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AP U.S. Government Unit 1 Key Terms and Study Guide
Terms in this set (55)
the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
Governing or controlling body whose power exists only within pre-defined limits that are established by a constitution or other source of authority
How is the U.S. government limited?
○ People have the power
○ Protected civil liberties
○ Prohibited powers for states and national government
○ Federalism: Division of powers between states and national government
Rights that people supposedly have under natural law
○ The Declaration of Independence of the United States identifies life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable rights.
Principle that the authority of a state and its government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives
○ Rule by the People, who are the source of all political power
Support for a republican system of government
Republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
The Constitution requires a republican form of government for all states
An implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection
○ Theorists Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau explored the idea as a means of explaining the origin of government and the obligations of subjects.
Declaration of Independence
Formal statement written by Thomas Jefferson declaring the freedom of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain.
○ The Declaration of Independence was the document adopted at the Second Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776.
The Constitution of the United States established America's national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens.
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. government, the tasks these institutions perform, and the relationships among them. It replaced the Articles of Confederation before them.
Emphasizes broad participation in politics and civil society
○ Model of democracy in which citizens have the power to decide directly on policy and politicians are responsible for implementing those policy decisions
Emphasizes group-based activism by nongovernmental interests striving for impact on political decision making
○ Model of democracy in which no one group dominates politics and organized groups compete with each other to influence policy
Emphasizes limited participation in politics and civil society
○ Model of democracy in which a small number of people, usually those who are wealthy and well-educated, influence political decision making
Favored stronger central government
•Favored a large republic
•Supported the new Constitution
•The Federalists favored the ideas of a stronger federal (national) government.
•Opinions on how the government should be structured:
•Wanted to ratify the Constitution
Supported Strong National Government (take power away from States)
•Thought that Checks & Balances would protect peoples rights
•Don't need a BILL OF RIGHTS
•Wanted a strong Executive branch (President)
Favored strong state governments
•Opposed ratification of the new
•Feared a strong central government would render the states powerless
•Demanded a Bill of Rights
•The Anti-Federalists favored the ideas of a stronger state governments.
•Opinions on how the government should be structured:
•Most power should stay with States
•Wanted Legislative Branch more powerful than Executive Branch
•Refused to ratify without a BILL OF RIGHTS
•No National Bank
Federalist No. 10
Essay written by James Madison (Father of the Constitution)
•No. 10 addresses the question of how to guard against the "mischiefs factions" and advocates for a large republic
a small, organized, dissenting group within a larger one, especially in politics.
Brutus No. 1
-Opposite of Federalist Papers.
-Written by Anti-Federalists who had opposed the Constitution and a large central government.
-Purpose was to convince people that Constitution was bad
-Wanted a Confederacy and revealed problems of a large republic
Articles of Confederation
Basis of government for the 13 original states •Written in 1776, ratified by all states in 1781 •"League of friendship"
•Weak national government
• Congress with one vote for each state •Strong state governments
• Each state had sovereignty and complete control of their laws and affairs
WEAKNESSES OF ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
•Lack of a strong central government
•Congress had no power to tax or raise revenues
•No centralized or national military
• Each state had their own currency and it led to economic chaos • No means to regulate commerce
• No executive branch or President
• No plans for judiciary and authority of courts
• No national unity
• People were loyal to their own states
Revolt of angry people that demonstrated the weakness of the Congress and the central government
•1786 uprising in which an army of 1,500 disgruntled angry farmers led by Daniel Shays forcibly restrained the state court from foreclosing on their farms
•Congress requested money from the states to build an army but 12 of the 13 states refused
AKA CONNECTICUT COMPROMISE
•Decision to give each state equal membership in the Senate and representation based on population in the House of Representatives
•Laws require approval from both houses to ensure neither the large or the small states could dominate and control each other
body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president
• Established as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote
Agreement to count 3/5 of all slaves for determining population in the house
•Southern states feared the Northern states would control and end the slave trade
•Southern states did not allow slaves to vote but they wanted them counted as people so that would increase their representation in the new legislature
Slave Trade Compromise
Agreement to prohibit Congress from banning the slave trade for twenty years
• Article 1 Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution protected the importation of slaves until 1808
• Article 5 said the clause could not be affected by constitutional amendment
• The northern states wanted to bring an end to the importation and sale of slaves.
• Southern states felt that slavery was vital to their economy and did not want the federal government interfering in the slave trade
A change to the Constitution
the action of signing or giving formal consent to a treaty, contract, or agreement, making it officially valid.
central government is the political authority that governs an entire nation.
A state government is the government of a country subdivision in a federal form of government, which shares political power with the federal or national government. A state government may have some level of political autonomy, or be subject to the direct control of the federal government.
seperation of powers
dividing the powers of government among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
Checks and Balances
authority shared by three branches of government.
counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups.
Federalist No. 51
One of the most famous of the Federalist Papers, No. 51 addresses means by which appropriate checks and balances can be created in government and also advocates a separation of powers within the national government.
A constitutional procedure by which federal judges and civil officers can be removed from office before their terms expire. A form of indictment voted on by the House of Representatives. To be removed from his or her position, the impeached officer must be convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
Accusal of crimes by the house.
The House can have proceedings by passing a resolution authorizing an inquiry. A simple majority vote is needed to move an impeachment resolution. At that point, it is up to the House majority leader, whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber, and when to hold such a vote. The full House can approve the articles of impeachment by a simple majority vote. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required for conviction, which results in removal from office.
Powers that ONLY the national government has. States can't have these powers and they must follow the rules/laws of them. Specific powers that can only be exercised by the national or central government.
Shared powers between Federal and State Governments
the means by which a government maintains order or addresses the needs of its citizens through actions defined by its constitution. Used to describe a collection of laws, mandates, or regulations established through a political process.
Federal Revenue Sharing
Distribution of part of the federal tax income to states and municipalities.
Federal sharing of a fixed percentage of its revenue with the states.
The distribution of a portion of federal tax revenues to state and local governments.
Requirements that direct states and local governments to provide additional services under the threat of penalties or as a condition of the the receipt of federal grant money. Laws enacted by the Federal Government that states must follow, These laws often require states to spend money to implement
federal grants that can only be used for specific purposes, or categories, of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions.
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". Prevented the national government from being too powerful by giving states more power.
1) guarantees all rights and privileges of citizenship to any and all persons born or naturalized in the United States.
2)process of apportionment used to fairly distribute seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states must be based on the whole population, including freed African American slaves.
3)forbids anyone who participates or has participated in "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States from holding any elected or appointed federal office.
4)addresses the federal debt by confirming that the neither the United States nor any state could be forced to pay for lost slaves or debts that had been incurred by the Confederacy as a result of their participation in the Civil War.
5)also known as the Enforcement Clause, grants Congress the power to pass "appropriate legislation" as necessary to enforce all of the amendment's other clauses and provisions.
Equal Protections Clause-laws must provide equal protection to people.
"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". Only and first part of the Constitution to invoke the idea of equality.
"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes"
Congress has the power to regulate trade. Congress has used this clause to justify the passing of many laws.
Powers of the federal government that are listed explicitly in the Constitution.
18 of these powers for Congress in Article 1, Section 8.
Also known as expressed or delegated powers.
Powers of the Federal Government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution, in accordance with the statement in the Constitution that Congress has the power to "make all laws neccesary and proper for carrying into excution" the powers enumerated in Article 1.
This "Necessary and Proper Clause" (sometimes also called the "Elastic Clause") grants Congress a set of so-called implied powers—that is, powers not explicitly named in the Constitution but assumed to exist due to their being necessary to implement the expressed powers that are named in Article I.
McCulloch v. Maryland(1819)
Background: McCulloch was a Federal Employee of the U.S. Banks. The government made a bank in Maryland, so the state tried to tax it, but McCulloch refused.
Question: Did Congress have the authority to charter a bank? Did the states have the right to tax a federal bank?
An 1819 Supreme Court decision that established the supremacy of the national governments over state governments. The court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, held that Congress had certain implied powers in addition to the powers enumerated in the Constitution.
Involved Supremacy Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause
U.S. v. Lopez (1995)
Background: Congress had passed the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act. Lopez, a high school student in Texas brought a gun to school and was charged under Federal Law.
Question: Was this unconstitutional because it exceeded the power of Congress to legislate under the commerce clause?
It did because having guns in school isn't an economic activity and it wouldn't affect interstate commerce. It should be a state aw and states should only have the power to pass it.
Explain how democratic ideals are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution
The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson with help from Adams and Franklin, provides a foundation for popular sovereignty, while the U.S. Constitution drafted at the Philadelphia Convention and led by George Washington, with important contributions from Madison, Hamilton, and members of the "Grand Committee," provides the blueprint for a unique form of political democracy in the U.S.
