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AP Government Exam Review


% of Grade Number of Questions Time Allotted
Section I 50 60 Multiple Choice 45 minutes
Section II 50 4 Mandatory Essays 1 hour, 40 minutes


What To Study

The Constitution

The Federalist Number 10

The Federalist Number 51

AP Questions 1988 - 2005

Multiple Choice

Free Response

Below are the free-response questions (FRQs) from the past three AP U.S. Government & Politics Exams, and for each, the rubrics used to score the essays at the AP Reading, sample student responses, and commentary on those responses.

Questions Scoring Guidelines Sample Student Responses Scoring Commentary
2001 All Questions Scoring Guidelines Sample Response Q1
Sample Response Q2
Sample Response Q3
Sample Response Q4
Scoring Commentary
2000 All Questions Scoring Guidelines Sample Response Q1
Sample Response Q2
Sample Response Q3
Sample Response Q4
Scoring Commentary
1999 All Questions Scoring Guidelines Sample Response Q1
Sample Response Q2
Sample Response Q3
Sample Response Q4

AP Central Web Site

You will need to register in order to access the features on this site.

Acorn Book - This provides all the information about the AP exam.

The Textbook Web Site - Click on the title of each chapter listed below.  Read the Chapter Overview and answer the questions in the Chapter Objectives.  Answer some or all of the questions in the Review section.  Do this for each chapter. 

Table of Contents

Review the terms and links listed under the title of each chapter on this page.  Use your textbook or the Government Glossary to look up any terms or concepts you do not know.

Constitutional Underpinnings (5-15%)

Chapter One-Constitutional Democracy            


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What are the defining features of democracy? Also, why is constitutional democracy not a spectator sport? Finally, why are politicians indispensable for making the American system of democracy work?

2. What conditions are conducive to constitutional democracy?

3. What are America's constitutional roots?

4. What were the main philosophical and political assumptions guiding the framers in creating the new Constitution? What compromises were reached at the Constitutional Convention?

5. What arguments for and against ratification of the Constitution were used by the Federalists and Antifederalists?

Learning Objectives

1. Distinguish between direct and representative democracy.

2. Explain the interacting values that comprise the democratic faith, such as popular consent, respect for the individual, equality of opportunity, and personal liberty; and examine how democratic values may conflict with one another.

3. Analyze the interrelated political processes that comprise democracy.

4. Identify the interdependent political structures that make up the American system of democracy.

5. Discuss the educational, economic, social, and ideological conditions conducive to establishing and maintaining democracy.

6. Trace the historical roots of the American Revolution.

7. Explain the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

8. Discuss the impact of the Annapolis Convention and Shays Rebellion on the calling of the Constitutional Convention.

9. List the major issues on which the delegates to the Constitutional Convention had consensus as well as those issues on which the delegates had conflicts and compromise.

10. Debate the arguments against ratification.

11. Summarize the steps involved in ratifying the Constitution.

12. Discuss the major challenges for the American system of constitutional democracy.

13. Define key terms.

Democracy in all its forms



Popular Consent

Majority Rule


Social Capital



Articles of Confederation

Annapolis Convention

Constitutional Covention

Shays' Rebellion

Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

Great or Connecticut Compromise

Three-Fifths Compromise



The Federalist Papers

Table of Contents

Chapter Two-The Living Constitution


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. How does power check power in America's constitutional government?

2. What are the origins of judicial review, and what consequences follow from the acceptance that judges are the official interpreters of the Constitution?

3. What developments have modified the way the system of checks and balances works?

4. How have changes in our informal, unwritten Constitution kept our constitutional system up to date?

5. How can the Constitution be amended?

6. Why and how was the Equal Right Amendment for women eventually defeated?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain the various ways the framers tried to limit government, including federalism, free elections, and checks and balances.

2. Describe the concept of separation of powers and its relationship to checks and balances.

3. Define judicial review.

4. Explain how the case Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial review.

5. Explain how the checks and balances system has been modified by the rise of national political parties, creation of an independent regulatory commission, changes in the electoral system, changes in technology, and in international affairs.

6. Contrast the British and American political systems.

7. Explain the process of the impeachment and removal power.

8. List presidential practices, and discuss how such practices have evolved.

9. Explain the two methods for proposing and for ratifying amendments to the Constitution.

10. Explain various theoretical perspectives relating to the Constitution.

11. Define key terms.

Natural Law

Separation of Powers

Checks and Balances

Divided Government

Judicial Review


Executive Privilege

Amending the Constitution

Table of Contents

Chapter Three-Federalism


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Essay Questions

1. What are the advantages of American federalism? Also, why is federalism strained in other regions such as Canada (Quebec), Russia (relationships with its 21 autonomous republics), and the United Kingdom (devolution in Scotland and Wales)?

