Advanced Placement

United States Government & Politics

... at Klein Oak High School


"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

- James Madison, Federalist #51

The "father of the Constitution" framed the difficulty well. Madison believed, of course, that the Constitution - guided by an understanding of "the new science of politics" - created a system that dealt successfully with the great difficulty. "In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government."

The 218 years of history since the framing of the Constitution have tested this belief. Many of our trials have come in dealing with the essential problem of American democracy. That problem was plainly stated by Abraham Lincoln - the conflict between the liberty we possessed and the equality that we were striving for.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

- from The Gettysburg Address

Other trials have come from economic changes, technological advances, and foreign threats, among other things.

Our study in AP U.S. Government and Politics will focus on these these trials and the institutions and processes we use to deal with them.

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