Political System Of American Government

Political System Of American Government

This chapter is about Political System Of American Government.

New Federalism

Devolutionary system in which the national government returns tax dollars to the state and local governments primarily in the form of block grants.

Dual / Layer Cake Federalism

A system in which national and state governments are competitors with distinct powers. This system was prominent in the US from the during the 19th century until 1937.

Cooperative / Marble Cake Federalism

A system in which national and state government have shared or overlapping powers. FDR’s New Deal legislation established this system in the US.

Regulatory Federalism

A system in which the national government sets requirements that are then implemented by state and local governments.

Fiscal Federalism

A system in which the national government provides grants-in-aid to states using conditions to elicit control


A system in which the power to govern is shared between national and state governments


The negative aspects of this system include: conflicts between state and national government, economic and racial discrimination, uneven enforcement of law, and dominance of local governments by special interest groups


The positive aspects of this system include: diversity/diffusion of power, more access points for political participation, fostering of experimentation and innovation, and allowing local governments to manage local problems effectively


This type of government suits a large country with a diverse population

Enumerated Powers

Powers specifically outlined in the Constitution as assigned to one branch of government.

Article II

This article of the Constitution establishes the Executive Branch.

Categorical Grant

Federal grants in which the recipient has little discretion over how the money is spent. The national government sets narrowly defined rules for use of funds and often requires the states or local governments to provide matching funds. These grants account for 90% of federal aid dollars. Examples include Head Start, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and the Interstate Highway System

Block Grant

Federal grants in which the recipient has a lot of discretion over how the money is spent. These grants are issued in support of general government functions such as education and law enforcement.

Project Grant

Federal categorical grants in which the granting agency has much discretion over how the recipient spends the money.

Formula Grant

Federal categorical grants in which the granting agency has less discretion over how the recipient spends the money.

Commander in Chief

The President’s role in the armed forces which during the 20th century has allowed Presidents to circumvent Congress’ refusal to declare war.

State of the Union

Constitutionally required address by the President typically given in a joint session of Congress.


Constitutionally empowered to appoint judges, ambassadors, and other high officials


President requires their approval to appoint judges, ambassadors and other high officials.


Constitutionally empowered to make treaties with foreign countries.

Grant Clemency

This customary power allows the President to grant reprieves and pardons for federal offenses.

35 years old

Age requirement for President

14 years

Number of years a President must reside in the US prior to taking office

Pyramid Model

Presidential management model in which the Chief of Staff plays a prominent role as the head of a military style chain of command. Used successfully by Reagan and Eisenhower.

Hub and Spoke Model

Presidential management model requiring the President to have strong leadership skills and a keen eye for detail. FDR and JFK were well known for this style of leadership.

Ad Hoc Structure

Presidential management model in which corporate CEO tactics are used employing committees, task forces, and special advisors. Successfully utilized by Clinton and G W Bush.

Max Weber

German sociologist theorized that the engine of government needs bureaucracies to provide expertise in a way that short-term elected or appointed official cannot.


The structure and set of regulations in place to control activity, usually in large organizations and government. it is represented by standardized procedure (rule-following) that dictates the execution of most or all processes within the body, formal division of powers, hierarchy, and relationships.

National Security Council

The executive office established in response to intelligence lapses during WWI. Oversees American foreign policy and includes the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and is lead by the National Security Advisor.

Council of Economic Advisors

3 person executive panel responsible for helping the President develop an economic plan for the nation.

Office of Management and Budget

Executive office responsible for helping the President write the federal budget and monitoring federal spending.

US Trade Representatives

Executive office responsible for negotiating trade with foreign powers.


Number of original cabinet positions under George Washington.


Number of current cabinet positions under GW Bush.


Cabinet department responsible for collective bargaining and union activity. Established in 1913

Housing and Urban Development

Cabinet department responsible for insuring mortgages and providing housing subsidies. Established in 1965


Cabinet department responsible for managing school lunch programs and food safety. Established in 1862.


Cabinet department responsible for regulating and promoting trade and maintaining the census Established in 1913..


Cabinet department oversees nuclear reactors.Established in 1973 in response to the Energy Crisis.

