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key terms ch 1-13

Collective Action

How groups form and organize to pursue their goals or objectives, including how to get individuals and groups to participate and cooperate.

Coordination Problem

indv. must agree on what they want, what they're prepared to contribute, and how to coordinate those efforts with others

Free Riders Dilemma

Collective action problem when a person receives the benefit of the group without contributing anything themselves
EX: voting, people choose not to vote yet they receive the benefits that the elected leader provides

Prisoner's Dilemma

Collective action problem when someone decides that they are better off pursing an option that will benefit them individually then something that will benefit the group
EX: law and order, a person confesses to a crime first and rats the other person out so they will get a lesser sentence

Tragedy of the Commons

When a public good is misused with no regards or respect to what is good for the community.
EX: when in a drought a person continues to water their lawn as much as they please

Transaction Costs

The time, effort, and money put into creating a solution to a problem

Conformity Costs

How much the decision that has been reached differs from what you would ideally want

Relationship between Trans. and Conform. Costs

EX: If it takes a lot of time to pass a bill because a lot of changes keep being made, those changes are designed to make individuals happier, therefore lowering the conformity costs because the outcome will be close to what the people desire


When power is given from one person to another to take on a certain role/task


Conversion from a collective(public) good to a private good


Process by which individuals reach an agreement through the course of collective action

Principal-agent Relationship

When one person (principal) delegates power or authority to someone else (agent)

Agency Loss

When the agent does not do what the principal wants

Plurality Rule

A type of electoral system in which victory goes to the individual who gets the most votes in an election, but not necessarily a majority of the votes cast

Electoral College

The body of electors who formally elect the United States president and vice-president

If a majority is not reached, the vote is thrown into the House of Representatives

Home Rule

Process of managing your own domestic affairs

Articles of Confederation

A written agreement ratified in 1781 by the thirteen original states

Problems With Articles

No power to tax
Could not regulate commerce
No executive/judicial branch
Weak central government

Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the Constitution

Declaration of Independence

This document was
adopted on July 4, 1776. It
established the 13 American colonies as independent states, free from rule by Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson wrote the
majority of this document.


a political system in which a weak central government has limited authority, and the states have ultimate power.

Shay's Rebellion

A 1787 rebellion in which ex-Revolutionary War soldiers attempted to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes

Popular Sovereignty

The concept that political power rests with the people who can create, alter, and abolish government. People express themselves through voting and free participation in government

Virginia Plan

Edmund Randolph.
Key components: bicameral legislature, strong national government, representation based on population

New Jersey Plan

William Paterson.
Key components: single-chamber legislature, weak national government, representation equal for all states

Great Compromise

Combined VA and NJ plans creating a bicameral legislature with lower chamber (house) based on population, and upper chamber (senate) having equal representation for all states

Necessary and Proper Clause

Constitutional clause that gives congress the power to make all laws "necessary and proper" for executing its powers

1st Continental Congress

September 1774, 12 delegates met in Philly to discuss the Intolerable Acts, only Georgia did not attend. The result was a boycott on all British goods, stop exporting goods to Britain, and they urged each colony to set up and train it's own militia.

2nd Continental Congress

The congress met in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. Three delegatres added to the Congress were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock. The Congress took on governmental duties and united all the colonies for the war effort. They selected George Washington as commender of the army. They encouraged the colonies to set themselves up as states. On July 4, 1776 they adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Congress ended March 1, 1781 when a Congress authorized by the Articles of Confederation took over.

10th Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

13th Amendment

Abolishes Slavery

16th Amendment

Income tax

18th Amendment


19th Amendment

Women can vote

Article 1 Constitution

Establishes Legislative Branch, creates congress, details about two houses of congress, house of reps and senate, spell out procedures for making laws, list types of laws congress may pass, specify powers that congress does not have

Article 2 Constitution

Executive branch


Work toward the passage of some legislation by exchanging political favors such as trading votes

Amendment Process

step 1: amendment proposed by 2/3 vote of both houses of congress OR a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of 2/3 out of 50 states. THEN amendment ratified by 3/4 of the 50 state legislatures OR 3/4 of special constitutional conventions called by 50 states


Supporters of the Constitution that were led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. They firmly believed the national government should be strong. They didn't want the Bill of Rights because they felt citizens' rights were already well protected by the Constitution.


