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Politics of the United States
APUSH- Semester 2 Final Exam (The Constitution Test)
Terms in this set (64)
The Legislative Branch (Congress)
it is Bicameral or made up of 2 houses: House of Representatives and Senate
Responsibility of the Legislative Branch
to legislate/ make laws
Qualifications for House
-representatives are elected every 2 years
-must be 25 years old, 7 year citizen of US, inhabitant of state they represent
Role of the Vice President
-Vice President is the Head of the Senate
-Only time he/she votes is to break a tie
-In his/her absence, Senate is presided over by a President pro tempore (elected by majority)
Impeachment- Senate's Role
-The House has sole power of impeachment- formal accusation of crime
-Impeachment trial of President is carried out in the Senate and is presided over by the Chief Justice
Overriding a Presidential Veto
-The President has 10 days to approve or veto a bill.
-If the President rejects the bill, the Congress can override a veto by ⅔ majority vote.
-If the President holds the bill for 10 days and Congress adjourns, the bill doesn't become a law. This is called a pocket veto.
-specific powers given to Congress are called enumerated/expressed/delegated powers
-These powers include:
-lay and collect taxes
-regulated interstate and foreign trade
-army/navy/state militia control
-naturalization laws- immigration policies
-The last clause in section 8, called the elastic clause, allows Congress to make laws necessary to carry out the enumerated powers. It "stretches" the power of Congress.
The Executive Branch
Responsibility of the Executive Branch
to execute/enforce laws
Head of the Executive Branch
The President of the United States
Qualifications for President of US
-President must be 35 years old, natural born citizen of US, and a 14 year resident of US
-Natural born citizen= born in US OR parent(s) is/are US citizens even if you were not born in US
-important military and civil powers
-Commander in Chief of US military
-Diplomat in Chief- welcomes foreign leaders to US
-negotiates treaties and nominates federal officials (must be approved by Senate)
-fills vacancies during Senate recess
-grants pardons for federal crimes
-commander and chief of navy/army
-represent USA in foreign affairs
-convene both houses
-ensure laws are executed
Electoral Votes Formula
-The president is not elected directly, but through an electoral college.
-electoral votes for each state are the number of senators (2 per state) + the number of representatives in the House for that state
-The first candidate to reach 270 electoral votes wins the presidency.
Term Limits on Executive
-President can only serve 2 full terms. Each term is 4 years.
-If VP assumes the presidency, he/she can only serve as president for 10 years total.
The Judicial Branch
Responsibility of the Judicial Branch
to judge/interpret laws
-The Supreme Court is the highest court of the 3 levels of courts.
-The Supreme Court is the only one set up by the Constitution.
-This court has 9 judges, headed by a Chief Justice (term is for life)
Appointment of Judges
Federal justices are appointed by the President with Senate approval.
Length of term of SC judges
-Supreme Court justices serve for life, as long as they continue to have good behavior.
-They can only be removed from office by impeachment.
Crimes defined by the Constitution
-The only crime defined in the Constitution is treason.
-In order to be found guilty of this crime, you must:
-levy war against the US
-adhere to US enemies, giving aid and
comfort to enemies of the US
-While not specifically stated, the courts have the power of judicial review, which means constitutional validity by the courts. They can decide whether or not an act/law is constitutional.
-This power was established in an early Supreme Court decision: Marbury v. Madison (1803).
Power to add territories/states
Article Four: Congress has the power to admit new states and make laws for federal territory and property.
Republican form of government
Article Four: Every state is guaranteed a representative (Republican) form of government.
Supreme Law of the land
Article Six can be summarized by saying that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land- state/local government cannot override the Constitution.
-Article Seven stated that in order for the Constitution to become our plan of government, 9 states out of 13 had to accept/ratify it.
-The first state to ratify the Constitution was Delaware, on December 7, 1787.
-The ninth state to ratify the Constitution was New Hampshire, in June 1788.
-The last of the 13 states to ratify the Constitution was Rhode Island, in May 1790.
