government flashcards (hard)

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What theory did Thomas Hobbes and John Locke concoct? Explain it.

The theory was the Social Contract Theory: an unwritten contract between the people and the king to give the king perameters. The people agreed to obey the rules in exchange for the rulers to promise to protect their rights. If the ruler broke these rules, then he would be removed from power.

Why is a unitary system of government ideal for small countries?

All the power in a unitary system of government is centralized in the national government. It is ideal because the population and geography is not diverse in a small country, nor is the distance between the government and the people great enough to weaken authority in a small country. Also, it helps if there are no big cities that need localization or "special attention" from the government.

Why didn't the confederal system of government work for our country?

In a confederal system, the power resides in the regions or confederates (the states). Two reasons why this system lasted only ten years in the US: it didnot give the national government authority to tax the states or regulate trade, and it required that any amendments to the articles needed the unanimous consent of all the states (virtually impossible). It was concerned more about prohibiting government from gaiing too much power.

Why were the anti-federalists unhappy with the origianl Constitution and why?

The Anti-federalists were against giving government too much power (hence their name) and they feared the Constitution would do exactly that. It would increase the power of the federal government. Also, it didn't protect the people's rights, as promised in the Social Contract Theory. In summary, it didn't contain a Bill of Rights. They wanted to guarantee that the states kept some power and that the people would remain protected.

What are the powers of the first three articles of the Constitution?

The legislative branch (Article I) makes the laws, judicial branch interprets the laws (Article II) and the executive branch (Aritical III) enforces the laws.

What does the Elastic clause do?

The elastic clause expands the power of Congress. The implied powers allows Congress to make any law hat seems "necessary and proper". They can stretch the Constitution to cover inconsistencies.

What does the Supremacy clause do?

It declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It supersedes all the state and local laws. When laws conflict, the federal law reigns supreme.

What do the last four articles of the Constitution cover?

Article IV deals with the relaitn between the states. Article V deals with the amendment process. Article VI contains the Supremacy clause. Lastly, Article VII explains the ratification process.

What are two benefits to a federal system of government, or, what are two drawbacks?

The benefits include: protects against tyranny of majority, promotes unity without imposing uniformity, it creats "labs" for policy experiments and it encourages political participation. The drawbacks include: a lack of consistency of always and policies between states and it creates tension between state and federal officials.

Define cooperative federalism.

Cooperative federalism is described as a "marble cake" federalism: shared power among national, state and local governments (as in, FDR and his New Deal).

Define dual federalism.

It's often described as "layer cake" federalism: strict division of powers between national and state governments, where the two levels are part of a whole, but each has clearly delineated responsibilities.

Why is Congress regarded as the first branch in the Constitution?

In the Articals of Confederation the only branch was Congress. Even when they did add the other branches Congress was supposed to be the most important because it was closest to the people. Because members of Congress have less constituents then the president, they are assumed to represent us the best.

What are three of the five most important expressed powers in Article I given to Congress?

The most important powers include the ability to: declare war, coin money, levy and collect taxes, borrow money and regulate interstate and foreign commerce.

Does Congress represent America demographically? explain.

The typical profile of a member of Congress is a middle-aged male, white Protestant lawyer. Although 52% of America is made up of women, less than 20% of Congress is women. And although America is demographically diverse, Congress is not: mostly white old men.

The Speaker of the House has six superpowers that differ from the Senate leader. Name three of them.

The Speaker of the House's superpowers includes the ability to: preside over House meetings, expected to use power to pass legislation, decides who can speak on the floor, decides which committees to send bills to, influences which bills are brought to a vote and appoints members for special and secret committees (in case there's an emergency that needs emergency House representation).

Explain how House and Senate representation are divided up, and why it is this way.

House representation is determined by the population of state. The total number of House members is always 435, but the number of reps per state is reapportiioned every ten years, as population and districts change. The Senate always has only two reps per state, making a total of one-hundred members i the Senate.

Why did the original thirteen colonies include a chekcs and balance system in the Constitution?

They feared the president would become a tyrant if given to much power and decided that the other branches needed to be just as powerful to keep the president's power in check.

What was George Washington's view about political parties?

Even though political parties were already an important part of government at that time, George Washington warned the nation against them in his Farewell Address, stating that they would split the nation and create division.

Why do interest groups have to form PACs? (Political Action Committees).

It's a way an interest group can influence government: by contributing money to political parties and candidates during election campaigns. It's a committee within interest groups that are allowed to collect donations and then funnel the money into political campaigns.

What makes an interest group powerful enough for a candidate to listen to them?

Size and money, unity of purpose, effective leadership, and information and expertise all contribute to make an interest group powerful.

Name three ways interest groups influence policy.

There are four ways total: lobbying (speaking to elected officials), researching policy proposals, litigation (law suits), grassroots mobilization (activating the public), revolving door (employing ormer government officials and creating PACs and making campaign contributions.

The first ever TV debate was between which two candidates?

Nixon and Kennedy

What does the supreme court take into accountability while ruling?

The constitutionality of the case.

What are the steps in the crimnal justice process?

Crime, investigation, arrest, pre0trial, actual trial, sentencing and appeals and correction (punishment).

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