AP Gov Vocab
Terms in this set (169)
Powers not directly granted by law. The governor's informal powers may follow from powers granted by law but may also come from the governor's persuasive abilities, which are affected by the governor's personality, popularity, and political support.
A principle of constitutional government; 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
A belief that ultimate power resides in the people.
a person advocating or supporting republican government.
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
a theory of democracy that holds that citizens should actively and directly control all aspects of their lives
citizen membership in groups is the key to political power
A political system in which the privileged classes acquire the power to decide by a competition for the people's votes and have substantial freedom between elections to rule as they see fit.
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. It replaced the Articles of Confederation.
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.
It is impossible to have a Large republic and have a stable government.
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)
people who opposed the Constitution
A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
a small, organized, dissenting group within a larger one, especially in politics.
Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out.
1787; This compromise was between the large and small states of the colonies. The Great Compromise resolved that there would be representation by population in the House of Representatives, and equal representation would exist in the Senate. Each state, regardless of size, would have 2 senators. All tax bills and revenues would originate in the House. This compromise combined the needs of both large and small states and formed a fair and sensible resolution to their problems.
A group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
the decision at the Constitutional convention to count slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of deciding the population and determining how many seats each state would have in Congress
A meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 that produced a new constitution
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
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
A formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
Federal grants for specific purposes, such as building an airport
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services
terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal grants
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
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.
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 given to the national government alone
Powers not specifically mentioned in the constitution
deciding which policy proposals become authoritative rules
a person whom a member of Congress has been elected to represent
government income due to taxation
A plan for making and spending money
speaker of the house
the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives
A procedural practice in the Senate whereby a senator refuses to relinquish the floor and thereby delays proceedings and prevents a vote on a controversial issue.
A procedure for terminating debate, especially filibusters, in the Senate.
provides special rules under which specific bills can be debated, amended, and considered
committee of the whole
A committee that consists of an entire legislative body; used for a procedure in which a legislative body expedites its business by resolving itself into a committee of itself.
a device by which any member of the House, after a committee has had the bill for thirty days, may petition to have it brought to the floor
A claim for government funds that cannot be abridged without violating the rights of the claimant; for example, social security benefits or payments on a contract.
Federal spending on programs that are controlled through the regular budget process
The mighty list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions available in a congressional district.
An agreement by two or more lawmakers to support each other's bills
Government action based on firm allegiance to a political party
Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.
The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population.
the process of reassigning representation based on population, after every census
one party controls the White House and another party controls one or both houses of Congress
A person still in office after he or she has lost a bid for reelection
Votes according to his or her own conscience and the broad interests of the entire society
When representatives follow expressed wishes of the voters
Legislators follow their own judgment until the public becomes vocal about a particular matter, at which point they should follow the dictates of constituents
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at the time.
Chief executive's power to reject a bill passed by a legislature
A veto taking place when Congress adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill to the president, who simply lets it die by neither signing nor vetoing it.
line item veto
Presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Commander in Chief
term for the president as commander of the nation's armed forces
A formal agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that does not require Senate approval.
A formal agreement between two or more sovereign states
A rule issued by the president that has the force of law
A group of advisers to the president.
a presidential document that reveals what the president thinks of a new law and how it ought to be enforced
federal judges keep their jobs until they retire or die; however, they can be impeached
Alexander Hamilton 1788; small states want plural executive. He thought there should be a single Executive because it would be more stable and easier for the people to keep up with. Energy and executive, duration of term, unity
specific grants of authority defined in the Constitution or in law
State of the Union
An annual speech in which the president addresses Congress to report on the condition of the country and recommend policies.
the president's use of his prestige and visibility to guide or enthuse the American public
Determining which public-policy questions will be debated or considered.
written by Alexander Hamilton; talks about the federal judiciary; judiciary must depend on other two branches to uphold its decisions
Allows the court to determine the constitutionality of laws
an example that may serve as a basis for imitation or later action
let the decision stand
an area of authority or control; the right to administer justice
having the power to hear appeals and to reverse lower court decisions
An interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court)
A judicial philosophy in which judges play minimal policymaking roles, leaving that duty strictly to the legislatures
proof; evidence; verification
Relationships among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share a common policy concern.
A close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group
a system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives.
provide services that could be handled by the private sector but that generally charge cheaper rates than a private sector producer.
hiring people into government jobs on the basis of their qualifications
Granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support
the effort by Congress, through hearings, investigations, and other techniques, to exercise control over the activities of executive agencies
power of the purse
Constitutional power given to Congress to raise and spend money
A legislative grant of money to finance a government program or agency
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution
Constitutional freedoms guaranteed to all citizens
the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.
free exercise clause
A First Amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion.
