AP Gov Key Concepts and Terms

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1

linkage institutions

The political channels through which peoples concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. ex. elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media

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2

Pluralism

A theory of American democracy emphasizing that the policymaking process is very open to the participation of all groups with shared interests, with no single group usually dominating

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3

Natural Rights

Rights inherent in human beings not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property

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4

Limited Government

The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens

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5

Federalism

A way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same area and people. It is a system of shared power between units of government.

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6

Enumerated Powers

Powers of the federal government that are listed explicitly in the Constitution.

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7

Implied Powers

Powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution in accordance with the statement in the Constitution that congress has the power to "make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the powers enumerated in Article I

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8

Categorical grants

Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes, or categories, of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions

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9

Block grants

Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social service

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10

Civil Liberties

The constitutional and other legal protections against government actions (formally set down in the bill of rights)

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11

Due Process clause

Part of the Fourteenth amendment guaranteeing that persons cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property by the U.S. or state governments without due process of law

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12

Symbolic speech

Nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband - actions that do not consist of speaking or writing but that express an opinion

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13

Exclusionary rule

The rule that evidence cannot be introduced into a trial if it was not obtained in a constitutional manner

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14

Civil Rights

Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals

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15

Suffrage

The legal right to vote

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16

Demographics

The science of population changes

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17

Reapportionment

The process of reallocating seas in the House of Representatives every 10 years on the basis of the results of the Census

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18

Political socialization

The process through which individuals in a society acquire political attitudes views, and knowledge, based on input from family, schools, the media, and others

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19

Political ideology

A coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose, which helps give meaning to political events

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20

Close Primary

Elections to select party nominees in which only people who have registered in advance with the party can vote for that party's candidates, thus encouraging greater party loyalty

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21

Open Primary

Elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests

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22

Party Coalition

A group of individuals with a common interest on which every political party depends

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23

Critical Election

An electoral "earthquake" where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party

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24

Winner-Take-All System

An electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in their constituencies

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25

Party Caucus

A system for selecting convention delegates used in about a dozen states in which voters much attend an open meeting to express their presidential preference

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26

Independent Expenditures

Expenses on behalf of a political message that are made by groups that are uncoordinated with any candidates campaign

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27

Super PAC

Independent expenditure-only PACs are known as ----- because they may accept donations of any size and can endorse candidates. Their contributions and expenditures must be periodically reported to the FEC.

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28

iron triangle

Also known as subgovernments, they consist of interest groups, government agencies, and congressional committees., or subcommittees that have a mutural dependent mutually advantageous relationship; they dominate some ares of domestic policymaking

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29

Political Action Committees (PACs)

Groups that raise money from individuals and then distribute it in the form of contributions to candidates that the group supports. These groups must register with the FEC and report their donations and contributions to it. Individual contributions to a PAC are limited to $5,000 per year and a PAC may give up to $5,000 to a candidate for each election

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30

Pork barrel legislation

benefits a district and helps members of congress get reelected (benefits the constituents so the politician gets political support and reelection

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31

Filibuster

A strategy unique to the Senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation use their right to unlimited debate to prevent the Senate from ever voting on a bill. Sixty members present and voting can halt a filibuster on legislation.

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32

Executive order

Regulations originating with the executive branch. one method presidents can use to control the bureaucracy

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33

Pocket veto

A type of veto occurring when Congress adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill to the president and the president simply lets the bill die by neither signing nor vetoing it

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34

Budget deficit

An excess of federal expenditures over federal revenues

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35

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36

Judicial activism

An approach to decision making in which judges sometimes make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground

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37

Monetary Policy

Government manipulation of the supply of money in private hands - one of two important tools by which the government can attempt to steer the economy

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38

Fiscal policy

Use of the federal budget - taxes, spending, and borrowing - to influence the economy; along with monetary policy, a main tool by which the government can attempt to steer the economy. Almost entirely determined by Congress and the president

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39

Keynesian theory

theory that emphasizes that the governments spending and deficits can help the economy deal with its ups and downs. Parts of the theory advocate the use of government power to stimulate the economy when its lacking

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40

Supply Side theory

An economic theory first applied during the Reagan administration holding that the key task for fiscal policy is to stimulate the supply of goods as by cutting tax rates

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41

Entitlement programs

Government programs providing benefits to qualified individuals regardless of need

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42

Republicanism (Book End)

A philosophy where representatives are elected to carry out citizens preferences

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43

Pluralist democracy

A theory of government and policies emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies

