Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account

Vocab and other stuff for the AP


One of three key consequences of electoral campaigns for voters, in which the voter is activated to contribute money or ring doorbells instead of just voting.

Adarand Constructors v. Peña

1995 SuCo decision: Federal programs that classify based on race should be assumed unconstitutional and put up to strict scrutiny. They're only okay if they are "narrowly tailored" for a "compelling governmental interest."

Affirmative Action

A policy designed to give special compensation to a previously disadvantaged group.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the disabled, and not to discriminate against them in hiring.

amicus curiae briefs

Briefs submitted to the court by outside parties to influence the decision.


At the time of the Con, they argued that the Con was a class based document, would erode fundamental liberties and weaken the states.

antitrust policy

Policy that ensures competition and prevents monopoly.

appropriations bill

Act of Cong that funds programs within authorized limits. Usually these bills are annual.

Articles of Confederation

First Con, adopted in 1777, enacted in 1781. They established a national legislature (Continental Congress), but left most authority with the states.

authorization bill

Act of Cong (type of bill) that makes or continues a government or entitlement program, also defines budget limits for said program.

Barron v. Baltimore

1833 SuCo: The Bill of Rights only applies to the National Gvt.

bicameral legislature

A legislature divided into 2 houses, such as the US Congress and most state legislatures.


A proposed law written in legal language. Only o member of Congress can submit one, although anyone can write one.

Bill of Rights

First 10 Amendments written to satiate Anti-Federalists. They define basic liberties and rights.

blanket primaries

Primaries in which voters can be from and vote for any party.

block grants

Federal grants automatically given to states to support broad programs. (Compared to categorical grants)

Brown v. Board of Education

1954 SuCo: School segregation is unconstitutional because it violates the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection. Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson.


A policy document allocating taxes and expenditures,

budget resolution

The bottom line for all federal spending.


A system of departments and agencies formed to carry out the work of government.


A group of presidential advisers. Consists of 14 secretaries and the attorney general.

campaign strategy

Master game plan of a political campaign.


An economic system in which individuals and corporations, not the government, own the principle means of production and seek profit.


Pork barreling, basically. Activities of Congressmen that help individual constituents.

categorical grants

Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes. These grants have strings attached. (Compare to block grants)

congressional caucus

A group of Congressmen sharing an interest or characteristic. (Not the party version)

state party caucus

A meeting of all state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national party convention. Usuall organized as a pyramid (Not the congressional version)


Government regulation of media content.


Demographics report required by the Constitution to be redone every 10 years.

checks and balances

An important part of the Madisonian model designed to limit government's power by requiring power to be balanced among different institutions that check each other's activities.

civic duty

The belief that it is a citizen's duty to vote in order to support democracy.

civil disobedience

A form of political participation where people consciously break a law and suffer the consequences to make a point.

civil law

Judicial law not involving criminal charges. Cases are between 2 parties and involve common law.

civil liberties

Legal constitutional protections against government. (compare to civil rights)

civil rights

Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government.(Compare to civil liberties)

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Law that made racial discrimination in public places illegal and forbade many forms of job discrimination. It created the EEOC to monitor itself, provided for the withholding of federal grants to nonconformers, strengthened voting rights legislation, and authorized lawsuits that advanced desegregation.

civil rights movement

movement in the United States beginning in the 1960s and led primarily by Blacks in an effort to establish the civil rights of individual Black citizens

civil rights policies

Policies that extend government protection to particular disadvantaged groups.

class action suits

Lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all others similarly situated.

Clean Air Act of 1970

Law that charged the Department of Transportation with the responsibility of reducing automobile emissions.

Clean Water Act of 1972

Law intended to clean up the nation's rivers and lakes.

closed primaries

Primaries in which only registered voters can participate.

collective bargaining

Bargaining between representatives of labor unions and management to determine acceptable working conditions.

committee chairs

The most important influencers of congressional agenda. They play dominant rules in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees and managing committee bills when they're in front of the full house.

congressional committees

Conference, joint, select and standing committees.

common law

The accumulation of past judicial decisions applied in civil law disputes.

comparable worth

The issue raised when women are paid less than men for working jobs that require comparable skill.

conference committees

Congressional committees directed to reconcile House and Senate versions of a bill.

