416 terms

AP Government Vocab

Vocab through the whole year
a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy rapresents and responds to the public's preferences.
elite and class theory
A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upperclass elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
the institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.
gross domestic product
The sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a nation.
A theroy of govrment and politics contending that groups are so strong that governent is weakened. Hyperlism is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism
the belief that individual should be left on their own by the government. One of the primary reasons for the comparatively small scope of American government is the prominence of this belief In American political thought and practice.
linkage institutions
The political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. In the United States, linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
majority rule
A fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. In a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respected.
minority rights
A principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument.
pluralist theory
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies.
policy agenda
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.
policy gridlock
A condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish a policy. The result is thst nothing may get done
policy making institutions
the branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. The U.S. constitution is established congress, presidency and the courts as policy making institutions. bureaucracy is so great that political scientist consider it a fourth policy making institution.
policy making system
The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time. People's interests, problems,and concerns create political issues for government policymakers.These issues shape policy, which in turn impacts people, generation more interest,problems, and concerns.
political issue
an issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it.
political participation
All the activities used by citizens to influence the selections of political leaders or the policies they pursue.
The process by which we select our gov. leaders and what policies these leaders pursue . Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues. Ex. voting, protest, civil disobedience.
public goods
Goods such as highways and public parks that everyone must share.
public policy
a choice that government makes in response to a political issue. A policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem.
A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers.
single-issue groups
groups that have narrow interest tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups.
Opponents of the American Constituition at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption.
Articles of Confederation
The first constitution of the United States, adopted by Congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. The Articles established a national legislature, the Continental Congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatres.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, drafted inresponse to some of the Anti-Federalist concerns. These amendments define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press and gaurantee defendants' rights.
checks and balances
Features of the Constitution that limit government's power by requiring that power be balanced among the different governmental institutions. These institutions continually constrain one another's activities.
Connecticut Compromise
The compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that established two houses of Congress the House of Representatives, in which representation is based on a state's share of the U.S. population, and the Senate, in which each state has two representatives.
consent of the governed
The idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people.
A nation's basic law. It creates political intitutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Constitutions can be either written or unwritten.
Declaration of Independence
The document approved by representatives of the America colonies in 1776 that stated ther grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence.
Equal Rights Amendment
A constitutional amendment passed by Congress in 1972 stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex". The amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from three-forths or the state legislatures.
Intrest groups arising from the unequal distribution of property or wealth that James Madison attacked in Federalist Paper No. 10. Today's parties or interest groups are what Madison had in mind when he warned of the instability in government caused by factions.
Federalist Papers
A collection of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the name "Publius" to defend the Constitution in detail.
Supporters of the U.S. Constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption.
judicial review
The power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress, and by implication the executive, are in accord with the U.S. Constitution. Judicial review was established by John Marshall and his asociates in Marbury v. Madison.
limited government
The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens.
Marbury v. Madison
The 1803 case in which Chief Justice John Marshall and and his associates first asserted the right of the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the Court's power of judicial review over acts of Congress, in this case the Judiciary Act of 1789.
natural rights
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. The concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher John Locke's theories about government, and was widely accepted among America's Founding Fathers.
New Jersey Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal represntation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population.
A form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make laws.
separation of powers
A feature of the Constitution that requires each of the three branches of government -executive, legislative, and judicial- to be relatively independent of the others so that one cannot control the others. Power is shared among these three institutions.
Shays' Rebellion
A series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure proceedings.
U.S. Constitution
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the instituional structure of U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. It replaced the Articles of Confederation.
Virginia Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Conventino that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S. population.
writ of habeas corpus
A court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody.
block grants
Federal grants given more or less automatically to state or communities to support broad programs in a areas such as community development and social services.
categorical grants
Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions. Compare to block grants.
cooperative federalism
A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame for programs that work poorly.
dual federalism
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.
elastic clause
The final paragraph of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to pass all laws "neccessary and propwer" to carry out the enumerated powers.
enumerated powers
Powers of the federal government that are specifically addressed in the Constitution; for Congress, these powers are listed in Article I, Section 8, and include the power to coin money, regulate its value, and impose taxes.
A legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the officials of one state to officials of the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed.
A way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. It is a system of shared power between units of government.
fiscal federalism
The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments.
formula grants
Federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations.
full faith and credit
A clause in Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgments rendered by the courts of other states.
Gibbons v. Ogden
A landmark case decided in 1824 in which the Supreme Court interpreted very broadly the clause in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution giving Congress the power to regular interstate commerce, encompassing virtually every from of commercial activity.
implied powers
Powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. The Constitution states that Congress has the power to "make all laws neccessary and proper for carrying into execution" the powers enumerated in Article I.
intergovernmental relations
The workings of the federal system- the entire set of interactions among national, state, and local governments.
McCulloch v. Maryland
An 1819 Supreme Court decision that established ther supremacy of the national government over state governments. In deciding this case, Chief Justice John Marshall and his colleagues held that Congress had certain implied powers in addition to the enumerated powers found in the Constitution.
privileges and immunities
A clause in Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution according citizens of each state most of the privleges of citizens of other states.
project grants
Federal categorical grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications.
supremacy clause
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
Tenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment stating that "The powers not delegated to the United State by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
unitary governments
A way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. Most national government today are these.
Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the U.S. constitution, which define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press, of speech, and press and guarantee defendents' rights.
civil liberties
the legal constitutional protections against government. Although they are formally set down in the Bill of Rights, the courts, police and legislatures define their meaning
commercial speech
communication in the form of advertising. It can be restricted more than many other types of speech but has been receiving increased protection from the supreme court.
cruel and unusual punishment
court sentences prohibited by the 8th amendment. Although the supreme court has ruled that mandatory death sentences for certain offenses are unconstitutional, it has held that the death penalty itself constitutes cruel unusual punishment.
due process clause
part of the 14th amendment guaranteeing that persons cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property by the U.S. or state governments without due process of law.
Eighth amendment
forbids cruel and unusual punishment although it doesn't define this phrase.
establishment clause
part of the 1st amendment stating that "congress shall make no law repsecting an establishment of religion."
exclusionary rule
rule that evidence cannot be introduced into a trial if it was not constitutionally obtained. Prohibits the use of evidence obtained through unreasonable search and seizure.
Fifth amendment
designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection against double-jeopardy, self-incrimination, and punishment without due process of law.
First Amendment
establishes the first 4 great liberties: freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, and of assembly.
Fourteenth Amendment
adopted after the civil war that declares "No State Shall make or enhance any lae which abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the U.S.; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection or the laws"
free exercise clause
A 1st amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion.
incorporation doctrine
the legal concept under which the supreme court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the states through the 14th amendment.
The publication of false or malicious statements that damage someone's reputation
plea bargaining
a bargain struck between the defendant's lawyer and the prosecutor to the effect that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser crime(or fewer crimes) in exchange for the state's promise not to prosecute the defendant for a more serious(or additional) crime.
prior restraint
A government preventing material from being published. This is a common method of limiting the press in some nations, but it is usually unconstitutional in the U.S., according to the 1st amendment and as confirmed in the 1931 Supreme court case of Near vs. Minnesota.
probable cause
the situation occurring when the police have reason to believe that a person should be arrested. In making the arrest, police are allowed legally to search for and seize incriminating evidence.
right to privacy
the right to a private personal life free from the intrusion of government
search warrant
a written authorization from a court specifying the area to be searched and what the police are searching for.
the situation occurring when an individual accused of a crime is comprelled to be a witness against himself or herself in court. 5th amendment forbids involuntary act of this.
sixth amendment
designed to protect individual accused of crimes. It includes the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to a speedy and public trial.
symbolic speech
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The supreme court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the 1st amendment.
unreasonable searches and seizures
obtaining evidence in a haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the 4th amendment. Probable cause and/or a search warrant are required for a legal and proper search for and seizure of incriminating evidence.
Barron vs. Baltimore (1833)
Supreme Court decision holding that the Bill of Rights restrained only the national government, not the states and cities
Engel vs. Vitale (1962)
state officials violated the First Amendment when they wrote a prayer to be recited by New York's schoolchildren
Gideon vs. Wainright (1963)
anyone accused of a felony where imprisonment may be imposed has a right to a lawyer
Gitlow vs. New York (1925)
freedoms of press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states" as well as the national government
Gregg vs. Georgia (1976)
upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty; "it is an extreme situation, suitable for the most extreme crimes"
Lemon vs. Kurtzman (1971)
Supreme Court decision that upheld aid to church related schools must 1) have a secular legislative purpose; 2) have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; 3) not foster excessive government entanglement with religion
Mapp vs. Ohio (1961)
Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures must be extended to state and federal governments
McClesky vs. Kemp (1987)
upheld constitutionality of death penalty against charges that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment because minority defendents were more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendents
Miami Herald Publishing COmpany v. Tornillo (1974)
held that a state could not force a newspaper to print replies from candidates it had criticized
Miller vs. California (1973)
Supreme Court decision that avoided defining obscenity by holding that community standards be used to determine whether material is obscene: 1) work appealed to "a prurient interest in sex"; 2) work showed "patently offensive" sexual conduct specifically defined by an obscenity law; 3) the work lacked "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value"
Miranda vs. Arizona (1966)
set guidelines for police questioning of accused persons to protect themselves against self-incrimination
NAACP vs. Alabama (1958)
Supreme Court decided that the NAACP didn't have to reveal its membership list and thus subject its members to harrassment
Near vs. Minnesota (1931)
Supreme Court decision holding that the First Amendment protects newspapers from prior restraint
New York Times vs. Sullivan (1964)
established guidelines for determining whether public officials and public figures could win damage suits for libel (to do so, individuals must prove that the defamatory statements were made with "actual malice" and reckless disregard for the truth
Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1992)
Supreme Court loosened its standard for evaluating restrictions on abortion from one of "strict scrutiny" of any restraints on a "fundamental right" to one of "undue burden" that permits considerably more regulation
Red Lion Broadcasting Company v. Federal Communications Commission (1969)
upheld restrictions on radio and television broadcasting
Roe vs. Wade (1973)
a state ban on all abortions was declared unconstitutional (forbade state control over abortions during first trimester; permitted states to limit abortions to protect mother's health during second trimester; permitted states to protect fetus during third trimester)
Roth vs. United States (1957)
