How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

83 terms

AP Gov Midterm Review - 1st Quarter

If I'm missing something, let me know
amendment (constitutional)
A change in, or addition to, a constitution. Amendments are proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures and ratified by approval of three-fourths of the states.
Opponents to the ratification of the Constitution who valued liberty above all else and believed it could be protected only in a small republic. They emphasized states' rights and worried that the new central government was too strong.
Articles of Confederation
The document establishing a "league of friendship" among the American states in 1781. The government proved too weak to rule effectively and was replaced by the current Constitution.
Beard, Charles
A historian who argued that the Constitution was designed to protect the economic self-interest of its framers. Beard's view is largely rejected by contemporary scholars.
bill of attainder
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, Article 1, Sections 9 and 10, of the Constitution.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
checks and balances
The power of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government to block some acts by the other two branches.
Part of a theory espoused by James Madison that hypothesized that different interests must come together to form an alliance in order for republican government to work. He believed that alliances formed in a large republic, unlike in small ones, would be moderate due to the greater variety of interests that must be accommodated.
Constitutional Convention
A meeting of delegates in 1878 to revise the Articles of Confederation, which produced a totally new constitution still in use today.
ex post facto law
A law which makes criminal an act that was legal when in was committed, or that increases the penalty for a crime after it has been committed, or that changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier. The state legislatures and Congress are forbidden to pass such laws by Article 1, Sections 9 and 10, of the Constitution.
A term employed by James Madison to refer to interests that exist in society, such as farmers and merchants, northerners and southerners, debtors and creditors. Madison postulated that each interest would seek its own advantage and that the pulling and hauling among them would promote political stability on a national basis.
A political system in which ultimate authority is shared between a central government and state or regional governments.
Federalist No
10. An essay composed by James Madison which argues that liberty is safest in a large republic because many interests (factions) exist. Such diversity makes tyranny by the majority more difficult since ruling coalitions will always be unstable.
Federalist papers
A series of eighty-five essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that were published in New York newspapers to convince New Yorkers to adopt the newly proposed Constitution.
A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.
Great Compromise
The agreement that prevented the collapse of the Constitutional Convention because of friction between large and small states. It reconciled their interests by awarding states representation in the Senate on a basis of equality and in the House of Representatives in proportion to each state's population.
judicial review
The power of courts to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional. It is also a way of limiting the power of popular majorities.
line-item veto
The power of an executive to veto some provisions in an appropriations bill while approving others. The president does not have the right to exercise a line-item veto and must approve or reject an entire appropriations bill.
natural rights
A philosophical belief expressed in the Declaration of Independence that certain rights are ordained by God, are discoverable in nature and history, and are essential to human progress. The perception that these rights were violated by Great Britain contributed to the American Revolution.
New Jersey Plan
A plan of government proposed by William Patterson as a substitute for the Virginia Plan in an effort to provide greater protection for the interests of small states. It recommended that the Articles of Confederation should be amended, not replaced, with a unicameral Congress, in which each state would have an equal vote.
The form of government intended by the Framers that operates through a system of representation.
separation of powers
An element of the Constitution in which political power is shared among the branches of government to allow self-interest to check selfinterest.
Shay's Rebellion
A rebellion in 1787 by ex-Revolutionary War soldiers who feared losing their property over indebtedness. The former soldiers prevented courts in western Massachusetts from sitting. The inability of the government to deal effectively with the rebellion showed the weakness of the political system at the time and led to support for revision of the Articles of Confederation.
unalienable rights
Rights thought to be based on nature and providence rather than on the preferences of people.
Virginia Plan
A plan submitted to the Constitutional Convention that proposed a new form of government, not a mere revision of the Articles of Confederation. The plan envisioned a much stronger national government structured around three branches. James Madison prepared the initial draft.
writ of habeas corpus
A court order directing a police officer, sheriff, or warden who has a person in custody to bring the prisoner before a judge to show sufficient cause for his or her detention. The purpose of the order is to prevent illegal arrests and unlawful imprisonment. Under the Constitution, the writ cannot be suspended, except during invasion or rebellion.
Article VI
A provision of the Constitution that makes the laws and treaties of the federal government the "supreme law of the land."
block grants
Grants given by the federal government to state and local authorities for general purpose.
categorical grants
Grants given by the federal government to state and local authorities for a specific purpose defined in a federal law.
confederation (or confederal system)
A form of government in which sovereignty is wholly in the hands of the states and local governments, so the national government is dependent on their will.
conditions of aid
A condition which a state government must fulfill for taking federal funds.
The effort on the part of the national government to pass responsibility for functions and responsibilities previously held by the national government on to the state governments.
dual federalism
An interpretation of the Constitution which holds that states are as supreme within their sphere of power as is the federal government within its sphere of power. The Supreme Court no longer supports this interpretation.
federal system
A form of government in which sovereignty is shared, so that on some matters the national government is supreme and on others the states are supreme.
The division of power between a national government and regional (state) governments.
Federal funds provided to states and localities.
intergovernmental lobby
Lobbying activities by state and local officials who establish offices in Washington, D.C., to compete for federal funds.
Requirements imposed against state and local governments to perform. The requirements may have nothing to do with the receipt of federal funds and may originate from court orders.
McCulloch v
Maryland (1819). A Supreme Court decision that settled two issues. First, Congress can exercise powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution if the power can be implied from an enumerated one. This authority is conferred by the "necessary and proper" clause. Second, the federal government is immune from taxation by the states.
necessary-and-proper clause
The final paragraph of Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the enumerated powers.
