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Final Exam Vocabulary

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impeach
to accuse government officials of misconduct in office
concurrent powers
powers that are shared by both the federal and state governments
federalists
supporters of the stronger central govt. who advocated the ratification of the new constitution
interest groups
organization of people who share political, social or other goals; and agree to try to influence public policy to achieve those goals.
bill
a statute in draft before it becomes law
bill of attainer
a law that declares a person guilty without a trail. The state legislatures and congress are forbidden to pass such laws under article I of the constitution.
constituents
a person whom a member of Congress has been elected to represent
treaties
formal agreements with other countries; negotiated by the president and requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate
executive agreements
Agreements between the US president and the leaders of other nations that do not require Senate approval
domestic policy
decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to issues in the United States. Sometimes domestic and foreign policies influence each other.
articles of confederation
this document, the nations first constitution, was adopted by the second continental congress in 1781during the revolution. the document was limited because states held most of the power, and congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage
popular sovereignty
The concept that political power rests with the people who can create, alter, and abolish government. People express themselves through voting and free participation in government
habeas corpus
the civil right to obtain a writ of habeas corpus as protection against illegal imprisonment
declaration of independence
the document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain
ratified
Approved; to have made a written document official by signing it.
federalism
a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states
checks and balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
president pro tempore
Officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president
congressional district
Area within a state representing about 600,000 people. Each member of the House of Representatives represents the people in one district.
pocket veto
a bill fails to become law because the president did not sign it within ten days before Congress adjourns
bureaucracy
system of managing government through departments run by appointed officials
executive branch
the branch of government, headed by the president, that carries out the nation's laws and policies
executive privilege
The power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
virginia plan
Virginia delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population
miranda rights
A list of rights that police in the United States must read to suspects in custody before questioning them, pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona.
judicial review
review by a court of law of actions of a government official or entity or of some other legally appointed person or body or the review by an appellate court of the decision of a trial court
amendments
Official changes, corrections, or additions to the Constitution
reserved powers
Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people
three fifths compromise
the agreement by which the number of each state's representatives in Congress would be based on a count of all the free people plus three-fifths of the slaves
speaker of the house
the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives
floor leaders
A political party leader in Congress who works for the passage of bills the party favors
filibuster
a legislator who gives long speeches in an effort to delay or obstruct legislation that he (or she) opposes
census
a periodic and official count of a country's population
administration
the president and his political appointees, who are responsible for directing the executive branch of government
ambassadors
the highest-ranking officials representing a government in a foreign country
cabinet
persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers
new jersey plan
Opposite of the Virginia Plan, it proposed a single-chamber congress in which each state had one vote. This created a conflict with representation between bigger states, who wanted control befitting their population, and smaller states, who didn't want to be bullied by larger states.
14th amendment
Declares that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are guaranteed equal protection of the laws
civil disobedience
a form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences.
bicameral
a legislature consisting of two parts, or houses
great compromise
Compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature and representation based on population in the other house
foreign policy
a nation's overall plan for dealing with other nations
cloture
a procedure that allows each senator to speak only 1 hour on a bill under debate
budget
a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them
lobbyists
representatives of interest groups who contact lawmakers or other government officials directly to influence their policy making
direct democracy
A form of government in which citizens rule directly and not through representatives
john locke
English empiricist philosopher who believed that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience (1632-1704)
baron d montesquieu
• Adopted idea of John Locke
• "The Spirit of the Laws"
o Described perfect government
o Outlines three branches of government
Executive
Legislative
Judicial
• Set up a system of check and balances - influenced U.S. Constitution
absentee ballot
(election) a ballot that is cast in absentia (usually mailed in prior to election day)
plea bargain
Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offense.
26th amendment
Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
indictment
a formal document written for a prosecuting attorney charging a person with some offense