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Types of laws

The law is the code of conduct by which society is governed. State courts apply constitutional, statutory, and adminastrative law as well as common law and equity. The law can also be classified as either criminal or civil law. p683

Jury Duty

The responsibility of every citizen to serve on a jury when called p706


The principal executive officer in each of the 50 states. p694


The head of a city government p727

County Board

The county's governing body. p719 small group of people elected to make laws for and run the government of the county

City Council

A group of elected people who govern a city

Brown v Board of Education

Supreme Court found that segregation was a violation of the Equal Protection clause; "separate but equal" has no place; reversed decision of Plessy v Feurgeson p603

Marbury v Madison

established concept and power of judicial review and claimed for the Supreme Court the right to declare acts of Congrerss unconstitutional. This was the first time supreme court declared something 'unconstitutional' p518

McCulloch v Maryland

1819, Supreme Court holds that the powers to tax, borrow, and regulate commerce give Congress the IMPLIED POWER to establish a national bank. The Court ruled that the power of the federal govt was supreme to that of the states and the states could not interfere or tax the bank. This IMPLIED POWER ruling was very important. p306

Miranda v Arizona

Created the Miranda Rule. Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to consult with an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police. p582

Plessy v Ferguson

1896 Supreme Court decision which created the separate-but-equal doctrine which legalized state ordered segregation so long as the facilities for blacks and whites were equal. p602

Exclusionary rule

Rule that evidence acquired as a result of an illegal act by police cannot be used agains the person form whom it was seized. p573

Ex post facto law

A law applied to an act committed before its passage. p577


The Supreme Court's opinion is the majority opinion. It announces the Court's decision in a case and sets out the reasoning on which it is based. There may also be concurring opinions and dissenting opinions. p522

protected speech

Speech protected by the 1st and 14th Amendments. Gives all people the right to have their say and the right to hear what others have to say. p546

unprotected speech

These are forms of speech that are not protected by the government. These include fighting words, obscenities and speech that may cause public danger. Any other speech that infringes on someone else's freedoms or safety is not protected by the govt. and can have adverse consequences. p546

gaining citizenship

CItizenship by Birth:
(1) born in US or US territory (jus soli) OR
(2) at least one parent is a citizen when you are born and who has at some time lived in the U.S. (jus sanguinis).
CItizenship by Naturalization:
(1) must be 18,
(2) entered country legally and lived in the US for at least 5 years -- for husbands or wives of citizens, 3 years
(3) file a petition for naturalization
(4) be literate in the English language
(5) be of "good moral character"
(6) have a "knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and the principles and form of government, of the United States
(7) take an oath

losing citizenship

Expatriation is the legal process by which a loss of citizenship occurs. Congress cannot take away a person's citizenship for something he or she has done. Denaturalization is how naturalized citizens lose their citizenship due to it being shown that the person became a citizen due to fraud or deception. p614


people who live in a nation but are not citizens of that nation

double jeopardy

The Fifth Amendment right providing that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime

Presidential Qualifications

natural born citizen, lived in the US for 14 years, and 35 years old p356

Presidential Succession

1. Vice President 2. Speaker of the House 3. President Pro-Tempore of the Senate 4. Secretary of State 5. Secretary of Treasury 6. Secretary of Defense 7. Attorney General 8. Secretary of the Interior 9. Secretary of Agriculture 10. Secretary of Commerce

Electoral College

The group of people (electors) chosen in each State and the District of Columbia every four years twho make a formal selection of the President and Vice President. p366

Presidential Powers

(1) Executive Powers (executing the law, ordinance power, appointment power, removal power);
(2) Diplomatic Powers (power to make treaties, executive agreements, power of recognition);
(3) Military Powers (Commander in Chief of the nation's armed forces)
(3) Legislative Powers (message power, veto power)
(4) Judicial Powers (reprieves, pardons, clemencies, commutations, and amnesties)
(see all of Chapter 14)

House Qualifications

25 years of age, 7 year citizen of US, inhabitant of state p272

Senate Qualifications

30 years of age, 9 year citizen of US, inhabitant of state p277


Procedure that may be used to limit or end floor debate in a legislative body. p344


Various tactics (usually long speeches) aimed at defeating a bill in a legislative body by preventing a final vote; associated with the U.S. Senate. p343


To bring formal charges against a public official; the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach civil officers of the United States. p311


The act of lying under oath. p311

lawmaking process

• Bill is introduced in both House and Senate
• Committee action in both House and Senate
• Floor action (debated, then passed or defeated) in both House and Senate
• Conference Committee resolves differences between House and Senate bills
• House and Senate vote on final passage
• signed into law by President


A voter who has no party affiliation. p171


The right to vote. p148


All of the people having the right to vote in a given election. p129, 148, 383


As a nominating device, a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election. p180

polling process

(1) define the universe to be surveyed;
(2) construct a sample;
(3) prepare valid questions;
(4) select and control how the poll will be taken; and
(5) analyze and report their findings to the public. p218

