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265 terms

AP Government Vocabulary

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Affirmative action
LBJ's executive order-designed to correct the effects of past discrimination; requirement by law that positive steps be taken to increase the number of minorities in business, schools, colleges, and labor
Agenda setting
The process of forming the list of matters that policymakers intend to address
Amendment
A revision/change to a bill, law, or constitution
Amicus curiae brief
Friend of the court; interest groups may be invited to file legal briefs supporting/rejection arguments of the case
Anti-Federalists
Opposed the adoption of the U.S. Constitution b/c it gave too much power to the national govt at the expense of the state govts and it lacked a bill of rights
Appellate jurisdiction
On appeal from lower courts-Supreme Court is mostly an appellate court
Apportionment
Distribution of representatives among the states based on the population of each state
Appropriations
Money granted by Congress or to a state legislature for a specific purpose
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
At-large
All the voters of a state/country elect their representative (senate elections are at large on the federal level)
Bicameral
2 chambers; Congress has the Senate and the House of Representatives
Bill
a proposal for a law
Bills of attainder
Prohibits a person being found guilty of a crime w/o a trial
Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution-guarantees liberties to the people-written in 1789-ratified in 1791
Blanket primary
Registered voters may vote for candidates from either party on the same primary ballot
Block grant
Money given to states for general programs within a broad category
Brief
Legal document submitted to the court setting forth the facts of a case and supporting a particular position
Brief orders
The returning of a case to a lower court b/c a smiliar case was recently decided
Brown v. BOE of Topeka, KA
Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson: ended legal segregation, said school regulation is unconstitutional
Bureaucracy
A systematic way of organizing a complex &large adminstrative structure w/ responsibility for carrying out day-to-day tasks of the organization, departments, &agencies of the govt
Bureaucratic theory
The hierarchical structure and standarized procedures of govt allow bureaucrats to hold the real power over public policy; proposed by Max Weber
Cabinet
Govt depts headed by presidential appointees to help establish public policy &operate a specific policy are of govt activity
Casework
Assistance given to constituents by congressional members, answering questions/doing favors
Categorical grant
Federal grants for specific purposes define by law
Caucus
Locally held meeting in a state to select delegates who, in turn, will nominate candidates to political offices
Caucus (congressional)
An association of congressional members who advocate a political ideology/regional/ethnic/economic interest
Certificate
A lower court asks the Supreme Court abt a rule of law/procedure
Checks and balances
Each branch of govt is subject to restraints by the other two branches
Civil liberties
Constitutional freedoms guaranteed to all citizens
Civil rights
Positive acts of govt designed to prevent discrimination &provide equality before the law
Closed primary
Only registered party members may vote in the primary (independents, greens, etc...not allowed)
Cloture rule
Prevents filibustering (16 signatures) and ends debate in the Senate, by a 3/5s vote of the Senate
Coattail effect
Weaker/lesser-known candidates from (bottom of the ticket) the president's party profit from the president's popularity-people vote straight ticket because they like the top of the ticket.
Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
Resolved differences btwn northern and southern states; Congress could not tax exports nor ban the slave trade for 20 yrs.
Comparable worth
Women should be paid salaries equal to men for equivalent job responsibilities &skills
Concurrent jurisdiction
The authority to hear cases is shared by federal &state courts
Concurrent powers
Powers shared by the federal and state govts (tax, to define crimes and punishments)
Concurring opinion
Justice/justices who agree w/ the majority's opinion but not with the reason behind the decision
Conference committee
A temporary committee to work out a compromise version of a bill that has passed the House of Representaives &Senate in diff. forms
Congressional districting
State legislatures draw congressional districts for Congressional elections
Connecticut Compromise
Legislative branch-2 houses-one based on population, one based on equal representation
Conservative
A person whose pol. views favor more local, limited govt, less govt regulations, conformity to social norms &values; rough on criminals
Constituency service
Casework, assistance to constituents by congressional members
Constituent
people within a district or state-government official represents them.
