This has been the first full month of AP United States Government & Politics, and our class has already covered topics ranging from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to the conflict in Syria. One of my favorite parts of this class so far is being able learn about the political ideas and institutions that this country was founded on, how those institutions and ideas have changed over time, and how the politics of today will shape the life of tomorrow.
Before anyone can dive into current political issues, they need to have a firm understanding of the Constitution because it sets up our government and provides laws and rights. In Unit 1, we covered the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Federalism as well as several famous court cases such as McCulloch vs. Maryland, Gibbons vs. Ogden, etc. All of these topics and court cases were touched upon in my AP United States History class last year, but this time I was able to take my understanding deeper and more closely evaluate elements of each topic. Understanding the purpose and the significance of documents such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence is essential because they are the basis of American government; therefore, politics today always relate back to them. Being able to read different articles, watch a variety of videos, and post in discussion boards with my classmates allowed me to gain a greater perspective and understanding of the Constitution and how it is still used today.
I love classes that incorporate current events because it is extremely important to remain informed on what is going on in the country and in the world at the moment, and to learn about how those events relate to our lives and to our country’s current political climate. One of the very first assignments in AP US Government was to evaluate the situation in Syria regarding the United States’ involvement and to use our evaluation to form our opinion of who chooses to go to war in a democracy. The government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was also a topic of discussion during Unit 1, and even though the hurricane took place several years ago it was interesting to watch videos covering the damage and response as well as to hear what my classmates thought about the topic. Staying updated on current political news is an essential part of this class because it encourages myself and my classmates to broaden our perspectives and grow to be more aware of the events taking place around us.
As a high school senior, I am constantly looking ahead to the future in terms of finding the right college, choosing the best career path for me, and learning new things along the way. AP Government helps me look to the future by stretching my mind to think about possible new laws and policies that would more thoroughly protect certain rights, to consider how the needs of minorities and other groups may change over time, and to think of how the gap between these groups and other Americans can be bridged so that there is no discrepancy of rights among them. AP Government has helped me tremendously to look towards the political future of America creatively as well as critically.
Even in just the first month of class, I have realized that developing a well-rounded understanding and perspective of the political past, present, and future of the United States is definitely a goal that I plan to work on in AP US Government & Politics this year, and working towards this goal will help me inside and outside of class. I plan on majoring in political science in college and to ultimately become a lawyer, and developing a well-rounded perspective on past, present, and future politics before I leave high school will help me achieve my career goals.