Clause in the First Amendment that says the government may not establish an official religion.
an act that conveys a political message
an offensive or indecent word or phrase
clear and present danger clause
Government can interfere with speech if it will lead to evil or illegal acts.
government censorship of information before it is published or broadcast
The process by which provisions of the Bill of Rights are brought within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment and so applied to state and local governments.
following established legal procedures
the constitutional rights which police must read to a suspect before questioning can occur
Patriot Act (2001)
Law responding to 9/11. Expands anti-terrorist powers (wiretapping, surveillance); 4th Amendment concern for civil liberties.
USA Freedom Act (2015)
replaced patriot act when it expired on June 1, 2015. banned bulk collection of data, new reporting requirements, extended the expiration of roving wiretaps and lone wolf surveillance authority to Dec. 2019
Letter from Birmingham Jail
A letter written by Martin Luther King Jr. after he had been arrested when he took part in a nonviolent march against segregation. He was disappointed more Christians didn't speak out against racism.
minority groups that make up a majority of the population of the state
Civil Rights Act of 1964
outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
A United States law enacted on June 23, 1972 that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Voting Rights Act
1965; invalidated the use of any test or device to deny the vote and authorized federal examiners to register voters in states that had disenfranchised blacks; as more blacks became politically active and elected black representatives, it brought jobs, contracts, and facilities and services for the black community, encouraging greater social equality and decreasing the wealth and education gap
A policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities
Economic system in which individuals and businesses are allowed to compete for profit with a minimum of government interference
giving priority to one's own goals over group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications
equality of opportunity
giving people an equal chance to succeed
rule of law
principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern
the process by which people gain their political attitudes and opinions
Actions or processes that involve the entire world and result in making something worldwide in scope.
A method of systematically questioning a small, selected sample of respondents who are deemed representative of the total population.
public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision
The level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll. The more people interviewed, the more confident one can be of the results.
A small group of individuals who are led in discussion by a professional consultant in order to gather opinions on and responses to candidates and issues.
how people think or feel about particular things
consistency of measurement
the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to
A political party formed by supporters of Andrew Jackson after the presidential election of 1824.
A belief that government can and should achieve justice and equality of opportunity.
Antislavery political party that formed in the 1850's.
A person who believes government power, particularly in the economy, should be limited in order to maximize individual freedom.
advocating principles of liberty and free will
an economic theory stating that the government can stabilize the economy- that is, can smooth business cycles- by controlling the level of aggregate demand, and that the level of aggregate demand can be controlled by means of fiscal and monetary policies
Government policy that attempts to manage the economy by controlling the money supply and thus interest rates.
Government policy that attempts to manage the economy by controlling taxing and spending.
the central bank of the United States
Rational Choice Theory
A popular theory in political science to explain the actions of voters as well as politicians. It assumes that individuals act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of possible alternatives.
voting for a candidate because you like his or her past actions in office
voting for a candidate because you favor his or her ideas for handling issues
process in which voters select candidates by their party affiliation
The belief that one's political participation really matters - that one's vote can actually make a difference
Elections held midway between presidential elections.
An election held to choose which candidate will hold office
The channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the government's policy agenda. In the United States, linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
Groups of people who work together for similar interests or goals
All of the people entitled to vote in a given election
A political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. The platform is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. It is the best formal statement of a party's beliefs.
Candidate Centered Campaigns
Election campaigns and other political processes in which candidates, not political parties, have most of the initiative and influence.
Alliances of various parties
An electoral "earthquake" where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party. Such periods are sometimes marked by a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.
changes in the electorate due to changes in party identification
A political party organized in opposition to the major parties in a two-party system
more people more votes in state (legislative)
winner take all
a system in which the candidate with the most district votes in a state gets all of the delegate votes from that state
Engaging in activities aimed at influencing public officials, especially legislators, and the policies they enact.
"free rider" problem
The problem faced by unions and other groups when people do not join because they can benefit from the group's activities without officially joining. The bigger the group, the more serious the problem.
single issue group
Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics.
the electoral edge afforded to those already in office
A primary election in which voters may choose in which party to vote as they enter the polling place
A primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote
A meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform.
A meeting of party delegates to vote on matters of policy and in some cases to select party candidates for public office.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Largely banned party soft money, restored a long-standing prohibition on corporations and labor unions for using general treasury funds for electoral purposes, and narrowed the definition of issue advocacy.
speech that government may not prohibit or punish under the First Amendment guarantee of "freedom of speech"
political action committee
committee formed by a special-interest group to raise money for their favorite political candidates
the use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, at times putting reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders
"horse race" journalism
news coverage that focuses on who is ahead rather than on the issues