A.P. Government

Vocabulary and Notes

Chapter 1 Vocabulary

  1. Democracy - is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
  2. Direct Democracy - is a form of democracy in which people decide policy initiatives directly.
  3. Direct Primary - is an election in which voters choose candidates to run on a parties ticket in a subsequent election for public office.
  4. Initiative - is the right of citizens outside the legislature to originate legislation.
  5. Referendum - A general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.
  6. Recall - is the removal of an elected government official from office by a petition followed by voting.
  7. Representative Democracy - is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as apposed to direct democracy.
  8. Constitutional Democracy - is a system of government based on popular sovereignty in which the structures, powers, and limits of the government are set forth in a constitution.
  9. Constitutionalism - is a constitutional government.
  10. Natural Rights - are rights that people supposedly have under natural law.
  11. Political Culture - is a set of attitudes or practices held by a people that shapes their political behavior.
  12. Stat ism - is a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over and economic affairs.
  13. American Dream - is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.
  14. Capitalism - is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by state.
  15. Popular Consent - is where people should be able to participate directly in the governing of their own societies.
  16. Majority Rule - is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes.
  17. Majority - is the number by which votes for one candidate in an election are more than those for all other candidates combined.
  18. Plurality - is the number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority.
  19. Democratic Consensus - is the application of consensus decision-making to the process of legislation in a democracy.
  20. Theocracy - is a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.
  21. Articles of Confederation - is the first constitution of the United States.
  22. Annapolis Convention - was a meeting of twelve delegates from five states that called for a constitutional convention.
  23. Constitutional Convention - is a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising a existing constitution.
  24. Shays' Rebellion - is an uprising led by a former militia officer, Daniel Shays, which broke out in western Massachusetts in 1786. Followers protested the foreclosures of farms for debt and briefly succeeded in shutting down the court system.
  25. Bicameralism - is an essential and defining feature of the classical notion of mixed government.
  26. Virginia Plan - was a proposal by Virginia delegates for a bicameral legislative branch.
  27. New Jersey Plan - was a proposal for the structure of the United States Government presented William Paterson at the Constitutional Convention on June 15, 1787.
  28. Connecticut Compromise - was an agreement that large and small states reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution.
  29. Three-Fifths Compromise - was a compromise reached between delegates from southern states and those from northern states during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention.
  30. Electoral College - is a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the President and the Vice Presidents.
  31. Federalists - is an advocate or supporter of federalism.
  32. Anti-federalists - were a group of diverse individuals that formed to oppose the ratification of the new federal constitution in 1787.
  33. The Federalist - is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution.

Chapter 2 Vocabulary

  1. Natural Law - is a system of law that is determined by nature, and so is universal.
  2. Separation of Powers - is the act of vesting legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government in separate bodies.
  3. Checks and Balances - is a method used by all three branches to keep the other branches from getting too powerful.
  4. Autocracy - is a type of government ruled by one man with complete power.
  5. Unified Government - The same party controls the White House and both houses of government.
  6. Divided Government - One party controls the White House and one party controls one or both houses of government.
  7. Partisanship - is prejudice in favor of a particular cause.
  8. Electoral College - The people chosen to cast each state's votes in a presidential election. Each state can cast one electoral vote for each senator and representative it has.
  9. Judicial Review - is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary.
  10. Federalists - are the supporters of the proposed Constitution.
  11. Writ of Mandamus - is an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to property fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.
  12. Congressional Elaboration - Congressional legislation that gives further meaning to the Constitution based on the sometimes gauge constitutional authority, such as the necessary and proper clause
  13. Impeachment - a formal accusation by the lower house of a legislature against a pubic official
  14. Executive Orders - are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies.
  15. Executive Privilege - The right to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
  16. Impoundment - Decision of President to not spend any of the money appointed by the Congress.
  17. Originalist Approach - An approach to constitutional interpretation that envisions the document as having a fixed meaning that might be determined by a strict reading of the text or framers' intent
  18. Adaptive Approach - A method used to interpret the Constitution that understands the document to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the times.