Constitution
The document setting forth the laws &principles of the govt; a plan of govt
Constitutional courts
Federal courts created by Congress under Article III of the Constitution, including the district courts, courts of appeals, &specialized courts such as the U.S. Court of International Trade
Constitutional law
Laws relating to the interpretation of the Constitution
Cooperative federalism
Cooperation among federal, state, &local govts; "marble cake" federalism
Courts of appeals
Federal courts that review decisions of federal district courts, regulatory commissions, &other fed. courts
Critical election
Sharp changes in the existing patterns of party loyalty due to changing social and economic conditions
Dealigning election
Party loyality becomes less important to voters, &they vote for the other party candidate/independent
Dealignment
When a significant # of voters choose to no longer support a particular pol. party
Declaration of Independence
Drafted in 1776 by T. Jefferson declaring America's separation from Great Britain (3 parts-New theory of government, reasons for separation, formal declaration of war and independence)
Deficit
Govt spending exceeds revenue
Delegated powers
Powers specifically granted to the national govt by the Constitution
Democracy
A system whereby the people rule either directly/by elected representation
Deviating election
Minority party is able to win the support of majority party members, independents, &new voters
Devolution
An effort to shirft responsibility of domestic programs to the states in order to decrease the size &activites of the fed. govt; some states have attempted to shift responsibilities further to local govts
Direct democracy
Citizens meet and make decisions abt public policy issues
Direct primary
Election within the party to choose their favorite candidate for a particular office
Discretionary spending
Spending set by the govt through appropriations bills, including operation expenses &salaries of govt employees (defense, environment, education, space exploration)
Discrimination
Unfair treatment of a person based on race/group membership
Dissenting opinion
Justice/justices who disagree with the majority opinion
District courts
Lowest level of fed. courts, where fed. cases begin &trials are held (bank robbery, environmental violations, tax evasion)
Divided govt
One party controls the executive, &the other party controls on /both houses of Congress
Double jeopardy
Being tried twice for the same offense (if you appealing, it is not double jeopardy because you are asking to be retried)
Dual federalism
Fed. &state govts each ahve defined responsibilities w/n their own sphere of influence; "layer cake" federalism
Elastic clause
The necessary &proper clause/Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 18/imlied powers clause- that allows Congress to pass laws to carry out its powers
Electoral college
Number each state gets is based on the number of representatives and the number of senators that state has. Need 270 to win election
Electorate
People qualified to vote
Elite theory
A small group of people identified by wealth/ pol. power, who rule in their self-interest
Eminent domain
Allows the govt to take property for public use but also requires the govt to provide just compensation for that property
Entitlement program
Madatory payments made by the federal government to people meeting eligibility requirements, such as Social Security, vets, welfare, medicare
Environmental impact statement
Required studies &reports of likely environmental impacts, filed w. the Environmental Protection Agency prior to the beginning of a project
Equal Protection Clause
Constitutional guarantee that everyone be treated equally-14th amendment
Establishment Clause
Prohibits the establishment of a national religion-1st amendment
Exclusionary rule
Rule that evidence acquired as a result of an illegal act by police cannot be used agains the person form whom it was seized
Executive agreement
Agreement w/ another head of state not requiring approval form teh Senate
Executive order
The president directs an agency to carry out policies/existing laws (informal power)
Executive privilege
The right of the president to withhold info from Congress/ refuse to testify; limited by U.S. v. Nixon
Ex post facto law
Laws applied to acts committed before passage of the laws are unconstitutional
Extradition
States may return fugitives to a state from which they fled to avoid criminal prosecution at the request of the state's gov
Federal budget
Amount of money the federal govt expects to receive &authorizes govt to spend for a fiscal (12 mo.) year
Federalism
Powers that are shared and divided among federal and sub-divisional government (state/local)
Federalist Papers
Written by Hamilton, Jay, & Madison to support ratification of the U.S. Constituiton
Federalists
Supported a strong central govt &expanded legislative powers
Federal system
Power is divided between the states &the fed. govt
Filibuster
A lengthy speech designed to delay or kill the vote on a bill; used only in the Senate
Fiscal federalism
National govt's use of fiscal policy to influence states through the granting/withholding of appropriations
Fiscal policy
The policies of taxation &spending that comprise the nation's economic policy
Fiscal year
A 12-month pd, October through Septmeber, for planning the federal budget
Floor leaders
Direct party strategy &decisions in the House of Representatives &Senate
Franking privilege
Privilege that allows member sof Congress to mail letters &other materials to constituents postage-free
Free Exercise Clause
Congress may not make laws restricting/ prohibiting a person's relgious practices-1st amendment
Freedom of expression
Freedom of speech/right to petition the govt for redress as 1st amendment right
Front-loading
Choosing an early date to hold the primary election
Full Faith &Credit Clause
States are required to recognize the laws &legal documents of other states-Article 4 for Federalism!
