Ap gov midterm

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House of Representatives

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239 Terms


House of Representatives

-lower chamber of congress

-435 members

-2 year terms

-25 y/o, 7 years citizen

-proposes tax laws (art 1 sect 7)

-impeach pres. (art . sect 2. clause 5)

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-Upper House of Congress

-6 yr, 1/3 up for election every 2 yrs

-30 yrs old, 9 yrs citizen

-ratifies treaties with foreign governments

-approves presidential appointments

-tries president after impeachment (art 1, sect 3, clause 6)

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Votes needed for impeachment

House- majority

Senate- 2/3

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-president serves for 4 yrs per term, max. 2 terms, and must be 35, 14 yr U.S. president (article 2 section 1)

-President is the commander in chief (article 2 section 2)

-The president has the power w/the consent of the senate to make treaties (need 2/3 vote of consent)

- Approve/veto laws (article 1 section 7)

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Judicial Branch

-interprets laws

-SCOTUS serves for life on terms of good behavior

-apellate jurisdiction

-settles disputes involving U.S. and between states

-chief justice presides over impeachment

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Judicial Review

Allows the court to determine the constitutionality of laws

--> marbury v. madison, federalist 78

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Apellate Jurisdiction

authority of court to review the decisions of a lower court

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Marbury v. Madison

-SCOTUS declared that the courts have the power to nullify the acts that conflict with the constitution -- > power of judicial review

-exercise of judicial review forces the courts to interpret the constitution

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natural rights

life. liberty. and property

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Popular Sovereignty

A belief that ultimate power resides in the people -- > power to govern derived from the people

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Limited Government

The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens -- > rule of law, check and balances

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rule by the people

representative democracy

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Social Contract

citizens give up some rights in order to have government protection

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John Locke

English philosopher who advocated the idea of a “social contract” in which the gov. powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the gov. serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property

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Unitary System

System of government in which all power is invested in a central government

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confederal system

A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such league has only limited powers over a state

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federal system

A government that divides the powers of government between the national gov. and state or provincial gov.

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A single-chamber legislature

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A legislature consisting of two parts or houses

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Articles of Confederation

1st constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses- no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)

-each state had 1 vote in congress

-states controlled their trade

-unicameral legislature

*national gov. still had the power to raise an army, and the national gov. had to ask the states for money *

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Shay’s Rebellion

Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in the western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting the mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out.

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Virginia Plan

-3 branches

-strong national government

-bicameral legislature with membership based on population

-lower house directly elected, upper house elected by state legislature

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New Jersey Plan

-3 branches

-unicameral legislature

-equal representation regardless of population

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Great Compromise


-lower house based on population

-upper house

-2 each regardless of population

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3/5 compromise

the decision at the constitutional convention to count slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of deciding the population and determining how many seats each state would have in congress

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Representative Democracy

A system of gov. in which citizens elect representative, or leaders to make decisions about the laws for all the people

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Participatory Democracy

A system of gov. in which all the members of a group or community participate collectively in making major decisions

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Pluralist Democracy

a theory of democracy that holds that citizen membership in groups is the key to political power

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Shays Rebellion causes

economic frustrations of Massachusetts farmers who were losing farmers because they could not pay their debt in hard currency

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Constitutional Convention

A meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 intending on fixing the Articles (produced a new constitution)

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Separation of Powers

Constitutional divisions of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

legislative branch making law -- >the executive applying and enforcing law -- > judiciary interprets the law

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Checks and Balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

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Expressed/Enumerated Powers

powers directly stated in the constitution

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Elastic/ Necessary and Proper Clause

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.

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implied powers

Powers not specifically mentioned in the constitution

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supporters of the Constitution

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people who opposed the Constitution

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federalist 51

written by Madison, discusses importance of checks and balances and the separation of powers in the constitution (prevent tyranny)

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Federalist 10

federalist 10

Dangers of factions can be diffused by large republic and republican government

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a group of self-interested people who use the government to get what they want, trampling the rights of others in the process

-argues against direct democracy

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Direct Democracy

Government in which citizens vote on laws and select officials directly.

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Brutus No. 1

And anti-Federalist 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

-constitution had no representation of the people or states

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Elitist Theory

\n a theory of democracy that the elites have a disproportionate amount of influence in the policymaking process

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reserved powers

powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states

*10th amendment*

-conduct elections

-voter qualification

-intrastate commerce



-marriage law

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expressed powers

powers directly stated in the constitution

-declare war

-coin money


-interstate commerce


-post office

-admit new states

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concurrent powers

Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.


-law enforcement


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between the states

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within a state

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Dual Federalism

A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies

(Layer cake)

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Cooperative Federalism

A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government

(marble cake)

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Full Faith and Credit Clause

Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state

-article 4

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A legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the officials of one state to officials of the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed

-fugitive slave clause

-article 4

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privledges and immunities

prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner.

