American Government Midterm Study Guide

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Midterm Study Guide 1. Social Contract: Presumption of an imaginary or actual agreement among people to set up a government and obey its laws. The English natural rights philosopher John Locke, among others, to explain the origin of legitimate government, developed the theory. 2. Judicial Branch: The branch that interprets the Constitution in courts at a local, state, and federal level. Judicial review is the power of the courts to declare laws and actions of the local and state governments or nation government invalid if they are found to contradict the US Constitution. 3. Executive Branch: The branch of government that carries out the laws made by the legislative branch and undertakes other constitutionally provided functions: The authority to carry out and enforce the law (executive power) 4. Legislative Branch: A group of elected government officials with authority to make and change laws. 5. Separation of Power: The division of the powers of government among the different branches. Separating powers is a primary strategy of promoting constitutional or limited government by ensuring that no one individual or branch ahs excessive power that can be abused. 6. Government: an organization of rule in established over territory that has certain powers to look over and take care of the said territory. There are three such forms of a different manner amongst people in the country. 7. Delegate: a person chosen to act for or represent others. At the Philadelphia Convention different delegates were sent from each of the thirteen states to represent them and their views on the convention. 8. Checks and Balances: In American constitutional thought, distributing and balancing the powers of government among different branches so that no one branch or individual can completely dominate the others. 9. Enumerated Powers: Those rights and responsibilities of the U.S. government specifically provided for and listed in the Constitution. 10. Northwest Ordinance: Passed by congress under the articles, the ordinance defined the process by which territories would become states, protected civil liberties in new territories, and was the first national legislation to set limits on the expansion of slavery. 11. Amend: to fix or heal, an amendment was a change or addition to a legal document, which benefited society and the common good. 12. Proportional Representation: According to the Virginia Plan that benefited the larger states, states should be represented in the government in a manner proportional to their population. 13. 3/5 Clause: Compromise in representation in which the North and South agreed to count five slaves as three people as part of the population. 14. Divided Powers: The division of powers to the state, national, and local governments 15. Necessary and Proper Clause: Gives congress the power to make all laws that are ‘necessary and proper” to carry out the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. It is also known as the ‘elastic clause” because of the vagueness of the phrase “necessary and proper”. 16. Anti-Federalists: Opponents to the ratification of the US Constitution who believed that it gave excessive power to the federal government and failed to protect the rights and liberties of the people. 17. Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the US constitution. The Bill of Rights list many basic rights that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect. Nearly all these rights are now protected from violation by state governments. 18. Electoral College: A process established by the founding fathers long ago which consisted of 538 votes, 270 to win the majority of the vote. It gives each as many votes as its representation in Congress, meaning, one vote for each senator and state representative in the state. It was created as a compromise of those who wanted vote for president in Congress and Popular vote with the people.

19. Democrat: Represented by a blue donkey. A group of people who represent the lower portion of the population of America. Led by Barrack Obama and believe in equality and lowering the nation’s deficit. They oppose the republicans in most economic and social/public issues. 20. Republican: Represented by a red elephant. A group of people who represent the higher portion of the population of America. Led by many, including Mitt Romney and believe in empowering the military and taxing all of the population. They oppose democrats in most economic and social/public issues. 21. Constitution: A plan of government that sets forth the structures and powers of government. In democracies, a constitution is an authoritative law through which the sovereign people authorize a government to be established and grant it certain powers. 22. Ratify: Formal approval of some form of legal instruments such an s a constitution or treaty. 23. Filibuster: Parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal. 24. Pocket Veto: The President can ‘pocket’ veto, which means he can put it aside or ‘table’ it. He can come back to it if he chooses, whenever he wants. 25. Veto: The president can simply refuse to sign a bill passed, where it can be override by Congress again, but until then, it cannot be passed 26. Precedent: Previous court decisions upon which legal issues are decided. 27. Supremacy Clause: States that the US constitution, laws passed by Congress, and treaties for the United States “shall be the supreme Law of the Land” and binding on the states. 28. Popular Sovereignty: The natural rights concept that ultimate political authority rests with the people. 29. Appeals: The bringing of a court case from a lower court to a higher court to be heard again. 30. Judicial Review: The power of the courts to say that the Constitution does not allow the government to do something. 31. Roger Sherman: Author of the Connecticut Compromise or the Great Compromise 32. George Washington: President of the Constitution 33. Benjamin Franklin: Delegate at the Constitution, only Founding Father who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution. He was also an abolitionist. 34. Thomas Jefferson: Father of the Declaration of Independence 35. James Madison: Father of the Constitution 36. George Mason: Father of the Bill of Rights 37. Differences Between Democrats and Republicans: *See Democrat and Republican (18 and 19) 38. Differences Between House and the Senate: SENATE: 6-year term, informal, 100 people, personal, infinite debate time, 2 senators represent each state. H.O.R: 2-year term, formal, 435 people, impersonal, one hour debate time, representative for each district within district. 39. 2012 Republican Primary Candidates: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann 40. Federalist/Anti-Federalist Party: FEDERALISTS: First political party, led by Alexander Hamilton, wanted good relations with Britain, supported tariffs and a national bank ANTI-FEDS: Created after the federalist party, led by men such as Samuel Adams, believed we should not associate with foreign countries, and opposed national bank and tariffs. 41. Function of Political Parties: Mobilizing support and gathering power, a force for stability and moderation, unity, linkage, accountability, electioneering, party as a voting, and issue cue. 42. Special Interest Groups: Lobbyists-groups who seeks to influence politicians on an issue. Partisan-Loyal to one political party Non Partisan-No commitment to any political party “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies” Ex: NRA, AARP