2. What powers are delegated to the national government, what powers are reserved for the states and what concurrent powers are shared by the national and state governments? What are the limitations of national and state governments? Finally, how does secessionism still live on in contemporary America?

3. How have the federal courts affected the system of federalism? How and why is the U.S. Supreme Court's record on federalism mixed?

4. What has been the role of federal grants in helping state and local governments find solutions to their problems?

5. What are federal mandates? What are some of the new techniques of federal control?

6. What are reasons for the growth of big government? Why is Congress pressured to reduce national programs?

7. What is the future of federalism? How will the devolution revolution affect that future?

Learning Objectives

1. Define federalism and its constitutional basis between the national and state governments.

2. Examine various interpretations of federalism, such as dual, cooperative, marble cake, competitive, permissive, and "New Federalism."

3. Identify and describe alternatives to federalism.

4. List advantages of federalism as they relate to the needs of a heterogeneous people.

5. Examine powers of the national government, powers reserved for the states, and concurrent powers shared by the national and state governments.

6. Identify limits and obligations on both national and state powers.

7. Describe the federal systems found in Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

8. Discuss the changing role of federal courts in national-state relations, especially following McCulloch v. Maryland.

9. Describe the expanding role of the federal courts in reviewing state and local government activities through the Fourteenth Amendment, federal mandates, and federal preemption.

10. Explain the historical growth in national governmental powers relative to the states, including the debate between the centralists and decentralists.

11. Identify and describe four types of federal grants, and state the goals of federal grants.

12. Examine the politics of federal grants, including how the battle over the appropriate level of government to control the funds tends to be cyclical.

13. Analyze the impact of federal mandates on state and local government.

14. Identify and describe new techniques of federal control.

15. Examine reasons for the growth of big government and reasons why Congress is pressured to reduce national programs.

16. Discuss why federalism has grown increasingly complicated, with changing political power distribution, and the reemergence of the states.

17. Define key terms.


Express Powers

Implied Powers

Necessary and Proper Clause

Inherent Powers

Commerce Clause

Concurrent Powers

Full Faith and Credit Clause


Interstate Compact



National Supremacy Clause

Types of Federal Grants

Federal Mandates

Revenue Sharing

Table of Contents

Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Chapter Four-Political Culture and Ideology


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What are the dominant values of the American political culture? Also, what does political scientist Robert Putnam mean by social capital? Finally, how and why are U.S. citizens more satisfied with their democracy than are the citizens of other countries?

2. In what ways have our political values been affected by historical developments and by economic and technological growth?

3. What are the key philosophical assumptions of liberalism, conservatism, socialism, environmentalism, and libertarianism?

4. Why are Americans not deeply ideological?

5. What is the nature of the relationship between ideology and tolerance?

6. What role did ideology play in the 2000 elections?

Learning Objectives

1. Define political culture. Also, explain where we learn the American political culture.

2. Identify and describe the major values that are shared by most Americans, in the tradition of classical liberalism.

3. Assess the relationship between political values and economic change (such as industrialization and depression).

4. List Franklin Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights.

5. Analyze what is meant by the "American Dream" and its impact on American political, economic, and social life. Explain how Oprah Winfrey achieved the American Dream.

6. Define ideology and identify five schools of political thought.

7. Examine liberalism and criticisms of this school of political thinking.

8. Examine conservatism and cite criticisms of this school of political thought.

9. Examine socialism, environmentalism and libertarianism in American politics.

10. Explain the distribution of ideologies in the American population and what those ideologies mean to most Americans. Explain why few Americans consider themselves political extremists.

11. Compare the differences between liberals and conservatives on tolerance and support for civil liberties.

12. Define and explain the significance of Putnam's social capital.

13. Define key terms.

Political Culture

Majority Rule

Popular Sovereignty

American Dream







Table of Contents

Chapter Five-The American Political Landscape


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What is the importance of geography, sectionalism, state and local identity, and the kinds of places

in which we live vis-à-vis the American political landscape?

2. Why is America considered a "land of diversity"? What is the relationship of this diversity to the conduct of American politics?

3. What accounts for American unity in the midst of diversity?

4. What was the significance of California's Proposition 187 involving the restriction of public services to illegal immigrants.

