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Politics of the United States
AP Gov Fall Final Exam
Terms in this set (136)
member of the Democratic Party
a person advocating or supporting republican government.
open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
A person who believes government power, particularly in the economy, should be limited in order to maximize individual freedom.
The theory that widespread political participation is essential for democratic government
A theory of democracy that emphasizes the role of groups in the policy making process
Theory of democracy that elites have a disproportionate amount of influence in the policy making process
Montesquieu v. Rousseau
They heavily influence the French Revolution. Government policies and ideas should change to alleviate existing problems (liberalism). Rousseau wrote, "The Social Contract", "The Declaration of the Rights of Man", and "The Citizen". There ideas also included:
- Individual freedom and community welfare are of equal importance
- Man's innate goodness leads to natural harmony.
- Reason develops with the rise of civilized society.
- Individual citizens carry certain obligations to the existing government.
The right to life, liberty, and property, which government cannot take away
A principle of constitutional government; a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution.
A system in which the government's authority comes from the people
People allow their governments to rule over them to ensure an orderly and functioning society
Declaration of Independence
the document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain
Articles of Confederation
A governing document that created a union of thirteen sovereign states in which the states, not the union, were supreme
Congress commanded little respect and no support from state governments anxious to maintain their power. Congress could not raise funds, regulate trade, or conduct foreign policy without the voluntary agreement of the states.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
A popular uprising against the government of Massachusetts
The small states wanted each state to have the same number of representatives in Congress. The big states wanted representation based on population.
Constitutional Convention Compromises
to set aside the Articles of Confederation and write a new Constitution
Constitutional Convention Solutions
Supporters of the proposed Constitution, who called for a strong national government
People opposed to te proposed Constitution who favored strong state governments
An essay in which Madison argues that the dangers of faction can be mitigated by a large Republic and Republican government
An Antifederalist paper arguing that the country was too large to be governed as a republic and that the Constitution gave too much power to the national government
Changes to the Constitution
Formal Amendment Process
Article V; the (very difficult) process of adding or deleting words to the constitution (27 times since 1788); propose by 2/3 vote of Congress or Constitutional Convention (never used); ratify by 3/4 vote of state legislators or state convention (only used once)
Grants Congress the authority to regulate interstate business and commercial activity
Constitutional provision declaring that the Constitution and all national laws and treaties are the supreme law of the land
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.
Checks and Balances
A design of government in which each branch has powers that can prevent the other branches from making policy
Separation of Powers
A design of government that distributes powers across institutions in order to avoid making one branch too powerful on its own
The sharing of power between the national government and the states
The authority of the Supreme Court to strike down a law or executive action if it conflicts with the Constitution
The idea that the government's right to rule comes from the people
A system where the central government has all of the power over su national governmetns
A system where the sub national governments have most of the power
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
Authority specifically granted to a branch of the government in the Constitution
Powers granted to both states and the federal government in the Constitution
Powers not given to the national government, which are retained by the states and the people
The new `age of federalism' ...
Advantages of a federal system. ...
The right of choice and exit. ...
The possibility of experiment. ...
Accommodating regional preferences and diversity. ...
Participation in government and the countering of elitism. ...
The federal division of powers protects liberty.
Benefits of Federalism
There are operational issues with regard to federalism, mainly including issues such as, a) the overall direction of the new federal structure and its relevance to the devolution of power and ensuring the effective delivery of services, b) the communication and coordination between the three tiers of government .
Drawbacks of Federalism
A form of American federalism in which the states and the national government work together to shape public policy
A form of American federalism in which the states and the nation operate independently in their own areas of public policy
Returning more authority to state or local governments
McCulloch vs. Maryland
The state of Maryland taxed banknotes produced by the Bank of the United States, claiming that the Bank was unconstitutional. Using implied powers, Marshall countered that the Bank was constitutional and ruled that Maryland was forbidden from taxing the Bank.
US vs. Lopez
The Court held that Congress had exceeded its commerce clause power by prohibiting guns in school.
Reserves powers not delegated to the national government to the states an the people; the basis of federalism
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Prevents states from discriminating against people from out of state
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Constitutional clause requiring states to recognize the public acts, records, and civil court proceedings from another state
Grants in aid provided to states with specific provisions on their use
A type of grants in aid that gives state officials more authority in the disbursement of federal funds
terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal grants
Federal requirement that states must follow without being provided with funding
Federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations.
Federal categorical grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications
The requirement that officials in one state return a defendant to another state where the crime was committed
American Disability Act
a law past in 1990 that requires all employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in employment.
Make laws. Declare war. Raise and provide public money and oversee its proper expenditure. Impeach and try federal officers. Approve presidential appointments. Approve treaties negotiated by the executive branch. Oversight and investigations.
What are the constitutional powers of Congress?
Ensuring that laws are implemented in the way that Congress intended or to investigate the president or members of the executive branch for wrongdoing
How does Congress use oversight to check on Executive and Judicial Branches?
Members are meant to be close to the people and their wishes
Original intent of framers in creating the House
Being insulated from the public
Original intent of framers in creating the Senate
States' redrawing of boundaries of electoral districts following each census
The intentional use of redistributing to benefit a specific interest or group of voters
spreading voters of one type over many districts where they will comprise minorities that are unable to influence elections
concentrating partisan voters in a single district in order to maximize the number of representatives that can be elected by the opposition in other districts
The process through which congressional committees allocate funds to executive branch agencies, bureaus, and departments
Baker v. Carr
case that est. one man one vote. this decision created guidelines for drawing up congressional districts and guaranteed a more equitable system of representation to the citizens of each state
Shaw v. Reno
NO racial gerrymandering; race cannot be the sole or predominant factor in redrawing legislative boundaries; majority-minority districts.