Homeland Security

Cabinet department that includes the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, FEMA, Transportation Security Administration, INS and the Secret Service. Established in 2001 in response to 9/11.


Cabinet department responsible for the management of public lands, wildlife, natural resources, and Native American affairs. Established in 1849


Cabinet department that includes the FAA and the National Hwy Traffic Safety Administration. Established in 1966.

Governmental Corporations

Corporations formed by the government to act as a business to produce a product or service. Often monopolies with varying degrees of independence.

Regulatory Agencies

Independent agencies governed by an appointed and confirmed commission. Examples include the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Government branch established in Article I of the Constitution.


Legislative branch incorporating two houses.


Legislative house responsible for impeachment trials.


Number of Senators elected at large per state,


Amendment that delegated the election of Senators to popular vote.


Legislative house whose membership was intended to represent the state.


Form of obstruction in the Senate where an attempt is made to infinitely extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay the progress or completely prevent a vote on the proposal taking place.

Vice President

Presides over the Senate without voting privileges except in the case of a tie.

President Pro Tempore

Presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President. Position awarded to the longest serving Senator from the majority party. 3rd in line of succession for the Presidency.

Conference Committee

A joint committee of Congress established to help negotiate discrepancies and gain consensus between legislation passed in each house before sending the bill to the President.

House of Representatives

Legislative house whose members were intended to represent the people.


Total number of Representatives apportioned to the states based on population and reapportioned with the census every 10 years

Speaker of the House

Leader of the House of Representatives, elected by the majority party. 2nd in line of succession for the Presidency.

Select Committee

Committees appointed for investigative or crisis situations.

Joint Committee

Committees that pull members from both the house and the senate who meet to discuss major policy issues such as economy and taxation.

Standing Committees

The most important committees, always assembled and delegated with the responsibility of handling all bills under their concern. Includes the Ways and Means, Appropriations, Budget, Rules and Agriculture Committees.

Rules Committee

This powerful House committee is in charge of determining under what rule other bills will come to the floor.

Ways and Mean Committee

This House committee is responsible for all taxes, tariffs, and other revenue raising measures in addition to social security, child support, Medicare, foster care, and unemployment.


Assistants to the Majority and Minority Leaders of both the House and Senate.

Article III

Constitutional Article that establishes the Judicial Branch.


Number of justices of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice

Head of the Supreme Court.


Method by which federal court judges may lose their position.

Presidential Veto

Executive Check on the Legislative Branch.

Judicial Review

Judicial Check on Legislative Branch. Not specifically outlined in the Constitution, but established in the case of Marbury v. Madison through the application of the Supremacy Clause in Article VI.

Freedom of Information Act

1966 Act allowing citizens to inspect all government records with the exception of classified military or intelligence documents, trade secrets or private personnel files.

Administrative Procedure Act

1946 Act requiring bureaucratic agencies to appeal to the affected parties before adopting new policies. Legislative check on Bureaucracy.

Privacy Act

1974 Act mandating that all government files about private citizens be kept confidential.

Open Meeting Law

1976 Law requiring all governmental agency meetings to be open to the public unless classified information will be discussed.


This branch of government checks Bureaucracy through its control over the creation and elimination of agencies as well as its control over budget appropriations.

House of Representatives

Tax legislation must originate in this house.


Legislative opinions on a matter that do not require Presidential signature.


This branch of government checks Bureaucracy through its control over budget and appointments of leadership.


This branch of government checks Bureaucracy through its control over lawsuits filed against the agency.


the fundamental flaw in plural theory contends that pluralism weakens the backbone of democracy with too many common interest groups attempt to wield power, often leading to standstill because of unwillingness to compromise.

Elite and Class Theory

A pluralist theory by C. Wright Mills where a small number of wealthy elite wield most of the power. Fundamental to all governments around the world, the elite rule while they make the lower classes feel like they are involved in democracy. The elite work to “dumb” down the population in order to stay in control. They also use aversion to divert the attention of the masses from the real problems.

Pluralist Theory

Theory of democracy in which competition among common interest groups promote ideas to influence politics

Articles of Confederation

Under this governing document, national government lacked authority to set up tariffs, regulate commerce, levy taxes, control international relations, establish common currency

Magna Carta

This influential English document signed by King John in 1215 limited the absolute power of the monarchy, established due process, and limited arbitrary seizure of property.

Petition of Right

This influential English document refuted divine right of monarchy and made monarchs subject to laws and responsible for crimes

Common Law

Unwritten law based on custom and tradition.

English Bill of Rights

This 1689 English Document made the monarch

Thomas Hobbes

This author of Leviathon posited that government is necessary because people are generally in a state of conflict.

John Locke

This author was highly influential on Thomas Jefferson, rejecting divine right, proposing that government is a social contract requiring the consent of the govern and establishing the concept of self-evident rights of life, liberty, and property.

Social Contract

Theory that a government requires the consent of the governed.


Political theorist proposed the separation of church and state.

Common Sense

The 1776 pamphlet by Thomas Paine that prompted King George III’s Prohibitory Act and the sending of mercenaries to the colonies.

Federalist Papers

a series of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the pseudonym Publius advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution.

Baron de Montesquieu

Author of The Spirit of the Laws advocating balance of power in politics with liberty is dependant upon a separation of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government.

Shay’s Rebellion

The uprising of farmers angered by crushing debt and taxes that revealed the failure of the Articles of Confederation.

Mayflower Compact

First governing document of the Plymouth Colony establishing freedom of religion.

Habeas Corpus

Grants that an accused may not be held in custody without charge, literally “You shall have the body”.


Year of the 2nd Continental Congress.

Rhode Island

The absent colony at the 2nd Continental Congress.

Virginia Plan

Plan that proposed bicameral legislature where states were to have representation based on size in both houses.

New Jersey Plan

Plan that proposed unicameral legislature with each state having one vote.

Great or Connecticut Compromise

Compromise between the large states and small states that established the bicameral Legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. Also included 3/5 compromise on the status of slaves in representation.

Albany Plan

Proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 as an attempt to form a union of the colonies. Later used to help form the Articles of Confederation.

Committees of Correspondence

Important during the Revolution, these bodies organized by the local governments of the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution for the purposes of coordinating written communication outside of the colony.

Ex Post Facto

Prohibits conviction of a crime that occurred before the act became illegal

Bill of Attainder

An act of legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a trial. Constitutionally prohibited.

Privileges and Immunities Clause

States that states may draw reasonable distinctions between the rights of residents and non-residents (ex. In state and out of state tuition)

Establishment Clause

This clause of the 1st amendment establishes a “wall of separation” between church and state.

Free Exercise Clause

This 1st amendment clause prohibits the government from making any law prohibiting the exercise of any religion

Establishment Clause

The Supreme Court’s broad interpretation of this clause has denied direct aid from the government for religious groups, but does allow religious groups to make use of government services such as police and fire.


The Supreme Court has sometimes used a narrow interpretation of the Establishment Clause allowing the government to provide aid to religious groups as long as it remains ______________ and does not promote one religion at the expense of another. This practice has been criticized by civil liberties groups

Civil Liberties

Freedoms that protect the individual from the government.


This amendment applied the Bill of Rights to states.

Violation of Law

The only instance in which the government can prohibit religious activities

Baron v. Baltimore

19th century case establishing that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, upheld until the 20th century. Ruling allowed stated to engage in activities such as establishing state churches and denying public office to people of certain religions.

Gitlow v. New York

1925 Supreme Court case overturned Baron v. Baltimore and applied the Bill of Rights to states.

Lemon Test

Test whereby the Supreme Court established criteria by which state may provide aid to religious groups.

Murray v. Curlett

1963 ruling prohibiting prayer in public schools.

US v. Ballard

1944 case established that as as long as a person accepted their beliefs in good faith that it is not the government’s authority to determine whether those beliefs are valid.

Free Exercise Clause

In the 1990 case OR State Employment Division v. Smith 1990, the Supreme court allowed the state to fire employees who use peyote during native American religious ceremonies because it is in violation of drug laws. In this case, which clause of the 1st amendment was deemed less important than the violation of another law?

Free Exercise of Religion

In WV State BOE v Barnette (1943), the Supreme Court ruled that compelling citizens to salute the flag violates the principles of a free society, upholding which 1st Amendment rights?