5. Why is family structure important to the American political landscape?

6. Why and how have differences in sexual orientation become more politically important in recent years?

7. What is the difference between the salad bowl and melting pot concepts?

Learning Objectives

1. Define ethnocentrism.

2. Define political socialization and demographics.

3. Distinguish between reinforcing cleavages and cross-cutting cleavages.

4. Assess the impact on the development of American democracy of geographic isolation and a large land area.

5. Evaluate sectional differences in the United States. Include the sunbelt/frostbelt idea.

6. Examine the effect of state and local identity on politics.

7. Identify and describe the four kinds of places in which Americans live.

8. Examine the impact on American politics of race and ethnicity.

9. Outline the agenda of the Women's Movement in American politics and the current gender issues and the impact of sexual orientation as well.

10. Examine the significance of the FAIR ad in Iowa and Proposition 187 in California.

11. Explain how family structure impacts upon the American political landscape.

12. Identify ways in which religion can be important in American politics.

13. Evaluate the impact of religious diversity and of the clustering of religious population groups on politics.

14. Describe income and wealth distribution in the United States.

15. Analyze how aside from race, income may be the single most important factor in explaining views on issues, partisanship, and ideology.

16. Explain what is meant by the post-industrial American society.

17. Analyze the reasons why social class appears not to have as strong an impact in explaining political behavior in the U.S. as it does in other countries.

18. Describe the political agenda of older Americans.

19. Analyze generational and life cycle effects in politics.

20. Examine the relationship between differing educational levels and political behavior.

21. Discuss reasons for the remarkable national unity and identity that exists in a land of such demographic diversity.

22. Distinguish between the melting pot and salad bowl analogies.

23. Define key terms.


Political Socialization


Reinforcing and Cross-cutting Cleavages

Manifest Destiny

Sectional Differences

Race and Ethnicity

Gender Gap

Socioeconomic Status

Table of Contents

Chapter Six-Interest Groups: The Politics of Influence


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What are interest groups and where do they commonly have their beginnings? Why did James Madison call them factions?

2. What are the various types of interest groups? More specifically, how would you characterize the power of labor unions compared to corporations?

3. What factors strengthen or weaken the political effectiveness of interest groups?

4. What techniques are most frequently used by interest groups?

5. What influence do lobbyists have? Who are the lobbyists?

6. How do PACs influence political outcomes and why have they increased in number? How do they invest their money?

7. How could one argue that single-issue interest groups are less democratic than large, multi-interest organizations?

8. What efforts have been made to regulate interest groups? Is reform possible?

9. How did issue advocacy ads hurt Senator John McCainÕs 2000 primary campaign?

10. What was the significance of the 1999 Seattle protests and what specific issues were the ten thousand protesters concerned about?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain Madison's analysis of the problems of faction and possible solutions.

2. Discuss why Americans organize and join groups so readily.

3. Define interest group and movement.

4. How did anonymous issue ads hard Senator McCain's presidential candidacy.

5. Indicate the most influential economic interest groups, and their primary concerns relative to government.

6. Discuss the special role played by public interest groups.

7. Provide examples of foreign policy interest groups.

8. Provide examples of government interest groups.

9. Discuss the factors that make an interest group politically potent.

10. Summarize the major techniques of interest groups, including e-mail and litigation.

11. Define key terms.


The Federalist Number 10

Interest Groups


Types of Interest Groups

Characteristics and Techniques of Interest Groups

The Federal Register

Amicus Curiae Briefs

Lobbying and Lobbyists

Revolving Door

Iron Triangle

Political Action Committee (PAC)


Campaign Finance Reform

Historical Background for Campaign Finance Laws

Administering and Enforcing the FECA

Key Issues Before the FEC

Debate Over Reform

Federal Election Commission

Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1925

Federal Elections Campaign Laws

State Campaign Finance Laws

Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

Buckley in a Nutshell

Table of Contents

Chapter Seven-Political Parties: Essential to Democracy


Take Home Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What do political parties do for American democracy?

2. How has the nomination of candidates changed throughout history? Also, what role do national nominating conventions play in contemporary politics?

3. How does our electoral two-party system compare with multiparty parliamentary systems?

4. What role have minor parties had in American politics?

5. What have been the major historical stages in the evolution of American political parties?

6. What is the current state of political parties in the United States today?

7. How are political parties affected by partisan realignment and dealignment?

8. Are political parties dying? Also, what party reforms have been enacted among both Republicans and Democrats?

9. Why are the issues of soft money and accountability important for political parties?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain the functions of political parties and the extent to which they are currently being performed by American political parties.

