2017 AP Gov Summer Assignment





We will have short classes next Thursday (9/7) and Friday (9/8) and then a pretty regular week the following week.  I know that the beginning of school is nutzo and there are all sorts of schedule changes, so here’s what we will do about summer assignments.  Get them done if you are confident you are in the class.  I will make them due on Turnitin on FRIDAY 9/15 (second Friday of school) to avoid people needlessly doing summer assignments.   Any questions just send me an email.  Thanks!



Welcome to AP US Government and Politics!! Congratulations on getting into the course. I am really looking forward to following politics and current events as we learn about how our government works. Your summer assignment will be mainly web based. If you have any questions at any time, please email me at chamilton@bostonpublicschools.org.   There are several parts to this assignment with different due dates. See below.  Please be aware that the reading will also be delivered as a PDF and not in paper copies. A few important things:

  • Everyone is responsible for turning in their summer assignment on time on the second Friday of school.
  • Do your own work.  No duplicates on Turnitin please!
  • Please make your summer assignment on a google doc
  • On the first day of school you will receive instructions to turn your assignment in on turnitin.com so have your google doc ready for this– but again you will have until 9/15



  1. ASAP: Email me at chamilton@bostonpublicschools.org so I can begin my email list. In your email, include your preferred name, 2-3 sentences about why you wanted to take the course and what you hope to learn, and let me know what you have planned for the summer of 2017. Also pass along the link to this assignment with anyone else you know in class.



PART 2: Reading Comprehension Questions



HA! American Rev

HA! Constitution

Read pp. 47-71 in History Alive! Pursuing American Ideals (.pdfs of this text are available on the website and in your email) and answer the questions below in a separate document. Each response should be a minimum of four sentences.


  1. 47-53: The American Revolution
  2. Read the course of events that began the American Revolution on p. 50-51. With these events in mind, choose one of the four perspectives on p. 52-53 and either refute or support the person’s quote using evidence from your reading.
  3. 54-59
  4. How did Patriot leaders incorporate the ideas of the Enlightenment into their writing and actions?
  5. Look at a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Evaluate Jefferson’s choices about how the document is organized.   Why do you think he organized it the way he did?
  6. Make a timeline of the American Revolution ending in 1783 with at least seven events on it.


  1. 61-71
  2. To what extent had the colonists started making plans for a new government even before the American Revolution had been underway? How and when did they eventually arrive at the Articles of Confederation?
  3. What was the significance of the Northwest Ordinance for establishing some of the democratic principles that would eventually become so foundational to the United States?
  4. Why did the structure of government under the Articles of Confederation create such economic problems for the new nation? Be specific.
  5. Which statesman do you think deserves the most credit for calling for the convention and drafting its contents? Explain your answer.
  6. Describe how the Great Compromise (aka Connecticut Compromise) reconciled the New Jersey and Virginia Plans.
  7. What was the nature of the Three Fifths Compromise and the Slave Trade and Commerce Compromise? Do you think that they foreshadowed future sectional tensions?

PART 3: Deducting how the government works from a variety of sources: The Electoral College!

The Electoral College is one of the most important yet widely misunderstood aspects of how the government functions. It is the process by which our nation chooses a president, yet represents Americans disproportionately depending on what state they live in, and leads to a situation where more people can vote for one candidate, but the other candidate will win the presidency. This happened in the 2000 Election. Al Gore received more popular votes but George Bush won the electoral college vote and thus the presidency (this election had other controversies, which we will learn). This portion of the summer assignment is meant to develop your ability to discern a complex political process from internet sources, and apply this knowledge in an academic context.


3A: Federal Elections Vocabulary:

Write definitions or explanations of all of these terms IN YOUR OWN WORDS.  You can look these up at a variety of online sources, or order your 5 steps to a 5 book ahead of time.

One excellent and reputable online source is the Politics Glossary in the Washington Post.



Nominating Convention






Electoral College

Winner Take All System (Electoral College)

Red State

Blue State

Swing State



How does the electoral college actually work? How might you find out?   You will use a variety of resources to unravel this mystery (it’s a lot more complicated than many people think). There are a TON of resources on the internet about the electoral college. I also often find that my students have tapped into wonderful resources that I am not even aware of! In this class, you can look to all sorts of news media, blogs, Khan Academy, Crash Courses, TED talks, the National Archives, and then issue-specific sites, like 270towin.com for this particular case. Rather than have you read one specific passage and answer comprehension questions, I want you to find the sources of information on the web that you find most helpful. You will learn a lot in this class but hopefully your interest in and curiosity about American government will extend far beyond the 2013-2014 school year.   So we might as well begin by practicing our resourcefulness!   Educate yourself on how the Electoral College works and then answer the following questions in complete sentences:


  1. What arguments in favor of the Electoral College system did the framers of the Constitution give as they debated the framework for choosing our President?
  2. How is the number of electoral votes per state determined?
  3. How do states control how their Electors vote?
  4. What is the winner take all system? What are the two states that do not use that system? Have states always assigned their electors in a winner-take-all outcome?
  5. Is it possible for one candidate to get more popular votes but not become the President? When has this happened? Give at least two examples and briefly describe each one.
  6. What happens if no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes? Be very specific about what would happen in the House of Representatives
  7. How do you think the electoral college contributes to political polarization and people identifying with red states, blue states and swing states?



PART 3C.) Think (and write your thoughts) about the Electoral College in general. In a brief, well organized, persuasive essay, take a position on whether the Electoral College system of American Presidential elections should be kept, modified or overhauled completely.   Your essay should be at least 300 words long and should take a very clear position on the Electoral College. Is it the best method for choosing the President? Does it give some voters an unfair advantage? Does it disenfranchise voters who are members of the minority party within a state? Does it skew election spending, coverage and attention too much to swing states? Use evidence and analysis to back your claims, and if you propose modifications, make sure they are very specific.



FYI: GRADING— This is the grading scale for your summer work for AP Government. HOW you will be graded on each part of the assignment will be explained below:


How will I be graded?

Category Types of Assessment
30% Homework and Assignments Homework: Homework will be regularly assigned and will involve questions from the text and additional readings

Assignments: Take-home assignments will include essays, research and creative expression.   These assignments will be worth more and they will be scored according to rubrics and guidelines that will be distributed with each assignment.

30% Classwork This category will include some types of quizzes, in-class writing assignments, web-based assignments, groupwork, and participation in classroom simulations.
40% Tests and Major Assignments Each unit of study will be followed by a test that will emulate a component of the AP exam.   Tests will be limited to multiple choice questions, DBQ essays or free response essays. Tests will be curved to reflect AP grading scale. Major essays and projects will be counted in this category.





Part 2: Reading Comprehension: 3 points each for a total of 30 points in “Tests and Major Assignments”

Part 3A: Defining Terms:   15 points in Homework

Part 3B: Electoral College Comprehension Questions: 20 points in Homework

Part 3C: Persuasive Essay about Electoral College: 20 points in “Tests and Major Assignments”


About hamiltonbla

I am a teacher at Boston Latin Academy and hope to make this site very useful for my students!

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