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(L) AP GOV Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
Terms in this set (75)
a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution.
the idea that all humans are born with rights, which include the right to life, liberty, and property
English materialist and political philosopher who advocated absolute sovereignty as the only kind of government that could resolve problems caused by the selfishness of human beings
-political philosopher-ideas of natural rights and social contract
English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property
-main proponent of social contract in society
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules
A government in which the people rule by their own consent, the ultimate power resides in the people
The "Grand Committee"
The five people who write the Declaration
Declaration of Independence
1776 statement, issued by the Second Continental Congress, explaining why the colonies wanted independence from Britain
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 that failed after Shay's Rebellion because it had a weak central governemnt that did not have the power to impose taxes or enforce laws
Introduction to the Constitution: "We the people..."
A document that embodies the fundamental laws and principles by which the United States is governed
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people (republic)
a system of democracy in which all members of a group or community participate collectively in making major decisions (direct democracy)
a model of democracy in which no one group dominates politics and organized groups compete with each other to influence policy
a model of democracy in which a small number of people, usually those who are wealthy and well-educated, influence political decision making (aristocracy)
An essay composed by James Madison which argues that liberty is safest in a large republic because many interests (factions) exist. Such diversity makes tyranny by the majority more difficult since ruling coalitions will always be unstable
Anti-federalist paper which expressed the need for homogeneity due to impossibility of large republic because of lack of representation
Could a widely dispersed and diverse people be united under one government without sacrificing the blessings of liberty and self-government?
A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures
Opponents of the American Constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption
the supreme governing body of a unitary state or another kind of sovereign state
powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states
A form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make laws
Groups such as parties or interest groups, which according to James Madison arose from the unequal distribution of property or wealth and had the potential to cause instability in government
In 1787, poor farmers from western Massachusetts fighting against high taxes followed Daniel Shays in an attempt to seize the arms stockpiled at the Springfield Armory. The rebellion is important because it is seen as one of the major factors that led to the writing of the new Constitution by proving the Articles of Confederation were weak
Virginia delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population. The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.
New Jersey Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population
Great (Connecticut) Compromise
1) A state's representation in the House of Representatives was to be based on population.
2) The states' representation in the Senate would be equal.
3) All money bills would originate in the House.
4) Direct taxes on states were to be assessed by population.
Compromise between northern and southern states at the Constitutional Convention that three-fifths of the slave population would be counted for determining direct taxation and representation in the House of Representatives
Slave Trade Compromise
Congress could not regulate or outlaw slavery or slave trade until 1808
Ex post facto law
a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed; prohibited by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution.
Bill of Attainder
an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial
The United States Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, constituted every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States
The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state's entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state (Article IV Section 1)
Privileges and Immunities Clause
prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner, a right of interstate travel can be inferred (Article IV Section 2 Clause 1)
-amendment proposed by 2/3 vote of both houses of congress OR a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of 2/3 out of 50 states
-amendment ratified by 3/4 of the 50 state legislatures OR 3/4 of special constitutional conventions called by 50 states
describes the process where the Constitution may be altered: proposing an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification
-establishes the laws and treaties of the United States as the supreme law of the land
-forbids a religious test as a requirement for holding a governmental position
- holds the United States under the Constitution responsible for debts incurred under the Articles of Confederation
Constitution is the supreme law of the land (Article VI Clause 2)
sets the number of state ratifications necessary in order for the Constitution to take effect (9) and prescribes the method through which the states may ratify it
Formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty
Checks and balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
Separation of Powers
Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law
"The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments"
Argues that separation of powers within the national government is the best way to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of one person or a single group
Tyranny of the Majority
the suppression of minority opinions by those voted into power by the majority
Multiple policy access points
ways to affect policy through the executive branch
Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body formally levels charges against a high official of government. Impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office; it is only a formal statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law, and is only the first step towards removal.
powers that can only be used by the national government
powers shared by the state and federal governments
Federal balance of power
degree to which power is centralized in the federal government
a political arrangement in which power is divided between the federal and state governments
"Layer Cake" Federalism
a way of describing the system of dual federalism in which there is a division of responsibilities between the state and the national governments
a concept of federalism in which national, state, and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems, rather than making policies separately but more or less equally
"Marble Cake" Federalism
also known as cooperative federalism, it developed during the New Deal and is characterized by the federal government's becoming more intrusive in what was traditionally states' powers
Fiscal federalism deals with the division of governmental functions and financial relations among levels of government.
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.
A sum of money given by a certain organization, especially the government, for a certain reason or cause
-social rewards: sense of pleasure, status, or companionship; lead people to join political organizations
-material incentives: money or things valued in monetary terms
terms set by the national government that states must meet if they are to receive certain federal funds
federal sharing of a fixed percentage of its revenue with the states
a requirement or an order from the central government that all state and local government must comply with
Funded Mandates-when the federal government give the states money to help them do whatever they want them to do
Unfunded mandate-a statute or regulation that requires a state or local government to perform certain actions, yet provides no money for fulfilling the requirements.
Clean Air Act (1970)
A United States federal law designed to control air pollution on a national level.
-Required EPA to develop and enforce regulations to protect the public from airborne contaminants; forced states to follow and make sure the laws for followed in relation to the EPA. States allowed to decide officials for enforcement.
-charged the Department of Transportation with the responsibility to reduce automobile emissions.
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
A civil rights law that prohibitis descrimination based on disability.
-requires employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in employment.
-Congressional grants given to states and localities on the condition that expenditures be limited to a problem or group specified by law
-Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes, or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions.
-federal grants-in-aid that allow states considerable discretion in how the funds are spent.
-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.
The clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) that gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations. (can regulate interstate and national commerce)
Necessary and Proper Clause
Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government
Powers specifically given to Congress in the Constitution; including the power to collect taxes, coin money, regulate foreign and interstate commerce, and declare war.
Powers inferred from the express powers (not stated explicitly in the Constitution) that allow Congress to carry out its functions.
Powers the Constitution is presumed to have delegated to the National Government because it is the government of a sovereign state within the world community
The concept that states have the right to govern themselves independent of the federal government-states are in complete and exclusive control of all the people and property within their territory. Also includes the idea that all states are equal as states.
Supreme Court of the United States
The highest court in the federal judiciary specifically created by the Constitution. It is composed of nine justices and has appellate jurisdiction over lower federal courts and the highest state courts. It also possesses a limited original jurisdiction.
a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a city, state, or country. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
SCOTUS ruling based on Supremacy Clause; no state can tax institutions created by Congress - MD attempted to tax 2nd BUS
United States v. Lopez (1995)
The national government's power under the commerce clause does not permit it to regulate matters not directly related to interstate commerce (in this case, banning firearms in a school zone)
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