2. Describe the methods used by parties to nominate candidates and how these methods have changed over time.

3. Compare the American two-party system with the multiparty system.

4. Discuss factors that are associated with the emergence of third parties and independent candidates.

5. Explain how closed and open primaries work.

6. Trace the development of political parties and the two-party system in America.

7. Explain why the electorate prefers divided government.

8. Identify key characteristics of American political parties today.

9. Define the main function of the national committees and the main job of the national party chair.

10. Outline party organization below the national level.

11. Analyze how the public perceives the parties to be different and the role of party platforms in revealing or concealing those differences.

12. Explain the structure and function of parties in government.

13. Examine why parties remain important in the electorate.

14. Evaluate whether the United States is experiencing party dealignment or realignment.

15. Debate whether political parties are dying.

16. Trace the development of the political parties, especially as a response to changing ideas of party reform.

17. Examine the problems of soft money and outside issue advocacy as they relate to the principle of accountability.

18. Review the seven categories of party identification.

19. Explain how and why the parties were so evenly divided in the 2000 presidential election.

20. Explain how party systems work in Israel and Canada.

21. Define key terms

Party Functions

Party Column Ballot

Office Block Ballot





Party Conventions

Direct Primary

Open Primary

Closed Primary

Blanket Primary

Crossover Voting

Proportional Representation


Political Parties

Democratic Party

Republican Party

Minor Parties

Communist Party

Constitution Party

Green Party

Libertarian Party

Natural Law Party

Reform Party

Socialist Party

Workers World Party

Parties of the World

Realigning Elections






Keynesian Economics

Divided Government

Parties as Institutions

Party Platforms

Parties in Government

Parties in the Electorate

Soft Money

Party Identification


Table of Contents

Chapter Eight-Public Opinion, Participation, and Voting

Public Opinion

Political Socialization

Attentive Public

Fifteenth Amendment

Nineteenth Amendment

Native Americans Get Vote in 1924

Twenty-third Amendment

Twenty-fourth Amendment

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Twenty-sixth Amendment

Voter Registration

Australian Ballot

Motor Voter Act (National Voter Registration Act of 1993)

Voter Turnout

Prospective Voting

Retrospective Voting

Chapter Nine-Campaigns and Elections

Term Limits

Lame Duck




Single-Member District

Proportional Representation

Electoral College






Safe Seat

Advantages of Incumbency

Franking Privilege


Coattail Effect

Running for President



General Election

Money in Elections

Campaign Finance Reform

Chapter Ten-The Media

Influence of the Media on Politics

Pervasiveness of Television

Issue Ads

Persistence of Radio

Continuing Importance of Newspapers

Rise of the Internet

Changing Role of the Media

Partisan Mouthpieces

Penny Press

Objective Journalism

Wire Services

Impact of Broadcasting



Investigatory Journalism

Pentagon Papers

Media Conglomerates



Fairness Doctrine


New Mediator in American Politics

Public Opinion

Agenda Setting

Issue Framing
Press and Politicians Use Each Other

Factors That Limit Media Influence

Political Socialization


Selective Exposure

Selective Perception

Recall and Comprehension

Are Media Biased?

Connections to Business

Connections to Politicians

Liberal Reporters

More Conservative Lately?

The Media and Elections

Choice of Candidates

Campaign Events

Photo Ops

Media Technology

Image Making

Media Consultants

Voter Choice

Information About Issues

Making A Decision

Election Night Reporting

The Media and Governance

Coverage of President and Congress

Institutions of Government (35-45%)

Chapter Eleven-Congress


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Essay Questions

1. What are the politics of representation and how does Congress organize itself to do the work of law making and representation?

2. What are the major job responsibilities of a member of Congress? Also, what are the personal characteristics of congressional representatives?

3. Why is the passage of a bill considered to be a legislative obstacle course? What are the factions that influence congressional decision-making?

4. Why are committees so important to the proper functioning of Congress?

5. What are specific criticisms directed at Congress and what reforms are suggested to remedy institutional defects?

6. How is Congress unique among the world's legislatures?

Learning Objectives

1. Assess the factors that go into redistricting, reapportionment, and gerrymandering, and their impact on House elections.

2. Describe the professional qualifications and profile the typical member of Congress.

3. Explain the importance of bicameralism.

4. List differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

5. Identify and define the basic functions of Congress.

6. Identify the major leadership positions in the House and Senate.

7. Examine the political environment in the Senate. Explain why some consider the job of U.S. senator to be more prestigious.