Congressional Budget Office

The budget office that advises Congress on the consequences of budget decisions and forecasts revenues.

Connecticut Compromise

The compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that reconciled the Virginia and New Jersey Plans, creating our bicameral legislature.

consent of the governed

the idea that government derives its authority by the sanction of the people


Those who advocate conservatism.


A nation's basic law.

consumer price index

The key measure of inflation.

continuing resolutions

When Congress cannot agree on an appropriation bill, this resolution allows an agency to spend at the previous year's level.


When a voter's mind is changed in an electoral campaign.

Council of Economic Advisers

3 appointees who advise the President on the state of the economy and economic policy

courts of appeal

Apellate courts that can review all final decisions from district courts.

Craig v. Boren

1976 SuCo: Gender classifications are subject to medium scrutiny.

criminal law

The body of law used when one is charged with a criminal action that warrants punishment.

critical election

Election periods marked by national crisis where new issues emerge and the majority party is displaced by the minority.

cruel and unusual punishment

punishment prohibited by the 8th amendment to the U.S. constitution

Declaration of Independence

Document approved in 1776 that stated the grievances with Britain.


An excess of federal expenditures over federal revenues.


Government by the people.


The science of population changes.


the act of freeing from regulation (especially from governmental regulations)

direct democracy

Procedures by which voters have a direct impact on policymaking by means of a voting booth.

direct primaries

an election in which voters shoose candidates to represent each party in a general election

district courts

Lowest level of fed. courts, where fed. cases begin &trials are held (bank robbery, environmental violations, tax evasion)

dual federalism

A system of govt in which both the national and state governments are supreme in their own spheres.

due process clause

Part of the 14th amendment which guarantees that no state deny basic rights to its people without due process of law.

elastic clause

the part of the Constitution that permits Congress to make any laws "necessary and proper" to carrying out its powers

electoral college

the body of electors who formally elect the United States president and vice-president

electoral mandate

A concept based on the idea that "the people have spoken." It is a powerful symbol in American electoral politics, according legitimacy and credibility to a newly elected president's proposals.


a group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status

elite theory

A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.

Engel v. Vitale

1962 SuCo: Prayer in school is a violation of the 1st Amendment.

entitlement programs

programs that provide benefits to eligible citizens. An uncontrollable expenditure.

enumerated powers

The powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution.

Environmental Protection Agency

An agency created in 1970 to administer all environmental legislation.

equal opportunity

the right to equivalent opportunities for employment regardless of race or color or sex or national origin

equal protection of the laws

a right guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the US constitution and by the due-process clause of the 5th amendment. It was a major part of Brown v. Board of Education.

equal results

An idea that government must go beyond equal opportunity.

Equal Rights Amendment

constitutional amendment passed by Congress but never ratified that would have banned discrimination on the basis of gender

establishment clause

the First Amendment guarantee that the government will not create and support an official state church

exclusionary rule

Evidence obtained unconstitutionally can not be used in court.

executive orders

regulations originating from the executive branch. They are one method presidents can use to control the bureaucracy.

exit poll

a poll of voters as they leave the voting place


Federal spending of revenues, mostly spent on social services and military.


the surrender of an accused or convicted person by one state or country to another (usually under the provisions of a statute or treaty)


Interest 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 these.

federal debt

all the money borrowed by the federal government over the years and still outstanding

Federal Election Campaign Act

law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. The act created the Federal Election Commission (FEC), provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections, limited presidential campaign spending, required disclosure, and attempted to limit contributions.

Federal Election Commission

A commission created by the 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act to administer election reform laws. Its duties include overseeing disclosure of campaign finance information and public funding of presidential elections, and enforcing contribution limits.

Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act

1946; intended to allow the government to monitor lobbying activities by requiring lobbyists to register with the government and publicly disclose their salaries, expenses, and nature of activities in DC

Federal Reserve System

The country's central banking system, which is responsible for the nation's monetary policy by regulating the supply of money and interest rates

Federal Trade Commission

(WW) 1914 , A government agency established in 1914 to prevent unfair business practices and help maintain a competitive economy, support antitrust suits


a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states

Federalist Papers

a series of 85 essays written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay (using the name "publius") published in NY newspapers and used to convice readers to adopt the new constitution

Federalist Paper 10

The Federalist Paper warning against faction such as interest groups and political parties

Federalist Paper 51

The Federalist Paper advocating three seperate, independant branches with the same amount of power. Government should control people, but also its self, and individual rights should be protected.


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.


a tactic used only in the Senate for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches or talking a bill to death

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.

fiscal policy

a government policy for dealing with the budget (especially with taxation and borrowing) entirely determined by Congress and the Prez

Food and Drug Administration

Federal agency formed in 1913 that approves all foods and drugs for sale in the US.

foreign policy

a nation's overall plan for dealing with other nations

formula grants

Federal Categorical Grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations


A situation in which responsibility for a policy area is dispersed, making it difficult to coordinate the policy.

free excercise clause

1st amendment guarantee that prohibits gov't from unduly interfering with the free excercise of religion

free-rider problem

the problem faced by interest groups when citizens can reap the benefits of interest group action without actually joining, participating in, or contributing money to such groups.


the recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention

full faith and credit clause

Clause in the Constitution (Article IV, Section 1) requiring each state to recognize the civil judgments rendered by the courts of the other states and to accept their public records and acts as valid

gender gap

A term that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to support Democratic candidates. Women tend to be significantly less conservative than men and are more likely to support spending on social services and to oppose higher levels of military spending.

Gibbons v. Ogden

1824 SuCo: Gave Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce

Gideon v. Wainwright

1963 SuCo: Anyone accused of a felony where jail time is possible has a right to a lawyer.

Gitlow v. New York

1925 SuCo: Freedoms of press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the 14th amendment from impairment"


the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed

government corporation

A government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program.


the head of a state government

Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act

Also known as Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Act, this act mandates maximum allowable deficits until 1991 when the budget should balance. It was abandoned in 1991.

grandfather clause

clause included in the state constitutions of several southern states after the Civil War placing high literacy and property requirements for voters whose ancestors did not vote before 1867. These clauses were designed to interfere with African-American citizens' right to vote. In 1915, the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional.

Gregg v. Georgia

1976 SuCo: The death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment.


total dollar value of all final goods and services produced in a country during a single year

Hatch Act

A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.

House Rules Committee

An institution unique to the House of Representatives that reviews all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations bills) coming from a House committee before they go to the full House.

House Ways and Means Committee

The House of Representatives committee that, along with the Senate Finance Committee, writes the tax codes, subject to the approval of Congress as a whole.


Theory that groups are so strong that they weaken the government. Exaggerated version of pluralism.


The political equivalent of an indictment in criminal law, prescribed by the Constitution.


The process of putting a law into practice through bureaucratic rules or spending.

implied powers

Powers of government that go beyond their enumerated powers. Generally supported by the elastic clause.


The amount of funds collected.

income tax

Direct tax on the earnings of individuals and corporations

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 fourteenth amendment


The belief that the best predictor of this year's budget is last year's budget, plus a little bit more (an increment).


Those already holding office.

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.


increased prices for goods and services combined with the reduced value of money


Voters may put a proposed change to the state constitution to a vote if sufficient petitions have called for the referendum.

interest group

an organization of people sharing a common interest or goal that seeks to influence the making of public policy

iron triangles

Entities composed of a bureaucratic agency, an interest group, and a congressional committee. They dominate certain areas of policymaking.

joint committees

Congressional committees on a few subject-matter areas with membership drawn from both houses.

judicial activism

A judicial philosophy in which judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground. Advocates of this approach emphasize that the courts can correct pressing needs, especially those unmet by the majoritarian political process.

judicial implementation

how and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of others; the courts rely on other units of government to enforce their decisions

judicial restraint

A judicial philosophy in which judges play minimal policymaking roles, leaving that duty strictly to the legislatures

judicial review

The power of a court to determine the constitutionality of a governmental action

justiciable disputes

a constraint on the courts requiring case be capable of being settled by legal methods

See more

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording