a treaty among the US, Mexico, and Canada implemented Jan 1, 1994 (voted on Dec 1992) that largely eliminates trade barriers among the three nations and establishes procedures to resolve trade disputes. Model for an eventual Free Trade Area of the Americas zone.
Declaration of Independence
the document asserting the independence of the British colonies in what is now the US from Great Britain. Signed Philadelphia July 4, 1776 (??)
Articles of Confederation
the first governing document of the United States. Agreed to in 1777 and ratified in 1781. The Articles concentrated most powers in the states and made the national government largely dependent on voluntary contributions of the states.
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the US constitution (ratified in 1791), which established limits on the actions of government. Initially limited only the federal government. The 14th amendment and subsequent judicial rulings extended the provisions of the Boll of Rights to the states.
national systems of contributory and noncontributory benefits to provide assistance to the elderly, sick, disabled, unemployed, and others similarly in need of assistance. Specifics vary by country. Key component of the welfare state.
taxes levied by local governments on the assessed value of the property. Primary way in which local jurisdictions in the US pay for the costs of primary and secondary education.
the public philosophy in the nineteenth century that the US was not only entitled but also destined to occupy territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific
Organizations that seek to represent the interests - usually economic - of their members in dealings with the government. eg people with specific occupations, business interests, racial and ethnic groups, or age groups
USA PATRIOT Act
legislation passed by the US Congress in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks on NY and Washington. Expanded the federal government's ability to conduct surveillance, to enforce laws, to limit civil liberties, and to fight terrorism
a system of governance in which political authority is shared between the national government and regional or state governments
separation of powers
an organization of political institutions within the state in which the executive, legislature, and judiciary have autonomous powers and no one branch dominates the others, Common pattern in presidential systems.
single-member-pluarality (SMP) electoral system
an electoral system in which candidates run for a single seat from a specific geographic district. The winner is the person who receives most votes, whether on not that is the majority. Increase likelihood that two national coalition parties will develop.
a system in which government regulation of the economy is absent or limited. Relative to other advanced democracies, the US has traditionally had a freer market economically.
"to let do"; in political economy, refers to the pattern in which state management is limited to such matters as enforcing contracts and protecting property rights, while private markets forces are free to operate with only minimal state regulation
powers that are traditionally held by states to regulate public safety and welfare. Form of interaction with government that citizens most often experience. Remain primary responsibility of the states and localities despite growth of federal governments
Federal Reserve Board
the US central bank established by Congress in 1913 to regulate the banking industry and the money supply. President appoints the chair of the board of governors, with Senate approval, the board operates largely independently.
the rules that explain the implementation of laws. When the legislature passes a law, it sets broad principles for implementation, but how the law is actually implemented is determined by regulations written by executive branch agencies.
policies that allocate state resources into an area that lawmakers perceive needs to be promoted eg taxing phone users to provide schools with money to access the internet
policies that take resources from on person or group in society and allocate them to a different, usually more disadvantaged, group.
iron triangle relationships
between a private interest group, a congressional committee or subcommittee overseeing the policy in question, and a federal agency implementing the policy
Marbury v Madison
the 1803 US Supreme Court ruling that the federal courts inherently had the authority to review the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. The ruling, initially used sparingly, placed the courts centrally in the system of checks and balances
checks and balances
a governmental system of divided authority in which coequal branches can restrain each other's actions.
a legislative body with two houses, such as the US Senate and House of Reps. Legislative responsibilities are divided by the US Constitution between the two
political action committee (PAC)
a narrow form of interest group that seeks to influence policy by making contributions to candidates and parties in US policies