Chapter 3 Vocabulary

  1. Federalism - is the federal principle or system of government.
  2. Unitary System - is a sovereign state governed as a single entity.
  3. Confederation - is a union of political units for common action in relation to other units.
  4. Delegated (express) Powers - are the powers granted to each branch of government.
  5. Implied Powers - are the powers exercised by Congress which are not specifically given by the Constitution itself, but are necessary and proper to execute the powers which are.
  6. Necessary and Proper Clause - Congress has the power to make laws which are necessary and proper for carrying out the powers vested by the Constitution.
  7. Inherent Powers - are those powers that Congress and the president need in order to get the job done right.
  8. Supremacy Clause - is a clause that establishes that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitutions.
  9. Commerce Clause - is a clause which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations
  10. Federal Mandate - are orders that induce responsibility, action, procedure or anything else that is imposed by constitutional, administrative, executive, or judicial action.
  11. Reserve Powers - powers which are not "enumerated".
  12. Concurrent Powers - are powers in nations with a federal system of government that are shared by both the State and the federal government.
  13. Full Faith and Credit Clause - is what addresses the duties that states within the United States have to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state."
  14. Extradition - is the action of extraditing a person accused or convicted of a crime.
  15. Interstate Compact - is an agreement between two or more states of the United States of America.
  16. National Supremacy - is the section of the Constitution stating that the Constitution and federal laws made in furtherance of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land.
  17. Preemption - is the purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others.
  18. Centralists - is the concentration of power and control in the central authority of an organization.
  19. Decentralists - is to distribute the administrative powers or functions of over a less concentrated area.
  20. States' Rights - are the rights and powers held by individual US states rather than by the federal government.
  21. Devolution Revolution - is the effort to slow the growth of the federal government by returning many functions to the state.

Chapter 4 Vocabulary

  1. ethnocentrism - is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture.
  2. demography - the study of statistics such as births, deaths, income, or the incidence of disease, which illustrates the changing structure of human populations.
  3. reinforcing cleavages - is where one ethnic group is all rich and the other is all poor.
  4. cross - cutting cleavages - refers to two (or more) cleavages, such as race, political, religious divisions etc., in society.
  5. American exceptionalism - is the theory that the U.S. is qualitatively different from other nations.
  6. manifest destiny - is the idea that the United States was destined to stretch from coast to coast.
  7. Sun Belt - is a region of the US generally considered to stretch across the Southeast and the Southwest.
  8. Bible Belt - are the areas of the southern and Midwestern US and western Canada where Protestant fundamentalism is widely practiced.
  9. Rust Belt - are the areas of the US that are characterized by declining industry, aging factories, and a falling population.
  10. urban - in, relating to, or characteristic of a city or town.
  11. suburban - of or characteristic of a suburb.
  12. rural - in, relating to, or characteristic of the countryside.
  13. race - a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language etc.
  14. ethnicity - is the membership of an ethnic group.
  15. fundamentalists - is a form of religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture.
  16. gender gap - the discrepancy in opportunities, status, attitudes, etc., between men an women.
  17. gross domestic product - is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period.
  18. socioeconomic status - is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation.

Chapter 5 Vocabulary

  1. Collective bargaining - is the negotiation of wages and other conditions of employment by an organized body of employees.
  2. Recall - is to officially order (someone) to return to a place.
  3. Faction - is a small, organized, dissenting group within a large one, especially in politics.
  4. Pluralism - is a condition or a system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.
  5. Interest Group - are a natural outgrowth of the communities of interest that exist in all societies.
  6. Social Movement - are large groupings of individuals that focus on specific political or social issues.
  7. Open Shop - is a system whereby employees in a place of work are not required to join a labor union.
  8. Closed Shop - is a place of work where membership in a union is a condition for being hired and for continued employment.
  9. Free Rider - is a person who consumes more than their fair share of common resources, or pay less than their fair share of the cost of common resources.
  10. Professional Associations - is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.
  11. Nongovernmental Organization - is any non - profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level.
  12. Collective Action - is traditionally defined as an action taken together by a group of people whose goal is to enhance their status and achieve a common objective.
  13. Public Choice - is the intersection between economics and political science.
  14. Lobbying - is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.
  15. Federal Register - is a daily publication of the US federal government that issues proposed and final administrative regulations of federal agencies.
  16. Amicus Curiae brief - is a person or group who is not a party to a lawsuit, but has a strong interest in the matter, will the petition the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of influencing the court's decision.
  17. Super PAC - is a type of independent political action committee which may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates.
  18. Bundling - is a marketing strategy that joins products or services together in order to sell them as a single combined unit.
  19. Lobbyist - is a person who attempts to influence decisions by government officials.
  20. Revolving Door - is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.
  21. issue Network - is an alliance of various interest groups and individuals who unite in order to promote a single issue in government policy.
  22. Political Action Committee - is an organization that raises money privately to influence elections or legislation, especially the federal level.
  23. Leadership PAC - is defined as a political committee that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding federal office, but is not an authorized committee of the candidate or officeholder and is not affiliated with an authorized committee of a candidate or officeholder.
  24. Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act - is a United States federal law that amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which regulates the financing of political campaigns.
  25. Soft Money - is a contribution to a political party that is not accounted as going to a particular candidate, thus avoiding various legal limitations.
  26. Independent Expenditures - is a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate.
  27. Issue Advocacy - are communications intended to bring a problem to light.
  28. 527 Organization - is primarily created to influence the selection, nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates to federal, state or local public office.