8. Indicate the role of unlimited debate and the filibuster in Senate proceedings.

9. Explain the role of and procedures used in the Senate confirmation powers.

10. Distinguish between Congress as a law-making institution and as a representative assembly.

11. Distinguish between the delegate and trustee roles of legislators.

12. Analyze the types of pressures and influences a member of Congress is subject to in the decision-making or law-making role.

13. Evaluate the impact and power of congressional staff.

14. Trace the pathway of a bill through both houses of Congress.

15. Analyze the importance of committee and subcommittee chairs and the process by which they are chosen, especially the impact of seniority.

16. Explain why so many congressional incumbents win.

17. Explain how the congressional impeachment process works by referring to Clinton's impeachment.

18. List and define four types of representation.

19. Suggest ways that Congress could become more efficient and effective.

20. Define key terms.

Article I

The Legislative Branch


Safe Seat




Structure and Powers


Separation of Powers

House of Representatives


Law Making




Law Making

Power to Confirm

Senatorial Courtesy



Contrasting Procedures of the House and Senate

Divided Government

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Tying It All Together



Decision Making

Delegate v. Trustee



Table of Contents

Chapter Twelve-The Presidency


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Essay Questions

1. What factors constitute effective presidential leadership?

2. What are the roots of divided government in the United States?

3. What roles does the president have that are not clearly defined in the Constitution?

4. What are the roles of the vice president and what two constitutional amendments have significantly affected the vice presidency?

5. What constraints exist upon presidential power?

6. What does presidential leadership mean in a constitutional democracy?

7. How do we judge presidential greatness or failure?

Learning Objectives

1. Evaluate what the public expects of the president in the "unwritten presidential job description."

2. Describe the office of the presidency as established in the Constitution.

3. Explain the positive qualities that the public wants their president to have.

4. Explain why the media and the president are so often in conflict.

5. Evaluate why Congress and the Supreme Court have often been willing partners in the expansion of presidential power and identify factors that have strengthened the presidency.

6. Identify and summarize roles of the president.

7. List the functions of the vice president.

8. Examine two constitutional amendments that significantly affected the vice-presidency.

9. Evaluate the constraints on the ability of the president to act, such as the media and international pressures.

10. Debate whether the powers of the presidency are both too powerful and too weak.

11. Discuss the presidential legacy of Bill Clinton.

12. Discuss what factors make for a "great" president and what factors contribute to a failed presidency.

13. Define key terms.

Table of Contents

Chapter Thirteen-Congress and the President


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Essay Questions

1. Why do policy perspectives frequently differ between the President and members of Congress? Also, why has conflict been a typical historical pattern between the two branches?

2. Why are some presidents more successful in handling Congress than others? Also, under what circumstances can the two branches cooperate?

3. What constitutional controversies exist over war powers between the two branches?

4. How and why has the confirmation process become politically destructive in recent years?

5. What is the meaning of executive privilege and executive orders?

6. How have the veto/item veto and budget/spending problems complicated relationships between the president and Congress?

7. Why is coalition building so important?

8. What lessons about presidential-congressional relationships can be discerned from the Clinton impeachment process?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain those factors that promote both cooperation and conflict within the congressional-presidential relationship.

2. List specific reasons why some presidents are more effective with Congress than others.

3. Explain what the president tries to accomplish in his State of the Union Address.

4. Explain why members of Congress have different political perspectives from that of the president.

5. Discuss why most presidents seem to have greater legislative success when their own party controls both houses of Congress. Conversely, explain how divided government is often preferred by large numbers of the American people.

6. Explain the reasons why Congress and the president have clashed over the war powers issue. Also, be able to discuss the content of the War Powers Resolution.

7. Explain why confirmation politics can become destructive and even mean-spirited at times.

8. List reasons why the presidential use of executive privilege, executive orders, and the veto can promote discord between him and Congress.

9. Define impoundment, deficits, and continuing resolutions.

10. Explain the issues involved in the Clinton impeachment process.

11. Discuss why coalition building is important to a president’s success or failure vis-a-vis Congress.

12. Define key terms.

Table of Contents

Chapter Fifteen-The Bureaucracy


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Essay Questions

1. How big is the federal government?.

2. How did the bureaucracy evolve?

3. Who are the bureaucrats and what do they do?

4. How is the federal bureaucracy formally and informally organized?

5. How are bureaucrats hired and regulated? What are principles of bureaucratic management?

6. What does the public think of bureaucrats and the bureaucracy?

7. What is bureaucratic accountability to the President and to Congress?

8. How might the bureaucracy be reformed?

9. How does the U.S. bureaucracy compare to other nations?

Learning Objectives

1. Describe the size of the federal bureaucracy.

2. Define bureaucracy and bureaucrat.

3. Describe who bureaucrats are and what bureaucrats do.

4. Describe the formal organization of the bureaucracy.

5. Indicate the importance of the informal organization.

6. Explain the importance and impact of the Hatch Act, old and new.

7. List the principles of the formal textbook model of bureaucratic administration.

8. Describe the limitations on bureaucratic power.

9. Assess bureaucratic realities.

10. Analyze how the fictitious George Brown illustrates the dilemmas faced by bureaucrats in determining accountability and defining the public interest.

