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American Government Final Exam
Terms in this set (50)
Chief Clerk v. Modern Presidency and Reasons for this Development
"Chief clerk" presidents, on the other hand, take a more passive approach to the job. They are much more careful about exceeding their constitutional authority and often believe in a limited government....Modern presidents usually take a leadership approach to their job. They consider themselves representatives of all the people, put in place to pursue a political agenda by using their inherent powers. Scholars usually praise presidents who follow this model, because it results in ambitious policy programs that (for good or ill) leave a strong mark on American government
Commander in chief
The president is the highest-ranking officer in the armed services
Chief of state
Acting as chief of state is a president's most visible function, whether meeting the heads of other countries, welcoming astronauts or college football champions to the White House, or opening the Olympic Games
The president not only decides the direction of American foreign policy but also plays an important role in carrying it out
The president is the chief administrator, or chief bureaucrat, of the nation and is ultimately responsible for all the programs in the executive branch
A president does not simply propose legislation but is actively involved in seeing that it becomes law.
The president is expected to set the moral tone for the nation, including exemplary honesty, religious faith, and integrity
In addition to performing clearly governmental functions, the president serves as the "titular head" of a political party
Articles of Confederation v. Constitution
*ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION CONSTITUTION~States are sovereign
No independent executive
No federal courts-all laws enforced by state courts.
No taxing power given to Congress.
Congress has no power over interstate or
Congress consists of one body and each state
has one vote.
Amended only by approval of ALL the states.
Congress has only specific, delegated powers.
Only state governments act directly on the people.
*CONSTITUTION~People of the whole nation are sovereign--exercise
of sovereignty is divided between states and the
Independent executive chosen by electoral college.
Separate federal court system, with power to
resolved disputes between the states.
Congress has power to "lay and collect taxes, duties,
imposts, and excises."
Congress has power to regulate commerce with other
nations and among the states.
Congress consists of two bodies. Number in House is
based on population and each state has two Senators.
Amended with approval of 3/4 of states.
Congress has implied as well as specific powers.
Both central government and state governments acts
directly on the people.
Unitary, Con-Federal, and Federal Systems of Government
Types of systems of govt organization
Factors Leading to the Constitutional Convention
Tariffs, war debts, farm problems, income disparity and easy credit, laissez-faire economy
Process of Socialization
Cultural process of learning to participate in group life; process of acquiring self identity and the physical, mental and social skills needed for survival in society
Characteristics of Political Participation
Age structure, growth rate, sex ratio
Electoral College Process
Used to elect President...The number of representatives in Congress determines the number of a state's electoral votes. [Higher population = more electoral votes] *Need 270 votes
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
Overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and declared a state law banning sodomy to be an unconstitutional intrusion on the right to privacy
At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation in Congress on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state the same number of representatives. The convention compromised by creating the House and the Senate, and using both of the two separate plans as the method for electing members of each
Brown v. Board of Ed (1954)
Ruled that racially segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Reversed the principle of "separate but equal" established in Plessy v Ferguson
Griswold v. Ct (1965)
A state cannot ban the use and distribution of contraception to married couples...The Supreme Court overturned a Connecticut law which made all birth control counseling and birth control devices illegal; Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy
Roe v. Wade (1973)
The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests for regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting the mother's health
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
The Supreme Court case that upheld a Louisiana segregation law on the theory that as long as the accommodations between the racially segregated facilities were equal, the equal protection clause was not violated. The Court's ruling effectively established the constitutionality of racial segregation and the notion of "separate but equal"
A decision made by a higher court such as a circuit court of appeals or the Supreme Court that is binding on all other federal courts
Civil Liberties v. Civil Rights
Liberties are protection against the law while Rights are protection under the law
The Bill of Rights
First Ten Amendments:
1-Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition
2-Right to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a well regulated militia
3-No quartering of soldiers
4-Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
5-Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy
6-Rights of accused persons, e.g., right to a speedy and public trial
7-Right of trial by jury in civil cases
8-Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments
9-Other rights of the people
10-Powers reserved to the states
Legislative Process in Both House and Senate
Congress's primary duty is to pass laws. The legislative process is often slow, just as the framers of the Constitution intended. The framers believed that a slow-moving legislature would be less able to infringe on citizens' rights and liberties...Online Chart
Standing Committee / Sub Committee