Gatekeepers
Media executives, news editors, &prominent reporters who decide what news to present &how it will be presented
General election
Voters choose officeholder form among all the candidates nominated by pol. parties/running as independents
Gerrymandering
Drawing of congressional districts to favor one pol. party/group over another
Get-out-the-vote
A compaign near the end of an election to get voters out to the polls
Government
The formal &informal institutions, people, &processes used to create &conduct pulbic policy
Grants-in-aid
Programs, money, &resources provided by the fed. govt to state &local govts to be used for specific projects &programs
Grassroots
Avg voter at the local level
Gridlock
When opposing parites &interests often block each other's proposals, creating a pol. stalemate/inaction btwn the esecutive &legislative branches of govt
Hatch Act
Prohibits govt employees from engaging in pol. activities whle on duty/running for office/seeking poli. funding while off duty; if in sensitive positions, may not be involved w/ pol. activities on/off duty
Hyperpluarlism
Democracy seen as a system of many groups pulling govt in many directinos at the same time, causing gridlock ineffectiveness
Ideology
A consistent set of beliefs by groups/individuals
Impeachment
Bringing charges of wrongdoing against a govt official by the House of Representatives
Implied powers
Not expressed, but may be considerered through the use of the Necessary and Proper (elastic) Clause
Impoundment
Refusal of the president to spend money Congress has appropriated
Incorporation
Application of portions of the Bill of Rights to the states under Amend. XIV
Incorporation doctrine
The Supreme Court ruling that most guarantees in teh Bill of Rights are applicatable to the states through Amend. XIV
Incrementalism
Small changes in policy over long periods of time; usually in reference to budget-making--that th ebest indicator of this year's budget is last year's budget plus a small increase
Incumbency effect
Tendency of those alrady holding office to win reelection due to advgs b/c they already hold the office
Incumbent
The person currently holding office
Inherent powers
Powers that exist for the national govt b/c the govt is sovereign
Initiative
Allows voters to petition to propose legislation &then submit it for a vote by qualified voters
Interest group
A group of private citizens whose goal is to influence &shape public policy
Interstate compacts
Agreements btwn states to work together on common issues
Iron triangle
Alliance- agencies, interest groups, &congressional committees/subcommittees (also known as sub-governments)
Issue network
Individuals in WA--located w/n interest groups, congressional staff, think tanks, universities, &the media--who regulary discuss &advocate public policies
Joint committee
Committee made up of members of both house of Congress-housekeeping issues decided
Judicial activism
The Court should play an active role in determining national policies
Judicial restraint
Holds that the Court should avoid taking the initiative on social &pol. questions, operation strictly w/n the limits of the Constitution
Judicial review
Authority given the courts to review constitutionality of acts by the executive/state/legislature; est. in Marbury v. Madison
Jurisdiciton
The authority of the courts to hear &decide issues in certain cases
Legislative courts
Courts created by Congress for a specialized purpose w/ a narrow range of authority
Legislative veto
To reject the actions of the president/executive agency by a vote of one/both house of Congress w/o the consent of th epresident; ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Immigration &Naturalization Service v. Chadha
Lemon test
Lemon v. Kurtzman to measure the constituionality of state laws in regard to establishment clause (3 pronged test)
Liberal
A person whose views favor more govt involvemnt in business, social welfare, minority rights, &increased govt spending
Limited govt
Basic prinicple of U.S. govt that each person has rights that govt cannot take away
Line item veto
The president can reject a par tof a bill while approving the rest; declared unconstitutional
Lobbying
Attempting to influence policymakers though a variety of methods
Lobbyist
Uses pol. persuasion to influence legislation &benefit his/her org.