Institutional advantages held by those already in office who are trying to fen off challengers in an election
Second in the line of succession to the presidency in the event of death, resignation, removal from office, or inability to conduct the office's duties. Considerable power over the House agenda and committee assignments
Role of Speaker
Second in Command and the majority whip
Role of Majority Leaders
For less influence in the House than the Speaker, but works to coordinate minority party activity, opposition to the majority party, and overall strategy
Role of Minority Leaders
To ensure party and unity and discipline. Collects collect information about how individual members are planning to vote, corralling their support on key votes and setting party strategy in Congress
Role of Party Whip
Constitutional duty is to preside over the Senate
Role of Vice President
A permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area
A committee composed of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; such committees oversee the Library of Congress and conduct investigations.
Committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form.
A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.
A tactic through which an individual senator may use the right of unlimited debate to delay a motion or postpone action on a piece of legislation
A procedure through which senators can end debate on a bill and proceed to action, provided three-fifths of senators to agree to it
House Rules Committee
A powerful committee that determines when a bill will be subject to debate and vote on the House floor, how long the debate will last, and whether amendments will be allowed on the floor
Committee of the Whole
Consists of all members of the House and meets in the House chamber but is governed by different rules, making it easier to consider complex and controversial legislation
Formal rejection by the president of a bill that has passed both houses of Congress
An informal veto caused when the president chooses not to sign a bill within ten days, during a time when Congress has adjourned at the end of a session
A motion filed by a member of Congress to move a bill out of committee and onto the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote
Responsible for appropriating funding for most of the functions of the federal government
Role of Appropriations Committee
Spending for programs and policies at the discretion of Congress and the president
Spending required by existing laws that is locked in the budget
Programs that provide benefits for those who qualify under the law, regardless of income
The amount of money remaining when the government takes in more money than it spends
The difference when a government takes in less money than it spends
The total amount of money owed by the federal government
The Representative's political party
#1 Factor that influences the way a member will vote
A person who acts as the voters' representative at a convention to select the party's nominee
A legislator who acts according to her or his conscience and the broad interests of the entire society.
Lawmaker who attempts to balance the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles
Agreement between the parties to work together in Congress to pass legislation
A slowdown or halt in Congress's ability to legislate and overcome divisions, especially those based on partisanship
A situation that occurs when control of the presidency and one or both chambers of Congress is split between the two majority parties
Lame Duck Period
Period at the end of a presidential term when Congress may block presidential initiatives and nominees
35 years old
Age Requirement for President
Resident of the United States for 14 years
Residency Requirement for President
Natural born citizen of the United States
Citizenship Requirement for President
Term Maximum for President
Formal Powers of President
Powers expressly granted in the Constitution
Informal Powers of President
Powers not laid out in the Constitution but used to carry out presidential duties
Policy directives issued by presidents that do not require congressional approval
An agreement between a president and another nation that does not have the same durability in the American system as a treaty but does not require Senate ratification
freedom from punishment
Presidential appeals to the public to pressure other branches of government to support his or her policies
Text issued by presidents while signing a bill into law that usually consists of political statements or reasons for signing the bill but that may also include a president's interpretation of the law itself
A right claimed by presidents to keep certain conversations, records, and transcripts confidential from outside scrutiny, especially that of Congress
term for the president as architect of public policy and the one who sets the agenda for congress
Chief of Party
term for the president as the leader of his or her political party
Commander in Chief
term for the president as commander of the nation's armed forces
Chief of State/Head of State
The president is a symbolic figurehead for the United States (welcoming foreign leaders, etc)
Chief Guardian of the Economy
The President dealing with the economy and the general well being of the U.S. citizens.
The role of the president in recognizing foreign governments, making treaties, and effecting executive agreements.
The role of the president as head of the executive branch of the government.
A break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington was carried out under the direction of White House employees. Disclosure of the White House involvement in the break-in and subsequent cover-up forced President Nixon to resign in 1974 to avoid impeachment.
What factors affect a President's relationship with Congress?
The public has a say in the vote
Why is the state's popular vote still important?
A system of elections in which the candidate who wins the plurality of votes within a state receives all of that state's votes in the Electoral College
Nebraska and Maine
What two states are the exception for the Winner-Take-All System?
Founding Fathers, ensures all parts of the country are involved
Pros of the Electoral College
Undemocratic, losing candidates
Cons of the Electoral College
a clear hierarchy, a division of labor, a set of formal rules
3 Characteristics of Bureaucracies
Large administrative agencies reflecting a hierarchical authority, job specialization, and rules and regulations that drive them
Independent Executive Agencies
Agencies otherwise similar to cabinet departments but existing outside of the cabinet structure and usually having a narrower focus of mission
Independent agencies governed by an appointed and confirmed commission. Examples include the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program.
The fifteen largest and most influential agencies of the federal bureaucracy (e.g., Department of State, Treasury, Justice...) Headed by Secretary or Attorney General (Department of Justice)
White House Office Staff
- White House staff makes up the personnel that run the White House and advise the president
- Staff members do NOT need Senate confirmation
- Staff members include:
- Chief of staff
- Communications office including press secretary, councils to the president, personal aides, and ancillary people such as White House cook and personal secretaries to the president and first lady.
- Most staff members either work for the president during the election campaign or have been associated with the president prior to the president's election.
- In most cases, staff members are protected by presidential executive privilege in the discussion with the president
A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.
1883 law that created a Civil Service Commission and stated that federal employees could not be required to contribute to campaign funds nor be fired for political reasons
Coordinated and mutually beneficial activities of the bureaucracy, Congress, and interest groups to achieve shared policy goals
A group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
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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