said that obscenity "is not within the area of constitutionality protected speech or press"
Schenck vs. United States (1919)
decision upholding the conviction of a socialist who had urged young men to resist the draft during WWI; the national government can limit free speech if the speech provokes a "clear and present danger" of substantive evils
School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania vs. Schempp (1963)
a Pennsylvania law requiring Bible reading in schools violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment
Texas vs. Johnson (1989)
Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech
Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris (2002)
Supreme Court decision that upheld a state providing families with vouchers that could be used to pay for tuition at religious schools
Zurcher vs. Standford Daily (1978)
a proper search warrant could be applied to a newspaper as well as to anyone else without violating the First Amendment rights to freedom of the press
Adarand Constructors v. Pena
the 1995 decision holding that federal programs that classify people by race, even for an ostensibly benign purpose such as expanding opportunities for minorities, should be presumed to be unconstitutional
Brown v. Board of Education
the 1954 decision holding that school segregation was inherently unconstitutional because it violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. Marked the end of legal segregation in the United States
Craig v. Boren
the 1976 decision in which the Supreme Court established the "medium scrutiny" standard for determining gender discrimination
Dred Scott v. Sandford
the 1857 decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that Congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories
Hernandez v. Texas
a 1954 Supreme Court decision that extrended protection against discrimination to Hispancis
Korematsu v. United States
the 1944 decision that upheld as constitutional the internment of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent in encampments during World War II
Plessy v. Ferguson
the 1896 decision that provided a constitutional justification for segregation by ruling that a Louisiana law requiring "equal but separate accommodations for the White and colored races" was constitutional
Reed v. Reed
the landmark 1971 decision in which the Supreme Court for the first time upheld a claim of gender discrimination
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
the 1978 decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race
affirmative action
A policy designed to give special attention to or compensatory treatment for members of some previously disadvantaged group
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
A law passed in 1990 that requires employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in employment.
civil rights
Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The law that made racial discrimination against any group in hotels, motels, and restaurants illegal and forbade many forms of job discrimination
comparable worth
The issue raised when women who hold traditionally female jobs are paid less than men for working at jobs requiring comparable skill
equal protection of the laws
Part of the Fourteenth Amendment emphasizing that the laws must provide equivalent "protection" to all people.
Equal Rights Amendment
A constitutional amendment originally introduced in Congress in 1923 and passed by Congress in 1972, stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Despite public support, the amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from three-fourths of the state legislatures.
Fifteenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment adopted in 1870 to extend suffrage to African Americans.
Fourteenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment adopted after the Civil War that states, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Nineteenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment adopted in 1920 that guarantees women the right to vote.
poll taxes
Small taxes levied on the right to vote that often fell due at a time of year when poor African-American sharecroppers had the least cash on hand. This method was used by most Southern states to exclude African Americans from voting. Poll taxes were declared void by the Twenty-fourth Amendment in 1964.
The legal right to vote, extended to African Americans by the Fifteenth Amendment, to women by the Nineteenth Amendment, and to people over the age of 18 by the Twenty-sixth Amendment.
Thirteenth Amendment
The constitutional amendment ratified after the Civil War that forbade slavery and involuntary servitude.
Twenty-fourth Amendment
The constitutional amendment passed in 1964 that declared poll taxes void in federal elections.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
A law designed to help end formal and informal barriers to African American suffrage. Under the law, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were registered and the number of African American elected officials increased dramatically.
White primary
One of the means used to discourage African-American voting that permitted political parties in the heavily Democratic South to exclude African Americans from primary elections, thus depriving them of a voice in the real contests. The Supreme Court declared White primaries unconstitutional in 1944.
a valuable tool for understanding demographic changes
civil disobediance
a form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences
the science of human population changes
exit polls
public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision
gender gap
a term that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to support democratic canidates
melting pot
the mixing of cultures, ideas, and peoples that has changed the american nation.
minority majority
the emergence of a non-caucasian majority, as compared with a white, generally Anglo saxon majority.
political culture
an overall set of values widely shared within a society
political ideology
a coherent set of beliefs about politics, publis policy, and publis purpose
political participation
all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue
political socialization
the process by which an indivdual recieves their knowledge, feelings, and evaluations regarding their political world
a form of political participation deisigned to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics
public opinion
the distribution of the popuation's beliefs about politics and policy issues.
random digit dialing
a technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey
random sampling
the key technique employed by sophisticated survey researchers, which operates in the principle that everyone should have an equal probability of being selected for the sample
the process of reallocationg seats in the house of representatives every 10 years on the basis of the results of the census
a relatively small proportion of people who chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole
sampling error
the level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll
specific locations from which news frequently emanates, such as Congress or the White House. Most top, reporters work a particular one, thereby becoming specialists in what goes on at that location.
broadcast media
Television and radio, as compared with print media.