A doctrine espoused on behalf of the states' rights position which holds that states are empowered to void federal laws considered in violation of the Constitution.
revenue sharing
A grant-in-aid program that allowed states maximum discretion in the spending of federal funds. States were not required to supply matching funds, and they received money according to a statistical formula. The program was terminated in 1986.
The supreme or ultimate political authority. A sovereign government is one that is legally and politically independent of any other government.
Tenth Amendment
An amendment to the Constitution which defines the powers of the states, stipulating that the states (or the people) retain all powers not specifically delegated to the national government by the Constitution.
unitary system
A system in which sovereignty is wholly in the hands of the national government, so that subnational units are dependent on its will.
A belief that Americans consider themselves bound by common values and common hopes.
civic competence
A belief that one can affect government policies.
civic duty
The belief that citizens have an obligation to participate in civic and political affairs.
class consciousness
The tendency to think of oneself as a worker whose interests are in opposition to those of management and vice versa.
culture war
A split in the United States reflecting differences in people's beliefs about private and public morality, and regarding what standards ought to govern individual behavior and social arrangements.
Self esteem, competence or mastery.
equality of opportunity
An economic value in American culture which maintains that all people should have the same opportunity to get ahead but that people should be paid on the basis of ability rather than on the basis of need.
external efficacy
The belief that the political system will respond to citizens. This belief has declined in recent years because of public sentiment that the government has become too big to be responsive.
internal efficacy
Confidence in one's own ability to understand and to take part in political affairs. This confidence has remained stable over the past few decades.
orthodox (social)
One of two camps in the culture war that believes morality is as important (or even more so) than self-expression and that moral rules are derived from God.
political ideology
A comprehensive set of political, economic, and social views or ideas concerned with the form and role of government.
political culture
A distinctive and patterned way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out.
political efficacy
The sense that citizens have the capacity to understand and influence political events.
progressive (social)
One of two camps in the culture war that believes personal freedom is more important than traditional rules and that rules depend on the circumstances of modern life.
A preoccupation of the American political culture that has imbued the daily conduct of politics with a kind of adversarial spirit.
secular humanism
The belief that moral standards do not require religious justification.
work ethic
A tradition of Protestant churches that required a life of personal achievement as well as religious conviction; a believer had an obligation to work, save money, obey the secular law, and do good works. Max Weber attributed the rise of capitalism, in part, to this ethic.
The right to use power.
Appointed officials who operate government agencies and large corporations
bureaucratic theory
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 policy.
client politics
Political activity in which the benefits of a policy are concentrated on a small, easily organized group while the costs are widely distributed among the public at large. These factors make the policy low in visibility and limit the role played by political parties. Such policies have become less common as more organized interests act on behalf of the public and as courts intervene more often in public policy disputes.
A word used to describe at least three different political systems that each embody the principle of popular rule, if only in the interests of the people. See democratic centralism, direct democracy, representative democracy.
democratic centralism
A form of democracy in which the true interests of the masses were discovered through discussion within the Communist party, and then decisions were made under central leadership to serve those interests.
direct (participatory) democracy
A form of democracy in which most, or all, of the citizenry participate directly by either holding office or making policy.
An identifiable group of persons who possess a disproportionate share of some valued resource
elitist theory
A theory that a few top leaders make the key decisions without reference to popular desires.
entrepreneurial politics
Political activity in which the benefits of a policy are widely distributed but the costs are concentrated on a small group. The public is usually indifferent to such policies and must be mobilized through skilled leadership and the media. Emotional appeals using compelling symbols are frequently employed for this purpose. Government agencies created as a result of the policy are vulnerable to capture, with courts likely to intervene.
interest group politics
Political activity in which the costs of a policy are concentrated on a small group while the benefits are concentrated on a different but equally small group. Such policy proposals are generated by changing economic and social cleavages in society which force interests to organize. Political parties are usually divided and play no role in the resolution of the matter. The dispute over the policy will persist even after its passage or defeat, but in the bureaucratic or judicial arenas. Neither the president nor public opinion is a significant factor.
What makes a law or constitution a source of rightful power.
legitimacy barrier
A shared public belief that limits access to the political agenda, depending on whether an issue is considered an appropriate subject for government action. This barrier has collapsed as politics has become involved in nearly everything.
majoritarian politics
(1) A political system in which leaders are constrained to follow closely the wishes of the people. (2) Political activity in which the costs and benefits of a proposed course of action are widely distributed. The president and his advisers play the dominant role, with debate expressed in ideological terms. The outcome of the debate is often the institutionalization of a new worldview. The ideological nature of the policy diminishes once the policy is adopted and proves popular.
Marxist theory
(1) The ideology espoused by Karl Marx which holds that government is a reflection of economic forces, primarily ownership of the means of production. The economic structure of a society shapes its politics and determines political outcomes.
pluralist theory
A theory that holds that political resources are divided among different kinds of elites, giving relevant interest the chance to influence the outcome of decisions. Policies are made by conflict and bargaining among organizations that represent affected groups.
political power
Power used to determine who will hold government office and how the government will behave.
The ability of one person to cause another person to act in accordance with the first person's intentions.
power elite
A political theory espoused by C. Wright Mills which holds that an elite of corporate leaders, top military officers, and key political leaders make most political decisions.
representative democracy
A political system in which political power is conferred on those selected by voters in competitive elections.
Weber, Max
A German historian and sociologist who criticized the theories of Karl Marx, arguing that all institutions have fallen under the control of large bureaucracies whose expertise is essential to the management of contemporary affairs.