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Declaration of Independence (1776)

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Declaration of Independence (1776)

The fundamental document establishing the US as an independent nation, adopted on July 4, 1776. It declared the 13 colonies independent from Britain, offered reasons for the separation laid out the principles for which the Revolution was fought

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Grievances in Declaration of Independence

  1. taxation without representation

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2.suspend habeas corpus

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  1. Quartering soldiers

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4.no right to trial b jury (shipping people overseas)

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  1. Dissolving own government

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Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Believes that humans were naturally selfish and wicked, and governments were needed to keep order and rulers needs absolute power to keep citizens under control.

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Limited Government

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

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John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property and that governments exist to protect those rights. He rejected the theory of the Divine Right of the monarchy, and believed that government was based upon a "social contract" that existed between a government and its people. If the government failed to uphold its end of the contract by protecting those rights, the people could rebel and institute a new government.

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Baron de Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws

Separation of powers "Power should be a check to power.

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Natural Law

God's or nature's law that defines right from wrong and is higher than human law

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Popular Sovereignty

A government in which the people rule by their own consent.

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Rousseau social contract

State the author and work with the following thesis: Agreement formed between government and society

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Rule of Law

principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern. No one is above the law

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elite democracy

A political system in which the privileged classes acquire the power to decide by a competition for the people's votes and have substantial freedom between elections to rule as they see fit.

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participatory democracy

a theory of democracy that holds that citizens should actively and directly control all aspects of their lives

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pluralist democracy

a model of democracy that stresses vigorous competition among various interests in a free society

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Anti-Federalists

Opponents of the American Constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption.

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Federalists

A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.

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Shays's Rebellion (1786-1787)

Storming of the Massachusetts federal arsenal in 1787 by Daniel Shays and 1,200 armed farmers seeking debt relief from the state legislature through issuance of paper currency and lower taxes.

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Article 5 of the Constitution

Amendment Process; Amendments proposed by 2/3 vote of Congress or applications by 2/3 of state legislatures; amendments ratified by 3/4 of state legislatures

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Bicameral

A legislature consisting of two parts, or houses

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Constitutional Convention

The meeting of state delegates in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution.

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Electoral College

A group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president

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Great (Connecticut) Compromise

Plan to have a popularly elected House based on state population and a state-selected Senate, with two members for each state

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New Jersey Plan

The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population.

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Three-Fifths Compromise

Agreement that each slave counted as three-fifths of a person in determining representation in the House for representation and taxation purposes (negated by the 13th amendment)

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Virginia Plan

"Large state" proposal for the new constitution, calling for proportional representation in both houses of a bicameral Congress. The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.

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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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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 services

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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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concurrent powers

powers shared by the national and state governments

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Enumerated/Delegated Powers

Powers of the federal government that are specifically addressed in the Constitution

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reserved powers

Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people

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Cooperative Federalism

A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame for programs that work poorly.

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Federalism

A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments

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Fiscal Federalism

The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments.

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Grant-in-aid programs

Federal appropriations that are given to states and localities to fund state policies and programs. The Morrill Act (1862) was the first instance of such a program.

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mandate

(n.) an authoritative command, formal order, authorization; (v.) to issue such an order

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privileges and immunities

The provision of the Constitution according citizens of each state the privileges of citizens of other 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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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.

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Necessary and Proper Clause

Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government

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selective exclusiveness

Legal doctrine that states that when the commerce at issue requires national, uniform regulation, only Congress may regulate it

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Caucuses

meetings where political parties chose their candidates

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Coalitions

Individuals and/or groups that have common interests and perspectives

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Power of the Purse

The constitutional power of Congress to raise and spend money. Congress can use this as a negative or checking power over the other branches by freezing or cutting their funding.

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17th Amendment

Direct election of senators

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Speaker of the House

the leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives

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President of the Senate

Vice President

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President Pro Tempore

Officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president

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Senate Majority Leader

The chief spokesperson of the majority party in the Senate, who directs the legislative program and party strategy.

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whip

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

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cloture rule

a rule used by the Senate to end or limit debate

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Filibuster

A lengthy speech designed to delay or kill the vote on a bill; used only in the Senate

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standing committee

A permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area

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Select Committee

A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.

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Joint Committee

A committee composed of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; such committees oversee the Library of Congress and conduct investigations.

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Rider

A provision attached to a bill - to which it may or may not be related - in order to secure its passage or defeat.

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Logrolling

An agreement by two or more lawmakers to support each other's bills

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Pork Barrell Spending

legislation that directs specific funds to projects within districts or states

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Omnibus Bill

One very large bill that encompasses many separate bills.

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Mandatory Spending

Federal spending required by law that continues without the need for annual approvals by Congress.

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discretionary spending

Federal spending on programs that are controlled through the regular budget process

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Reapportionment

the process of reassigning representation based on population, after every census

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Redistricting

The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population.

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Gerrymandering

Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.

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Formal Powers

specific grants of authority defined in the Constitution or in law

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Informal Powers

powers not laid out in the Constitution but used to carry out presidential duties

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policy agenda

The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at the time.

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executive agreement

an agreement between the president and the leader of another country

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executive order

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

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executive privilege

The power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.

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Veto

Chief executive's power to reject a bill passed by a legislature

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Line-Item

A particular type of expense that is written on its own line in a budget.

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pocket veto

A veto taking place when Congress adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill to the president, who simply lets it die by neither signing nor vetoing it.

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Cabinet

A group of advisers to the president.

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inherent powers

The powers of the national government in foreign affairs that the Supreme Court has declared do not depend on constitutional grants but rather grow out of the very existence of the national government.

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Imperial Presidency

President is seen as emperor taking strong actions without consulting Congress or seeking its approval

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Stewardship Theory

A theory that argues for a strong, assertive presidential role, with presidential authority limited only at points specifically prohibited by law.

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22nd Amendment

Limits the president to two terms.

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War Powers Act

Act that grants emergency executive powers to president to run war effort

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State of the Union

An annual speech in which the president addresses Congress to report on the condition of the country and recommend policies.

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Bureaucracy

A large, complex organization composed of appointed officials

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merit system

hiring people into government jobs on the basis of their qualifications

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Patronage

Granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support

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Spoils System

A system of public employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends.

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Pendleton Civil Service Act

Passed in 1883, an Act that created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather than patronage.

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issue network

Relationships among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share a common policy concern.

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Iron Triangle

A close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group

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delegated discretionary authority

The extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose courses of action and make policies that are not spelled out in advance by laws.

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Appropriations

Money granted by Congress or to a state legislature for a specific purpose

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Congressional Oversight

Power used by Congress to gather information useful for the formation of legislation, review the operations and budgets of executive departments and independent regulatory agencies, conduct investigations through committee hearings, and bring to the public's attention the need for public policy

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original jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case.

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appellate jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of courts that hear cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts. These courts do not review the factual record, only the legal issues involved.

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Judicial Review

Allows the court to determine the constitutionality of laws

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precedent

an example that may serve as a basis for imitation or later action

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stare decisis

Let the decision stand; decisions are based on precedents from previous cases

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Rule of Four

At least four justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard

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petition for certiorari

A petition asking the Supreme Court to hear a case

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