The 5th amendment protect against _____________.

Miranda Rights

States that arrestees must be informed of their right to remain silent, that anything they say can be held against them in a court, that they have a right to an attorney and that an attorney will be appointed to them if they cannot afford one.

6th Amendment

Guarantees the right to a speedy and public trial.

Jury of Peers

The vagueness of this phrase has allowed juries to exclude specific genders or races in order to affect the outcome of the verdict.

Right to Counsel

In addition to a quick and speedy trial, the 6th Amendment also guarantees ________________.

Change of Venue

In some cases where blicity too much publicity surrounds a trial, courts have granted _______________ to help ensure a fair trial. One example is the trial of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City Bombing.

8th Amendment

Prohibits the use of cruel or unusual punishment.

Death penalty

Capital punishment is also known as the _________________.

Two Trial

The case of Gregg v. Georgia set the precedent for a ________________ system in which guilt and sentencing and tried separately.

Scottsboro Boys Case

This 1932 case established that a case can be too speedy and under-counseled, providing defendants in a capital case the right to a reasonable amount of time to establish a defense.

Gideon v. Wainwright

This 1963 case extended the right to counsel to all felony cases.

Cruel and Unusual

In the 1962 case of Robinson v. California, the Supreme Court ruled that incarcerating a drug addict is ______________________ because drug addiction is an illness.

Free Exercise

In Reynolds v. US (1879), the Supreme Court denied this right to Reynolds because his religion’s practice of polygamy violated federal law.

Free Exercise of Religion

In 1943, The Supreme Court upheld the Jehovah’s Witnesses right to refrain from saluting the American flag based on their right to _____________.

Baker v. Wingo

In this 1972 case, the Supreme Court established four guidelines for determining if a trial was appropriately speedy and fair: cause of delay, length of delay, affect on the outcome, and the defendant’s claim to a speedy trial.

Furman v. Georgia

This 1972 Supreme Court case struck down all state laws allowing the death penalty stating that they allowed for too much discretion on the part of the judge and jury resulting in lack of consistent administration of the penalty.


According to the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, federal trials must commence within _______ days of arrest with the exception of delay for mental health testing of the defendant and illness of the defendant or key witness.

Cruel and Unusual

in Woodson v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentencing of capital punishment as ______________________ because it does not allow for any discretion.


In Argersinger v. Hamlin (1972), the Supreme Court extended the right to counsel to those accused of misdemeanors if the defendant is _____________.

4th Amendment

Protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Writ of Assistance

Broadly worded warrants used by British soldiers during colonial America to search for contraband and prevent smuggling.


The issuance of this document by a judge requires probably cause and must be worded so as to allow for the search and seizure of specific evidence.

Probable Cause

While the verbiage of the 4th Amendment is vague as to what constitutes “reasonable”. Police departments must rely on _____________; they cannot act on unfounded suspicion.

Exclusionary Rule

This contraversial legal technicality intended to protect civil liberties has allowed criminals to remain free when the courts refuse to admit evidence that may have been obtained illegally.

Plain View

Washington v. Chrisman (1982) established the _________________, allowing police officers to seize evidence without a warrant if the evidence is in obvious sight.

Good Faith Exception

This rule established by US v. Leon (1984) angered civil liberties groups by allowing exception to the Exclusionary Rule in instances where probably cause may not fully exist.

Katz. v US

This 1967 Supreme Court case prohibited illegal eavesdropping and extending the zone of privacy to include the home, office, person, and immediate public arena.

Patriot Act

This contraversial 2001 law allows anti-terrorism authorities to monitor e-mail and Internet traffic in order to prevent terrorist attacks. The government argues that cyberspace is public domain and that no warrants should be needed to access information.


In California v. Avecedo (1991), The Supreme Court established that authorities may search ____________________ without a warrant providing reasonable suspicion.

Probable Cause

New Jersey v. TLO (1985) established that school authorities may search students without _____________ as long as they are reasonable.

Freedom of Speech

Considered the most sacred right in American history. Colonists felt oppressed by the tyranny of the crown but were unable to speak up about it for fear of repercussion.

