AP US Government and Politics - AP Exam Flashcards

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Declaration of Independence

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241 Terms

1

Declaration of Independence

The document asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain.

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2

Ideals of American Democracy

Principles that guide the American democratic system, including liberty, equality, and justice.

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3

Natural Rights

Rights inherent to all humans, not dependent on laws or customs, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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4

Social Contract

A theory that individuals unite into a society by a mutual agreement, accepting certain restrictions for the benefit of the community.

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5

Inalienable Rights

Rights that cannot be taken away or denied, often referred to in the context of natural rights.

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6

Popular Sovereignty

The principle that the authority of the government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives.

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7

Constitution

A set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed.

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8

Limited Government

A political system where legalized force is restricted through delegated and enumerated powers.

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9

Republic

A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

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10

Participatory Democracy

A model of democracy in which citizens have the power to decide directly on policy and politicians are responsible for implementing those policy decisions.

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11

Pluralist Democracy

A political system where there is more than one center of power or power is distributed among multiple groups.

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12

Elite Democracy

A theory of democracy that limits the citizens' role to choosing among competing leaders.

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13

Federalist

Supporters of the proposed Constitution, who favored a strong federal government.

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14

Anti-Federalist

Opponents of the Constitution during the period of its ratification; they opposed a strong central government.

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15

Federalist No. 10

An essay by James Madison arguing that the diversity of the republic would prevent any single faction from dominating.

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16

Brutus No. 1

An Anti-Federalist paper arguing against the constitutionality of the proposed Constitution.

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17

Necessary and Proper Clause

Allows Congress "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers."

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18

Supremacy Clause

Asserts the priority of federal law over state laws.

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19

Articles of Confederation

The first constitution of the United States, under which the federal government was too weak to enforce laws or collect taxes.

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20

State Sovereignty

The concept that states have the right to govern themselves independent of the federal government.

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21

Shay’s Rebellion

An armed uprising in Massachusetts (1786-1787), showing the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and pushing for a stronger central government.

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22

Virginia Plan

Proposed a strong central government structured into three branches and a bicameral legislature based primarily on population, favoring larger states.

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New Jersey Plan

Proposed a single legislative house with equal representation for each state, favoring smaller states.

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Great Compromise

Combined elements of both the Virginia and New Jersey Plans, creating a bicameral Congress with the Senate having equal representation and the House based on population.

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25

Electoral College

A mechanism established by the Constitution for the indirect election of the president and vice president of the United States.

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26

3/5ths Compromise

An agreement stating that each slave would count as three-fifths of a person in determining representation in the House for distribution of taxes.

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27

Importance of Slaves

The Constitution allowed the slave trade to continue for 20 years before Congress could ban it.

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28

Amendment Process

The process to change or add to the Constitution, requiring a proposal by two-thirds of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states.

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29

Federalist No. 51

Written by James Madison, it explains how constitutional provisions of separation of powers and checks and balances control abuses by government.

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30

Separation of Powers

A fundamental principle of the United States Constitution, where government is divided into three branches

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31

Checks and Balances

A system that allows each branch of government to amend or veto acts of another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much power.

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32

Federalism

A system of government in which entities such as states or provinces share power with a national government.

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33

Delegated Powers/Exclusive Powers

Powers specifically given to the federal government by the Constitution.

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34

Reserved Powers

Powers not delegated to the federal government or prohibited to the states are reserved to the states or the people.

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35

Concurrent Powers

Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.

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36

Dynamic Federalism

A modern approach to federalism that sees the relationship between federal and state governments as both cooperative and coercive.

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37

Dual/Layer Cake Federalism

This metaphor describes a form of federalism where state governments and the national government each have clearly defined powers that are distinct from each other, much like the separate layers of a layer cake.

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38

Cooperative/Marble Cake Federalism

Contrasts with dual federalism by depicting a more intertwined relationship between federal and state governments, where their functions and powers are mixed and less clearly defined, similar to the marbling of a cake.

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39

Government Grants

Financial aid issued by the federal government to state and local governments or other entities to fund specific projects or initiatives.

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40

Categorical Grants

These are grants issued by the United States Congress which may be spent only for narrowly defined purposes. They are intended to help states improve overall well-being by targeting specific needs.

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41

Incentives/Conditions of Aid

Conditions set by the federal government that states must meet to receive certain federal funds. These often require states to comply with federal guidelines to receive the grant money.

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42

Block Grants

A type of federal financial assistance that gives state and local governments a specified amount of money to assist them in addressing broad purposes like community development, with fewer restrictions than categorical grants.

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43

Federal Revenue Sharing

A government unit's sharing of part of its tax income with other units of government; federal revenue sharing typically involves the federal government providing a portion of its tax revenue to states, municipalities, or counties.

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44

Mandates

Directives issued by the federal government that require state or local governments to comply with federal rules and regulations, often without accompanying funding.

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45

Enumerated Powers

Specific powers granted to Congress by the Constitution (found primarily in Article I, Section 8), including the power to tax, coin money, regulate commerce, and declare war.

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46

Implied Powers

Powers not explicitly stated in the Constitution but implied by the necessary and proper clause, allowing Congress to pass laws needed to carry out its enumerated powers.

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47

Commerce Clause

A clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) that gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes. This has been a basis for much of Congress's regulation.

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48

Democratic Laboratories

This term refers to the concept that state governments can act as "laboratories of democracy," experimenting with new policies and programs. This allows states to test different solutions to social and economic issues on a smaller scale before they are potentially adopted at the national level.

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49

House of Representatives

435 members, population based, 2 year terms, strict rules

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50

Who can initiate all tax and revenue bills?