Chapter 8 Vocabulary

  1. Winner-take-all system - is where the candidate that receives a plurality of votes wins.
  2. Single-member district - is an electoral district that returns one office holder to a body with multiple members such as a legislature.
  3. Proportional representation - is an electoral system in which parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them.
  4. Electoral College - is a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the President and Vice President.
  5. Safe seat - is a legislative seat that is likely to be retained with a large majority in an election.
  6. Coattail effect - is the tendency for a popular political party leader to attract votes for other candidates of the same party in an election.
  7. Candidate appeal - is the tendency in elections to focus on the appeal of a candidate.
  8. National tide - is the inclination to focus on national issues, rather than local issues, in a campaign.
  9. Name recognition - is where incumbents have an advantage over challengers in election campaigns because voters are more familiar with them, and incumbents are more recognizable.
  10. Caucus - is a meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform.
  11. National party convention - is a national meeting of delegates elected in primaries, caucuses or state conventions who assemble once every four years to nominate candidates for P and VP.
  12. Federal Election Commission - is a commission created by the 1974 amendments the the Federal Election Campaign Act to administer election reform laws.
  13. Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act - is for largely banned party soft money, restored long standing prohibition on corporations and labor unions for using general treasury funds for electoral purposes, and narrowed the definition of issue advocacy.
  14. Soft money - are contributions to a state or local party for party - building purposes.
  15. Hard money - are donations made to political candidates, party committees, or groups which, by law, are limited and must be declared.
  16. Issue advocacy - is promoting a particular position or an issue paid for by the interest groups or individuals but not candidates.
  17. Independent expenditures - is money spent by individuals or groups not associated with candidates to elect or defeat candidates for office.
  18. Super PAC - is a type of independent political action committee which may raise unlimited sums of money for corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates.

Chapter 10 Vocabulary

  1. Constituents - A member of a constituency.
  2. Reapportionment - The redistribution of representation in a legislative body.
  3. Redistricting - The process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries.
  4. Gerrymandering - Manipulating the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.
  5. Safe Seat - A legislative seat that is likely to be retained with a large majority in an election.
  6. Incumbent - The holder of an office or post.
  7. Earmarks - A congressional directive that funds should be spent on a specific project.
  8. Bicameralism - Type of legislation in which the legislators are divided into two separate assemblies, chambers or houses.
  9. Enumerated Powers - A list of powers in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution that set forth the authoritative capacity of Congress.
  10. Speaker - The presiding officer in a legislative assembly, especially the House of Representatives.
  11. Party Caucus - A closed meeting of party members within a legislative body to decide a questions of policy or leadership.
  12. Majority Leader - The head of the majority party in a legislative body, especially the US Senate or House of Representatives.
  13. Minority Leader - The head of the minority party in a legislative body, especially the US Senate or House of Representatives.
  14. Whip - An official of a political party appointed to maintain discipline among its members in Congress or Parliament, especially so as to ensure attendance and voting in debates.
  15. Closed Rule - A procedural maneuver that prohibits any amendments to bills up for a vote on the House floor, unless they are recommended by the committee reporting the bill.
  16. Open Rule - A set of regulations for debate on the floor of the House of Representatives which permits general debate and allows members to offer amendments.
  17. President Pro Tempore - A constitutionally recognized officer of a legislative body who presides over the chamber in the absence of the normal presiding officer.
  18. Filibuster - An action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures.
  19. Cloture - is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end.
  20. Standing Committee - A permanent committee that meets regularly.
  21. Special or Select Committee - Is a congressional committee appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee.
  22. Joint Committee - Is a term that is used to refer to a committee made up of members of both chambers of bicameral legislature.
  23. Seniority Rule - A rule in the U.S. Congress by which the member of the majority party who has served longest on a committee receives the chairmanship.
  24. Conference Committee - Is a committee of Congress appointed by the House Representatives and Senate to resolve disagreements on a particular bill.
  25. Discharge Petition - Is the means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee and usually without cooperation of the leadership by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution.
  26. Rider - An addition or amendment to a document, especially a piece of legislation.
  27. Pocket Veto - Is a legislative maneuver that allows a president or other official with veto power to exercise that power over a bill by taking no action versus affirmatively vetoing it.
  28. Override - use ones authority to reject or cancel.
  29. Delegate - A person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference.
  30. Trustee - An individual person or member of a board given control or powers of administration of property in trust with legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes of specified.
  31. Logrolling - The practice of exchanging favors, especially in politics by reciprocal voting for each other's opposed legislation.
  32. Attentive Public - Those citizens who follow public affairs carefully.
  33. Polarization - Is the divergence of political attitudes to ideological extremes.