Speech Plus

Includes expressive conduct/assembly/actions and symbolic behavior (ex. Picketing or burning the flag) Based on our country history of symbolic acts such as the Boston Tea Party, courts almost always uphold symbolic acts of speech unless they are criminal.

Pure Speech

Direct oral or written speech directed at a specific individual or group

Prior Restraint

The 1st Amendment states that government cannot issue ______________, censoring publications before they are published.

Freedom of Speech

Limitations on this freedom including prohibition of defamation and obscenity, limitation on commercial speech, and restriction of inciting words that may cause immediate danger.


Infamous 1735 English case established the precedent for Freedom of the Press in the US.

Alien and Sedition Acts

1798 Act that criminalized speech that was derisive to the government. Later ruled unconstitutional, Andrew Jackson issued blanket pardon in 1801

Espionage Act

1917 Reincarnation of the Sedition Act during WWI

Clear and Present Danger

In Schenck v. US (1919), The Supreme Court ruled that government may prohibit speech that creates an immediate threat of criminal action. Essentially established different standards for speech during wartime than in peacetime. Thus, establishing the ________________ doctrine.

Roth v. US

This 1957 judgement prohibited pornography material as utterly without redeeming social significance, later reversed in Miller v. California


Defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures


Defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.

NY Times v. Sullivan

This 1964 case established strict standards for proving slander and libel, court must prove intent of malice on the part of the publisher.

Freedom of Speech

In Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969), the Supreme Court established precedents for ___________________ in schools and government institutions.

Pentagon Papers

The ruling in this case provided that the government must prove a threat to national security in order to impose prior restraint.

Miller v. California

This 1973 ruling gave local communities the authority to determine obscenity, established three part test for obscene material. To qualify as obscene, speech must be considered obscene by the “average” person, depict or describe material that is against state or federal law, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Speech Plus

In Johnson v. Texas (1989), the Supreme Court ruled that burning the flag in a manner that does not pose a threat to people or property is allowed as this type of freedom of speech.


Number of Federal District courts across 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico.

Federal District

Courts of original jurisdiction in federal crimes, civil suits under federal law, civil suits between citizens of different states where the amount in question exceeds $50,000, bankruptcy proceedings, cases involving some federal administrative agencies, maritime law cases, and cases that involve the naturalization of aliens.

Federal Appellate

These courts only hear appeals on cases from lower courts.

Supreme Court

The only court specifically outlined in the Constitution.


The Supreme Court holds _____________ jurisdiction in cases against the US, ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls.


_____ out of 9 justices must agree to hear an appellate case brought to them from a lower court.

Writ of Certiorari

Once the Supreme Court justices have agreed to hear an appeal, they issue a _________________.

Majority Opinion

A judicial opinion agreed to by a majority of the members of a court. A majority opinion sets forth the decision of the court and an explanation of the rationale behind the court’s decision.

Concurring Opinion

A written opinion by some of the judges of a court which agrees with the majority of the court but might arrive there in a different manner.

Dissenting Opinion

An opinion of one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court which gives rise to its judgment.

Supreme Court

This body of government has final authority on the meaning of the Constitution.

Legislative Courts

Special courts assigned to deal with specific legislative issues such as taxes, military appeals, and international trade.


Judges in Legislative Courts serve _______ terms and do not require impeachment.

2nd Amendment

Guarantees the right to bare arms.

7th Amendment

Guarantees the right to a civil trial by jury.

8th Amendment

Guarantees that an accused in innocent until proven guilty.

Elastic Clause

This controversial clause of the 9th Amendment has allowed government to expand rights to suit its needs.

10th Amendment

Guarantees that any rights not explicitly outlined heretofore are reserved for the states.

11th Amendment

Prohibits citizens of one state or foreign country from suing another state.

Civil War Amendments

Includes the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Abolished slavery and guaranteed due process and equal protection to all citizens.

Due Process

14th Amendment is often used to support the right to ____________.

Incorporation Doctrine

The 15th Amendment, also know as _________________, was intended to help recently freed blacks from unconstitutional state laws designed to circumvent federal laws.

16th Amendment

Established national income tax.

18th Amendment

Repealed by the 21st Amendment, this Amendment prohibited alcohol.

