AP Gov Unit 1 Vocab

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amending process
The way in which additions or changes in the Constitution are made. It has been made difficult to prevent changes for unimportant reasons; Article V. Stage 1 - 2/3 House and Senate or 2/3 vote at convention; Stage 2 - 3/4 state legislatures or votes at state ratifying convention
the absence of any form of government or political authoirty
An individual who opposed the ratification of the new Constitution in 1787; opposed to a strong central government.
Articles of Confederation
A weak constitution that governed America during the Revolutionary War; political power belonged largely to state governments, with weaker nat'l government
rule by the "best;" in reality, rule by an upper class
Article I
defines the basic setup and operation of Congress.
Article II
lays out the requirements to assume the presidency and the executive's role.
Article III
displays the need for national courts and defines the judicial branch
Article IV
defines the relations among the states and it requires that states cannot play favorites with their own citizens or exclude outsiders from basic privileges and immunities.
Article V
alters and amends the constitution
Article VI
establishes national supremacy and states that no religious test shall be required for a person to take government office.
Article VII
declares that the Constitution shall become the official law of the ratifying states when nine states ratified the document
a type of regime in which only the government is fully controlled by the ruler. Social and economic institutions exist that are not under the government's control
bicameral legislature
a legislature made up of two parts, called chambers. U.S. Congress - House of Representatives and the Senate
Bill of Attainder
a law declaining an act illegal without a judicial trial
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the U.S. Consitution, which largely guarantee specific rights and liberties
Brutus No.1
a commentary on the dangers of too large and too consolidated a gov't
an economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract
central government
a form of government in which the national government has most of the power, while the states have little power
checks and balances
A major principle of the American system of government whereby each branch of the government can check the actions of the others.
A political system in which states or regional governments retain ultimate authority except for those powers they expressly delegate to a central government.
A set of beliefs that includes a limited role for the national government in helping individuals, support for traditional values and lifestyles, and a cautious response to change.
Declaration of Independence
document approved by representatives of the American Colonies in 1776 that states their grievances against the monarchy and declared their independence
A system of government in which political authority is vested in the people.
democratic republic
A republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies.
direct democracy
a system of government in which political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; probably attained most easily in small political communities
divine right of kings
a political and religious doctrine that asserts a monarchy's legitimacy is conferred directly by God as such a king is not subject to any earthly authority, including his people or the church
electoral college
A group of persons called electors selected by the voters in each state and the District of Columbia; this group officially elects the president and vice president of the United States. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of each state's representatives in both chambers of Congress.
elite democracy (elitism)
theory of American democracy contending that an upper-class elite holds the power and makes policy regardless of the formal governmental organization
eminent domain
A power set forth in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows government to take private property for public use under the condition that just compensation is offered to the landowner.
As a political value, the idea that all people are of equal worth.
A group or bloc in a legislature or political party acting in pursuit of some special interest or position.
Federal System
a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and regional, or subdivisional, governments. Each level must have some domain in which its policies are dominant and some genuine political or constitutional guarantee of its authority
Federalist #10
an article that speaks of interest groups and factions in government, whether a majority or minority is adverse to other citizens' rights. it explains how no plan for government can eliminate factions, and shares the need to limit factions
the name given to one who was in favor of the adoption of the U.S. Consitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government
Federalist #51
points to the separation of powers outlined in the constitution as a guard against tyranny
The preeminent institution in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it has the ultimate authority within society.
the "Grand Committee"
a committee at the Constitutional Convention that worked out the compromise on representation; made up of one delegate from each of the states represented at the convention
Great Compromise
the compromise between the New Jersery and Virginia plans that created one chamber of the Congress based on population and one chamber representing each state equally; also called the Connecticut Compromise
a theory of american democracy contending that groups are so strong that gov't which gives into many groups is thereby weakened
ideology (political ideology)
A comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people and about the role of an institution or government.
An action by the House of Representatives to accuse the president, vice president, or other civil officers of the United States of committing "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
A procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment.
An ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society.
John Locke
British philosopher, argued in Second Treatise of Civil Gov't that natural law is the law of God and that this law is acknowledged through human sense and reason. people were born free and equal. people are obligated to rebel when rule of kings did not respect the consent of the governed.