The House of Representatives

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51

Discharge Petition

A tool in the House that allows a majority (218 members) to force a bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.

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52

Committee of the Whole

A procedural device in the House where it is considered as a single committee and operates under relaxed rules to expedite proceedings.

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53

Filibuster

A tactic used in the Senate to extend debate on a bill in order to delay or prevent a vote, typically by making long speeches.

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54

Cloture

A procedure for ending a debate and taking a vote in the Senate, requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to pass.

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55

Hold

An informal practice by which a senator informs the floor leader that they do not wish a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration.

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56

Unanimous Consent Agreement

A unanimous agreement that sets the rules for the conduct of Senate business, often used to expedite proceedings without a formal vote.

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57

Standing Committee

Permanent committees in both the House and Senate that handle bills in different policy areas.

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58

Committee Chairs

Leaders of congressional committees who have significant influence over the legislative process.

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59

Speaker of the House

The presiding officer of the House of Representatives, elected by the members.

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60

President of the Senate

A role held by the Vice President of the United States, who presides over Senate sessions but votes only in the case of a tie.

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61

Senate Majority Leader

The chief spokesperson and strategist for the majority party in the Senate, currently a key leadership position.

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62

Power of the Purse

The constitutional power given to Congress to raise and spend money for the government.

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63

Discretionary Spending

Government spending implemented through an appropriations bill and decided by Congress during the annual budget process.

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64

Mandatory Spending

Spending on certain programs that are required by existing law, including Social Security and Medicare.

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65

Entitlement Spending

Government spending on entitlement programs, where payment obligations are created by law.

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66

Pork Barrel Legislation

Legislation that directs specific funds to projects within districts or states of the legislators to benefit constituents.

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67

Logrolling

The practice of exchanging favors, especially in politics by reciprocal voting for each other's proposed legislation.

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68

Trustee

A role where a member of Congress votes based on their own judgments, even if those decisions are not in line with the wishes of their constituents.

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69

Delegate

A role where a member of Congress votes according to the desires of their constituents, regardless of their own opinions.

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70

Politico

A role combining both trustee and delegate roles, where a member of Congress balances their own judgment with the will of their constituents.

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71

Reapportionment

The process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives based on changes in population, as determined by the decennial census.

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72

Redistricting

The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district boundaries within a state to reflect population changes.

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73

Gerrymandering

The manipulation of electoral district boundaries to favor one party or class.

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74

Malapportionment

Unequal representation in electoral districts where some votes are worth more than others.

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75

Divided Government

A situation in which one party controls the presidency while the other party controls one or both houses of Congress.

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76

Policy Gridlock

A situation where little or no legislative progress is made due to conflicting interests between political parties or within them.

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77

Veto

The power of the president to reject a bill passed by Congress, which can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both houses.

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78

Pocket Veto

A type of veto occurring when the president takes no action on a bill for ten days (excluding Sundays) while Congress is adjourned, effectively killing the bill.

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79

Executive Agreements

International agreements, made by the president, that do not require the ratification of the Senate.

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80

Executive Privilege

The power claimed by the president to resist subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government in pursuit of information or personnel relating to the executive.

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81

Executive Orders

Directives issued by the president to federal administrative agencies, which do not require congressional approval.

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82

Signing Statements

Written comments issued by presidents while signing a new law, which sometimes challenge specific provisions of the legislation.

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83

Bargaining and Persuasion

Techniques used by the president to influence policy decisions and legislative actions.

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84

Judicial Appointments

The process by which the president nominates judges to the federal judiciary, which must then be confirmed by the Senate.

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85

Bully Pulpit

A term used to describe the president's unique platform to speak out and be listened to on any matter.

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86

State of the Union Address

An annual speech delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress, outlining the administration's agenda and national priorities.

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87

Federalist No. 78

A Federalist Paper written by Alexander Hamilton discussing the power of the judiciary, including its role in interpreting laws and its lifetime tenure.

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88

Precedent

A legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases.

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89

Stare Decisis

A legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases when making a ruling on a similar current or future case.

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90

Judicial Restraint

A theory of judicial interpretation that encourages judges to limit the exercise of their own power. It asserts that judges should hesitate to strike down laws unless they are obviously unconstitutional.

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91

Judicial Activism

A judicial philosophy that encourages judges to use their power broadly to further justice, especially in the areas of equality and personal rights.

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92

Bureaucracy

A system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives.

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93

Bureaucrats/Civil Servants

Individuals who work within the bureaucracy and are primarily responsible for implementing government policy and administration.

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94

Merit System

A system of hiring and promotion based on the competitive written exams and merit rather than on political patronage.

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95

Political Patronage

The appointment or hiring of a person to a government post on the basis of partisan loyalty.

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96

Cabinet Departments

Major administrative units with responsibility for a broad area of government operations, departmental status usually indicates a permanent national interest in a particular governmental function, such as defense, commerce, or agriculture.

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97

Executive Agencies

Units of government under the president that are not part of a cabinet department. They are responsible for dealing with certain specialized areas.

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98

Independent Regulatory Commissions

Federal agencies created by an act of Congress that are independent of the executive departments. They regulate important aspects of the nation's economy, making and enforcing rules supposedly in the public interest.

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99

Government Corporations

These are government-owned entities created by Congress to engage in commercial activities. They operate like private businesses but their profits return to the Treasury. Examples include the United States Postal Service and Amtrak.

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100

Regulation

This refers to the process by which federal, state, or local governments impose rules and restrictions to control or manage activities within various sectors. Regulations are enforced by regulatory agencies and are intended to protect public interests such as health, safety, and the environment.

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