Fall Semester, 2015
Your American Government final exam is designed to measure how well you have learned basic information about American government and how well you are able to think and write critically and clearly about the information you have learned. The exam is comprehensive and heavily weighted toward material presented in the second half of the semester. Questions for your final exam will be drawn equally from your reading assignments and our classroom lectures and discussions.
You will need one large Blue Book to complete the exam. Plan ahead & get your Blue Book early because exams turned in on loose-leaf paper will receive a 5-point penalty. The final exam will be in the same format as the mid-term (25 short-answer questions, worth 2 points each, and two essay questions, worth 25 points each—so consider answering the essays first). The exam is cumulative and heavily weighted toward material presented in the second half of the course. Because each essay question is worth one-quarter of your exam grade, NEVER LEAVE AN ESSAY QUESTION BLANK & always answer both essay Questions! This study guide is not exhaustive of every possible question that may appear on the exam. The following are suggestions and sample questions to help you prepare:
Sample Essay Questions
1. In our discussion of representation in the United States, we discussed the various amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation. Name three amendments to the U.S. Constitution that increased citizen representation in our government, and explain specifically, how each either expanded our electorate or made the government more representative of its citizens.
2. Drawing upon your understanding of the essential functions of legislatures, as well as the basic characteristics of California’s State legislature, as presented in Matthew Jarvis’s chapter on the California State legislature in California Government in National Perspective, explain the most important similarities and differences between the U.S. Congress and the California State legislature.
3. Define agenda setting in general terms & demonstrate how congressional leaders set Congress`s agenda as well as how the mass communications media set the public agenda.
4. Do interest groups allow greater representation for citizens or do they inevitably allow small well organized groups to prosper at the expense of everyone who pays taxes?
5. Name two sources of interest group power and explain how an interest group lobbyist could use those powers to gain influence over government policymakers?
6. Explain how & why presidents “go public”, giving at least one example of a president going public in pursuit of enacting their policy agenda.
7. Explain what an interest group is and why many people believe that they are detrimental to the general public good of society.