Newspapers published by massive media conglomerates that account for over four-fifths of the nation's daily newspaper circulations. Often these control broadcast media as well.
high-tech politics
A politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers and the political agenda itself are increasingly shaped by technology.
investigative journalism
The use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, which at times puts reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders.
mass media
Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and other means of popular communications.
media events
Events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless look spontaneous. In keeping with politics as theater, these can be staged by individuals, groups, and government officials, especially presidents.
media programming on cable TV or the Internet that is focused on one topic and aimed at a particular audience. Examples include MTV, ESPN, and C-SPAN.
policy agenda
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people active involved in politics at the time.
policy entrepreneurs
People who invest their political "capital" in an issue. According to John Kingdon, this "could be in or out of government, in elected or appointed positions, in interest groups or research organizations.
press conferences
meetings of public officials with reporters
print media
Newspapers and magazines, as compared with broadcast media.
sound bites
Short video clips of approximately 15 seconds; typically all that is shown from a politician's speech or activities on the nightly television news.
talking head
A shot of a person's face talking directly to the camera. because this is visually unappealing, the major commercial networks rarely show a politician talking one-on-one for very long.
trial balloons
An intentional news leak for the purpose of assessing the political reaction.
blanket primaries
Elections to select party nominees in which voters are presented with a list of candidates from all the parties. Voters can then select some Democrats and some Republicans if they like.
closed primaries
Elections to select party nominees in which only people who have registered in advance with the party can vote for that party's candidates, thus encouraging greater party loyalty.
A group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends.
coalition government
When two or more parties join together to form a majority in a national legislature. This form of government is quite common in the multiparty systems of Europe.
critical election
An electoral "earthquake" where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party. They are sometimes marked by a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.
linkage institutions
The channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the government's policy agenda. In the United States, these include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
national chairperson
He or she is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually hand-picked by the presidential nominee.
national committee
One of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. It is composed of representatives from the states and territories.
national convention
The meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party's platform.
New Deal coalition
A coalition forged by the Democrats, who dominated American politics from the 1930s to the 1960s. Its basic elements were the urban working class, ethnic groups, Catholics and Jews, the poor, Southerners, African Americans and intellectuals.
open primaries
Elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests.
party dealignment
The gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in party by shrinking party identification.
party eras
Historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a majority of the elections.
party identification
A citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other.
party image
The voter's perception of what the Republicans or Democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism.
party machines
A type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and govern.
party neutrality
A term used to describe the fact that many Americans are indifferent toward to two major political parties.
party realignment
The displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election period.
One of the key inducements used by party machines. A ____ job, promotion, or contract is one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone.
political competition
The battle of the parties for control of public offices. Ups and downs of the two major parties are one of the most important elements in American politics.
political party
According to Anthony Downs, a "team of men [and women] seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election."
proportional representation
An electoral system used throughout most of Europe that awards legislative seats to political parties in proportion to the number of votes won in an election.
rational-choice theory
A popular theory in political science to explain the actions of voters as well as politicians. It assumes that individuals act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of possible alternatives.
responsible party model
A view favored by some political scientists, about how parties should work. According to the model, parties should offer clear choices to the voters, who can then use those choices as cues to their own preferences of candidates. Once in office, parties would carry out their campaign promises.
third parties
Electoral contenders other than the two major parties. American third parties are not unusual, but they rarely win elections.
Voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices. It has become the norm in American voting behavior.
winner-take-all system
An electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in their constituencies. In American presidential elections, the system in which the winner of the popular vote in a state receives all the electoral votes of the states.
501 (c) groups
groups that are exempted from reporting their contributions and can recieve unlimited contributions
527 groups
independent political groups that are not subject to contribution restrictions because they do not directly seek the election of particular candidates
campaign strategy
the master game plan candidates lay out to guide their electoral campaign
a system for selecting convetion delegates used in about a dozen mostly rural states in which voters must up at a set time and attend an open meeting to express their presidential preferentce
direct mail
a method of raising money for a political cause or candidate, in which information and requests for money are sent to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views
Federal election campaign act
a law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. This act created the federal election comission, provided public financing for presidential primaries, etc.
Federal election commission
a six member bipartisan agencyy. administers and enforces campaign finance laws
the recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention
matching funds
contributions of up to $250 are matched from the Presidential election campaign Fund to candidates for the presidential nomination who qualify and agree to meet various condiations
Mcgovern-Fraser commission
a commission formed at the 1968 Democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation
national party convention
the supreme power within each of the parties. the convention meets every four years to nominate the party's presedential and vice-presedential candidates
national primary
a proposed nationwide primary that would replace the current system of caucuses and presidential primaries
the official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party
party platform
a political party's statement of its goals and politices for the next four years
Political Action Committees
funding vehicles. A corporation or union can created a PAC and register it with the FEC. it will be monitered
presedential primaries
elections in which a state's voters go to the polls to express their preference efor a party's nominee for president
Presidential election Campaign fund
Money from the $3 federal income tax check-off goes into this fund, which is then distributed to qualified candidates to subsidize their presidential campaigns
regional primaries
a proposed series of primaries held in each geogrpahic region that would replacce the current system of cacuses and presidential primaries
selective perception
the phenomenon that people's beliefs often guide whay they pay the most attention to and how they interpret events
Soft money
political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grass-roots level or for generic party advertising
national party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the national party convention
civic duty
the belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should vote
electoral college
a unique American institution, created by the Constitution, providing for the selection of the president by electors
initiative petition
a process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state law to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions
a characterization of elections by political scientists meaning that they are almost universally accepted as a fair and free method of selecting political leaders
mandate theory of elections
the idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry our his or her platforms and politics
motor voter act
a 1993 act that requires states to permit people to register to vote when they apply for their driver's license
policy voting
electoral choices that are made on the basis of the voters policy preferences and where the candidates stand on policy issues
political efficacy
the belief that one's political participation really matters
a state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disapprove proposed legislation or a proposed constitutional amendment
retrospective voting
a theory of voting according to which voters essentially make their decisions based on their answer to the question, "What have you done for me lately?"