Chapter 11 Vocabulary

  1. Executive Privilege - The privilege, claimed by the president for the executive branch of the US government, of withholding information in the public interest.
  2. Executive Orders - A rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law.
  3. Executive Memorandum - Is a type of executive instrument typically issued by the President of the United States to manage and govern the actions.
  4. Impoundment - Is an act by a President of the United States of not spending money that has been appropriated by the U.S. Congress.
  5. Line Item Veto - Is the power of an executive authority to nullify or cancel specific provisions of a bill, usually a budget appropriations bill, without vetoing the entire legislative package.
  6. Chief of Staff - Is the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a Principal Staff Officer, who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide - de - camp to an important individual, such as a president or a senior military officer.
  7. Executive Office of the President - Consists of the immediate staff of the current President of the united States and multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President.
  8. Office of Management and Budget - Is the largest office within the executive office of the President of the United States.
  9. Cabinet - A body of advisers to the president, composed of the heads of the executive departments of the government.
  10. Presidential Support Score - Is the percent of the votes that a member casts with the president's position on those roll call votes in a session where the president's position could be ascertained.
  11. Mandate - An official order or commission to do something.
  12. Political Capital - Refers to the trust, goodwill, and influence a politician has with the public and other political figures.
  13. Rally Point - A point, place, or principal at or upon which scattered forces united or opposing groups come together.

Chapter 12 Vocabulary

  1. Bureaucracy - A system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives.
  2. Bureaucrat - An official in a government department.
  3. Department - A division of a large organization such as a government, university, business, or shop, dealing with a specific subject, commodity, or area of activity.
  4. Independent Stand-Alone Agency - Those agencies that exist outside of the federal executive departments.
  5. Independent Regulatory Commission - A regulatory agency that is independent from other branches or arms of the government.
  6. Government Corporation - A corporation set up by a national government to carry out business transactions on its behalf.
  7. Senior Executive Service - Is a position classification in the civil service of the United States federal government.
  8. Civil Service - The permanent professional branches of a government's administration.
  9. Spoils System - The practice of a successful political party giving public office to its supporters.
  10. Patronage - The support given by a patron.
  11. Merit System - Is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections.
  12. Office of Personnel Management - Is an independent agency of the United States government that manages the civil service of the federal government.
  13. Merit Systems Protection Board - is an independent quasi - judicial agency established in 1979 to protect the federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management.
  14. Hatch Act - Is an act to prevent pernicious political activities.
  15. Implementation - The process of putting a decision or plan into effect.
  16. Administrative Discretion - The exercise of professional expertise and judgement, as opposed to strict adherence to regulations or statutes, in making a decision or performing official acts of duties.
  17. Regulation - A rule or directive made and maintained by an authority.
  18. Rule-Making - Is the process that executive and independent agencies use to create, or promulgate, regulations.
  19. Federal Register - A daily publication of the Us federal government that issues proposed and final administrative regulations of federal agencies.
  20. Federal Reserve Board - The governing body of the Federal Reserve System.
  21. Uncontrollable Spending - The portion of the federal budget that is spent on programs, such as Social Security, that the President or Congress are unwilling to cut.
  22. Entitlement Program - Programs such as unemployment insurance, disaster relief, or disability payments that provide benefits to all eligible citizens.
  23. Oversight - Legislative or executive review of a particular government program or organization.
  24. Central Clearance - Review of all executive branch testimony, reports, and draft legislation by the office of management and budget to ensure that each communication to Congress is in accordance with the president's program
  25. Public Policy - The principles, often unwritten, on which social laws are based.
  26. Politics - The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area.
  27. Policy Makers - A member of a government department, legislature, or other organization who is responsible for making new rules, laws, etc..
  28. Distributive Policy - Extend goods and services to members of an organization.
  29. Redistributive Policy - Redistribution of income and wealth from some individuals to others.
  30. Zero-Sum Games - Is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participants gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participants.
  31. Reverse Distributive Policy - A policy that reduces benefits for all groups such as a tax increase in society, often by imposing rules that govern everyone.
  32. Nondecision - A decision not to move ahead with the policy process.
  33. Policy Agenda - The list of issues that the federal government pays attention to.
  34. Think Tank - A nongovernmental organization that seeks to influence public policy through research and education.
  35. Issue-Attention Cycle - The movement of public opinion toward public policy from initial enthusiasm for action to realization of costs and a decline in interest.
  36. Incremental Policy - small adjustments to existing public policies.
  37. Punctuating Policy - radical changes to public policy that occur only after the mobilization of large segments of society to demand action.
  38. Iron Triangle - A policy-making instrument composed of a tightly related alliance of a congressional committee , interest groups, and federal department agency.
  39. Issue Network - A policy making instrument composed of loosely related interest groups, congressional committee, presidential aides, and other parties.