Donate Money to campaigns, help define issues, endorse candidates, convince congressmen to pass laws. 43. Political Spectrum:

44. Liberal Characteristics: the group of political philosophies that advocates minimizing coercion and emphasizes freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with significantly less government compared to most present day societies. 45. Conservative Characteristics: A group of people who want to prevent the change of the Constitution. They want to restore things into tradition and maintain rules of the Constitution. These people do not want change. 46. Moderate Characteristics: Groups of people, who are not on extreme ends of the spectrum, therefore are not extreme parts of partisan or radical sides of the spectrum. 47. Role of Political Parties: Parties are put in place to coalesce people with similar interests together so they can battle each other and reach a reasonable compromise. Without parties, there would be no argument, therefore, more poor laws would be passed. 48. Advertising Techniques: Testimonial-endorsements from celebrities and other well-known people Mudslinging-often referred to as “attack ads” Name Calling, groundless assertions, to create negative impression of ones opponent. This strategy may backfire by making the first candidate appear cruel and arrogant. Transfer-Use of positive symbols to create a positive image for the candidate or use of negative symbols to create negative image of one’s opponent. Card Stacking-Use of statistics, often in a one sided manner. Plain Folks-An attempt by a candidate to appeal to the average voter as just one of the people Glittering Generalities-Usually first type of ad used in a campaign, positive, to leave a good impression, using very vague words and phrases, having a positive effect on the viewer and appeal to a variety of interests Bandwagon-Similar to card stacking, attempt to convey a sense of momentum, “everybody is doing it, so should you”

Contrast Ad-juxtaposing positive images of one’s candidacy with negative images of the opponent in the same ad. 49. Purpose of Federalism: A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central government and state and local governments. 50. Shared Powers (w/examples): To tax, To borrow money, To establish courts, To make and enforce laws, The charter bank and corporations, To spend money for the general welfare, To take private property for public purposes with just compensation. 51. Federalism: A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central government and state and local governments. 52. Branches of Government: Executive, Judicial, Legislative 53. How Legislative Checks Other Branches: JUDICIAL: impeaches judges and removes them from office, approves or reject presidential nominates to the courts, participate in amending the Constitution EXECUTIVE: overrides presidential vetoes, impeaches president or declares war, confirms or rejects presidential appointments, ratifies or rejects treaties of the president, controls money for government programs 54. Who is in the Legislative Branch: Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) 55. Who is in the Executive Branch: President, Vice President, Cabinet 56. Who is in the Judicial Branch: Supreme Court, Justices of S.C. 57. Who has Power in a Representative Democracy: The citizens or the ‘people’ 58. Powers of Judicial Branch: Holds trials of significance and deals and solves all cases brought to the supreme courts. Interprets Laws. 59. Powers of Executive Branch: To execute laws created by Congress. To maintain the nation’s deficit and spending and to command the army, navy, and air force. 60. Powers of Legislative Branch: Creation of law, controls federal finances, creation and maintenance of a military for the country, Congress to hold hearings and committee investigations, and balance in the federal government. 61. Shays’ Rebellion: An armed revolt by Massachusetts’ farmers seeking relief from debt and mortgage foreclosures. The rebellion fueled support for amending the Articles of Confederation. 62. Framework of our Government: Articles of Confederation that proposed rules to the first thirteen states or ‘colonies’. 63. Purpose of Constitutional Government: The purpose of having a constitutional government is to limit power of rulers and members of a government and having a higher law that everyone must obey. Also, it spreads power in a good fashion so that no one can have too much power. Basically, it limits the powers of a government. 64. Philadelphia Convention: The meeting held in Philadelphia from May to September 1787 at which the US constitution was written. Also called the constitutional convention. 65. F/AF Bill of Rights Arguments: Federalists thought it was unnecessary and that the Constitution is clearly portraying the rules and rights indirectly. Anti-Feds thought the Constitution was not specific and did not talk about human rights, therefore, it should be added to the Constitution 66. F/AF Powers of National Government Arguments: They believed that representative government could only work in a small community because only then will the representatives accurately reflect the needs and desires of that community. Plus since the geography was so large, Robert Yates argued that it could no longer reflect hose citizens’ character or wishes. Then to uphold their power, they will use force instead of going by the popular agreement. 67. Virginia Plan: The plan presented at the Philadelphia Convention that provided for a national government composed of three branches. It proposed a Congress of two houses, both of which would be based on proportional representation. The Virginia Plan favored a strong national government.

