Exam 1 Political Government and constitution Amendment

In this chapter we discuss political government and constitution amendment – Political Science.

Pluralist Theory

Political power rests with COMPETING INTEREST GROUPS who share influence in the government.

John Locke Philosophies about why the governments should be formed?

Government exists only to protect, “LIFE, LIBERTY, and PROPERTY.”


A political system in which people GOVERN THEMSELVES, with capitalism.


Is an ALTERNATIVE economic system. In socialist societies, the means of generating wealth, such as factories, large farms, and banks, are owned by the GOVERNMENT and NOT BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS.


Only members of a certain POLITICAL PARTY or RULING ELITE can participate in government. Ex. China, the gov’t is run by members of the Chinese Communist Party.


The process of GAINING and EXERCISING control within a government for the purpose of settling and achieving particular goals, especially those related to the division of resources withing a nation.

Private Goods

Food, Clothing, and Housing are provided in ample supply by private businesses that earn a profit in return.

Public Goods

Such goods or services that are available to all WITHOUT CHARGE. Example: National security and Education.

Toll Good

Are available to many people, and many people can make use of them, but only if they can PAY THE PRICE. Example: Private Schooling

Common Good

Goods that all people may use FREE OF CHARGE but that are of LIMITED supply, such as fish in the sea or clean drinking water.

Political power

Influence over INSTITUTIONS, LEADERS, AND POLICIES rests in the hands of the people.

Representative Democracy

The citizens DO NOT govern directly. They elect representatives to make decisions and pass laws behalf of all the people.

Majority Rule

The opinions of the MAJORITY of the people have MORE INFLUENCE with government than those of the minority.

Minority Rights

People cannot be deprived of certain rights even if an OVERWHELMING number of people think that they should be.

Direct Democracy

People participate DIRECTLY in making GOVERNMENT DECISIONS.


ONE RULER, usually a HEREDITARY ruler, holds political power.


The government is MORE IMPORTANT than THE CITIZENS, and it controls ALL ASPECTS of CITIZENS LIVES.

Elite theory

A set of elite citizen is really in charge of government in the United States and that others have NO INFLUENCE.


Engaged in either STATE or LOCAL POLITICS, were business people, or practiced law before being elected to congress.

First Amendment

The constitution gives Americans the right to express their OPINIONS on matters of concern to THEM; the federal government cannot interfere with this right.

Social Capital

the collective value of all social networks (who people know), and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other (norms of reciprocity)

Committed Partisanship

Is the tendency to identify with and to support (often blindly) a paticular party, alienates some Americans who feel that elected representatives should vote in support of the nation’s best interests instead of voting in the way their party wishes them to.


Established beliefs and ideals that help shape political policy of one of the major parties.

Latent preferences

beliefs and preferences people are NOT DEEPLY COMMITTED to and that change over time

Intense preferences

Based on STRONG FEELINGS regarding an issue that some adheres to over time.


Provided stability to society, as well as many crucial services such as FEE PUBLIC EDUCATION, POLICE and FIRE SERVICES, and MAIL DELIVERY.

The scale for the governments

As government power INCREASES, individual FREEDOM DECREASES.

Articles of Confederation

Power of the national and state governments.

Why did the Articles Fail?

No REVENUE, no power to enforce national laws, no state DISPUTE SETTLEMENT.

Locke and The social contract

The consent of the governed
Government should protect rights
People should remove gov’t that fail to protect

Main principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

Had given everyone the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
People had created governments to protect these rights and consented to be governed by them so long as government functioned as intended.


A regime in which the people, not a monarch, held power and elected representatives to govern according to the rule of law.


An entity in which independent, self-governing states from a union for the purpose of acting together in areas such as defense.

Confederation Congress (continental congress)

The authority to exchange ambassadors and make treaties with foreign governments and Indian tribes, declare war, coin currency and borrow money, and settle disputes between states.

Shay’s Rebellion

The incident panicked the governor of Massachusetts, who called upon the national government for assistance.

Viginia Plan

Legislature: Bicameral
Representation: Population based (Higher population yields more representation)
Role of national government: Can legislate for states and veto state law.

