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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

AP U.S. G&P: Landmark Legislation Research Paper: Home



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Your Assignment

Landmark Legislation Research Paper and Proposal

Part I. Landmark legislation research paper

Objective: To identify a piece of US legislation of interest to you and learn about the law, how it originated and was passed and what’s its impact has been.  


  1. Pick the legislation you want to write about.
  2. Begin your research with the encyclopedias and then find more sources and begin your bibliography.
  3. You want to first find out as much as you can about the impetus for the bill.  Where the idea for it came from and why was it needed at that time.
  4. You need to find out what was the process it had to go through for it to be passed.  Who and what groups were opposed to it and why?  Who and what groups were in support of it and why?  How did the process in Congress play out?
  5. Lastly, you need to find out what the impact of the law has been and explain how it has left a mark on the United States.  This can be both positive and negative.  

Part II. Landmark legislation proposal

Objective: To create a new piece of legislation that addresses a relevant topic today that will be the next piece of landmark legislation that passes the US Congress.  To understand what goes into writing a law, what it takes to get it passed and enforced.  


  1. Come up with an idea of what could become new landmark legislation.  
  2. In appendix A, you will find a template for how you will write your law.
  3. After the law is written you need to write about at least two real interest groups that would support your bill and two that would oppose it.  
  4. Why would the group support/oppose this bill? What’s in it for them?
  5. How will they support/oppose the passage of this bill? What specific strategies would they employ?  Why will they use those strategies?  Refer to pages 343-353 in the text to remind yourself of all the different interest group strategies.  
  6. Knowing what you know about how a bill becomes a law you need to explain if this bill could pass and why and if you do not think the bill could pass you need to explain why and how it would fail.  You have to consider the time we are in, a Democratically controlled House, A Republican-controlled Senate and Trump as the president.  

Formatting and research tips:

  • You need to use Chicago Turabian for the bibliography and footnotes
  • Here is a link to an entire guide that will tell you all you need to know about footnotes and formatting.