Represent!

AP US Government and Politics

Who represents more people, a US Senator from Wyoming or a Los Angeles County Supervisor?

  1. Happy Friday! How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Did you know that today is friday?!?!?!?! What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the BIG PICTURE this data paints?

  4. What emoji would best sum up the meaning of this data?

  5. Explain the connection between this data and federalism. (PRo tip: federalism is that thing you studied at the beginning of the year.)

  6. While Los Angeles County Supervisors represent more people than a Wyoming Senator, (or, in fact than Senators from Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont), explain whether political power is based solely on the number of people a politician represents?

  7. What are some powers that county commissioners (supervisors) have in your county?

  8. What are some powers U.S. Senators have that L.A. County Supervisors (or most supervisors, in general) don't?

  9. Explain whether you would rather be a U.S. Senator from Wyoming or an L.A. County Supervisor:

  10. Are there any politicians in your state who represent more people than an L.A. County Supervisor?

  11. What questions do you have about this data?

  12. If you could hold any position at any level of government in America, explain what position you would want:

  13. Explain whether you think a politician representing a small number of people would be more likely to be a trustee than someone representing more people.

  14. Explain what you believe politicians should do for the people that voted against them: (Do they represent them too? Should they follow their will?)

  15. The United States gives all people equal representation through the House of Representatives (each district is roughly equal), and all states equal representation through the Senate (two Senators per state). Since democracy means government by the people, where all people are equal, is it democratic to give each state equal representation if that means that smaller states (and all the people in them) have more representation than larger states?

  16. Anti-Federalists were concerned that it would be hard for the people in a large country to control a national government. They argued for government to be kept close to the people. In Brutus 1, the Anti-Federalist Robert Yates writes, “History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world.” Based on what you know about American politics and history explain whether the anti-federalist were right that large territories (countries) are the most tyrannical that ever existed?

  17. Did I mention that it’s friday? Explain whether you believe a representative government can function successfully in a country the size (>318,000,000 people) of the United States:

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out these Map comparisons to show you how ginormous L.A. Country really is.

Because California gives a considerable amount of power to counties, that makes supervisors very, very powerful. Indeed, Hilda Solis, another member of the LA County Board of Supervisors, stepped down as US secretary of labor to run for it. You read that right. Solis — a former Congress member to boot — resigned a Cabinet position because she wanted to take a job in county government. And it makes sense — she represents more people than a senator from a small state.

Also, just for fun, learn more about Brutus 1 in this video.

Action Extension

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the politicians who represent us. Calculate the first year you could run for president (35 age minimum), Senate (30), US House (25), and local offices (?), and go to Candidate College to plan your run for office!

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

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Calling the Kettle Black

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of Americans think marijuana should be legal?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. Explain whether marijuana should be legal.

  4. Do you think marijuana will ever be legal in your state and if so when?

  5. What is one trend you see in the chart tell?

  6. Why is that? 

  7. List 1 consequence of Americans' changing opinions on the legalization of marijuana:

  8. What does federalism have to do with marijuana legalization?

  9. Current Attorney General and former member of Alvin and the Chipmunks, Jeff Sessions is a strong opponent of marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week declared that marijuana—a drug on which no person has ever overdosed—was nearly as dangerous as heroin, a drug that killed 12,989 Americans in a single year. How much power does the Attorney General have in enforcing federal laws (pro tip: marijuana is illegal)?

  10. As you know, marijuana is now legal, in one way or another, in 28 states. What actions do you think Attorney General Sessions will take regarding enforcing federal marijuana law?

  11. Attorney General Sessions and the Department of Justice have recently taken steps threatening legal marijuana. Many members of the U.S. Senate have opposed these steps. What could the Senate do to the DOJ and how does this issue relate to checks and balances?

  12. Plot out what you predict this chart will look like over the next twenty years.

  13. What's the worst argument you've ever heard about the legalization of marijuana?

  14. How much do you think political party affiliation impacts opinions on the legalization of drugs?

  15. In the comments section below, write one question you have about the issue of the legalization of marijuana.


Learning Extension

Watch this documentary about federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where marijuana is "legal."

Action Extension

According to the US federal government recreational marijuana is ILLEGAL, but the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, andothers have made recreational marijuana LEGAL. Using your knowledge of US politics, and the video you've just watched, considering the fact that all these states and districts are in the US, write one piece of advice you would give someone who was thinking about using recreational marijuana in a state or district where it is legal. Share your advice in class or online.

Bonus Charts

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