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AP Government Unit 1 version 2
Terms in this set (57)
A belief that certain groups hold disproportionate power in a political system
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies. Because many groups compete, there is not an elite group that dominates. Compromise is common.
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) Each state retained sovereignty, the ability to act independently of the Confederation. Each state had equal representation in a unicameral (single house) legislature.
Rebellion led by 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.
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
A way of dividing the power of government among the legislative, executive, and judicial branch to prevent tyranny.
A government in which the people rule by their own consent since they are the source of power in a democratic form of government.
A legislature consisting of two parts, or houses with separate rules
Those who favored a stronger national government and weaker state governments. Supported the ratification of the Constitution.
Those who favored strong state governments and a weaker national government. Advocated for a bill of rights to formally address individual and state rights. Concerned about the concentration of power in a central government under the Constitution.
A system of government in which power and responsibilty is divided between the federal and state governments
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.
(ex. McCulloch v. Maryland)
Initial proposal at the Constitutional Convention made by the Virginia delegation for a strong central government with a bicameral legislature dominated by the big states.
New Jersey Plan
Proposal at the Constitutional Convention made by William Paterson of New Jersey for a central government with a single-house legislature in which each state would be represented equally.
Connecticut or Great Compromise
Compromise agreement by states at the Constitutional Convention for a bicameral legislature with a lower house in which representation would be based on population and an upper house in which each state would have two senators.
Format chosen by Founding Fathers. People vote for representatives who then make laws. People do not vote directly on legislation.
Three fifths clause
slave counted as 3/5 of a person for population counts to determine how many representatives.
A collection of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the name "Publius" to defend the Constitution in detail.
Bill of Rights
A formal statement of the fundamental rights of the people of the United States, incorporated in the Constitution as Amendments 1-10. Satisfied Anti-federalist concerns.
AKA the "Necessary and Proper Clause" Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which allows Congress to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers of the Constitution. Has allowed the federal government to expand its power over time.
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. Has helped the Federal government expand its power over time- including the regulation of the environment and civil rights.
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments. For example, the powers to tax, pass laws and borrow funds
A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. Often referred to as "marble cake"
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.
Expressed Powers/Enumerated powers
Powers the Constitution specifically granted to one of the branches of the national government. Listed explicitly in the Constitution. Ex: right to coin money, declare war, regulate foreign and interstate trade, tax, etc.
Powers not specifically mentioned in the constitution;
Powers inferred from the express powers that allow Congress to carry out its functions. Has Constitutional basis in Necessary and Proper/Elastic Clause
powers that exist for the national government because the government is sovereign. Ex: The Louisiana Purchase
belong to the states and the people;
Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states. Granted by the 10th Amendment. For example, regulating voting and administering elections at the state level.
A government that gives all key powers to the national or central government
Federal money given to the states with limited spending guidelines. Allows the states power to decide how to spend funds within relatively loose guidelines. Ex: funds for transportation and state chooses how to allocate.
Federal money given to the states with specific spending guidelines. Gives the federal government the power to decide how funds are spent within the state. Ex: funds for highway repairs, cannot be used for other purposes.
The transfer of power from a high level political office to a lower level; central government to regional, state, or local governments. Example-Welfare Reform Act of 1996
The 10th Amendment
Reserves powers to the states. Has been used successfully by the states to get the federal courts to strike down federal laws that violate this principle.
An order given by the federal government that states must follow and pay for
Type of categorical grant that is usually based on a state's population
Commerce WITHIN A STATE commercial activity regulated at the state level
Commerce between different states, can be regulated by Congress.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
requires state courts to enforce that civil judgments of the courts of other states and accept their public records and acts as valid.
Tyranny of the majority
Madison was most concerned with this aspect of the new government so he created multiple ways that the majority could be checked and balanced.
writ of habeas corpus
being unlawfully detained
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
ex post facto law
a law that makes illegal an act that was legal when committed, increases the penalties for an infraction after it has been committed, or changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier.
project grants, formula grants, block grants are all examples of
changes in judicial interpretation, growing international and domestic issues requiring more government intervention, increased role of political parties in policy making, easier access to elected officials, increased technology shaping public opinion are all examples of
formal amendment process
proposal by two-thirds vote of national convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of state legislatures followed by passage by three-quarters of special state conventions.
process of returning a fugitive from justice to the state in which the crime occured
private land may be taken for public use
Powers that only the national government have
privileges and immunities clause
prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner.
A state in which many groups or factions are so strong that a government is unable to function
type of categorical grant which requires a competitive application process
Federalist Paper #10
Written by James Madison to convince people to support the ratification of the Constitution. Argued that factions were inevitable but were best controlled by a large republic that employed a Federalist structure. Argued that competition among factions would limit their negative impacts.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
The court ruled that the states did not have the power to tax the national bank. Used the backing of the Supremacy Clause to argue that states could not interfere with legitimate federal laws
Gibbons v. Ogden
Commerce clause case (1824). Decision greatly enlarged Congress' interstate commerce clause power by broadly defining the meaning of "commerce" to include virtually all types of economic activity.
Conditions of Aid
Federal rules attached to the grants that states receive. States must agree to abide by these rules in order to receive the grants.
Marbury v Madison
Court case that established the Supreme Court's power to strike down federal laws that violated the constitution. This has allowed for continuous interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court (informal amendment)
the importance of Supreme Court rulings for similar situations in the future
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
William A. McClenaghan
United States Government: Principles in Practice
Luis Ricardo Fraga
United States Government: Democracy In Action
Richard C. Remy
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