When Constitution became law
The Constitution became law when New Hampshire, the ninth state, ratified it in June 1788.
Bill of Rights: 1st Amendment
(Freedom of Expression)- freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petitioning the government- (this only protects people from the government, not private institutions) Establishes the people's right to criticize the government.
Bill of Rights: 2nd Amendment
A well-regulated, armed militia is necessary/allowed/granted for the security of a state. People have the right to bear arms.
Bill of Rights: 3rd Amendment
Soldiers may not be ordered to live in someone's house without their consent in peacetime (no quartering).
Bill of Rights: 4th Amendment
Unreasonable searches and seizures are forbidden without a search warrant. A search warrant can only be obtained from having a probable cause/ good reason.
Bill of Rights: 5th Amendment
You cannot be compelled to testify against yourself. Once on trial and found not guilty, you cannot be put on trial again. You cannot be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process. The government cannot take private property for its own use without fair payment.
Bill of Rights: 6th Amendment
An accused person has the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury. An accused person has the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense (attorney).
Bill of Rights: 7th Amendment
The rules of common law are recognized- right to a trial by jury if the money involved is over $20 for a civil trial (between 2 people, not the government).
Bill of Rights: 8th Amendment
Excessive fines/bails are forbidden. Unusual and cruel punishments are forbidden.
Bill of Rights: 9th Amendment
The people have rights that are not clearly listed here in the Constitution- unenumerated rights. Their rights are not limited to those listed in the Constitution.
Bill of Rights: 10th Amendment
Powers not given/listed to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved for the states and the people.
Prohibits a citizen of one state from suing another state in a federal court
Requires that electors for president and vice president clearly identify the person they choose for each office. (ratified after they decided against having the runner-up for president become VP)
Forbids slavery in the United States
Requires that states give all people equal protection under the law. (ratified to give African American men additional civil rights/protection after the abolition of slavery)
Prohibits denying voting rights because of race. (ratified to give African American men/ former slaves the right to vote)
Establishes Congress's right to pass an income tax
Changes the way in which U.S. senators are elected- now direct election of senators, not by the choosing of state governors
Establishes Prohibition- makes alcohol illegal
Prohibits denying the right to vote based on sex (ratified to give women the right to vote)
Shortens the time between elections and taking office- Lame Duck period
Repeals 18th Amendment- makes alcohol legal again (ratified in order to boost economy during the Great Depression)
Limits the number of presidential terms- now only 2 terms are allowed (ratified after FDR served 4 terms)
Gives residents of Washington, D.C. the right to vote in presidential elections- finally gives them 3 electoral votes in the electoral college
Forbids a tax on voting
Establishes when and how the Vice President can take over presidential powers
Extends suffrage to citizens who are 18 years of age- previously had to be 21 to vote, but because of all the male 18 year olds being shipped off to and dying in Vietnam, the voting age was lowered so youth had a voice.
Deals with pay raises for members of Congress
House of reps.
Elected every 2 years , based on population, head is called Speaker of the House, SOLE POWER OF IMPEACHMENT
elected every 6 years, based 2 per state, head is the Vice President who only votes to break a tie, IMPEACHMENT CARRIED OUT HERE
Qualifications for senate
elected every 6 years
30 years old
citizen where elected
citizen for 9 years
why is the senate considered a "continuing body"
every 2 years, 1/3 of it is up for reelection
Head of the senate special circumstances
only participates to break a tie
if absent, filled by the president pro tempore (highest ranking senator of majority party)
how bill becomes a law
must pass through both houses with a majority vote, president has to sign it, if he doesn't they can override with a 2/3 majority vote
enter into treaties, make money, pass expost facto laws, declare war, ect
federal gov. cannot
suspend habeus corpus, pass bills of attainders, expost facto laws, etc
how to amend the constitution:
2/3 of the senate
2/3 of all state legislatures
3/4 of all state legislatures
3/4 of special ratifying conventions
Recommended textbook explanations
United States Government: Our Democracy
United States Government: Our Democracy
Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy
Magruder's American Government (Texas)
Daniel M. Shea
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