73 terms

American Government Unit 1 Test (Ch. 1-4)


Terms in this set (...)

institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies
Executive Power
the power to execute, enforce, and administer laws
A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
complete independence and self-government (of a country); supremacy of authority; power to govern
Unitary Government
A centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single, central agency
a joining of several groups for a common purpose
Majority Rule
in a democracy, the majority of the people will be right more often than they will be wrong, and will be right more often than will any one person or small group
Free Enterprise System
an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods; investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and determined in a free market
Public Policies
all of the many goals that a government pursues in all of the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved
Judicial Power
the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes within society
a form of government in which the supreme authority rests with the people
a form of government in which a single person holds unlimited political power
Federal Government
a form of government in which powers are divided between a central government and several local governments
Presidential Government
a form of government in which the executive and legislative branches of the government are separate, independent, and coequal
an adjustment of opposing principles or systems by modifying some aspect of each
Origin of State
divine right, force, paternalistic, social contract
Legislative Power
the power to make a law and to frame public policies
the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government
an area organized into a political unit and ruled by an established government with control over its internal and foreign affairs
a form of government in which the power to rule is held by a small, usually self-appointed elite
Parliamentary Government
a form of government in which the executive branch is made up of the prime minister, or premier, and that official's cabinet
a member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to it by birth or naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights
Due Process
the government must act fairly and in accord with established rules in all that does
a city's basic law, it's constitution; a written grant of authority from the king
Popular Sovereignty
basic principle of the American system of government which asserts that the people are the source of any and all governmental power, and government can exist only with the consent of the governed
a group of delegates who drafted the United States Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787
Connecticut Compromise
agreement during the Constitutional Convention that Congress should be composed of a Senate, in which States would be represented equally, and a House, in which representation would be based on a State's population
those persons who supported the ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788
Representative Government
system of government in which public policies are made by officials selected by the voters and held accountable in periodic elections
Petition of Right
document prepared by Parliament and signed by King Charles I of England in 1628; challenged the idea of the divine right of kings and declared that even the monarch was subject to the laws of the land
an adjective describing a legislative body composed of two chambers
Albany Plan of Union
plan proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 that aimed to unite the 13 colonies for trade, military, and other purposes; the plan was turned down by the colonies and the Crown
Articles of Confederation
plan of government adopted by the Continental Congress after the American Revolution; established "a firm league of friendship" among the States, but allowed few important powers to the central government
Virginia Plan
plan presented by delegates from Virginia at the Constitutional Convention; called for a three-branch government with a bicameral legislature in which each State's membership would be determined by its population or its financial support for the central government
Three-Fifths Compromise
an agreement at the Constitutional Convention to count a slave as three-fifths of a person when determining the population of a State
those persons who opposed that ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788
Magna Carta
Great Charter forced upon King John of England by his barons in 1215; established that the power of the monarchy was not absolute and guaranteed trial by jury and due process of law to the nobility
English Bill of Rights
document written by Parliament and agreed on by William and Mary of England in 1689, designed to prevent abuse of power by English monarchs; forms the basis for much in American government and politics today
an adjective describing a legislative body with one chamber
representatives; members of Congress who cast votes based on the wishes of their constituents
formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty
New Jersey Plan
plan presented as an alternative to the Virginia Plan at the Constitutional Convention; called for a unicameral legislature in which each State would be equally represented
Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
an agreement during the Constitutional Convention protecting slave holders; denied Congress the power to tax the export of goods from any State, and, for 20 years, the power to act on the slave trade
Rule of Law
concept that government and its officers are always subject to the law
chief executive's power to reject a bill passed by a legislature
a system of government in which a written constitution divides power between a central, or national, government and several regional governments
Formal Amendment
change or addition that becomes part of the written language of the Constitution itself through one of the four methods set forth in the Constitution
a formal agreement between two or more sovereign states
Senatorial Courtesy
custom that the Senate will not approve a presidential appointment opposed by a majority-party senator from the State in which the appointee would serve
Limited Government
basic principle of American government which states that government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has the rights that government cannot take away
Separation of Powers
basic principle of American system of government that the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are divided among three independent and coequal branches of government
Judicial Review
the power of a court to determine the constitutionality of a governmental action
a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the Constitution
Electoral College
group of persons chosen in each State and the District of Columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the President and Vice President
basic principle that government and those who govern must obey the law; the rule of law
Checks and Balances
system of overlapping the powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to permit each branch to check the actions of the others
contrary to constitutional provision and so illegal, null and void, of no force and effect
Executive Agreement
a pact made by the President directly with the head of a foreign state; a binding international agreement with the force of law but which (unlike a treaty) does not require Senate consent
presidential advisory body, traditionally made up of the heads of the executive departments and other officers
Expressed Powers
those delegated powers of the National Government that are spelled out, expressly, the the Constitution; also called "enumerated powers"
Reserved Powers
those powers that the Constitution does not grant to the National Government and does not deny to the Sates
Supremacy Clause
a provision of the U.S. Constitution that states that the Constitution, federal law, and treaties of the United States are the "supreme Law of the Land"
Grant-in-Aid Program
grants of federal money or other resources to States, cities, counties, and other local units
Project Grant
one type of federal grants-in-aid; made for specific projects to States, localities, and private agencies who apply for them
the legal process by which a fugitive fro justice in one State is returned to that State
Division of Powers
basic principle of federalism; the constitutional provisions by which governmental powers are divided on a geographic basis (in the US between National Government and the States)
Implied Powers
those delegated powers of the National Government that are suggested by the expressed powers set out in the Constitution; those "necessary and proper" to carry out the expressed powers
Exclusive Powers
those powers that can be exercised by the National Government alone
Enabling Act
a congressional act directing the people of a United States territory to frame a proposed State Constitution as a step towards admission to the Union
Categorical Grant
one type of federal grants-in-aid; made for some specific, closely defined, purpose
Interstate Compact
formal agreement entered into with the consent of Congress, between or among States, or between a State and a foreign state
Privileges and Immunities
constitution's stipulation that all citizens are entitled to certain "privileges and immunities", regardless of their State of residence; no State can draw unreasonable distinctions between its own residents and those persons who happen to live in other states.