33 terms

AP Gov Key Terms Unit 1: Constitutional Underpinnings 2016

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Bicameral legislature
two-house legislature.
Block grant
money granted by the federal government to the states for a broad purpose ( e.g., transportation) rather than for a narrow purpose (e.g., school lunch program).
Categorical grant
money granted by the federal government to the states for a narrow purpose ( e.g., school lunch program) rather than for a broad purpose (e.g., transportation).
Centralists
those who favor greater national authority rather than state authority.
Checks and balances
system in which each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches, e.g., presidential veto of a congressional law.
Commerce clause
gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states, with foreign nations, and among Indian tribes.
Concurrent powers
those held by both Congress and the states, e.g., establishing law enforcement agencies.
Confederation
system in which sovereign states are only loosely tied to a central government, e.g., the US under the Articles of Confederation.
Decentralists
those who favor greater state authority rather than national authority.
Direct democracy
system in which the people rule themselves.
Elastic clause
states that Congress can exercise those powers that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out the enumerated powers
Enumerated powers
those that are specifically granted to Congress in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, e.g., the power to tax.
Federalism
constitutional sharing of power between a central government and state governments. Different varieties:
Dual federalism
system in which the national government and state governments are coequal, with each being dominant within its respective sphere.
Cooperative federalism
system in which both federal government and state governments cooperate in solving problems.
New Federalism
system in which the national government restores greater authority back to the states.
Federalist Papers
group of 85 essays written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay for the purpose of persuading the people of New York to adopt the Constitution.
Formal amendment
a change in the actual wording of the Constitution. Proposed by Congress or national convention, and ratified by the states.
Implied powers
those that are "necessary and proper" to carry out Congress' enumerated powers, and are granted to Congress through the elastic clause.
Indirect democracy
system in which the people are rule by their representatives. Also known as representative democracy, or republic.
Inherent powers
foreign policy powers (e.g., acquiring territory) held by the national government by virtue of its being a national government.
Informal amendment
a change in the meaning, but not the wording, of the Constitution, e.g., through a court decisions such as Brown v. Board.
Judicial review
power of the courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws and government actions. Established by Marbury v. Madison, 1803.
Mandates
requirements imposed by the national government upon the states. Some are unfunded mandates, i.e., they are imposed by the national government, but lack funding.
Marbury v. Madison, 1803
established the power of judicial review.
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
established principle of national supremacy and validity of implied powers.
Police powers
powers of the states to protect the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the public.
Popular sovereignty
principle in which ultimate political authority rests with the people.
Reserved powers
powers held by the states through the 10th Amendment.
Separation of powers
principle in which the powers of government are separated among three branches: legislative, executive, judicial.
Shays' Rebellion
1786 revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and foreclosure that was a factor in the calling of the Constitutional Convention.
Supermajority
a majority greater than a simple majority of one over half, e.g., 3/5, 2/3.
Unicameral legislature
one-house legislature.