary cause of conflict?

5.     What issues divided Americans in 1787?  Are those issues similar to the causes of today’s divisions?

6.     What are two remedies for controlling the effects of factions?

7.     Why are factions more easily controlled in large republics?

8.     How does federalism control factions?

9.     What portions of Madison’s argument are the most persuasive?  What is the least persuasive?

10.   Does Madison have an optimistic or pessimistic view of human nature?  How did this viewpoint impact the drafting of the Constitution?

11.   Was Madison right, or have factions sometimes gained control of our government?


  1.  Read Chapter Four in the CP Gov't Book
  2. Take "overview notes" on key points
  3. Come up with three examples that help you clearly understand federalism
  4. Write a paragraph in which you explain why you're a Hamiltonian (big gov't) or Jeffersonian at the end of the day


 Low Voter Turnout

  1. Identify a group with chronically low voter turnout.  Use at least three demographic characteristics to define your group (e.g. low income rural whites)
  2. List at least three structural (connected to actual process of voting) and three non-structural reasons why this particular group suffers from low voter turnout.
  3. Identify two ideas that could be implemented that would improve turnout for this group.


We watched the movie Dave and took notes on:

  1. The persona of Dave (the President we want) vs. the persona of Bill Mitchell (the President we elect)
  2. The management of the executive branch and the interaction between the President, the White House staff,  and the Cabinet
  3. The ways that the film provides insight into the political realities of of post Cold War and Pre-9/11 America.


We took lecture notes on Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

We researched four topics (these are common FRQ topics) and debated those four topics:

  • Electoral College Reform
  • Social Security/Medicare Reform
  • Stricter Campaign Finance Reform
  • War Powers Resolution




We took lecture notes on Third Parties and Divided Government

We read two articles on the current budget negotiations and answered these questions:

  1. In what specific ways is the divided government impacting the current budget situation?
  2. What are specific concession each side is likely to have to make?  Why?


We took a practice 2002 exam online (you can do this from home on datawise) and wrote outlines in response to this FRQ:

The power of the federal government relative to the power of the states has increased since the ratification of the Constitution.

a) Describe two of the following provisions of the Constitution and explain how each has been used over time to expand federal power.

  • The power to tax and spend
  • The "necessary and proper" or "elastic" clause
  • The Commerce clause

b) Explain how one of the following has increased the power of the federal government relative to the power of the state governments.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Clean Air Act



We took a practice 2002 exam online (you can do this from home on datawise) and wrote outlines in response to FRQ #2 from the 2010 Exam


 We watched 20 minutes or so of President Obama's speech on his budget plan.

Then We: Made Our Own Budget Solution

  • Identify key points in the proposals made by President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan
  • Identify the rationale they use to support their key points
  • Create your own proposal that addresses:
  • Reforms to entitlement programs
  • Other changes in spending priorities
  • Specific changes in the current federal tax structure: Individual and Corporate Income Taxes, SS & Medicare taxes, Estate Taxes, etc.
  • Provide brief rationale for your plan


  1. We reviewed and voted on the budget proposals we made before the break.
  2. We broke into groups, took a close look at the course overview from the College Board, identified key subtopics we needed to review, researched those sub topics, and wrote review questions to help cover those subtopics.