Logrolling
The exchange of pol. favors for support of a bill
Loose constructionist
broad interpretation of the Constitution
Maintaining elections
Traditional majorty power maintains power based on voters' party loyalty
Majority leader
The elected leader of the party with the most seat in the House of Representatives/Senate
Majority-minority districts
Drawing district boundaries to give a minority group a majority
Majority opinion
The majority of justices agree on the decision &the reasons for th edecision
Mandates
Requirements imposed by the national govt on state &local govts to comply w/ fed. rules &regulation
Mandatory spending
Required govt spending by permanent laws
Marbury v. Madison
Judicial review!
Markup
Rewrite of a bill after hearings have been held on it (happens in sub-committee)
Mass media
All forms of communication that reach a large portion of the public
McCulloch v. Maryland
Supreme Court decision upholding the supremacy of the national government over the states/implied powers clause also strenthened-national bank established because this supported power to tax
Media event
A speech or photo opporutnity staged to give a politician's view on an issue
Miranda v. Arizona
Right to be told what you are being held for.
Moderate
Person whose views are between conservative and liberal and may include some of both ideologies
Monetary policy
controlling the money supply-Federal Reserve (independent agency)
Motor voter law
register to vote when you update your license (1993)
National chairman
Appointed by the DNC or the RNC as head of the party
National debt
Amount of money owed by the government
Natural rights
Basic rights that are guaranteed to all persons; basic rights that a government cannot deny-Locke-life, liberty, property
Necessary and Proper Clause
Gives Congress the powers to pass all laws necessary to carry out their constitutional duties; "elastic" clause (Art. I, Sec 8, clause 18)
New Deal coalition
Alliance of southern conservatives, religious, and ethnic minorities who supported the Democratic Party for 40 years
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Created to allow the free movement of goods between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. by lessening and eliminating tariffs
Off-year election
An election taking place in a year when no presidential elections are occurring; midterm election-common for sitting president's party to lose seats in Congress
Open primary
registered voters can vote in either primary-do not have to register with any party.
Opinion leaders
Those individuals held in great respect becasue of their position, expertise, or peronsality, who may informally and unintentionally influence others
Orignial jurisdiction
Court hears and decides a case for the first time
Oversight
Congress monitors policies of the executive branch (money, hearings, investigations)-checks and balances
Pardon
A convicted person is exempt form the penalities of a crime
Plessy v. Ferguson
The Supreme Court case that upheld separate-but-equal segregation in 1896
Pluralist theory
interest groups compete in the political arena with each promoting its own policy preferences through organized efforts-everyone gets a piece of the pie-a marketplace of ideas, compromise happens-positive view
Policy adoption
The approval of a policy by legislation
Policy evalution
Determines if a policy is achieving its goals
Policy formulation
The crafting of a policy to resolve public problems
Policy implementation
Carrying out a policy through government agencies and courts
Political action committee
Extention of an interest group that contributes money to political campaigns-financial arm of the interest group
Political agenda
Issues that merit action, as determined by the public or those in power
Political culture
A set of basic values and beliefs about one's country or government that is shared by most citizens and that influences political opinions and behaviors
Political efficacy
Belief that a person can influence politics and public policymaking-vote makes a difference
Politcal ideology
A consistent set of beliefs about politics and public policy taht sets the framework for evaluation government and public policy
Political party
Voluntary association of people who seek to control the government through common principles, based on peaceful and legal actions such as the winning of elections
Political socialization
Complex process by which people get their sense of political identity, beliefs, and values (family, school, media, religion, national events-all help to socialize)
Politics
Method of maintaining, managing, and gaining control of government (who gets what, when, and how)
Popular sovereignty
people are the source of all govermental power
