Szucs Government Final
Terms in this set (100)
Social Contract Theory
Most significant theory explaining the origins of the state, arguing that early people traded power for protection, and created a government to perform duties for the greater good
The government acting as a servant to the people, generally referring to services that benefit all people Examples include public schools, protecting water quality,
Executive and Legislative branches are separate, president is independent of legislature and wields different powers
Located in states that have supreme and absolute power within territory, distinguishes states from other political units
Concepts of Democracy
1. Recognizes fundamental worth of each individual
2. All persons are equal
3. Majority rule, minority rights
4. Necessity of compromise
5. Widest possible degree of individual freedom
Justification for Taxation
By forcing people to pay taxes, democracy serves the interests of the many who as individuals, make up society
Balance between Freedom and Anarchy Phrase
"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Democracy/Highest Value On
The belief of free exchange of ideas
Democracy insists that each individual is the equal of all others. Compromise must be used to find the position most acceptable to the majority. It is a process of blending and adjusting competing views
The tenth amendment identifies the powers given to the states: all powers the Constitution does not grant to the national government go to the states
Reason Behind Name
Congress is given the implied power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper.
Called 'elastic' because it has been stretched so many times
"Ladder of Laws"
Acts of Congress and Treaties
City and County charters and ordinances
Full Faith and Credit Clause
The Full Faith and Credit Clause means the acts, records, and judicial proceedings in one state are legally valid in all 50 states.
Exceptions: One state cannot enforce another's criminal law, and full faith and credit does not have to be given to divorces by one state in another
The English brought over the ideas of a government that was ordered, limited, and representative
People form governments to protect their natural rights, Therefore the government can exist and function only with the consent of the governed
Compromise between states decreeing that when population was counted, all free persons counted as one, and all other individuals (slaves) counted as three-fifths
Major Sources of the Contitution
1. Governments of ancient Greece and Rome and 18th century Britain and Europe
2. Political writing such as William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, Baron de Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, Jean Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract, and John Locke's Two Treatises of Government
3. The experiences of the framers
The powers delegated to the government are granted reluctantly and hedged with many restrictions. Therefore a government may only do the things the people has given it the power to do
Checks and Balances
The three branches of the government are tied together by a complex system in which each branch is subject to a number of restraints (checks) by the other branches to prevent one branch from gaining to much power (balances)
The division of power among a central government and several regional governments
Federalism/Amendment Process Relationship
In the amendment process both the majority of the national government (2/3) and the state governments (3/4) must approve the amendment. Proposal takes place at a national level but ratification is a state by state matter
Amending the Constitution
Why it is so Diffucult
The Framers made it hard to amend the Constitution in order to protect the majority of its content from major change. It is a long process that requires 2/3 of the national government and 3/4 of the state government to pass an ammendment
Custom made into Formal Amendment
1. The vice president becomes president if the president dies (25 amendment)
2. No third term custom for president (22 amendment)
The national government draws its power from the people of the United Stats, and the people have given their government the power that is through the Constitution
Examples of Checks and Balances
Legislative to Judicial: Congress creates lower courts and impeach judges; Senate approves appointment of judges
Legislative to Executive: Congress makes law, agencies, and programs; handles funds; veto; and may impeach president; Senate approves treaties and presidential appointments
Executive to Judicial: President appoints Supreme Court justice and federal judges
Executive to Legislative: President may veto legislation, call special sessions, recommend legislation, and appeal to the people
Judicial to Executive: Judges are appointed for life free from executive control: courts may declare executive actions unconstitutional
Judicial to Legislative: courts may declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
Federalism and Why it was a Compromise
It was a compromise between the system of nearly independent states loosely tied to one another in the weak Articles of Confederation and a much feared, too powerful central government
Longevity of the Constitution
Been in use longer than any other constitution, mainly because the document has been changed, grown, and adapted
Informal Amendment Process
1. Passage of basic legislation from Congress
2. Actions taken by the president
3. Key decisions of the Supreme Court
4. Activities of political parties
Bill of Rights
Guarantees freedom off belief, expression, and security of the person, fair and equal treatment before law and reserved powers in federal system
Created by an informal amendment we have by custom
Description of Limited Government
The powers delegated to the government are granted reluctantly and hedged with many restrictions. Therefore a government may only do the things the people has given it the power to do.
Checks and Balances
Growth and Change of the Constitution
There is much room for interpretation in the Constitution. Over time, the Constitution changes due to informal amendments.
Location of the basic rights of people
Bill of Rights
Formal Amendments Proposal
1. Congress proposes with a 2/3 vote
2. National convention called by Congress when requested by 2/3 (34) state legislatures
Legislative Check on Judicial Branch
Congress creates lowers courts and may impeach judges, Senate approves appointment of judges
Bill of Rights Guarentees
Federal System of Government
The division of power among a central government and several regional governments
First ratified amendment
The First Amendment (along with Bill of Rights) creating the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
Has the power to make law and frame public policies
Executive checks on Judicial Branch
The president appoints Supreme Court and and federal justices
Goal of political Party
To seek control of the government through winning elections and holding public office
Parties Reduce Conflict?
They bring conflicting groups together by modifying and compromise among contending views of different interests and groups. They soften the impact of extremists on both ends of the spectrum
Separation of Powers
Encourages cooperation between?
Encourages cooperation between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches
Function of "loyal opposition"
Opposed to the party in power, but loyal to the people and nation
Two Party System
When it started?