the legal right to vote
voter registration
a system adopted by the states that requires voters to requires voters to register prior to voting
Actual group
The people in the potential group who actually join.
Collective good
Something of value that cannot be withheld form a potential group member.
Direct group involvement in the electoral process, for example, by helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates and forming political action committees.
A theory of government and politics contending that an upper-class elite will hold most of the power and thus in effect run the government.
Free-rider problem
For a group, the problem of people not joining because they can benefit from the group's activities without joining.
A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government, seeking to please them all, is thereby weakened.
Interest group
An organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy progress at several points to try to achieve those goals. Interest groups pursue their goals in many areas.
Iron triangles
Subgovernments are composed of interest group leaders interested in a particular policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handing that policy; they exercise a great deal of control over specific policy areas.
According to Lester Milbrath, a " Communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his or her own behalf, directed to a governmental decision maker with the hope of influencing his or her decision."
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that many groups, each pressing for its preferred policies, compete and counterbalance one another in the political marketplace.
Political action committees (PACs)
Political funding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. An interest group can create a PAC and register it with the Federal Election Commission, which will monitor the PACs expenditures.
Potential groups
All the people who might be interest group members because they share some common interest.
Public interest lobbies
According to Jeffery Berry, organizations that seek " A collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activists of the organization.
Right-to-work laws
A state law forbidding requirements that workers must join a union to hold their jobs. State right-to-work laws were specifically permitted by the Taft-Haitley Act of 1947.
Selective benefits
Goods that a group can restrict to those who actually join.
Single-issue groups
Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics.
Union shop
A provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union within a short period, usually 30 days and to remain members as a condition of employment.
Bicameral Legislature
a legislature divided into 2 houses
a proposed law, drafted in legal language
activities of members of congress that help constituents as individuals, particularly by cutting through the bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get
a group of members of congress sharing some interest or characteristic. Many are composed of members from both parties and both Houses.
Committee chairs
the most important influencers of the congressional agenda
Conference Committees
congresional committees formed when the senate and House pass a particular bill in different forms
Descriptive Representation
representing constituents by mirroring their personal, politically relevant characteristics
a strategy unique to the senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation use their right to unlimited debate to prevent the senate from ever voting on a bill
House Rules Committee
the committee in the House of Reps. that views most bill coming from a House Committee before they go to a full house.
those already holding office
Joint Committees
congressional committees on a few subject- matter areas with membership drawn from both houses
Legislative Oversight
Congress' monitoring of the bureaucracy and its admin of policy, performed mainly through hearings
Majority Leader
the principal partisan ally of the speaker of the House, or the party's manager in the senate
Minority Leader
the principal leader of the minority party in the House of Reps. and Senate
Pork Barrel
federal projects, grants, and contracts available to state and local governments, businesses, colleges, and other institutions in a congressional district
Select Committee
congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose
Seniority System
a simple rule for picking committee chairs, in effect until the 1970's
Speaker of the House
an office mandated by the constitution
Standing Committees
separate subject-matter committees in each house of congress that handle bills in different policy areas
Substantive Representation
representing the interests of groups
party leaders who work with the majority leader or the minority leader to count votes beforehand and lean on waverers whose votes are crucial to a bill favored by the party
A group of presidential advisors not metioned in the Constitution, although every president has had one. Today the cabinet is composed of 13 secretaries and the attorney general.
Council of Economic Advisors
A three-member body appointed by the president to advise the president on economic policy.
A sudden, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous event requiring the president to play the role of crisis manager.
The political eqquivalent of an indictment in criminal law, prescribed by the Constitution. The House of Representatives may impeach the president by a majority vote for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
legislative veto
The ability of Congress to override a presidential decision. Although the War Powers Resolution asserts this authority, there is reason to believe that, if challenged, the Supreme Court would find the legislative veto in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.
National Security Council
An office created in 1947 to coordinate the president's foreign and military policy advisors. Its formal members are the president, vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense, and it is managed by the predident's national security advisor.
Office of Management and Budget.
An office that grew out of the Burean of the Budget, created in 1921, consisting of a hanful of political appointees and hundreds of skilled professionals. The OMB performs both managerial and budgetary functions.
pocket veto
A veto taking place when Congrees adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill to the president, who simply lets it die by neither signing nor vetoing it.
presidential coattails
These occur when voters cast their ballots for congressional candidates of the president's party because they support the president. Recent studies show that few races are won this way.