New Jersey Plan

Legislature: Unicameral
Representation: State based (each state equally represented)
Role of national government: Provides defense but does not override state authority

Great Compromise

1787; This compromise was between the large and small states of the colonies. The Great Compromise resolved that there would be representation by population in the House of Representatives, and equal representation would exist in the Senate. Each state, regardless of size, would have 2 senators. All tax bills and revenues would originate in the House. This compromise combined the needs of both large and small states and formed a fair and sensible resolution to their problems.

Three-Fifths Compromise

Resolved the impasse, although not in a manner that truly satisfied anyone.

Separation of powers

Dividing the national government into three separate branches and assigning different responsibilities to each one.

Checks and balances

By giving each of three branches of government the power to restrict the actions of the others, thus requiring them to work together.

Federal system

Power is divided between the federal (or national) government and the state governments.

Enumerated powers

Great or explicit powers, were granted to the federal government to declare wars, impose taxes, coin and regulate currency, regulate foreign and interstate commerce, raise and maintain an army and a navy, maintain a post office, make treaties with foreign nations and with Native American tribes, and make laws regulating the naturalization of immigrants.

Reserved powers

All powers not expressly given to the national government, however, were intended to be exercised by the states.

Supremacy clause

In Article VI of the constitution proclaimed that the constitution, laws passed by congress, and treaties made by the federal government were “the supreme Law of the Land.”

Constitutional Convention

A meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 that voted to approve the document they had drafted over the course of many months.

First Amendment

The protections for RELIGION, SPEECH, THE PRESS, and ASSEMBLY that are granted.

Second Amendment

The right to bear arms for protection

Third Amendment

The right not to have to provide SHELTER and PROVISION FOR SOLDIERS in PEACETIME.

Fourth Amendment

Protects Americans from UNWARRANTED search and seizure of their property, was also new.

Fifth Amendment

Which requires among other things that people cannot be deprived of their life,liberty, or property except by a legal proceeding.

Sixth and Seventh Amendments

The right to a trial by jury.

Eighth Amendment

Protection from excessive fines and from cruel and unusual punishment

Ninth Amendment

Libertiees extend beyond those described in the preceding documents.

Tenth Amendment

Ensures that states possess all powers not explicitly assigned to the federal government by the constitution


An institutional arrangement that creates two relatively autonomous levels of government, each possessing the capacity to act directly of behalf of the people with the authority granted to it by the national constitution.

Equal Rights Amendment

Which aims to guarantee equal rights regardless of sex have failed because they cannot garner sufficient consent among members of congress or, in the case of the ERA, the states.


A nation-state that has a centralized government and administration that exercises power equally over all parts of the state


the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states

elastic clause

Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which allows Congress to make all laws that are “necessary and proper” to carry out the powers of the Constitution.

Commerce clause

The clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) that gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations.

Concurrent powers

Powers held jointly by the national and state governments. Range from taxing, borrowing, and making and enforcing laws to establishing court systems

Emancipation Proclamation

Proclamation issued by Lincoln, freeing all slaves in areas still at war with the Union.

Dual federalism

The states and national government exercise exclusive authority in distinctly delineated spheres of jurisdiction.

Interstate Commerce Act

1887 law passed to regulate railroad and other interstate businesses

Sherman Antitrust Act

1890 law banning any trust that restrained interstate trade or commerce

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.

New Deal

The name of President Roosevelt’s program for getting the United States out of the depression

New federalism

Premised on the idea that the decentralization of policies enhances administrative efficiency, reduces overall public spending, and improves policy outcomes.

Layer cake federalism

Programs and authority are CLEARLY DIVIDED among the national state, and local governments.

Marble cake federalism

Programs and authority are MIXED AMONG he national, state, and local governments

Categorical Grants

Federal transfers formulated to limit recipients, discretion in the use of funds and subject them to strict administrative criteria that guide project selection, performance, and financial oversight, among other things.

Block Grants

Come with less stringent federal administrative conditions and provide recipients more flexibility over how to spend grant funds.

Main powers granted by the Constitution to the Congress, President, and Supreme court.



Presidential control of large standing army
“Necessary and Proper Clause”
No individual rights


Federalism controls tyranny, ambition
Checks and balances, Separation of Powers
Limited government, so all natural rights retained
Federalist 51 Response

The Bill of Rights

Based on English common law/issues before ware
Freedom of religion, speech, press
Freedom to have weapons
NO quartering of soldiers
Due process; no trying a case again
Trail by public jury, right to defend yourself
Cannot appeal to another court unless through common law
No cruel and unusual punishment.