People who opposed ratification of the Constitution, thinking it gave too much power to the Federal Government. Advocated for a bill of rights. Patrick Henry.

Federalist 10

The thought that a balanced government can control factions and prevent one faction from gaining to much power

Federalist 51

Argues that separation of powers within the national government is the best way to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of one person or a single group.

Shared Federalism

recognizes that the national and state governments jointly supply services to the citizenry; while each has exclusive authority over some policy realms, state and federal powers intersect over many of the most important functions

Dual Federalism

Doctrine holding that the national government is supreme in its sphere, the states are supreme in theirs, and the two spheres should be kept separate.


When the government takes ownership
2 examples in history: Roosevelt's New Deal Coalition and Johnson's Great Society
Why? Solution to collective action problems


Federal grants, designed to help out a state


Designed to hinder states ability to enact programs

Unfunded Mandates

Federal government requires the states to enforce legislation without the funding necessary

Cross-Cutting Requirements

When a condition on one federal grant is extended to all activities supported by federal funds, regardless of their source (example: discrimination).

Crossover Sanctions

When the federal government uses federal grant dollars in one program to influence state and local policy in another (example: highway funds and drinking age).

Unitary Government

National government monopolizes authority EX: Japan


State governments hold majority power EX: USA under Articles of Confederation


Authority is divided between state and national government EX: USA

Powers of National Government

Coin money, regulate interstate commerce, enter into treaties, declare war, postal system

Powers of State Government

Run elections, protect public health and safety, all powers not delegated to national government by the constitution

Shared Powers of National and State Government

Impose taxes, borrow money, enforce laws

Block Grant

Certain amount of money to spend on a program

Match Grant

When the federal government agrees to match however much it takes to carry out a program

House/Senate District lines

House lines redrawn every 10 years after census
Senate lines=state lines

Wesburry v. Sanders

A case that issued the ruling that all congressional districts must contain relatively the same population.


The drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent

Senate Qualifications

At least 30 years old and a citizen for 9 years

House Qualifications

At least 25 years old and a citizen for 7 years and must live in the state the represent

Special Powers of Senate

Ratifies treaties, confirms presidential appointments (ambassadors, supreme court justices)

Plurality Vote

An election rule in which the candidate with the most votes wins regardless of whether it is a majority

Average House Member Represents ----- people

647,000 people

17th Amendment

Passed in 1913, this amendment to the Constitution calls for the direct election of senators by the voters.


Assistance given to constituents by congressional members, answering questions/doing favors


A person whom a member of Congress has been elected to represent


Process of deciding whether or not a bill will be heard by a particular committee

Presidential Coattails

Ability of a successful presidential candidate to pull members of his party into other positions

Positions in House

Speaker of House: leader of majority party. Appoint committees, make rules, manage legislative process.
Minority/majority leader

Rules Committee

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.


A senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking

Positions in Senate

President Pro Tempore: leader when VP is absent, representative of the majority party
Majority/minority leader

Statutory Control

Congress can limit in the enabling legislation

Committee System

Reduces transaction costs
Committee heads appointed by majority leader
Seniority rule for selecting committee heads

Special Committee

Appointed to deal with a specific problem then disappear

Ad Hoc Committee

Handles bills that are particularly sensitive issues

Conference Committee

Appointed to resolve differences between the senate and house versions of a bill

Unanimous Consent Agreement

A unanimous resolution in the Senate restricting debate and limiting amendments to bills on the floor also decides when a bill will be debated.


An extra 30 hours of debate allowed on a bill, must have 3/5 majority vote to invoke this


Amendments that do not necessarily pertain to the bill. ONLY allowed in the Senate

Bill to a Law

1) Bill is presented
2) Sent to committee
3) Voted on and moves to other chamber for a vote
4) Will be sent to a conference committee if necessary, if not...
5) Sent to President
6) Four options- sign bill into law, ignore bill and it becomes law after 10 days, pocket veto, or veto

Process when President Vetoes a Bill

Bill is sent back to congress and must get a 2/3 majority vote in both chambers to become a law

Pocket Veto

When a president does not either sign a bill or veto it before congress adjourns, it automatically becomes a law

Executive Order

a rule issued by the president that has the force of law

Executive Agreement

A formal agreement between the U.S. president and the leaders of other nations that does not require Senate approval.