Pork barrel legislation
Legislation giving benefits to constituents through sometimes unnecessary of unwise projects within a state or district, to enhance a memeber's chance of reelection
Precedents
Standards or guides based on prior decisions that serve as a rule for settling similar disputes
Presidential preference primaries
Voters select delegates to the presidential nominating convention
President pro tempore
Serves as president of the Senate in the absence of the VP; chosen by the majority party
Primary election
Nominating election held to choose party candidates who will run in the general election
Prior restraint
Censorship of information before it is published or broadcast (unconstitutional in most cases)
Privileges and immunities
States are prohibited from unreasonably discriminating against residents of other states (article 4)
Procedual due process
Method of government action, or how th elaw is carried out according to the established rules and procedures
Public opinion
A colleciton of shared attitudes of citizens about government, politics, and the making of public policy
Public policy
The exercise of government power in doing those htings necessary to maintain legitmate authority and ocntrol over society
Pure speech
Verbal communication of ideas and opinions
Radical
Ideological view that favors rapid funamental change in teh existing social, economic, or political order
Ratification
Method of enacting a constitution or amendment into law
Reactionary
Ideological view that favors a return to a previous state of affairs
Realignment
A shift of voting patterns to form new coaltions of party support
Reapportionament
Redistribution of the congressional seats among the states after the census determines changes in population distribution
Recall
Special election initiated by petition to allow citizens to remove an official from office before his or her term expires
Referendum
Procedure whereby the state submits legislation to its voters for approval, allowing citizens to vote directly on issues
Representative democracy
Citizens choose officals (representatives) who make decisions about public policy
Reserved powers
Powers belonging specifically to the states and the people because they were not delegated to teh national government nor denied to the states
Revenue sharing
Giving money back to the state and local government with no strings attached
Rider
An addition of amendment added to a bill that often has no realtion to the bill but that may not pass onits own merits (senate only)
Rule of four
Requirement that a case can only be heard by the Supreme Court if four justices vote to hear the case
Rules committee
Determines the rules of debate for bills in the House of Representatives-also known as the calender committee
Runoff primary
When no candidate receives a majority of votes, an election held betweent eh two candidates who received the most votes in the primary
Sampling
Using a represenative cross-seciton of the general population chosen at random in the polling process
Sampling errors
Percentage of possible erros in teh polling process
Select committee
Committee selected for a specific purpose-investigation-hearing
Self-incrimination
Accusing oneself or giving evidence that may prove oneself guilty
Senatorial courtesy
The practice of allowing senators form teh president's party who represent the state where a judicial district is located, to apporve or diapprove potential nominees for the lower federal courts ONLY
Seniortiy system
System in which the chairmanship of a committee is given tot eh member with the longest continuous service
Separation of powers
Practice by which power is separated among three branches of government; each branch has its own powers and duties and is independent of and equal to the other branches
Single-member districts
Only one representative is chosen from each district
Social contract theory
A voluntary agreement between the government and the governed
Social insurance programs
Programs to help the elderly, ill, and unemployed if the claimant has paid into them
Social welfare policy
Government program to enhance quality of life
Soft money
Money distributed form a national political party organization that wasn ot regulated by law; restricted by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002
Sound bite
A brief statement on TV or radio
Speaker of the House
Leading officer in the House of Representatives, chosen by the majority party
Speech plus
Verbal and symbolic speech used together
Split-ticket voting
Voting for candidates form more than one party in the same election
Standing committee
Permanent committees in the House/Senate-every represetative and every senator is appointed to 2 or 3.