68. The Great Compromise: To solve the quarrel between the NJ plan and Virginia plan, they decided to have two parts of the government. The senate would have two votes from each state corresponding to the New Jersey Plan and the House of Representatives in which representation would be proportional to each state’s population. 69. New Jersey Plan: Plan presented at the Philadelphia Convention, which called for one house national legislature, in which each state would have equal representation. This arrangement would favor small states. The NJ Plan followed the framework of the Articles and favored a weak national government. 70. ‘Pleads the 5th’ : part of the Fifth Amendment that gives you the right not to testify against yourself in court. 71. Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the Constitution. It lists some basic rights of the people that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect. 72. Self Incrimination: the act of accusing one self for a crime for which they can then be prosecuted. 73. Double Jeopardy: The provision in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a person may not be tried twice for the same crime. 74. Petition: A formal, written request. 75. Press: Newspapers, magazines and other news media. Also, the reporters and people who produce them. 76. Assembly: the right to meet with others to discuss your beliefs, ideas, or feelings. 77. Search Warrant: Formal writing that gives federal government the right to search for something. Must have probable cause and or evidence. 78. Limits on Right to Assembly: Safety hazards, disturbance of the peace, incitation of riots, and or unsafe conditions. 79. Eminent Domain: The inherent power of the state to seize a citizen's private property or to expropriate property or rights in property without the owner's consent. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for "just compensation" for private property taken for public use, known as the "takings clause". 80. Due Process: A fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one's life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable 81. The Free Exercise Clause: The part of the First Amendment that says the government shall not stop you from holding any religious beliefs you choose. The government may not unfairly or unreasonably limit your right to practice any religious beliefs you wish. 82. Limits of Free Exercise Clause: The clause cannot be used as a loophole. It cannot be an excuse for doing something illegal in which case the clause breaks down. 83. Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: Unreasonable searches of one’s person and unreasonable seizure of a person without warrant are not allowed until one’s safety is jeopardized. 84. Right to Bear Arms: 2nd Amendment-Part of the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution in 1791. The Amendment says "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 85. Protection of the Accused Against Excessive Fines, Bail, and Cruel/Unusual Punishments: Limits federal governments from fining someone excessively for a crime, and also cannot inflict cruel punishment without consent or approval of court after trial. 86. Freedom of Expression: The right to make knew such things as your beliefs and opinions by means that are protected by the First Amendment. 87. Habeas Corpus: A court order directing that a prisoner be brought to court before a judge to determine if the detention of the person is lawful. From the Latin term meaning, "you shall/should have the body." 88. Appellate Court: A judicial body that hears appeals from a lower court. 89. Marbury vs. Madison:

Facts of the Case: The case began on March 2, 1801, when an obscure Federalist, William Marbury, was designated as a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. Marbury and several others were appointed to government posts created by Congress in the last days of John Adams's presidency, but these lastminute appointments were never fully finalized. The disgruntled appointees invoked an act of Congress and sued for their jobs in the Supreme Court. Question: Is Marbury entitled to his appointment? Is his lawsuit the correct way to get it? And, is the Supreme Court the place for Marbury to get the relief he requests? Conclusion: Yes. Yes. It depends. The justices held, through Marshall's forceful argument, that on the last issue the Constitution was "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation" and that "an act of the legislature repugnant to the constitution is void." In other words, when the Constitution--the nation's highest law--conflicts with an act of the legislature, that act is invalid. This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial review. 90. Establishment Clause: The part of the First Amendment that says the government cannot set up an official religion. 91. Biggest Argument of Federalists: Representation of different interests in government would protect basic rights. The legislative branch could protect the local interests, the executive, national interests, and the judicial ensured good judgment in government. 92. Biggest Argument of Anti-Federalists: National government does not protect individual rights, the people are not represented, no limit to the power of Congress, the national level received too much power over the states. 93. Problems of the Articles of Confederation: The Articles of Confederation give too much power to the states and not enough power to the national government. That way, the states were almost as separate as different nations rather than being united. This caused rebellions such as Shays and made the monetary system worthless. Plus, they had no army or police system to control people and enforce laws. No one could agree to pass laws either because meetings as a nation were almost impossible to call because of how distinguished they were. 94. How does a Bill become a Law: A bill idea is introduced, it is put into a hamper, then is put in a committee in either house, then after being voted on and revised, it is then voted on in what ever house, then goes on to the next one, if voted successfully, the bill goes to the president where it can be vetoed, pocket vetoed, or passed as a law. 95. Why most bills do not become law: Most bills die in committee because of lack of sponsors, information, originality, etc. There are too many bills like it and most do not go past the committee phase. 96. Committees: Groups where bills are revised, amended, and changed. Many different types of committees that research bills and then vote to pass it forward in the bill process. Conference, Standing, Sub, Select. 97. Committee Process: A bill is put into a committee; it is researched, and presented, then voted on. 98. Term Limit for President: 4 years 99. Term Limit for Representative: 2 years 100. Term Limit for Senator: 6 years 101. Term Limit for S-Court Justice: Until impeached or death

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