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American Government Exam 2 Vocabulary
Terms in this set (27)
a U.S. Supreme Court Case between the University of California Regents and Allan Bakke that challenged affirmative action. Bakke had applied to the University of California Davis Medical School two consecutive years and had been rejected both times, while black students with significantly lower test scores than him had gotten in. The reason for this is that the university had a special admissions program for minority students; the schools accepted a certain number of minorities from the minority applications and a certain number of whites from the white applications. The Court ruled in favor of Bakke. It said that while race could be a positive aspect of an attribute, separate admissions programs with a specific quota of openings that were unavailable to white applicants violate the Equal Protection Clause. This was important because it showed supporters of affirmative action that the Supreme Court allowed minority status to be considered a positive factor, and it showed opponents of affirmative action that the Supreme Court was unwilling to allow quotas that exclude whites.
the 1920 constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. This is significant because it allowed women to vote in all elections and gave them legal and political power.
a tax imposed as a prerequisite to voting. When these were banned by the 24th Amendment in 1964, five states were still using them. These taxes were significant because they blocked newly freed slaves in the south, who were too poor to pay the tax, and poor whites, who often voted Republican following the Civil War, from being able to vote.
federal aid to the states to provide health insurance for low-income persons. It is important because it provides health benefits to those who need it but can not afford it, such as young mothers and their children. It also provides long-term nursing home care to the elderly that need assistance but can not afford it
any program, whether enacted by a government of by a private organization, whose goal is to overcome the results of past unequal treatment of minorities and/or women by giving members of these groups preferential treatment in admissions, hiring, promotions, or other aspects of life. The Supreme Court has been indecisive about the constitutionality of affirmative action, but it generally rules in favor of it. It is important because it increases the diversity of the workplace and schools and encourages the acceptance of minority students to a higher education institution.
spending for benefits that is distributed on the basis of the recipient's income. Examples of means-tested spending programs are Medicaid and food stamps. The majority of the social welfare programs is not means-tested spending. Most social welfare spending, including Social Security and Medicare, go to the non-poor. These spending programs are important because they insure that government money is only going to those who need it.
Jim Crow Laws
segregation laws in the South. These limited the legal rights of blacks by separating the facilities for blacks and whites. Examples of Jim Crow Laws are segregated schools, busses, and hospitals. The unfair Laws played a significant role in the South to limit the legal rights of black people. The black facilities were often far inferior to the white facilities.
Brown v. Board of Education
a Supreme Court case challenging segregation in schools between Linda Brown of Topeka, Kansas, and her local board of education. Brown was forced to walk miles every day to attend the black school, even though there was a white school much closer to her home. Brown argued that this was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the Court ruled in favor of her. This was a landmark case because it overturned the "separate but equal" clause established in the Plessy v. Ferguson Court case, which argued that segregation was indeed constitutional. This case declared that segregation could not possibly be equal and undid segregation laws in multiple states.
a formula created by political economist Anthony Downs which states that if P, the probability that a person's vote will influence the election outcome, combined with B, the benefits for the person if a certain candidate is elected, is greater than C, the costs of voting, the person will vote. If P(B)≤C, the person will not vote. The probability of a person's vote affecting the outcome of the election, P, increases both when the election is close and the number of people voting is small. The biggest cost of voting, C, is usually obtaining information about the candidates; other examples of costs of voting include gas money to get to the poll station and taking time off work to vote. This formula is important because it suggests that if a person does not vote, it is because they do not believe it is in their self-interest to vote, not because they are lazy or do not care.
Keynesian Economic Theory
school of economic thought that calls for government intervention to control recessions and inflation; government is to increase spending and incur deficits to prop up demand during a recession and curtail spending and take in a tax surplus to reduce demand during inflationary periods. This idea was created by John Maynard Keynes. It is a liberal economic view that views the economy scientifically. It was important because it inspired the Employment Act of 1946 and dominated the U.S. economic policy for nearly half a century. This eventually produced stagnation, which is a high rate of unemployment and inflation, in the 1970s, which showed the flaws of this theory.
stated that if one's grandfather voted, he didn't have to pay the poll tax or take a literacy test. They were important because it made it virtually impossible for former slaves to vote, giving black people in the South almost no political power. They were overturned in 1915.
occurs when the Gross Domestic Product (gdp) has been negative for two quarters. Characteristics of it are an increase in unemployment, inventories increase, prices decrease due a deflation, and interest rates decline. They are significant because they are part of the economic cycle and encourage government intervention in the economy.