11. Debate the need for big government and big bureaucracy, including a discussion of how to reorganize and eliminate waste in them.

12. Debate the extent to which government should privatize public services.

13. Examine bureaucratic accountability to the President and to Congress.

14. Explain the different role that bureaucracy plays in Japan.

15. Should civil servants be subjected to unannounced drug testing?

16. How does our bureaucracy compare to other nations?

17. Define key terms.

Table of Contents

Chapter Fourteen-The Judiciary


Take Home Quiz - This is a new format for the quiz.  Quizstar changed their format, and you will have to register with the new site in order to take the quizzes.  Click on the link and you will be taken to a site where you will be asked to log in or sign up.  Click on sign up the first time you go there, in the future you can log in using the username and password you will be asked to create when you sign up.  The first time you log in you will have to search for your class.  Click the search tab and choose to search for your teacher's name.  Search for Bob Alley.  You should see my name twice at the bottom of the search results page.  Fifth Period students should register for AP Government I, and Sixth Period should choose AP Government II.  Once you do this, you will see the available quizzes for your class.  For this week, choose The Judiciary Quiz.   Follow the directions and take the quiz.  When you are done, submit the quiz, and you will see what your grade is and which questions you missed, if any.  Remember that once you submit the quiz, you will not be able to go back and change any answers.  Have fun and good luck!

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Essay Questions

1. How and why do judges make the law?

2. What are the components of the federal court structure in the United States?

3. What factors influence the selection and eventual confirmation of federal judges?

4. What are the procedures of the Supreme Court?

5. What is the meaning and significance of judicial restraint and judicial activism?

6. What are the linkages between what the judges do and what the people want done?

Learning Objectives

1. Define judicial review.

2. Identify and define eight types of law.

3. Explain how the adversary system shapes the role of judges and the scope of judicial power.

4. Describe how judges make law.

5. Analyze the role of stare decisis in the judicial system.

6. Outline the structure of federal courts, identifying the jurisdiction of each.

7. Describe the relationship between federal and state courts.

8. Describe the roles of federal lawyers, prosecutors, solicitor general, assistant attorney general, and public defenders. Also, comment on the role of the Legal Services Corporation.

9. Describe the process used to select federal judges, including the role of the president, the Senate, senatorial courtesy, the American Bar Association, and the Judicial Selection Monitoring Project.

10. Analyze the impact of party, race, sex, and ideology on the judicial selection process.

11. Compare judicial activism and judicial restraint and their relationship to political ideology.

12. Explain how ideology and judicial philosophy affect when sitting judges choose to retire.

13. Discuss how partisan politics enters the judicial selection process, the size of the federal judiciary, and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

14. Explain how cases reach the Supreme Court.

15. Discuss the role of briefs and oral arguments in a Supreme Court case.

16. Describe how the Supreme Court acts in conference.

17. Describe the importance of written judicial opinions.

18. Describe the powers of the chief justice.

19. Explain what happens to a case after the Supreme Court has ruled.

20. Debate the proper role of the courts.

21. Analyze the relationship between the Supreme Court and the people.

22. Define key terms.

Table of Contents

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (5-15%)

Chapter Sixteen-First Amendment Rights


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Essay Questions

1. What was the constitutional significance of Gitlow v. New York (1925)?

2. What is the three-part Lemon test vis-a-vis the establishment clause?

3. What test did the Supreme Court use prior to 1990 in interpreting the free exercise clause? How did the Rehnquist Court alter the interpretation of the clause in Employment Division v. Smith (1990)?

4. What constitutional tests for limiting freedom of speech, historically and currently, have been applied by the Supreme Court?

5. What is the prevailing view of freedom of the press?

6. To what degree does the Constitution protect other media, such as the mails, motion pictures, billboards, radio, television, cable, telephones, fax machines, and other electronic media? Also, how should government deal with first amendment issues raised by the World Wide Web?