Twenty-fifth Amendment
Passed in 1951, this amendment permits the vice president to become acting president's cabinet determine that the president is disabled. The amendment also outlines how a recuperated president can reclaim the job.
Twenty-second Amendment
Passed in 1951, the amendment that limits presidents to two terms of office.
The constitutionsl power of the president to send a bill back to Congress with reasons for rejecting it. A two-thirds vote in each house can override a veto.
War Powers Resolution
A law, passed in 1973 in reaction to American fighting in Vietnam and Cambodia, requiring presidents to consult with Congress whenever possible prior to using military force and to withdraw forces after 60 days unless Congress declares war or grants an extension. Presidents view the resolution as unconstitutional.
The events and scandal surrounding a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972 and the subsequent cover-up of White House involvement, leading to the eventual resignation of President Nixon under the threat of impeachment.
appropriations bill
an act of Congress that actually funds programs within limits established by authorization bills
authorization bill
an act of Congress that establishes, continues, or changes a discretionary government program or an entitlement
a policy document allocating burdens and benefits
budget resolution
a resolution binding Congress to a total expenditure level, supposedly the bottom line of all federal spending for all programs
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1972
An act designed to reform the congressional budgetary process, including by forcing Congress to look at the budget as a whole
Congressional Budget Office
Advises Congress on the probable consequences of its decisions, forecasts revenues, and is a counterweight to the president's Office of Management and Budget
continuing resolutions
wen congress cannot reach agreement and pass appropriations bills, these resolutions allow agencies to spend at the level of the precious year
an excess of federal expenditures over federal revenues
Policies for which Congress has obligated itself to pay X level of benefits to Y number of recipients
government spending
federal debt
all the money borrowed by the federal government over the years and still outstanding
House Ways and Means Committee
The House of Representatives committee that writes the tax codes, subject to the approval of Congress as a whole
income tax
shares of individual wages and corporate revenues collected by the government
A description of the budget process where the best predictor of this year's budget is last year's budget, plus a little bit more
A program added to the Social Security system in 1965 that provides health insurance for the elderly, covering hospitalization, doctor fees, and other health expenses
a congressional process through which program authorizations are revised to achieve required savings
the financial resources of the government
Senate Finance Committee
The senate committee that writes the tax codes, subject to the approval of Congress as a whole
sixteenth amendment
the constitutional amendment adopted in 1913 that explicitly permitted Congress to levy an income tax
Social Security Act
A 1935 law intended to provide a minimal level of sustenance to older Americans and thus save them from poverty
tax expenditures
revenue losses that result from special exemptions, exclusions, or deductions allowed by federal tax law
uncontrollable expenditures
Expenditures that are determines by how many eligible beneficiaries there are for a program or by previous obligations of the government and that Congress therefor cannot easily control
administrative discretion
The authority of administrative actors to select among various responses to a given problem. It is greatest when routines, or standard operating procedures, do not fit a case.
According to Max Weber, a hierarchical authority structure that uses task specialization, operates on the merit principle, and behaves with impersonality. It governs modern states.
civil service
A system of hiring and promotion based on the merit principle and the desire to create a nonpartisan government service.
command-and-control policy
According to Charles Schultze, the existing system of regulation whereby government tells business how to reach certain goals, checks that these commands are followed, and punishes offenders.
The lifting of restrictions on business, industry, and professional activities for which government rules had been established and that bureaucracies had been created to administer.
executive orders
Regulations originating from the executive branch. They are one method presidents can use to control the bureaucracy.
government corporations
Government organizations that, like business corporations, provide a service that could be provided by the private sector and typically charges for its services. The U.S. Postal Service is an example.
GS (General Schedule) rating
A schedule for federal employees, ranging from 1 to 18, by which salaries can be keyed to rating and experience.
Hatch Act
A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.
incentive system
According to Charles Schultze, a more effective and efficient policy than command-and-control; in this system, market-like strategies are used to manage public policy.
independent executive agency
The government not accounted for by cabinet departments, independent regulatory agencies, and government corporations. Its administrators are typically appointed by the president and serve at the president's pleasure. NASA is an example.
independent regulatory agency
A government agency responsible for some sector of the economy, making and enforcing rules to protect the public interest. It also judges disputes over these rules.
iron triangles
A mutually dependent relationship between bureaucratic agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees. They dominate some areas of domestic policymaking.
merit principle
The idea that hiring should be based on entrance exams and promotion ratings rather than "who you know" to produce administration by people with talent and skill.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
The office in charge of hiring for most agencies of the federal government, using elaborate rules in the process.
One of the key inducements used by political machines. A ___________ job, promotion, or contract is one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone.
Pendleton Civil Service Act
Passed in 1883, an Act that created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather than patronage.
policy implementation
The stage of policymaking between the establishment of a policy and the consequences of the policy for the people whom it affects. It involves translating the goals and objectives of a policy into an operating, ongoing program.
The use of governmental authority to control or change some practice in the private sector. They pervade the daily lives of people and institutions.
