AP Gov

Unit 1

Chapter 1 Vocabulary

democracy - government by the people, both indirectly and directly, with free and frequent elections

direct democracy - government in which citizens vote on laws and select officials directly

direct primary - an election in which voters choose party nominees

initiative - a procedure whereby a certain number of voters may, by petition, propose a law or constitutional amendment and have it submitted to the voters

referendum - procedure for submitting to popular vote measures passed by the legislature or proposed amendments to a state constitution

recall - a procedure for submitting to popular vote the removal of officials from office before the end of their term

representative democracy - government in which the people elect those who govern and pass laws; also called a republic

constitutional democracy - government that enforces recognized limits on those who govern and allows the voice of the people to be heard through free, fair, and relatively frequent elections

constitutionalism - the set of arrangements, including checks & balances, federalism, separation of powers, rule of law, due process, and a bill of rights, that requires our leaders to listen, think, bargain, and explain before they act or make laws. We then hold them politically and legally accountable for how they exercise their powers.

natural rights - the rights of all people to dignity and worth

political culture - the widely shared beliefs, values, and norms citizens hold about their relationship to gov't and to one another

statism - the idea that the rights of the nation are supreme over the rights of the individuals who make up the nation

American dream - complex set of ideas that holds that the US is a land of opportunity where individual initiative and hard work can bring economic success

capitalism - an economic system based on private property, competitive markets, economic incentives, and limited gov't involvement in the production, pricing, and distribution of goods & services

popular consent - idea that a just gov't must derive its powers from the consent of the people it governs

majority rule - governance according to the expressed preferences of the majority

majority - candidate or party that wins more than half the votes cast in an election

plurality - candidate or party with the most votes cast in an election, not necessarily more than half

democratic consensus - a condition for democracy is that the people widely share a set of attitudes and beliefs about governmental procedures, institutions, core documents, and fundamental values

theocracy - gov't by religious leaders, who claim divine guidance

Articles of Confederation - 1st governing document of the confederated states, drafted in 1777, ratified in 1781, and replaced by the present Constitution in 1789 (only good for winning the war - no taxes)

Annapolis Convention - a convention held in Sept. 1786 to consider problems of trade and navigation, attended by 5 states and important b/c it issued the call to Congress and the states for what became the Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention - convention in Philadelphia from May 25-Sept. 17, 1787, that debated and agreed on the Constitution of the United States

Shays' Rebellion - a rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Mass. in 1786-87 protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national gov't just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out

bicameralism - principle of a two-house legislature

Virginia Plan - initial proposal at the Constitutional Convention made by the Va. delegation for a strong central gov't with a bicameral legislature dominated by the big states (more populous)

New Jersey Plan - the proposal at the Constitutional Convention made by William Paterson of NJ for a central gov't with a single-house legislature in which each state would be represented equally

Connecticut Compromise - compromise agreement by states at the Constitutional Convention for a bicameral legislation with a lower house in which representation would be based on population and an upper house in which each state would have two senators

three-fifths compromise - compromise b/w northern and southern states at the CC that 3/5 of the slave population would be counted for determining direct taxation and representation in the House of Representatives

Electoral College - electoral system used in electing the president and vice pres., in which voters vote for electors pledged to cast their ballots for a particular party's candidates

Federalists - supporters of ratification of the Constitution and of a strong central gov't

Antifederalists - opponents of ratification of the Constitution and of a strong central gov't generally

The Federalist - essays promoting ratification of the Constitution, published anonymously by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in 1787-88

Chapter 2 Vocabulary

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

separation of powers - leg., exec., and jud. branches

checks and balances - enables each of the 3 branches to check some of the acts of the others and ensures that no one branch can dominate

autocracy - a type of gov't in which one person with unltd. power rules

partisanship - strong allegiance to one's own political party, often leading to unwillingness to compromise with the other party

divided gov't - one party holds the presidency and the other controls one or both houses of Congress

unified gov't - one party controls the presidency and Congress

Electoral College - voters vote for electors pledged to cast their ballots for a particular party's candidates

judicial review - power of a court to review laws or gov't regulations to determine whether or not they are constitutional

Federalists - group that argued FOR the ratification of the Constitution, including a stronger nat'l gov't at the expense of states' power

writ of mandamus - court order directing an official to perform an official duty

congressional elaboration - congressional legislation that gives meaning to the Constitution based of sometimes vague authority, like the necessary and proper clause

impeachment - formal accusation by lower house of leg. against a public official; the first step in removal from office

executive order - directive issued by a president/governor that has the force of law

executive privilege - power to keep exec. comm. confidential, esp. if they relate to nat'l security

originalist approach - envisions the document as having a fixed meaning that might be determined by a strict reading of the text or the Framers' intent

adaptive approach - understands the document to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the times

Chapter 3 Vocabulary

federalism - power is distributed b/w a central gov't and states

unitary system - concentrates power in a central gov't

confederation - sovereign nations or states create a central gov't but carefully limit its power and do not give it direct authority over individuals (Articles of Confederation)

delegated/express powers - powers given explicitly to the nat'l gov't and listed in the Constitution

implied powers - powers inferred from the express powers that allow Congress to carry out its functions

necessary & proper clause - Article I.8.3 setting forth the implied powers of Congress; 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 nat'l gov't

inherent powers - powers of the nat'l gov't in foreign affairs that the Supreme Court has declared do not depend on constitutional grants but rather grow out of the nat'l gov'ts obligation to protect the nation from domestic and foreign threats

supremacy clause - contained in Article IV of the Constitution, the clause gives nat'l laws the absolute power even when states have enacted a competing law

commerce clause - Article I.8.1 gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations

federal mandate - requirement the federal gov't imposes as a condition for receiving federal funds

reserve powers - all powers not specifically delegated to the nat'l gov't by the Constitution; found in 10th Amendment

concurrent powers - powers that the Constitution gives to both the nat'l and state gov'ts such as the power to levy taxes

full faith & credit clause - Article IV.1 requiring each state to recognize the civil judgments rendered by the courts of the other states and to accept their public records and acts as valid

extradition - 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

interstate compact - agreement b/w two or more states and Congress must approve it

national supremacy - constitutional doctrine that whenever conflict occurs b/w the constitutionally authorized actions of the nat'l gov't and those of a state or local gov't, the actions of the nat'l gov't prevail

preemption - right of a nat'l law or regulation to preclude enforcement of a state or local law or regulation

centralists - people who favor nat'l action over action at the state/local levels

decentralists - people who favor state or local action over nat'l action

states' rights - powers expressly or implicitly reserved to the states

devolution revolution - effort to slow the growth of the nat'l gov't by returning many functions to the states