Terms in this set (70)
Believed people were naturally cruel, greedy and selfish. Only a powerful government could keep an orderly society. Advocated absolute sovereignty and wrote Leviathan.
English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people. Stated that people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property.
Baron de Montesquieu
Famous for the idea of having three branches of government so that no one branch may have too much power.
He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.
He was the father of the Constitution, and author of Federalist No. 10 and the Bill of Rights.
Hamilton emerged as a major political figure during the debate over the Constitution, as the outspoken leader of the Federalists, and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. Later as secretary of treasury under Washington, he spearheaded the government's Federalist initiatives, most notably through the creation of the Bank of the United States.
Marbury v Madison
Established the principle;e of judicial review, strengthened the power of the judicial branch by giving the Supreme Court the authority to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional.
McCulloch v Maryland
Confirmed the right of Congress to utilize implied powers to carry out it expressed powers. Validated the supremacy of national government over the states.
Gibbons v Odgen
Strengthened the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. Established the commerce clause's role as a key vehicle for the expansion of federal government.
Barron v Baltimore
Ruled that the Bill of Rights cannot be applied to the states.
Dred Scott v Sanford
Ruled that people of African descent imported into the US and held as slaves, or their descendants - whether or not they were slaves - were not legal persons and could never be citizens of the US. Additionally the US Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territory.
US v Lopez
Gun Free School Zones Act exceeded Congress' authority to regulate interstate commerce.
National Federation of Independent Businesses v Sebelius
Landmark Supreme Court decision in which the Court upheld Congress' power to enact most provisions of the Patient Protection and ACA and the HCERA, including a requirement for American to have health insurance by 2014.
US v Windsor
Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer were a same sex couple who got married in Canada. Spyer died, Windsor didn't get benefits according to DOMA she was not allowed to receive marital tax exemption. Claimed that DOMA was violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 1st Amendment. 5-4 for Windsor, she got the refund.
AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children)
Federal funds for children in families that fall below state standards of need. In 1996 Congress abolished AFDC, the largest federal cash transfer program, and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant.
National Minimum Drinking Age
Act that threatened to withhold federal highway funding unless states changed their state drinking age to 21.
ADA (American with Disabilities Act)
1990. Unfunded mandate that forced all public accommodations to allow for disabled access as well as forbidding discriminatory practices against disabled people in the workplace.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act
1993. Restored compelling purpose guideline for courts to use when states restrict religious liberty. Struck down by Supreme Court in Boerne v Flores.
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
The welfare program that replaced AFDC in 1996, eliminating the entitlement status of welfare, shifting implementation of the policy to the states, and introducing several new restrictions on receiving aid. These changes led to a significant decrease in the number of welfare recipients. Payments to needy families with children; replaced the AFDC program.
DOMA (Defence of Marriage Act)
The word marriage is defined as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.
NCLB (No Child Left Behind)
Holds states, school, and school districts more accountable for their standardized test scores. States must adopt education accountability standards, must annually test students. Sanctions would be imposed against schools that fail to meet adequate yearly progress.
The idea that having a variety of parties and interests within a government will strengthen the system, ensuring that no group possesses total control.
A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened.
A theory that bureaucrats make the key governing decisions. According to this theory the influence of government bureaucracies has become so great that elected officials are almost powerless to affect policies.
Benefits created by a public good that are shared by the primary consumer of the good and by society more generally.
Collective action problem
A situation in which the members of a group would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from those who do the work.
Free rider problem
The incentive to benefit from others' work without making a contribution, which leads individuals in a collective action situation to refuse to work together.
Specific local projects identified in the legislation. Special spending projects that are set aside on behalf of individual members of Congress for their constituents. A measure that appropriates money for a project in a specific district added in a bill in a way that allows it to avoid the conventional appropriations process.
Redistributive tax policies
Policies, generally favoured by Democratic politicians, that use taxation to attempt to create greater social equality (i.e. higher taxation of the rich to provide programs for the poor)
Also known as "unalienable rights" the Declaration of Independence defines them as "Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". The Founders believed that upholding these rights should be the government's central purpose.
Wanted a strong central government and a national bank, they also favoured assumption of state war debts by the national government. Those at the Constitutional Convention who favoured a strong national government and a system of separated powers.
Those at the Constitutional Convention who favoured strong state government and feared that a strong national government would be a threat to individual rights.
Series of essays that defended the Constitution and tried to reassure Americans that the states would not be overpowered by the federal government. A series of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay that sought to sway public opinion toward the Federalists' position.