Stare decisis
Let the decision stand; decisions are based on precedents from previous cases
Straight-ticket voting
Voting for candidates all of the same party on the same ballot-creates the coattail effect
Straw poll
Early form of polling that asks the same question of a large number of people
Strict constuctionist
Narrow interpretation of the Constitution
Substantive due process
the law itself is fair or unfair-not the procedures-but the law
Suffrage
The right to vote
Superdelegates
Party officials in the Democratic Party who attend the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses
Super Tuesday
Day when several states hold their presidential primaries (usually the second Tuesday in March)
Supremacy CLause
Ntional law supersedes all other laws passed by states (Art VI)
Symbolic speech
Using actions and symbols rather than words to convey an idea
Three-Fifths Compromise
Agreement that each slave counted as three-fifths of a person in determining representation in the House for representation and taxation purposes (negated by the 13th amendment)
Traditional democratic theory
Government depends upon the consent of the governed
Trial balloon
Tests the public reaction to policy or appointments by releasing information to the media and gaugin public reaction
Trustee
After listening to constiutents, elected representatives vote based on their own opinions
Two-party system
Several political parties exist, but only two major political parties compete for power and dominate elections
Unfunded mandates
Federal government requires the states to enforce legislation without the funding necessary
Virginia Plan
Madison's plan for a bicameral legislature, whith the executive and judiciary chosen by the legislature
War Powers Act
Limits the ability of the president to commit troops to combat-48 hours to tell Congress when and why the troops were sent, they have 60-90 to bring them home if they disagree
Watergate
Break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in 1972 that resulted in a cover-up and the subsequent resignation of Nixon
Writ of certiorari
Order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the records of a case for review
Writ of habeas corpus
right to be told what you are being held for and shown evidence against you-used in death penalty case appeals.
red tape
complex rules and procedures that must be followed to get something done (agencies-bureaucracy)
Trustee/Delegate-roles Congressman play
trustee--do what is best regardless of voter opinion; delegate--do what the voters want
pocket veto
DIES-sits on desk-10 days go past-Congress adjourns within the 10 days.
OMB (Office of Management and Budget)
1921) to prepare estimates of how much will be spent by federal agencies, to negotiate and to make that legislative proposals of these other departments jive with the president's program.
Speaker of the House
decides who willbe recognized to speak- rules whether motions are relevant to the business at hand; decides which bills where the bills will go (committees)-influencial as to what bills are brought up for a vote-appoints members to special and select committees
Whips
assistant to the floor leaders, keeps a head count of votes, rounds up members for important votes
Congressional caucuses
association of members created to support a political ideology or regional economic interest (black caucus, women's caucus...)
General Accounting Office (GAO)
performs routine financial audits of money spent by the executive departments and investigates agencies
malapportionment
unfair proportional distribution of representatives to a legislative body
majority/minority districts
those with a majority of residents who are part of an ethnic minority
soft money
political parties solicit unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, spend on voter registration campaigns and get-out the-vote drives and "not on behalf of specific candidates"
Civil Service
hiring government employees on the basis of merit. Also refers to government employees outside the military.
Circuit Courts
Part of federal court system-13 federal circuit courts: one for the D.C. and 12 for the rest of the country. Also called "courts of appeal"
Council of Economic Advisors
established by Employment Act of 1946- advise the President on economic policy- 3 members, appointed by President and approved by Senate,
EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
INDEPENDENT agency created in 1964-works to eliminate employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, age or other criteria unrelated to job performance.
EOP (Executive office of the President)
name for the group of agencies, councils, and staff members which advise the president and help run the federal bureaucracy-was established by an executive order from FDR
Grand Jury (5th amendment)
ranges in size from 6 to 23, depending on the state, and functions to determine whether there is enough evidence available against a person accused of a crime to justify a trial.
Gubernatorial
pertaining to a governor
Joint Chiefs of Staff
high-ranking military officers who represent the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines. They assist the civilian leaders of the Department of Defense-advise the president on security matters.
Lame Duck
person holding office after his or her replacement has been elected to the office, but before the current term has ended.
PAC (Political Action Committee)
an independent organization established by interest groups, political candidates, and people who hold office. PACs serve to raise and contribute money to the political campaigns of individuals whose platforms agree with the aims of the PAC.
indictment
Written statement of criminal charges brought against a defendant
Shield law
Law guaranteeing news reporters the right to protect the annonymity of their sources. States have passed this--not the federal government.