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AP US Government and Politics Exam Review
Transcript of AP US Government and Politics Exam Review
Part 1: Foundation and Constitution
Government: the institutions that make authority for any given society
Public Good: Goods, such as clean air and water, that everyone must share
Politics: the process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue
Single-issue groups: groups with a narrow interest who dislike compromise and draw membership from people new to politics (different from interest groups!)
Linkage Institutions: the political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on a policy agenda. In the US, can include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media
Policy Agenda: the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics
policymaking institutions: branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. (Congress, president, courts, even bureaucracy)
Political Culture: an overall set of values widely shared within a society
...a system of selecting policymakers and organizing government to best represent and respond to the people's preferences
Majority Rule: choosing among alternatives requires respect for majority's desire
Minority Rights: guarantees rights to those who belong to minorities and allows that they might join the majority through persuasion and reasonable argument
Representation: describes relationship between few leaders and many followers
Policy Gridlock: no strong majority = no policy
Chapter 1: Introducing Government in America
Theories of Government
...other than democracy, of course
Pluralist theory: politics is a competition among groups, each one pressing for preferred policies
Elite and Class Theory: societies are divided among class lines and an upper-class elite should (and will) rule
Hyperpluralism: an extreme form of pluralism. Contends that groups are so strong that government is weakened
Chapter 2: The Constitution
a nation's basic law. Creates political institutions, assigns/divides powers, and provides certain guarantees to citizens. Can be written/unwritten
US Constitution: document written in 1787, ratified in 1788 that set forth structure of US Government and tasks these institutions perform. Replaced Articles of Confederation.
Natural rights: Rights inherent in human beings and not dependent on governments. (Locke: Life, liberty, pursuit of property
Consent of the Governed: the idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people
limited government: the idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect natural rights of citizens
So, how did we get this constitution, anyways?
Articles of Confederation: the first constitution of the US, enacted 1781. Established national legislature (Continental Congress), but authority mostly rested with state legislatures
Shay's Rebellion: a Revolt led by Daniel Shays against foreclosure proceedings. Showed dissatisfaction with/helped end Articles of Confederation
New Constitution Time!
The Philadelphia Convention (1787)
Factions: Interest groups arising from unequal distribution of property or wealth. James Madison warned of instability in government that could be caused by them.
Virginia Plan: called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to population
New Jersey Plan: called for equal representation of each state in the new Congress
Connecticut ("Great") Compromise
Established 2 houses of Congress: House of Reps based on population, each state gets 2 Senate seats (also included 3/5 clause saying slaves were 3/5 of a person for counting purposes)
Features of the New Constitution
Separation of powers: require each of the 3 branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) to be relatively independent of others. Power is shared between them.
Checks and Balances: features of the Constitution that limit governmental power by requiring a balance among different institutions. They constrain one another's activities.
Republic: a form of government in which people select officials to govern and make laws
The First political parties:
Federalists: in support of New Constitution. Wrote the Federalist papers to defend it.
Anti-Federalists: Opposed Constitution. Wanted a smaller governmental interference.
Compromise: Bill of Rights!
Here we go...
Judicial review: the power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress and, by implication, the executive are Constitutional. Established by Marbury vs. Madison.
Just some loose ends...
Chapter 3: Federalism
federalism: a way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. (shared power between units of government)
unitary government: all power resides in the central government.
Constitutional Basis for Federalism in America
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
Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the US by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
Enumerated powers: powers of the federal government that are specifically addressed in the Constitution
Implied powers: Powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. Given by the "Elastic clause", which authorizes Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out Enumerated Powers
dual federalism: both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies
Cooperative Federalism: a system of government in which powers and assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame. Closest to current American system of government.
fiscal federalism: the pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system
Categorical grants: federal grants that can only be used for specific purposes, or "categories" of state and local spending. Come with strings attached, like nondiscrimination provisions. Could be project grants (awarded on merits of application) or formula grants (awarded according to formula specified in legislation)
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