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AP US Government and Politics Crash Course Vocab
Terms in this set (89)
A fundamental democratic principle requiring that the majority's view be respected. Nonetheless, the Constitution originally contained a number of provisions designed to limit this, including the electoral college, life tenure for supreme court justices, and the selection of senators by state legislators
Checks and Balances
System in which each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches. For example, the senate has the power to approve or reject presidential appointments to the supreme court.
System of government in which all power is invested in a central government
A system of government in which power is divided by a written constitution between a central government and regional governments. As a result, two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same geographic area and people
Powers specifically granted to the federal government by the constitution. For example, the constitution gives congress the power to coin money, impose taxes, and regulate interstate commerce. Also called enumerated powers
Powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the constitution. They are derived from the elastic or necessary and proper clause
Powers not specifically granted to the national government or denied to the states. They are held by the states through the Tenth Amendment
Situations in which the national state governments work together to complete projects. Also called fiscal federalism.
Funds provided for a specific and clearly defined purpose
Funds granted to the states for a broadly defined purpose. Because they shift resources from the federal government to the states, they contribute to the growing number of the state and local government employees
Rules telling states what they must do to comply with federal guidelines.
Require state and local governments to provide services or comply with regulations without the provision of funds.
A movement to transfer the responsibilities of governing from the federal government to state and local governments
A set of widely shared political beliefs and values. In America, this is characterized by strong support for individual liberty, political equality, legal equality, the rule of law, and limited government
The process by which political values are formed and passed from one generation to the next.
Attitudes about institutions, leaders, political issues, and events
A cohesive set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and the role of government
The belief that one's political participation makes a difference
Voting for candidates of different parties for different offices in the same election. Recent elections have witnessed a significant increases in in this as the number of voters who identify themselves as independents increases
A group of citizens who organize to win elections, hold public offices, operate governments and determine public policy
The winning candidate is the person who receives more votes than anyone else, but less than half the total
Single Member District
An electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office. This type of electoral system typically leads to legislatures dominated by two political parties
An historical period dominated by one political party
An election when significant groups of voters change their traditional patterns of party loyalty
The majority party is displaced by the minority party, thus ushering in a new party era
A government in which one party controls the presidency while another party controls Congress. The has dominated U.S. politics since the early 1970s
An organization of people whose members share views on specific interests and attempt to influence public policy to their benefits. Unlike political parties, they do not elect people to office
Political Action Committee (PAC)
A committee formed by business, labor, or other interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates who they support.
People who benefit from an interest group without making any contributions. Labor unions and public interest groups often have a problem with this because people can benefit from the group's activities without joining.
Power Elite Theory
The theory that a small number of very wealthy individuals, powerful corporate interest groups , large financial institutions dominate key policy areas
The theory that many interest groups compete for power in a large number of policy areas
The theory that government policy is weakened and often contradictory because there are so many competing interest groups
Means of communication such as newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet that can reach large widely dispersed audience
Institutions that connect citizens to government. The mass media, interest groups, and political parties are the three main ones
Horse Race Journalism
the tendency of the media to cover campaigns by emphasizing how candidates stand in the polls instead of where they stand on the issues
The reallocation of the number of representative each states has in the House of Representatives
The lesgislative process by which the majority party in each state legislature redraws congressional districts to ensure the maximum number of seats for its candidate
An officeholder who is seeking reelection
The right of members of congress to mail newsletter to their constituents at governments expenses
Permanent subject matter congressional committees that handle legislation and over see th bureaucracy
Temporary bodies that are formed to resolve differences between house and senate versions of a bill
Guideline for the floor debate
House ways and means committee
House committee that handles taxes bill
Unwritten rule in both houses of congress reserving committee chairs to members of the committee with the longest records of continuous service
A way of delaying or prevent action of a bill by using long speeches and unlimited debate
A senate motion to end a filibuster. 3/5 votes are needed
Tactic of mutual aid and vote trading among legislator
Congressional review of the activities of an executive agency, department, or office.
Delegate role of representation
When members vote based on the wishes of the constituents
A primary in which voters are required to identify a party preference before the election
The pattern of states having early primaries in order to maximize their media attention and political influence
Contributions to political parties for party-building activities.
A tax exempt organization created to influence the political process. They are not regulated by the FEC because they do not coordinate their actiosn with a candidate or party
The President's constitutional power to reject a bill passed by Congress. Congress may override this with a 2/3 vote in each chamber.
The power to veto specific dollar amounts or line items from major congressional spending bills. The Supreme Court struck this down as an unconstitutional expansion of the veto power.
Pact between the president and head of foreign states. They do not have to be approved by the Senate but are not part of US law and are not binding on future presidents.
The president's power to refuse to disclose confidential information.
Lame Duck Period
The period of time in which the presidential term is about to come to an end and the president typically has less influence
A large organizations of appointed officials
A directive, order, or regulation issued by the president. They are based on constitutional or statutory authority and have the force of law/
Alliance among an administration agency, an interest group, and a Congressional committee. Each member provides key services, information, or policy for the others
Includes policy experts , media pundits, interest groups and congressional staff members who regularly debate an issue
Set of issues and problems that policy makers consider important
the authority of a court to hear an appeal from a lower court
An unwritten tradition whereby the Senate will not confirm nomination for lower court positions that are opposed by a senator of the president's own party from the state in which the nominee is to serve
Writ of certiorari
Supreme Court order directing a lower court to send up record in a given case for its review
Rule of four
Supreme Court will hear a case if four justices agree to do so
The person responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the US government to the Supreme Court
Amicus Curiae Brief
A friend of the court brief filed by an interest group or interested party to influence a Supreme Court Case decision
A latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand." Most Supreme Court decisions are based on precedents established in an earlier case
Philosophy that the Supreme Court should use precedent and the Framer's original intent to decide cases
Philosophy that the Supreme Court must correct injustices when other branches of government or the states refuse to do so
Involves regulating the money supply, controlling inflation, and adjusting interest rates. It is controlled by the Federal Reserve Board
Raising and lowering taxes and government spending programs.
a government-sponsored program that provides mandated benefits to those who meet eligibility requirements. Examples are Social Security and Medicare
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Responsible for preparing the budget that the president submits to Congress
Legal and constitutional rights that protect individuals from arbitrary acts of government. Includes freedom of speech and guarantees of a fair trial
Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals. Includes laws prohibiting racial and gender discrimination.
The case-by-case process by which liberties listed in the Bill of Rights have been applied to the states using the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
A provision of the First Amendment that prohibits Congress form establishing an official government-sponsored religion
Free Exercise Clause
A provision of the First Amendment that guarantees each person the right to believe what he or she wants. However, religion cannot make an act legal that would otherwise be illegal.
Clear and Present Danger Test
Judicial interpretation of the First Amendment that government may not bean speech unless it poses an imminent threat to society
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A court order directing that a prisoner be brought before a court and that the court officers show cause why the prisoner should not be released
Bill of Attainder
A legislative act that provides for the punishment of a person without a court trial
Ex post facto law
a law applied to an act committed before the law was enacted
Supreme Court guideline that prohibits evidence obtained by illegal searches or seizures from being admitted in court
Warnings that police must read to suspects prior to questioning that advises them of their rights
Supreme Court rule that classification by race and ethnic background is inherently suspect and must be justified by a "compelling public interest"
a policy requiring federal agencies, universities, and most employers to take positive steps to remedy the effects of past discrimination
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