7. How has the Supreme Court handled how to prove libel and how to define and how to determine which words are fighting words?

8. What restrictions are placed on freedom of assembly and freedom of association?

9. How can a democracy handle the problem of subversive speech?

10. What was the significance of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993? Why was the Act ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court?

11. Which specific issues were involved in the Closer Look insert dealing with Aid for Children Attending Parochial Schools?

12. What is considered obscene and what is the Miller standard?

13. How has the E-FOIA helped to place government agencies on the Internet?

14. What are the rights of individuals to assemble peacefully?

15. How do First Amendment rights affect abortion clinics?

16. What is the significance of a habeas corpus writ, an ex post facto law, and a bill of attainder?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain the Nationalization of the Bill of Rights through selective incorporation.

2. Define the Establishment Clause, including what it does and does not prohibit; and the prevailing doctrine.

3. Describe the three-part test created in Lemon v. Kurtzman to determine if a statute violates the Establishment Clause, and identify and describe various tests advocated by various judges to interpret the establishment clause.

4. Explain how and when tax funds may be used to fund educational programs at church-related schools.

5. Analyze the disputes that arise between the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses.

6. Assess how the Supreme Court altered the interpretation of the free exercise clause in the compelling interest test, Employment Division v. Smith (1990), and how the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was explicitly designed to reverse that Court decision.

7. Distinguish among belief, speech, and action.

8. Define the following historic constitutional tests on freedom of speech issue: bad tendency test, clear and present danger test, and the preferred position doctrine.

9. Identify and define doctrines currently used by the Supreme Court to measure the limits of governmental power on freedom of speech.

10. Explain the prevailing view of the freedom of the press and the Court's position of the press's right to know.

11. Summarize how the Constitution protects other media.

12. Explain the libel guidelines established by the New York Times v. Sullivan case.

13. List the standards of obscenity as defined by the Miller decision.

14. Compare the changing social and judicial interpretations of obscenity and pornography.

15. Assess the problems involved in regulating "fighting words."

16. Describe the impact of time, place, and manner regulations on the freedom of assembly.

17. Explain the significance of sunshine laws, the FOIA, and the electronic FOIA.

18. Summarize legislative and judicial action toward the regulation of sedition.

19. Discuss the relationship of the Christian Coalition to a school prayer amendment.

20. Explain the constitutional implications of hate speech on campus.

21. Discuss how aid may be provided to children attending parochial schools.

22. Discuss the rights of Right to Life groups to protest abortion clinics as well as the rights of pro-choice groups to have those clinics protected from violence or harassment.

23. Define key terms.

Civil Liberties

Civil Rights

Bill of Rights

Due Process Clause

Selective Incorporation

Establishment Clause

Free Exercise Clause

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

Freedom of Information Act


Table of Contents

Chapter Seventeen-Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property


Take Home Quiz

Printable Version of Quiz

Essay Questions

1. What is due process?

2. How is American citizenship acquired or lost and what are the rights of American citizens?

3. What are the rights of and policies directed toward aliens in America?

4. What are our constitutional protections of property?

5. What are the differences between procedural and substantive due process?

6. How has the Supreme Court defined the "right of privacy" in its rulings?

7. What are the rights of persons accused of crimes?

8. What are major criticisms directed at the American system of justice?

9. Why does the chapter state that juries are on trial?

10. Why has the death penalty come under increasing scrutiny?

Learning Objectives

1. Explain the meaning of due process.

2. What are the major naturalization requirements?

3. Describe dual citizenship.

4. Explain how citizenship is acquired and lost.

5. Identify and describe rights of American citizens.

6. Examine the rights of aliens.

7. Summarize immigration laws for admission to the United States.

8. Examine the political and practical problems caused by the presence of undocumented aliens.

9. Examine the constitutional protections of property.

10. Compare and contrast procedural and substantive due process.

11. List three aspects of privacy rights.

12. Analyze the current standing in the courts of the right to privacy, especially in regard to state power to regulate abortions and sexual orientation.

13. Distinguish between unreasonable and reasonable searches and seizures.

14. Identify and describe the exceptions to the general rule against warrantless searches and seizures.

15. Explain the exclusionary rule, the right to remain silent, and the Miranda warning.

16. Summarize a criminal case in the federal court system, listing the major rights to be protected and the procedures to be followed.

17. Specify the connection between the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.

18. Debate whether the American system of justice is unjust, in that it has too many loopholes, is too unreliable, and is discriminatory.