A governmental body primarily responsible for the making of laws.
A set of beliefs that includes the advocacy of positive government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and tolerance for political and social change.
A political ideology based on skepticism or opposition toward almost all government activities.
The greatest freedom of individuals that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society.
limited government
The principle that the powers of government should be limited, usually by institutional checks.
linkage institutions
the political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. In the US, include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media
Madisonian Model
A structure of government proposed by James Madison in which the powers of the government are separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
more than 50 percent
majority rule
a basic principle of democracy asserting that the greatest number of citizens in any political unit shoud select officials and determine policy
majority rule w/ minority rights
the democratic principle that a gov't follows the preferences of the majority of voters but protects the interests of the minority; limitations to protect the minority rights especially with property ownership
less than half
natural rights
Rights held to be inherent in natural law, not dependent on governments. John Locke stated that natural law, being superior to human law, specifies certain rights of "life, liberty, and property." These rights, altered to become "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," are asserted in the Declaration of Independence.
New Jersey Plan
a framework for the Constitution proposed by a group of small states. Its key points were a one-house legislature w/ one vote for each state, a Congress w/ the ability to raise revenue, and a Supreme Court w/ members appointed for life
rule by the few in their own interests
participatory democracy
depends on the direct participation of many, if not most, people in a society, not only in government but in public life; emphasizes broad involvement of citizens in politics
pluralist democracy
people w/ widely varying interests find others who share their interests and organize and unit into nongovernmental groups to exert influence on political decision making.
political culture
the set of ideals, values, and ways of thinking about government and politics that is shared by all citizens
political participation
all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. the most common means is voting; other means include protest and civil obedience.
political socialization
The process through which individuals learn a set of political attitudes and form opinions about social issues. Families and the educational system are two of the most important forces in the political socialization process.
the process of resolving conflicting and deciding "who gets what, when, and how." More specifically, a struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant of withhold benefits or privileges
popular sovereignty
the notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people
Introduction to the Constitution; explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy
Formal approval
A procedure allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before his or her term has expired.
An electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the legislature to the voters for approval or disapproval.
The function of members of Congress as elected officials representing the views of their constituents.
representative assembly
A legislature composed of individuals who represent the population.
representative democracy
A form of government in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies; may retain the monarchy in a ceremonial role.
a form of government in which sovereignty rests with the people, as opposed to a king or monarch
seperation of powers
The principle of dividing governmental powers among different branches of government.
Slave Trade Compromise
Congress could not regulate or outlaw slavery or slave trade until 1808 (20 years after Consitution ratified)
social contract
A theory of politics that asserts that individuals form political communities by a process of mutual consent, giving up a measure of their individual liberty in order to gain the protection of government.
A political ideology based on strong support for economic and social equality. Socialists traditionally envisioned a society in which major businesses were taken over by the government or by employee cooperatives.
Supremacy Clause
the constitutional provision that makes the Consitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting states and local laws
Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)
the pinnacle of the American judicial system. ensures uniformity in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains national supremacy in law. it has both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction
Three-fifths Compromise
agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention stipulating that each slave was to be counted as 3/5s of a person for purposes of determining population for representation in the US House of Representatives
tyranny of the majority
The potential of a majority to monopolize power for its own gain to the detriment of minority rights and interests.
universal suffrage
the rights of all adults to vote for their representative
unicameral legislature
a legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral legislature, such as the US Congress
totalitarian regime
a form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a natio
United States Consitution
Body of national laws for the United States of America which also serve as the framework of the nation's government; establishes a system of checks and balances among gov't branches and allocates power b/w federal and state gov'ts. system based on rule of law and balance b/w majority rule and minority rights
Virginia Plan
the first general plan for the Consitution offered in Philadelphia. Its key points were a bicameral legislature, and an executive and a judiciary chosen by national legislature
writ of habeas corpus
court orders in which a judge requires authorities to prove that a prisoner is being held lawfully and that allow the prisoner to be freed if the judge is not persuaded by the government's case. imply that prisoners have a right to know what charges are being made against them.