American Government Midterm
Terms in this set (53)
having supreme power
the organization that is the governing authority of a political unit
the course of action the government takes in response to an issue or problem
a joining of several groups for a common purpose
form of government in which the leader has absolute power and authority
system where legislative and executive functions are combined in a legislature called a parliament
A centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single central agency
law determining the fundamental political principles of a government
The power to make a law and to frame public policies.
market-based economic system with limited government involvement
This document, signed by King John of Endland in 1215, is the cornerstone of English justice and law. It declared that the king and government were bound by the same laws as other citizens of England. It contained the antecedents of the ideas of due process and the right to a fair and speedy trial that are included in the protection offered by the U.S. Bill of Rights
composed of two legislative bodies
refuse to buy
an accommodation in which both sides make concessions
group of delegates who drafted the United States Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787
Supporters of the Constitution that were led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. They firmly believed the national government should be strong. They didn't want the Bill of Rights because they felt citizens' rights were already well protected by the Constitution.
The minimum number of members who must be present to permit a legislative body to take official action
an unincorporated business owned by a single person who is responsible for its liabilities and entitled to its profits
basic principle of American government which states that government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that government cannot take away
a person appointed or elected to represent others
a grant of federal money to state and local governments to support social welfare programs
act of admission
a congressional act admitting a new state to the union
This is a grant ($) given to the states by the federal government for a specific purpose or program. The federal government tells the states exactly how to spend the money (no state discretion unlike block grants). Example = Medicaid. This is the most common type of federal grant because it gives Congress the most control over the states.
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
An agreement among two or more states. Congress must approve most such agreements.
Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people
Those powers that can be exercised by the National Government alone
distribution of part of the federal tax income to states and municipalities
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 provision in a law that confers on appropriate officials the power to implement or enforce the law
A change in meaning, but not the wording, of the Constitution.
the body of electors who formally elect the United States president and vice-president
the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
checks and balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law
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.
change or addition that becomes part of the written language of the Constitution itself through one of four methods set forth in the Constitution
rule of law
principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern
a formal agreement between the governments of two or more countries
1. Briefly describe the four theories that attempt to explain the origin of the state.
1.The Force Theory: controlling an area and the people using force
2.Evolutionary theory: governments evolved from the family, clan, tribes, etc.
3.Divine Right: the right to rule is given by God
4.Social contract theory: people give power to the government and have rights
2. What three questions can be used to classify governments?
1.Who can participate in the governing process,
2. What is the geographic distribution of governmental power within the state
3. What is the relationship between the legislative and the executive branches of the government.
3. Name and briefly describe the three forms of government that can result depending on how government power is distributed.
1.) A centralized power, as in a monarchy, dictatorship, or unitary government
2.) A confederation where individual states remain autonomous and have most of the power.
3.) A republic that shares power between the central (federal) and state governments,
4. What are four basic concepts of democracy?
1.Necessity of compromise
2. Equality of all persons
3.Majority rule with minority rights
4. Individual Liberty
5. Identify and describe the three types of government in the English Colonies.
Royal Colonies: is were subject to the direct control of the Crown.
Proprietary Colonies: a proprietor was a person to whom the king had made a grant of land.
Charter Colonies: was largely self-governed
6. What were the Articles of Confederation? Identify at least 3 weaknesses of the government under the Articles of Confederation.
The Articles of Confederation was the original binding document of the United States and served as the supreme law of the land until the ratification of the United States Constitution. Congress could not raise taxes, it was dependent on the states for revenues. The national government could not raise an army. Congress could not properly regulate interstate commerce.
7. Identify the New Jersey Plan the Virginia Plan and the Conn. Compromise.
The New Jersey Plan
3 Branches - legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature appoints people to serve in the executive branch, and the executive branch selects the justices of the Supreme Court.
Legislature One house (unicameral). States would be represented equally, so all states had the same power.
The Virginia Plan
3 Branches - legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature was more powerful, as it chose people to serve in the executive and judicial branches.
Legislature Two houses (bicameral). The House of Representatives was elected by the people and the Senate was elected by the state legislatures. Both were represented proportionally.
CT Compromise/Great Compromise
Benefitted both large and small states. Bicameral legislature. Representation in the House based on population; equal representation in the Senate.
8. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? When and Where? What rights are outlined in the document?
1776-Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. However, five men from the Constitutional Convention were delegated as a committee to write it. In addition to Thomas Jefferson they were
Robert R. Livingston
The Declaration of Independence states all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
9. What is the role of the Supreme Court in the federal system?
It gives them the power to check the actions of the president and congress, if necessary.
10. According to the Constitution... What are the National Government's obligations to the States?
According to the Constitution, the national government is obligated to (a) guarantee each state a republican form of government, (b) protect each state from invasion, and (c) when asked by the state legislature - or executive if the legislature is not in session - to protect the state against "domestic violence."
11. In what ways do the States aid the National Government?
The state courts aid in the process of naturalization, where this most often takes place. State and local police officers aid the F.B.I. by detaining those who commit federal crimes, and holding them in local jails.
12. How does the formal amendment process show the importance of federalism?
the formal amendment process emphasized the federal character of government - proposal is national level and ratification is at a state by state matter. when the constitution is amended, the action represents the expression of the people's sovereign will.
13. How can the Supreme Court check the legislative branch? How can the President check the legislative branch?
It can interpret whether if the laws passed by the legislative branch and approved by the executive branch are constitutional or not. If the president does not agree with the legislative branch, he can veto the legislation, but the legislative branch can override the veto by vetoing on it again and passing the bill by a 2/3 majority.
14. What are four ways that the Constitution can be informally amended?
The passage of basic legislation by Congress
Actions taken by the President
Key decisions of the Supreme Court
The activities of political ties; and
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