A permanent committee that meets regularly...A committee composed of some members of a larger committee, board, or other body and reporting to it
Guides Congress in its work since the majority of the party in each house organizes the committees, appoints committee heads, & controls the flow of legislation
Civil War Amendments
Also know as the 13,14,15 Amendments. The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery. The 14th guaranteed citizenship to former slavers. The 15th declared that states may not deny the vote of any citizen on the basis of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude"
House and Senate Differences
Senators represent their whole state...House members represent only a defined number of people
Winner-Take-All Electoral System
The electoral system that US has where the candidate with the most votes (even only slightly) wins all the power
1) name recognition, 2) franking privilege, 3) better fundraising, 4) taking credit for pork/earmarks to their districts, 5) gerrymandered districts
The blueprint for the campaign, including a budget and fun-raising plan, an advertising strategy, a staffing plan
1786 revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and foreclosure that was a factor in the calling of the Constitutional Convention
Rule of Four
Requirement that a case can only be heard by the Supreme Court if four justices vote to hear the case
Role Ideology & Federal Judgeship Confirmations
A period prior to the American Revolution when the British Parliament sought to recoup some of the costs associated with the French and Indian War by levying new taxes and fees on colonists (ex. Sugar Act and Stamp Act)
A standing committee of the House of Representatives that provides special rules under which specific bills can be debated, amended, and considered by the house
Reasons for US Two-Party System
Advantages of the American two-party system:
Stability: Two-party systems are more stable than multiparty systems
Moderation: The two parties must appeal to the middle to win elections, so the parties tend to be moderate.
Ease: Voters have only to decide between two parties.
Disadvantages to our system, including the following:
Lack of choice: Both parties tend to be very similar, limiting voters' options.
Less democratic: A percentage of people will always feel marginalized by the system
Balancing the Ticket
Occurs when a presidential nominee chooses a vice presidential running mate who has different qualities in order to attract more votes for the ticket
House and the Senate Differences
Role in the legislative process
Speaker of the House
An office mandated by the Constitution. The Speaker is chosen in practice by the majority party, has both formal and informal powers, and is second in line to succeed to the presidency should that office become vacant...John Boehner
Enumerated Powers of Congress
Congressional powers specifically named in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8)
'Liberal' and 'Conservative' Political Orientations
Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded..........Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion
Loving v. Virginia (1967)
Laws against interracial marriage constitute invidious racial discrimination; protected equal rights under the 14th Amendment
Federal Courts & Policymaking
Judicial Activism v. Judicial Restraint
Judicial activism is the term used to describe judges who make rulings based on their personal or political opinions rather than existing law...Judicial restraint describes the belief that judges should only make rulings based on a strict adherence to existing law
"Full Faith and Credit" Clause
First words of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires states to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" of all the other states
Powers specifically given to Congress in the Constitution; including the power to collect taxes, coin money, regulate foreign and interstate commerce, and declare war
Checks and Balances/Separation of Powers
A system in which the different parts of an organization (such as a government) have powers that affect and control the other parts so that no part can become too powerful...The principle or system of vesting in separate branches the executive, legislative, and judicial powers of a government
The use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favored or to force a decision against the will of the majority. You are attempting to "kill a bill"...A method of closing a debate and causing an immediate vote to be taken on the question
Power to decide whether the laws passed by Congress were constitutional and to strike down those laws that were not
The third-ranking officer in the Justice Department, who decides what cases the federal government will appeal from lower courts and personally approves every case the government presents to the Supreme Court
Writ of Certiorari
A formal writ used to bring a case before the Supreme Court
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits
A term used to characterize the recent trend in network television news production that blends analysis with entertainment. Many experts believe this trend can be linked to many other trends in politics and voter behavior. A good example is the ever-growing illusion that a Hollywood break-up is actually news
Supreme Court Selection
The selection process for U.S. Supreme Court justices has grown ever more complex. Presidents have the constitutional power to nominate justices, and, in doing so, they have employed several criteria at different times, including professional merit, ideological compatibility, and political support by the president and his advisers. Under the Constitution, the Senate has the authority to consent to or reject appointees. In recent decades it has used public hearings to ascertain a nominee's qualifications and, within certain limitations, the nominee's ideological attitudes. This process is intensely political and, as such, it reflects the Supreme Court's broad authority as the final interpreter of the Constitution, many of whose provisions raise highly contestable issues of great political significance
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