Senior Executive Service (SES)
An elite cadre of about 9,000 federal government managers, established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, who are mostly career officials but include some political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation.
standard operating procedures (SOPs)
These are used by bureaucrats to bring uniformity to complex organizations. Uniformity improves fairness and makes personnel interchangeable.
street-level bureaucrats
A phrase coined by Michael Lipsky, referring to those bureaucrats who are in constant contact with the public and have considerable administrative discretion.
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties.
Appellate Jurisdiction
The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts
Class Action Lawsuits
lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated
Courts of Appeal
Appellate courts empowered to review all final decisions of district courts, except in rare cases.
District Courts
The 91 federal courts of original jurisdiction.
Judicial Activism
A judicial philosophy in which judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground.
Judicial Implementation
how and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of others
Judicial Restraint
A judicial philosophy in which judges play minimal policymaking roles, leaving that duty strictly to the legislatures
Judicial Review
the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
Justiciable Disputes
a requirement that to be heard a case must be capable of being settled as a matter of law rather than on other grounds as is commonly the case in legislative bodies
Marbury v. Madison
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review
a statement that expresses a person's judgment or belief
Original Intent
A view that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of the framers
Original Jurisdiction
the power of a court to hear a case first, before any other court
Political Questions
A doctrine developed by the federal courts and used as a means to avoid deciding some cases, principally those involving conflicts between the president and Congress.
a ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case
Senatorial Courtesy
Presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work.
Solicitor General
A presidential appointee and the third-ranking office in the Department of Justice, in charge of the appellate court litigation of the federal government.
Standing to Sue
the requirement that plaintiffs have a serious interest in a case
Stare Decisis
Let the decision stand; decisions are based on precedents from previous cases
Statutory Construction
The judicial interpretation of an act of Congress.
Supreme Court
The pinnacle of the American judicial system. The court ensures uniformity in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains national supremacy in law. It has both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction, but unlike other federal courts, it controls its own agenda.
Antitrust policy
Policy designed to ensure competition and prevent monopoly.
Arms race
A tense relationship beginning in the 1950s between the Soviet Union and the United States whereby one sides weaponry became the other side's goal to procure more weaponry and so on.
Balance of trade
The ratio of what is paid for imports to what is earned from exports. When more is paid than earned, there is a balance-of-trade deficit.
An economic system in which individuals and corporations, not the government, own the principal means of production and seek profits.
Central intelligence agency
An agency created after World War II to coordinate American Intelligence activities abroad and to collect, analyze and evaluate intelligence.
Clean air act of 1970
The law aimed at combating air pollution, by charging the EPA with protecting and improving the quality of the nations air.
Cold war
The hostility between the United States and the Soviet Union, which often brought them to the brink of war and which spanned the period from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union and eastern european communist regimes in 1989 and the years following.
Collective bargaining
Negotiations between representatives of labor unions and management to determine pay and acceptable working conditions.
Consumer price index
The key measure of inflation- the change in the cost of buying a fixed basket of goods and services.
Containment doctrine
A foreign policy strategy advocated by George Kennan that called for the United States to isolate the Soviet Union, "contain" its advances, and resist its encroachments by peaceful means if possible but by force if necessary.
A policy, beginning in the early 1970s, that sought a relaxation of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, coupled with firm guarantees of mutual security.
Earned income tax credit
The earned income tax credit, or the EITC, is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families, even if they did not earn enough money to be required file a tax return.
Endangered species act
A law requiring the federal government to protect all species listed as endangered.
Entitlement programs
Government programs providing benefits to qualified individuals regardless of need.
Environmental impact statement
A detailing of a proposed policy's environmental effects, which agencies are required to file with the EPA every time they propose to undertake a policy that might be disruptive to the environment.
Environmental protection agency
The largest federal independent regulatory agency, created in 1970 to administer much of U.S. environmental protection policy.
European union
A transnational government composed of most European nations that coordinates monetary, trade, immigration and labor policies, making its members of economic unit.
Federal reserve system
The main instrument for making monetary policy in the United States. It was created by Congress in 1913 to regulate the lending practices of banks and thus the money supply.
Feminization of poverty
The increasing concentration of poverty among women, especially unmarried women and their children.
Fiscal policy
Use of the federal budget- taxes, spending and borrowing- to influence the economy; along with monetary policy; a main tool by which the government can attempt to steer the economy. Fiscal policy is almost entirely determined by Congress and the president.
Food and drug administration
The federal agency formed in 1913, with broad regulatory powers over the manufacturing, contents, marketing and labeling of foods and drugs sold in the United States.
Foreign policy
Policy that involves choice taking about relations with the rest of the world. The president is the chief initiator of U.S. foreign policy.
Global warming
The increase in the Earth's temperatures that, according to most scientists, is occurring as a result of the carbon dioxide that is produced when fossil fuels are burned collecting in the atmosphere and trapping energy from the sun.
Health maintenance organization
Organization contracted by individuals or insurance companies to provide health care for a yearly fee. Such network health plans limit the choice of doctors and treatments. More than half of Americans are enrolled in health maintenance organizations or similar programs.