New Jersey Plan
In response to the Virginia Plan, smaller states at the Constitutional Convention proposed that each state should received equal representation in the national legislature, regardless of size.
A plan proposed by the larger states during the Constitutional Convention that based representation in the national legislature on population. The plan also included a variety of other proposals to strengthen the national government.
Connecticut Compromise (aka Great Compromise)
A compromise between the large and small states, proposed by Connecticut, in which Congress would have two houses; a Senate with two legislators per state and a House of Representatives in which each state's representation would be based on population.
1787. Rebellion, led by Daniel Shays, of farmers in Western Massachusetts. The goal was to force the state courts to stop prosecuting debtors and taking their land. Highlighted need for a strong national government.
The states' decision during the Constitutional Convention to count each slave as 3/5ths of a person in a state's population for the purpose of determining its number of House representatives and the distribution of taxes.
Bill of attainder
A legislative act finding a person guilty of treason or felony without trial. A law that declares a person, without trial, to be guilty of a crime. The state legislatures and Congress are forbidden to pass such acts.
Ex post facto law
"After the Fact". A law which makes a particular act illegal and punishes people who committed the crime before the law was passed. Congress is prohibited from enacting this type of legislation.
Writ of habeas corpus
A court order directing a police officer, sheriff, or warren who has a person in custody to bring the prisoner before a judge and show sufficient cause for his or her detention. Designed to prevent illegal arrests and unlawful imprisonments.
Checks and balances
A system in which each branch of government has some power over the others.
Separation of powers
The division of government power across the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.
A system in which the powers of the government are restricted to protect against tyranny.
The Supreme Court's power to strike down a law or executive branch action that it finds unconstitutional.
The division of power across the local, state, and national levels of government.
A form of government in which states hold power over a limited national government.
A system in which the national, centralized government holds ultimate authority. It is the most common form of government in the world.
A system of government in which legislative and executive power are closely joined. The legislative (parliament) selects the chief executive (prime minister) who forms the cabinet from members of the parliament.
Power of the Purse
The constitutional power of Congress to raise and spend money. Congress can use this as a negative or checking power over the other branches by freezing or cutting their funding.
Powers explicitly granted to Congress, the president, or the Supreme Court in the first three articles of the Constitution. Examples include Congress' power to "raise and support armies" and the president's power as commander in chief.
The Constitution divides governmental powers in two ways: between the states and the federal government and among the three branches of the federal government. Some powers are vested exclusively in one authority and may not be exercised by any other authority.
The powers of the national government in the field of affairs that the Supreme Court has declared do not depend on the Constitution grants but rather grow out of the very existence of the national government.
Powers supported by the Constitution that are not expressly granted in it.
Necessary and Proper Clause (aka Elastic Clause)
Part of Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution that grants Congress the power to pass all laws related to one of its expressed powers.
Part of Article Six, Section Two of the Constitution, stating that the Constitution and the laws and treaties of the US are the "supreme law of the land" meaning national laws take precedent over state laws if the two conflict.
Part of Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution that gives Congress "the power to regulate Commerce ... among the several states"/ The Supreme Court's interpretation of this clause has varied but today it serves as the basis for much of Congress legislation.
10th Amendment/Reserved Powers
Reaffirmed the framers' plan to create a limited federal government. It states that all powers not given to the national government or denied to the states are reserved for the states or for the people.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Part of Article Four of the Constitution requiring that each states' laws be honoured by the other states. For example, a legal marriage in one state must be recognized across state lines.
Federal aid provided to a state government to be spent within a certain policy area, but the state can decide how to spend the money within that area.
Federal aid provided to state or local governments that is provided for a specific purpose, such as a mass transit program within the transportation budget or a school lunch program within the education budget.
The form of federalism favoured by Chief Justice Roger Taney in which national and state governments are seen as distinct entities providing separate services. This model limits the power of the national government.
A form of federalism in which national and state governments work together to provide services efficiently. This form emerged in the late 1930s, representing a profound shift toward less concrete boundaries of responsibility in national-state relations.
A form of federalism in which federal funds are allocated to the lower levels of government through transfer payments or grants.
A form of federalism in which the federal government pressures the states to change their policies by using regulations, mandates, and conditions (often involving threats to withdraw federal funding).
Federal laws which require the states to do certain things but do not provide state governments with funding to implement these policies.
Imposing of national priorities on the states through national legislation that is based on the Constitution's supremacy clause.
A form of federalism in which states compete to attract businesses and jobs through the policies they adopt.
Picket Fence Federalism
A more refined and realistic form of cooperative federalism in which policy makers within a particular policy area work together across levels of government.