Amendment 15

Right to Vote --- Race, Color, Servitude. No state can deny any citizen the right to vote on account of race or previous state as slave p775

Amendment 19

Voting Rights for Women. No person can be denied the right to vote on account of his or her sex. p776

Amendment 24

Abolition of Poll Tax in National Elections. Outlawed the payment of any tax as a condition for taking part in the nomination or election of any federal officeholder. p778

Amendment 26

Voting Age Set to 18 Years


Election in which voters choose the candidates from each party who will run in the General Election. Closed primaries are ones in whcih only declared party members can vote. Open primaries are ones in which any voter can participate. Blanket primaries have alo, but rarely, been used. p182 - 184


In American politics, a mandate refers to the instructions or or commands a constituency gives to its elected officials. p216

Theories of government

The Force Theory, The Evolutionary Theory, The Divine Right Theory, The Social Contract Theory p7


A form of government in which the leader has absolute power and authority. p5

Representative Democracy

System of government in which public policies are made by officials selected by the voters and held accountable in periodic elections. p29

Direct Democracy

A form of government where the will of the people is translated into public policy (law) directly by the people themselves in mass meetings. p12 (Note: This only works in very small communities. It does not exist at the national level anywhere in the world today.)


All powers held by the government belong to a single, central agency. p14 (often described as a centralized government)


A federal government is one in which the powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments. p14


A confederation is an alliance of independent states united to accomplish common goals while also retaining their separate identities. p15 (rare in the modern owrld. The European Union (EU) is the closest approach to one today with 25 member-nations.


A form of government in which the power to rule is held by a small, usually self-appointed elite. p13

Constitutional Convention

The meeting of state delegates (known as the Framers of the Constitution) in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution. p48

Thomas Jefferson

Considered the author of the Declaration of Independence. p38 (Also, 3rd President of the United States)

John Hancock

American revolutionary patriot who was president of the Continental Congress from which came the Declaration of Independence. p37 The largest signature on the Declaration of Independence.

Amendment 1

Freedom of Reigion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and to Petition the Government. p771 (Note: The first 10 Amendments collectively are known as the Bill of Rights)

Amendment 2

Right to keep and bear arms. Each state has the right to a well-regulated Militia. p772

Amendment 4

Searches and Seizures. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure. p772

Amendment 5

Criminal Proceedings, Due Process, Eminent Domain. Right to a fair trial, can't be tried twice for the same crime (double jeopardy), you don't have to testify against yourself. Eminent Domain protrects againts the State seizing private property for public use without paying just compensation. p772

Amendment 6

Criminal Proceedings: Right to a speedy and public trial, an impartial jury, to comfront witnesses against you, and to have a lawyer. p772

Supremacy Clause

Constitutional declaration (Article VI, section 2) that the Constitution and laws made under its provisions are the "supreme Law of the Land". Considered the linchpin of the Constitution. p94


A form of government in which the executive and legislative branches are separate, independent and coequal. p812


A form of government in which the executive branch is made up of the prime minister, or premier, and that official's cabinet. p812 ( the POLITICAL PARTY in control picks their PRIME MINISTER - Head Executive)


Having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority. p6


A form of government in which one person holds unlimited political power. p13

Amendment Process

Changes or additions that become part of the Constitution.
There are four methods but the following is the one that has been used for all but one of the 27 amendments:
(1) proposed by a 2/3 vote in both houses Congress
(2) Ratified by State legislatures of at least 3/4 (38) States

types of powers

Exclusive Powers: National Government Only (also called Delegated Powers)
Concurrent Powers: Both National Government and States
Reserved Powers: State power only (Constitution does not grant to the National Government nor deny to the States)
see illustration on p93)


An adjective describing a legislative body with one chamber. p32


An adjective describing a legislative body composed of two chambers. p31

CT Compromise

The Connecticut Compromise was an agreement during the Constitutional Convention that Congress should be comosed of a Senate, in which States would be represented equally, and a House, in which representation would be based on a State's Population.

James Madison

Considered the "Father of the Constitution"; contributed more to the Constitution than anyone else at the Philadelphia Convention (AKA Constitutional Convention); one of the Framers.

George Washington

1st President of the United States, planter, commander of the Continental Army, presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787

principles of government

Ordered, Limited and Representative p29

Elastic Clause

Also known as the "Necessary and Proper Clause". Clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that gives Congress the right to make all laws "necessary and proper" for executing its powers. Called the Elastic Clause because over time it has been stretched to cover so many situations. It is an Implied Power. p90

NJ Plan/VA Plan

New Jersey wanted a unicameral Congress with each State represented equally. Virginia wanted a bicameral Congress (House and Senate) with each State's representation based on population. Other minor differences, too. p51

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