19. Discuss the role of the Supreme Court in protecting civil liberties and the constraints on that role.

20. Discuss the controversy over the death penalty, noting the new variable of DNA testing.

21. Explain the significance of racial profiling.

22. Define key terms.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Ex Post Facto Law

Bill of Attainder

Citizenship Rights

Contract Clause

Eminent Domain

Procedural Due Process

Substantive Due Process

Privacy Rights

Exceptions to the Warrant Rule

Exclusionary Rule


Miranda Warning

Grand Jury


Plea Bargain

Double Jeopardy

Table of Contents

Chapter Eighteen-Equal Rights Under the Law


Take Home Quiz

Printable Version of Quiz

Essay Questions

1. How does the struggle for civil rights relate to the four types of equality in America?

2. How has the struggle for equal rights for women been intertwined with the battle to secure equal rights for African Americans?

3. What have been the struggles for civil rights for Women, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans?

4. What historic barriers to voting, public accommodations, employment, and education existed in the past and how have these barriers been overcome?

5. Is the practice of affirmative action and preference policies constitutional?

6. What issues regarding equal rights are pertinent today?

Learning Objectives

1. Define human rights and how the Constitution provides for protecting civil rights.  Differentiate between civil rights and civil liberties.

2. Discuss the various ways equality can be conceptualized.

3. Trace the development of the women's liberation movement from before the Civil War to the present. Also, explain the importance of sexual harassment.

4. Summarize the development of the African American struggle for racial justice from the Civil War to the present.

5. Compare the historical experiences and current demands for equality of women, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans. Also, why have Hispanics not had more political clout?

6. Describe how the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is used to limit state action that classifies individuals unreasonably.

7. Compare three tiers of tests used to determine whether a law complies with the equal protection requirement.

8. Define what makes a right fundamental in the constitutional sense.

9. Compare disparate impact and intent to discriminate in proving discrimination.

10. Define Jim Crow laws.

11. Discuss the question raised in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court's ruling and its effects, and the Court's reversal of Plessy in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case.

12. Distinguish between de facto and de jure segregation.

13. Examine the efforts made in the past by state governments to prevent Blacks from voting, and the steps taken by the Supreme Court to end those efforts.

14. Describe the content and impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

15. Evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Shaw v. Reno that race cannot be the sole reason for drawing district lines.

16. Analyze the measures used, especially the commerce clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to regulate discriminatory conduct by private individuals and groups.

17. Examine Boy Scouts v. Dole.

18. Examine features of Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

19. Summarize the provisions of the Fair Housing Act and Amendments, 1968 and 1988.

20. Discuss the controversies caused by the implementation of affirmative action programs.

21. Discuss the Supreme Court rulings in the University of California Regents v. Bakke, Richmond v. Croson, and Hopwood v. Texas cases.

22. Evaluate the condition of America's African-American underclass a generation after the Kerner Commission Report.

23. What was the significance of the Bakke decision? How has admission to public colleges changed since Bakke?

24. What was the significance of Proposition 209 and Initiative 200?

25. Define key terms.

Equal Protection Clause

Suspect Class

White Primary


Poll Tax

Literacy Test

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Jim Crow Laws

Majority-Minority Districts

De Jure Segregation

De Facto Segregation

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Affirmative Action

Proposition 209

Table of Contents


Precedents Set By Court Cases

Expansion of National Power

Marbury v. Madison

McCulloch v. Maryland

Application of Bill of Rights to the States

Barron v. Baltimore

Gitlow v. New York

Gideon v. Wainwright

Civil Rights

Plessy v. Ferguson

Brown v. Board of Education

Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Richmond v. Croson

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

Shaw v. Reno

Hopwood v. Texas

First Amendment

Everson v. Board of Education

Engel v. Vitale

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Employment Division v. Smith

Schenck v. U.S.

New York Times v. Sullivan

Miller v. California

Texas v. Johnson

Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

Buckley v. Valeo

Life, Liberty, and Property

Roe v. Wade

Terry v. Ohio

Mapp v. Ohio

Miranda v. Arizona

Campaign Finance

Buckley v. Valeo


Various Supreme Court Tests

The Establishment Clause

Lemon Test

Endorsement Test

Nonpreferentialist Test

The Free Exercise Clause

Compelling Interest Test

Freedom of Speech

Bad Tendency Doctrine

Clear and Present Danger Doctrine

Preferred Position Doctrine

Prior Restraint


Least Drastic Means

Content and Viewpoint Neutrality

Commercial Speech

Obscenity Test

Equal Protection

Rational Basis Test

Heightened Scrutiny Test

Strict Scrutiny Test


Undue Burden Test


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