Line-item Veto

Presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

War Powers Act

Notify Congress within 48 hours of deploying troops; had to gain congress' approval to stay longer than 90 days; designed to curtail President's power

Take Care Clause

The constitutional requirement (in Article II, Section 3) that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose of those laws.

Executive Office of the President

10 committees that work together with the White House staff to gather information and maintain organization of the executive office.

Office of Management and Budget

Creates annual federal budget and compiles information on enrolled bills

Roles of President

Commander in Chief, Head of State, Chief Diplomat

Article 3 Constitution

Outlines the Judicial branch
Does NOT outline lower courts system, amendment 10 leaves this power to the states

Original Jurisdiction

the authority to hear cases for the first time, usually exercised in lower courts

Appellate Jurisdiction

the authority of a court to hear a case appealed from a lower court, exercised by supreme court

Judicial Review

the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional

Marbury v. Madison

This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review

Structure of Courts

District, Appellate, Supreme
District: 94 courts, 1 judge resides over case
Appellate: 13 courts, 4 judges reside over case
Supreme: 1 court, 9 justices reside over case

Dissenting Opinion

An opinion disagreeing with the majority decision in a Supreme Court ruling

Concurring Opinion

An opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning.

Writ of Certiorari

Order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the records of a case for review

Public Law

refers to the body of law that deals with relationships between individuals and the government and governmental agencies

Civil Law

a law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights

Criminal Law

law concerned with public wrongs against society

3 eras of the Court

Nation v. State
Regulation of the Economy
Civil rights and civil liberties

Appointing Justices

Justices appointed by president and approved by senate

Rule of Four

When four justices on a court wish to hear a case, a writ of certiorari is invoked

Procedural Doctrine

Outlines specific ways lower courts should do their work

Substantive Doctrine

Guides judges as to which party in a case should prevail

Political Socialization

Complex process by which people get their sense of political identity, beliefs, and values (family, school, media, religion, national events-all help to socialize)

14th Amendment

Declares that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are guaranteed equal protection of the laws

15th Amendment

citizens cannot be denied the right to vote because of race, color , or precious condition of servitude

How the right to vote has evolved

white males, black males, women, 18-20 year olds

2 components of a campaign

candidate and message

Most likely to vote

Rich, educated, white, older, males

Prospective voting

Voting based on what a candidate pledges to do in the future about an issue if elected.

Retrospective Voting

voting for a candidate because you like his or her past actions in office


organizations that raise money for political campaigns not yet regulated by campaign finance laws.

Political Action Committees

Organizations that collect money to distribute to candidates who support the same issues as the contributors.


Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which limited amounts that candidates for federal offices can spend on advertising, required the disclosure of the sources of campaign funds as well as how they are spent, and required PACs to register with the government and report all major contributions and expenditures - amended in 1974 and set limits on contributions to candidates (individuals = $1000, PACs = $5000), spending limits for candidates, limits on independent expenditures, created Federal Election Commission (FEC) and system to disperse presidential campaign fund

Incentives for Party Building

Mobilize voters
form alliances
develop new electoral techniques
enforce collective responsibility under party label


A meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform.

Most influential 3rd party


Party Machine

Politicians provided favors in exchange for votes on election day

Australian Ballot

Private ballot with every candidate and their party, vote in privacy of a voting booth

Party Systems

o Origin of parties
o Organized parties
o Party machines
o Republicans move to major party
o New deal coalition
o 6th? Polarization

Interest Group

a group of people with common goals who organize to influence government


person who tries to persuade someone to support a particular cause

Insider Tactics

interest group activity that includes normal lobbying on capitol hill, working closely with members of congress, and contributing money to incumbents' campaigns

Outsider Tactics

interest group activities designed to influence elected officals by threatening to impose political costs on them if they do not responds; tactics include marches, demonstrations, campaign contributions to opponents, and electoral mobilization

Reasons for proliferation

Social fermentation, increase of gov in social programs, opposition to other interest groups

Selective Incentive

particular benefit that is made available to members of an interest group but is not available to the public as a whole

Moral Incentive

Doing something for a moral reason, usually because you know that you are doing the right thing


legal action; a lawsuit

Interest groups provide..

Technical and Political information

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