Social Security Act of 1935
an act under Franklin Roosevelt that established a social insurance program for retired workers over the age of 65 called social security. Social Security is a social insurance program composed of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance program, which pays benefits to retired workers who have paid into the program and their dependents and survivors, and the Disability Insurance program, which pays benefits to disabled workers and their families. The act was important because it provides a financial security for people who can not work because they are either too old or have a disability.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
states that The U.S. attorney general can replace local registrars with federal registrars, suspend literacy tests, and register voters under simplified federal procedures in order to stop segregation. It also required that all states must lower their residency requirement to vote to 30 days. The Act was passed in response to the march in Selma, Alabama, which was led by Martin Luther King, Jr., in opposition of the local registrars. The Act is important because it proved to be extremely effective at protecting African American citizens' right to vote and it eliminated the ability for states to have unreasonably long residency requirements; it was in place for almost 50 years
the 1971 constitutional amendment guaranteeing 18-year-olds the right to vote. It was argued that if 18-year-olds are old enough to be drafted into the army, they are old enough to vote for their country. Congress agreed and passed the amendment. This amendment is important because it lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, allowing younger people to have a role in picking our government.
official standard regarding what level of annual cash income is sufficient to maintain a "decent standard of living"; those with incomes below this level are eligible for most public assistance programs. It is important because it is the cutoff we use to measure how many people are living in poverty conditions (below the poverty line); in many cases, it can also determine if a person is eligible for government assistance.
examination of a person's ability to read and write as a prerequisite to voter registration. When they were outlawed by Voting Rights Act (1965) as discriminatory, 20 states were still using them. They were significant because they kept newly freed slaves from voting after emancipation, and then later kept people, specifically minorities, who could not read or write from voting.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
measure of economic performance in terms of the nation's total production of goods and services for a single year, valued in terms of market prices. This is an important tool for economists as they can use it as a measurement for how good the economy is at the time.
Dred Scott Case
a Supreme Court case in 1857 that declared slavery constitutional, and also declared that slaves did not have the right to call court. This was an important decision because it meant that slaves had no rights or citizenship and that slavery would be constitutional until it was abolished by the 13th Amendment.
ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to the effect that segregated facilities were legal as long as the facilities were equal. This took away from the legal citizenship of African Americans, as their facilities were usually in much poorer conditions than the whites'. This was an important decision because it legalized the segregation of schools and other facilities, which whites used to keep African Americans "in their place", until the doctrine was overturned in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case.
Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education
a Supreme Court Case over bussing kids across districts to increase integration. In order to keep all the white kids from attending certain schools and all the minorities from attending another, many students were bussed to the other side of the city. The Court ruled that bussing is constitutional in de jure segregation - that is, segregation caused by a law, such as the Jim Crow Laws - and that bussing is unconstitutional in de facto segregation - that is, segregation that occurred naturally. This legalized bussing kids across districts in Charlotte. The Case was important because it is used to determine if such bussing is legal in other cities; for example, in Detroit, where segregation occurred naturally, bussing was declared unconstitutional.
Food Stamps / SNAP
a public assistance program that provides low-income households with coupons redeemable for enough food to provide a minimal nutritious diet. The program is important because it ensures that people who do not make enough money to afford food can feed themselves and their children.
social insurance program that provides health care insurance to elderly and disabled people. This is important because it allows people who either can not work because they are too old or have a disability to still be able to receive health care.
Supply side economic theory
school of economic thought that focuses on economic growth and argues that government taxing and spending are detrimental to such growth. This view, created by Arthur Laffer, is a conservative economic theory and can be referred to as "Trickle-Down economics". It suggests that if we cut taxes for everyone, the middle class will work harder. This was an influential theory as it was endorsed by Ronald Reagan and encourages production and supply.
Plessy v. Ferguson
a Supreme Court case that upheld state laws requiring segregation. This Court Case was important because it established the separate but equal clause, which states that segregation of the races did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as long as people in each race received equal treatment. Because of this case, white people and black people had segregation of facilities such as schools, hospitals, busses, and many other things until the separate but equal clause was overturned and declared unconstitutional. It is important to note that in most cases, the separate facilities were not equal, and the black facilities were often far inferior.
Monetarist economic theory
school of economic thought led by Milton Friedman that argues economic stability can be achieved only by holding the rate of monetary growth to the rate of the economy's own growth. Therefore, the Federal Reserve Board should increase or decrease the money supply only as the population changes. They argue that increasing the money supply during a recession only causes inflation. This theory is important because it encourages being cautious not to cause inflation.
Ratified in 1964, this amendment made poll taxes unconstitutional as a requirement for voting in national elections. A poll tax was a tax imposed as a prerequisite to voting. This amendment was important because it allowed people, especially minorities and poor whites, who could not afford to pay the tax poll to be able to vote. When the amendment was passed, five states were still using poll taxes.
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