The amount of money connected between any two points in time.
Income distribution
The way the national income is divided into "shares" ranging from the poor to the rich.
A rise in price of goods and services.
Mutual reliance, as in the economic realm in which actions in nations reverberate and affect the economic well-being of people in other nations.
The foreign policy course the United States followed throughout most of its history whereby it tried to stay out of other nations' conflicts, particularly European war.
Joint chiefs of staff
A group that consists of the commanding officers of each of the armed services, a chairperson, and a vice chairperson and advises the president on military policy.
Keynesian economic theory
Named after English economist John Maynard Keynes, the theory emphasizing that government spending and deficits can help the economy deal with its ups and downs proponents of this theory advocates using the power of government to stimulate the economy when it is lagging.
Labor union
An organization of workers intended to engage in collective bargaining.
The principle that government should not meddle in the economy.
Means-tested programs
Government programs providing benefits only to individuals who qualify based on specific needs.
A public assistance program designed to provide health care for poor Americans and funded by both the states and the national government.
A program added to the social security system in 1965 that provides hospitalization insurance for the elderly and permits older Americans to purchase inexpensive coverage for doctor fees and other medical expenses.
Minimum wage
The legal minimum hourly wage to which most workers are entitled.
Mixed economy
An economic system in which the government is deeply involved in economic decisions (as thought its roles as regulator, consumer, subsidizer, taxer, employer and borrower)
An economic theory holding that the supply of money is the key to a nation's economic health, with too much cash and credit in circulation producing inflation.
Monetary policy
Government manipulation of the supply of money in private hands one of two important tools by which the government can attempt to steer the economy.
Multinational corporations
Businesses with vast holdings in many countries
National environmental policy act
Passed in 1969, the centerpiece of federal environmental policy, which requires agencies to file environmental impact statements.
National health insurance
A compulsory insurance program for all Americans that would have the government finance citizens' medical care. First proposed by president Harry S. Truman.
National labor relations act
A 1935 law, also known as the Wagner Act that guarantees workers the right of collective bargaining, sets down rules to protect unions and organizers, and created the national labor relations board to regulate labor-management relations.
North atlantic treaty organization
A regional organization that was created in 1949 by nations including the United States, Canada, and most Western European nations for mutual defense and has subsequently been expanded.
Organization of petroleum exporting countries
An economic organization consisting primarily of middle eastern nations that seeks to control the amount of oil its members produce and sell to other nations and hence the price of oil.
Personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act
The welfare reform law of 1996, which implemented the temporary assistance for needy families program.
Poverty line
The income threshold below which people are considered poor, based on what a family must spend for an "austere" standard of living, traditionally set at 3 times the cost of a subsistence diet.
Progressive tax
A tax by which the government takes a greater shame of the income of the rich than of the poor- for example, when a rich family pays 50 percent of its income in taxes, and a poor family pays 5 percent.
Proportional tax
A tax by which the government takes the same share of income form everyone rich and poor alike.
Economic policy of shielding in an economy from imports.
Regressive tax
A tax in which the burden falls relatively more heavily on low-income groups than on wealthy tax prayers. The opposite of a progressive tax, in which tax rates increase as income increases.
Relative deprivation
A perception by an individual that he or she is not doing well economically in comparison to others.
Secretary of defense
The head of the department of defense and the presidents key adviser on military policy and as such a key foreign policy actor.
Secretary of state
The head of the department of state and traditionally the key adviser to the president on foreign policy.
Securities and exchange commission
The federal agency created during the New Deal that regulates the stock market.
Social security act of 1935
Created both the social security program and a national assistance program for poor families, usually called aid to families with dependent children.
Social security trust fund
The "account" into which social security employee and employer contributions are "deposited" and used to pay out eligible recipients.
Social welfare policies
Policies that provide benefits, cash or in-kind, to individuals, based on either entitlement or means testing.
A fund created by Congress in 1980 to clean up hazardous waste sites. Money for the fund comes form taxing chemical products.
Supply-side economics
An economic theory, first applied during the Reagan administration, holding that they key task for fiscal policy is to stimulate the supply of goods, as by cutting tax rates.
A special tax added to imported goods to raise their price, thereby protecting businesses and workers from foreign competition.
Temporary assistance for needy families
Replacing aid to families with dependent children as the program for public assistance to needy families, TANF requires people on welfare to find work within two years and sets a lifetime maximum of five years.
Transfer payments
Benefits given by the government directly individuals-either cash transfers, such as social security payments, or in kind transfers, such as food stamps and low-interest college loans.
Underemployment rate
As measured by the Bureau of Labor statistics, a statistic that includes, along with the unemployed, discouraged workers and people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work.
Unemployment rate
As measured by the Bureau of Labor statistics, the proportion of the labor force actively seeking work but unable to find jobs.
United nations
Created in 1945 and currently including 192 member nations, with a certain peacekeeping mission and programs in areas including economic development and health, education and welfare. THe seat of real power in the UN is the security council.
Water pollution control act of 1972
A law intended to clean up the nations rivers and lakes, by enabling regulation of point sources of pollution.
The value of assets owned.
World trade organization
International organization that promotes free trade.