Explain how models of representative democracy are visible in major institutions, policies, events, or debates in the U.S.
Explain how Federalist and Anti-Federalist views on central government and democracy are reflected in U.S. foundational documents.
-Madison's arguments in Federalist No. 10 focused on the superiority of a large republic in controlling the "mischiefs of faction," delegating authority
to elected representatives and dispersing power between the states and national government.
-Anti-Federalist writings, including Brutus No. 1, adhered to a popular democratic theory that emphasized the benefits of a small decentralized republic while warning of the dangers to personal liberty from a large, centralized government.
Anti-Fed views can be seen in the Article of Confederation, in which states had more power and the central government was weaker. Smaller republic.
Explain the relationship between key provisions of the Articles of Confederation and the debate over granting the federal government greater power formerly reserved to the states.
Specific incidents and legal challenges that highlighted key weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation are represented by the:
-Lack of centralized military power to address Shays' Rebellion
- Lack of tax law enforcement power
- The requirement of unanimity of all
states to amend the articles
Explain the impact of political negotiation and compromise at the Constitutional Convention on the development of the constitutional system.
Compromises deemed necessary for adoption and ratification of the Constitution are represented by the:
-Great (Connecticut) Compromise: Decision to give each state equal membership in the
Senate and representation based on population in the House of Representatives. Laws require approval from both houses to ensure
neither the large or the small states could dominate and control each other
-Compromise on the importation of slaves
EK 1.B.2.b: Debates about self- government during the drafting of the Constitution necessitated the drafting of an amendment process in Article V that entailed either a two-thirds vote in both houses or a proposal from two-thirds of the state legislatures, with final ratification determined by three-fourths of the states.
EK 1.B.2.c: The compromises necessary to secure ratification of the Constitution left some matters unresolved that continue to generate discussion and debate today
Explain the constitutional principles of separation of powers and checks and balances.
-The powers allocated to Congress, the president, and the courts demonstrate the separation of powers and checks and balances features of the U.S. Constitution.
-Federalist No. 51 explains how constitutional provisions of separation of powers and checks and balances control abuses by majorities
"the structure of the proposed government makes liberty possible"
Explain the implications of separation of powers and checks and balances for the U.S. political system.
Separation of Powers: Power has been divided into the 3 branches to prevent abuse and tyranny. The branches can't violate the other branch's powers and it can't use those powers.
-Congress: 18 expressed powers
-Executive: Commander in Chief, fill in empty Senate Seats
-Courts: Serve for life, judicial review, they don't choose cases.
Checks and Balances: Impeachment, removal, and other legal actions taken against public officials deemed to have abused their power reflect the purpose of checks and balances. Court declaring presidential or congress laws unconstitutional. Vetoes by the President or Congress. Congress has to approve nominations.
Explain how societal needs affect the constitutional allocation of power between the national and state governments.
The power had to be split up between the two because the national government couldn't always be there to care for just one state's citizens. They had to deal with major problems within the nation, so the states were given the power to deal with society in their states. The national government was busy with the economy, war, and other stuff.
Explain how the appropriate balance of power between national and state governments have been interpreted differently over time.
-The balance of power between the national and state governments has changed over time based on U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of such cases as:McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) and United States v. Lopez (1995)
-The interpretation of the 10th and 14th Amendments, the commerce clause, the necessary and proper clause, and other enumerated and implied powers is at the heart of the debate
over the balance of power between the national and state governments.
In the first case, the balance of power shifted towards the national government because the court upheld the supremacy clause and that Federal laws over state laws.
In the second case, it was shifted towards the states because the courts declared that Congress had exceeded the commerce clause and it showed that ONLY the states had the power to pass a low of this type.
Explain how the distribution of powers among three federal branches and between national and state governments impact policy making.
-National policymaking is constrained by the sharing of power between and among the three branches and the state governments.
-the distribution of powers provides multiple schools of thought and checks and balance, which gives different perspectives on the legislation to best represent the ideals of the American people. But these checks and balances come with a price because it takes longer for bills, laws and policies to be passed.
Since power is seperated, some may have the power to make a certain policy, while others may not. This could cause oppisition in some policies because if the national government passes a policy, the states would have to follow it because Congress is given the power to create and enforce those laws across the U.S.
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