System where two major political parties dominate the government
America began as a two party system, with the birth of the first two parties
Ideological Homogeneous Poeple
Ideally, a people who share many of the same ideals, basic principles, and patterns of belief
Produce broader, more diverse representation of the electorate.
Produce instability due alliances of several groups to for a majority to control (coalition)
Groups supporting Democrats?
African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and union members
Minor parties sometimes end up taking away votes from the main party they side with and ruin the major party's ability to win
Different from Major Parties?
Minor parties generally tend to focus more specifically on one topic
Did universal white male suffrage exist at the ratification of the constitution?
No, men had to own property, pay taxes, and be Protestant
Largest Group of Disenfranchised Citizens (until recently)
When was the 15th amendment ratified?
Who did the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensure rights for?
All people, regardless of race, color, and especially African Americans
Reasoning behind residence requirements?
They were put in place to keep parties from importing biased voters and affecting the outcome of an election
Why were literacy tests banned?
They were banned in the Voting Act Amendments of 1970 because they discriminated against certain groups
The 15th amendment states the right to vote cannot be withheld from anyone based on race, color, or previous servitude.
It was not enforced for almost 90 years, with whites using violence and biased voting laws to keep minorities from voting
Drawing district lines in order to limit the strength of a party
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was extended ten years later to force all states/counties where 5% of the voting age population belonged to a certain language minority to print ballots in English and the minority language
Increase in African American Voting Rights?
They were increased due to the 15th amendment, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
What did the Civil Rights act of 1957 establish?
The United States Civil RIghts Comission, which inquired claims of voter discrimination
Which law made the 15th Amendment truly effective?
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
In which elections are more people likely to vote?
1. Income: Lower=Democratic
2. Education: Lower=Democratic
3. Gender: Women=Democratic
4. Age: 30 and under=Democratic
5. Religion: Catholic/Jew=Democratic
6. Race: Black=Democratic
8. People vote similarly to their family
Measurable differences between party choices in men and women: creates, very different views on modern issues associated with gender
Basic Function of Congress
Translating public will into law
Reason behind bicameralism
1. Historical: Already familiar with British bicameral parliamentary system and the colonies had bicameral congresses
2. Practical: Settled conflict between Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan
3. Theoretical: One house might as well check the other
Reason behind the equal number of senators from each state?
Compromise between New Jersey and Virginia Plans, making one house (House of Representatives) a ratio to the population in the state, and the other house (Senate) an equal representation from each state
Number of Seats in the House of Representatives?
When are congressional elections held?
The Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every even numbered year
Principle of Wesberry v. Sanders
Case based on the unfairness of gerrymandering, based on the differences among Georgia's congressional districts
Why is the Senate a continuous body?
The terms are staggered so that there is never an election where all the seats are up for election
Reason behind the upper house?
The smaller senate is more enlightened and has more responsibilities, so qualifications are harder and term is longer
Reason behind senate six year term?
Gives senators a degree of job security, so they can look at big problems instead of worrying about being reelected
Congressional Pay Limits
Voter Backlash: Angry reactions from voters
Congressmen are reluctant to vote to raise their salaries out of fear from voter backlash
Free Speech in Congress
Congress members are never persecuted for anything they say to protect the freedom of legislation and to keep congressmen from feeling restrained from speaking about contentious issues
No president may serve more than 2 terms or 10 years
Example of custom made into law
Line of Succession to Presidency
Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of the Senate
Secretary of the State
Secretary of the Treasury
and so on...
Vice Presidential Duties
1. Preside over senate
2. Help decide question of presidential disability
Balance the Ticket
Parties will choose running mates who strengthen their chance of being elected by having ideological, geographic, racial, ethnic, gender, and other characteristics
How many electors per state?
Same number as congress members, so a ratio representing population
Why did the Framers oppose popular vote for a president?
They felt it would cause disorder: people were too scattered to make wise and informed decisions
Presidential candidate come from what group?
Generally elective offices, like governors and senators
Group never on a presidential ticket?
Why are party platforms criticized?
Criticized for being to bland, because they have to appeal to as many people as possible and don't want to offend anyone
Reason why there is not a popular election of the president?
The Framers thought the electoral college were the most enlightened and respectable citizens, and that they would therefore make the best decision
Congresses power in foreign affairs?
How? (Congressional power in foreign affairs)
Given power in Constitution
They approve all treaties, control all the money, regulate trade, and define and punish international law
"One world" Meaning
Our country had a lot in common with the rest of the world
Who makes foreign policy?
The president: everything they do is seen internationally
What areas are included in foreign policy?
Every aspect concerning relations with other countries: military, diplomacy, trade, commercial, etc.
Reason behind civilian control of the military?
The free standing military was necessary to defend the country, but it was also the greatest threat to freedom, so the people commanded their own military
President's chief military advisers?
Joint chiefs of Staff (Head of Air Force, Head of Navy, Head of Marine Corps, Head of Army, Head of National Guard)
Purpose of United States Information Agency
To understand, inform and influence foreign populations of the good things the US is doing
Good Neighbor Policy
"Speak softly, and carry a big stick." -Roosevelt
Foreign policy based on non-intervention in foreign domestic affairs
In Latin America, Western Hemisphere
A plan to help rebuild Europe after World War Two to prevent the takeover of communism
Recent Foreign aid to?
Asia, Latin America
Regional Security Alliances
Treaties in which the US and other countries agree to take collective action to fight aggression
They help fight economic hardship and violence
Examples of Regional Security Alliances
NATO, (Western Europe) RIO, (Latin America), ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, US)
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