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44

Participatory democracy

Broad participation in policies and civil society (voluntary associations independent of government)

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45

Popular sovereignty

concept that government that only exists by the consent of the people

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46

Social Contract

Agreement of the people and government for people to give up certain rights for government protection

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47

Exclusive powers

powers that are reserved solely to the national (federal) government

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48

Concurrent powers

(shared) powers are exercised by both the state and national governments

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49

Reserved powers (not on list)

powers that are left to the states, under 10th amendment

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50

Revenue sharing

requires no matching funds and can be spent on almost any government purpose

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51

Mandates

Federal rules that states or localities must obey, generally have little or nothing to do with federal aid

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52

Delegate model

elected to carry out constituents' wishes

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53

Trustee model

elected to use their experience and make independent decisions

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54

Politico Model

elected as politicians who want to get reelected and to carry out party goals

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55

Incumbency advantage

currently in possession of the seat but is running again, portrays themselves as hard working, dedicated individuals, occasionally taking a partisan stand on issue (experience advantage)

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56

Discharge petition

used to bring a bill to the whole house or senate, without a report by a committee (used to bypass committee chairs who have refused to consider a bill or are stalling a bill in committee)

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57

Logrolling

Exchanging votes for favors ("I'll vote for your bill if you vote for my bill")

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58

Issue network

A mutually beneficial relationship between bureaucratic agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees, or subcommittees

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59

Executive agreement

A presidential agreement with another country that does not require senate approval

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60

Signing Statement

issuing a statement that part of a law will not be enforced

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61

Stare decisis

Original ruling stands, respect for the precedent

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62

Liberal ideology

supports a wide scope for the central government, often involving policies that aim to promotes equality

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63

Conservative Ideology

supports a less active scope of government that gives freer rein to the private sector

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64

Divided government

When the president is from one political party and one or both houses of Congress are controlled by the opposing political party

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65

Realignment

the shifting of groups in a coalition, usually before a critical election. Groups leave one party and support the other party

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66

Proportional System

Legislative seats awarded based on percentage of voted received by the part

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67

Constituency (end of direct)

the individuals who live within the geographical area represented by an elected official

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68

Cloture

A procedure for terminating debate, especially filibusters, in the Senate.

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69

unanimous consent

An agreement on the rules of debate for proposed legislation in the Senate that is approved by all the members

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70

Hold in the senate

a tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor

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71

Discretionary Spending

government spending implemented through an appropriations bill

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72

Mandator spending

Spending that must be enacted each year by law and are not dependent on annual review by committees of congress

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73

Gerrymandering

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

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74

"Lame duck" president

an elected official or group of officials, as a legislator, continuing in office during the period between an election defeat and a successors assumption of office

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75

Oversight

Congress monitoring and regulating the actions of the executive branch and its agencies, to ensure that they are following the law and carrying out their responsibilities effectively

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76

Selective incorporation

the process by which the Supreme Court applies the provisions of the bill of rights (first 10 amendments) to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

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77

Defamatory speech

the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation

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78

Due Process Clause (5th Amendment)

limits the power of the national government

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79

Due Process Clause (14th amendment)

prohibits state governments from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law

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80

Equal protection clause

A clause of the fourteenth amendment that forbids any state to deny equal protection of the laws to any individual within its jurisdiction

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81

Miranda rule

Requirement that police inform suspects that they have a right to remain silent and a right to have counsel while being interrogated

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82

Individualism

The belief that individuals should be left on their own by the government

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83

Equality of opportunity

the idea that each person is guaranteed the same chance to succeed in life

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84

Free enterprise

the ability of individual people to make money with minimal interference by the government

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85

Rule of law

The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws

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86

Rational-choice voting

An idea that assumes that political actors will make decisions based on their own benefit, carefully weighing all choices

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87

Retrospective voting

Voting based on whether a party candidate in power should be reelected based on the past

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88

Prospective voting

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

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89

Party-line voting

A vote in which a substantial majority of members of a political party vote for those in their party

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90

General Election

Election in which voters decide which candidates will actually fill elective public offices

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91

Midterm elections

General elections in the United States that are held after the quadrennial (four-year) elections for the president of the United States -elect representative in the middle of the term of the president

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92

Bipartisan

involving two political parties working together to reach a common goal

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93

Horse race journalism

The tendency of media to cover campaigns by emphasizing how candidates stand in the polls instead of where they stand on the issues

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