Unit 1: chapters 1, 2, 3 Flashcards Preview

AP Government & Politics > Unit 1: chapters 1, 2, 3 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Unit 1: chapters 1, 2, 3 Deck (59):


the process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue. politics produce authoritative decisions about public issues.



a basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers.


political culture

an overall set of values widely shared with a society.


majority rule

a fundamental principle of traditional democratic theory. in a democracy, choosing among alternatives requires that the majority's desire be respected.


minority rights

a principle of traditional democratic theory that guarantees rights to those who do not belong to majorities and allows that they might join majorities through persuasion and reasoned argument.



a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences.


public policy

a choice that government makes in response to a political issue. a policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem.


policy impacts

the effect a policy has on people and problems. impacts are analyzed to see how well a policy has met its goal and at what cost.


gross domestic product

the sum total of the value of all the goods and services produced in a nation.


political issue

and issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and a public policy choice.


policymaking institutions

the branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. the US constitution established 3 policymaking institutions: the congress, the presidency, and the courts. today, the power of bureaucracy is so great that most political scientists consider it a fourth policymaking institution.


pluralist theory

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


public goods

goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share.


elite theory

a theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.


policy gridlock

a condition that occurs when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and establish policy. the result is that nothing may get done.


political participation

all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. the most common, but not the only, means of political participation in a democracy is voting. other means include protest and civil disobedience.


single-issue groups

groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. these features distinguish them from traditional interest groups.


policy agenda

the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point of time.


linkage institutions

the channels or access points through which issues and people's policy preferences get on the government's policy agenda. in the united states, elections, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media are four main linkage institutions.


shays's rebellion

a series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by revolutionary war captain daniel shays to block foreclosure proceedings.


checks and balances

system that lets each branch of government block and overlook each other to keep all of the power out of one group/person's hands.


equal rights amendment

a constitutional amendment originally introduced in 1923 and passed by congress in 1972 and sent to the state legislatures for ratification, stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex." despite substantial public support and an extended deadline, the amendment failed to acquire support from 3/4 of state legislatures.


bill of rights

the first ten amendments to the US constitution, drafted in response to some of the anti-federalist concerns. these amendments define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press and offer protections against arbitrary searches by the police and being held without talking to a lawyer.


consent of the governed

according the john locke, the required basis for government. the declaration of independence reflects locke's view that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed.



a form of government that derives its power, directly or indirectly, from the people. those chosen to govern are accountable to those whom they govern. in contrast to a direct democracy, in which people themselves make laws, in a republic the people select representatives who make the laws.


judicial review

the power of the courts to determine whether acts of congress, and by implication the executive, are in accord with the US constitution.


limited government

the idea that certain things are out of bounds for government because of the natural rights of citizens. limited government was central to john locke's philosophy in the seventeenth century, and it contrasted sharply with the prevailing view of the divine rights of monarchs.


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.


virginia plan

the proposal at the constitutional convention that called for representation of each state in congress in proportion to that state's share of the US population.


marbury v. madison

the 1803 case in which chief justice john marshall and his associates first asserted the right of the supreme court to determine the meaning of the US constitution, a process called judicial review.


connecticut compromise (aka: the great compromise)

the compromise reached at the constitutional convention that established two houses of congress: the house of representatives, in which representation is based on a state's share of the US population, and the senate, in which each state has two representatives.


articles of confederation

the first constitution of the united states, adopted by congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. the articles established a national legislature, the continental congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatures.



a nation's basic law. it creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. constitutions can be either written or unwritten.



supporters of the US constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption.



opponents of the american constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption. they argued that the constitution was a class-based document, that it would erode fundamental liberties, and that it would weaken the power of the states.


federalist papers

a collection of 85 articles written by alexander hamilton, john jay, and james madison under the name "publius" to defend the constitution in detail. collectively, these papers are second only to the US constitution in characterizing the framers' intents.


US constitution

the document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of US government and the tasks these institutions perform. it replaced the articles of confederation.


separation of powers

an important part of the madisonian model that requires each of the three branches of government to be relatively independent of each other so that one cannot control the others. power is shared among these three institutions.


declaration of independence

the document approved by reps of the american colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the british monarch and declared their independence.


natural rights

according to john locke, "life, liberty, and property." according to thomas jefferson, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."



the institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.


intergovernmental relations

the workings of the federal system--the entire set of interactions among national, state, and local governments.


project grants

federal grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications. a type of the categorical grants available to states and localities.


privileges and immunities clause

a clause in article IV, section two, of the constitution according citizens of each state most of the privileges of citizens of other states.



transferring responsibility for policies from the federal government to state and local governments.


formula grants

federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations.


unitary governments

a way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. most national governments today, including those of great britain and japan, are unitary governments.


implied powers

powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the constitution. the constitution states that congress has the power to "make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the powers enumerated in article I. many federal policies are justified on the basis of implied powers.


supremacy clause

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.


elastic clause

the final paragraph of article I, section eight, of the constitution, which authorizes congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the enumerated powers.


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.


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.


full faith and credit clause

a clause in article IV, section one, of the constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgements rendered by the courts of other states.


gibbons v. ogden

a landmark case decided in 1824 in which the supreme court interpreted very broadly the clause in article I, section eight, of the constitution giving congress the power to regulate inter-state commerce, encompassing virtually every form of commercial activity. the commerce clause has been the constitutional basis for much of congress' regulation of the economy.


mcculloch v. maryland

an 1819 supreme court case that established the supremacy of the national government over state governments. in deciding this case, chief justice john marshall and his colleagues held that congress had certain implied powers in addition to the enumerated powers found in the constitution.



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.


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.


tenth amendment

the constitutional amendment stating that "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."



a way of organizing a nation so that two levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. it is a system of shared power between units of government.