-all citizens have certain rights regardless of state residence

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police powers

state power to effect laws promoting health, safety, and morals

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bill of attainder

a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court

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writ of habeas corpus

A court order requiring explanation to a judge why a prisoner is being held in custody.

--> know your accusations

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US v. Lopez

The Court held that Congress had exceeded its commerce clause power by prohibiting guns in a school zone.

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McCulloch v. Maryland

Supreme Court ruling (1819) confirming the supremacy of national over state government

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Gibbons v. Ogden

Regulating interstate commerce is a power reserved to the federal government

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Gonzales v. Raich

Held that Congress could use the Commerce Clause to outlaw the use of medical marijuana

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terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal grants

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condition of aid

conditions you meet to receive and keep money

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categorial grants

Federal grants for specific purposes

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block grants

Money given to states for general programs within a broad category

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unfunded mandates

a federal order mandating that states operate and pay for a program created at the national level

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the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states

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commerce clause

The clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) that gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations.

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Tenth 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

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states in national government, national gov experiments new legislation with states

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Supremacy Clause

\n Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.

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13th Amendment

abolished slavery

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14th Amendment

equal protection under the law

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15th Amendment

gave African American men the right to vote

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selective incorporation

SCOTUS applies fundamental rights in bill of rights to states in case by case basis

--> through due process clause

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Fiscal Federalism

federal government use of grants in aid to influence state policy

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revenue sharing

The federal government distributing part of its tax income to state governments

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Examples of police power

Speed limits

Seat belt laws

Smoking in public places

Obscenity laws


Marriage laws


Deeds and records

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A state's refusal to recognize an act of Congress that it considers unconstitutional

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money given by the national government to the states

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9th Amendment

Citizens entitled to rights not listed in the Constitution

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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.

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Gitlow v. New York

Gitlow, a socialist, was arrested for disturbing copies of a “left-wing manifesto” that called the establishment of socialism through strikes and class action of any form. Gitlow was convicted under a state criminal anarchy law, which punished advocating for overthrow of the government by force. Gitlow argued this violated his freedom of speech, so this case was posed to SCOTUS with the question being whether or not the first amendment applied to states

ruling: the court ruled that the right is protected by virtue of the liberty protected by due process that no state shall deny (14th Amendment). On the merits, a state may forbid both speech and publication if they have a tendency to result in action dangerous to public security

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Schenck v. United States


Socialist Charles Schenck was arrested for distributing pamphlets persuading people to ignore the draft, this violated the Espionage act


1st Amendment freedom of speech


U.S. won. Schenck's speech created a 'clear and present' danger which the government could limit.

Precedent and/or Significance:

Freedom of speech is NOT absolute. In times of war, it can be limited, and speech that creates a clear and present danger will be limited.

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Texas v. Johnson

This case held that burning an American flag is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.

--> free symbolic speech

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Tinker v. Des Moines

Students in an Iowa school were suspended for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam war. The supreme court ruled that this suspension was unconstitutional, as this speech did not disrupt the education process and was protected by the right to free speech in schools.

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Engel v. Vitale

NY Board of Regents authorized a short, voluntary prayer for recitation at the start of each school day. Prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers, and our country.” When this case went to SCOTUS the court ruled that voluntary use of a government written prayer in public schools violates the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment by way of the 14th Amendment. This also violates the free exercise clause, as receiving the prayer is not voluntary.

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Gideon v. Wainwright

Extends 6th amendment rights to states

The Supreme Court held that the framers of the Constitution placed a high value on the right of the accused to have the means to put up a proper defense, and the state as well as federal courts must respect that right. The Court held that it was consistent with the Constitution to require state courts to appoint attorneys for defendants who could not afford to retain counsel on their own.

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Miranda v. Arizona

5th Amendment self-incrimination clause requires government agents to warn suspects of their right to remain silent and/or contact an attorney before questioning them when they are in custody. This case incorporated that to the states. Statements made without Miranda Warning are inadmissible in court (like the exclusionary rule for evidence)

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due process of law

\n denies the government the right, without due process, to deprive people of life, liberty, and property

--> 14th amendment applied to states \n

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equal protection of the law

Part of the 14th Amendment emphasizing that the laws must provide equivalent "protection" to all people

it should provide "equal protection of life, liberty, and property" to all a state's citizens.

selective incorporation

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Freedom of Religion

clause in first amendment stating that people shall be free to exercise their religion, and government may not establish a religion

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Establishment Clause

Clause in the First Amendment that says the government may not establish an official religion.

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Free Exercise Clause

A First Amendment clause that gives people the right to practice their religion

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freedom of expression

Part of the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

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wall of separation

separation of church and state, government cannot be involved with religion

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lemon test

The three-part test for Establishment Clause cases that a law must pass before it is declared constitutional: it must have a secular purpose; it must neither advance nor inhibit religion; and it must not cause excessive entanglement with religion.

(Lemon V. Kurtzman)

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prior restraint

government censorship of information before it is published or broadcast

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Clear and Present Danger test

law should not punish speech unless there was a clear and present danger of producing harmful actions

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a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

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the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.

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