19th Amendment

Guaranteed women the right to vote.


Prompted by FDR’s 4th election to the Presidency, the 22nd Amendment limited the number of Presidential terms to _____ terms.

Poll Tax

The 24th amendment banned _____________, making it harder for states to discriminate against poor and minority voters.

Vietnam War

Prompted by the ____________________, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

25th Amendment

Redefined Presidential succession and disability.

27th Amendment

First proposed in 1789, this amendment passed in 1992 prohibits Congress from raising their own pay. Pay raises may not take affect until the beginning of the next term.

District of Columbia

The 23rd Amendment guaranteed voting rights to whom?

Court of Appeals

There are 11 circuit ____________________ who have no original jurisdiction.

Political Party

A group of people who try to influence policy agendas and whose ultimate goal is to run the government by getting their favorite candidates elected.


Representing, characterized by, or including members from two parties or factions


A meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc

Political Machines

During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, some state and local party committees became ________________ dominating party activities. Committee members would promise new recruits money, jobs, and other benefits for joining and voting the straight party ticket. The Democratic Party was especially successful at using this method to recruit immigrants and inner city poor. These groups functioned largely as welfare organizations controlling elections through corrupt means.

Tammany Hall

_____________ was the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in controlling New York City politics and helping immigrants (most notably the Irish) rise up in American politics from the 1790s to the 1960s.


It the job of _________ committees of a political party to hold voter registration drives, recruit new party members and final candidates for city and county positions.


Its the responsibility of ___________ committees of a political party to solidify the party within each state and organize primary elections


Members of the ______________ committee of a political party work to maintain influence during non election years through congressional campaign committees.

Rank and File

These voters are registered as a party member but only participate by voting in primary and general elections. Tend to vote straight-party ticket and follow the leads of local party officials.

Party Regulars

These party members take active non-leadership roles such as working polls or contributing money to campaigns. Tend to compromise on important issues and are mostly concerned about winning elections.

Party Activists

These party members are highly involved in the electoral process. Donate funds to party and candidates, demand a voice in state party agendas and tend to have a strong belief in their party’s ideology.

Party Purists

These party members tend to be ideologues who put issues ahead of winning elections and withhold support from candidates who do not share their stance on issues. Very active in special interest groups and caucuses within the party. Willing to break away to form a 3rd party if the they feel ignored.


During the period from 1976 to 1824, This party was lead by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. They wanted a stronger national government that would rectify the pitfalls of the Articles of Confederation. Their supporters held a stronghold in New England and the Middle Colonies, as well as urban centers of commerce and manufacturing.


Formerly known as the Anti-Federalist, this party lead by Thomas Jefferson advocated states rights pressing the causes of the common people and agrarian interest. Dominated the political arena until the Civil War.


Political party lead by Andrew Jackson from 1828 to 1856. Campaigned against strong central government and fought to end elitism.


Lead by Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Dedicated to defending federal authority and high tariffs. Gained supports of merchants, bankers, industrialists and planters.


Formed as a third party on the issue of slavery by many former Whigs in the 1850’s. Anti-slavery platform. Supported by farmers, laborers, and newly-freed blacks.


Beginning with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the period between 1860 and the Great Depression was dominated by this political party.


President Hoover’s laissez-faire approach to the economy during the Great Depression left many poor voters disenfranchised by the Republican Party. They left to join the _______________ Party.

New Deal Era

The period of time after the election of FDR until the Vietnam War was dominated by the Democratic Party and know as the __________________ Era.

Bull Moose Progressives

Lead by Theodore Roosevelt, this party platform focused on women’s suffrage, social reform, fair business practices, and direct election of senators. The won 25% of the popular vote in 1911, splitting the Republican vote and allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win.

Lafolette’s Progressive s

These dissenting Republicans won 17% of the popular vote in 1924 on a platform for public control of national resources and railways, tax reductions, and changes to the staff of the executive department

Wallace’s Progressives

Dissenting Democrats focused on foreign affairs. Aligned with the US Communist Party.

Lyndon B. Johnson

The Democrats control over politics during the 20th century ended with this President’s unpopular handling of the Vietnam War.

Divided Government

After the Vietnam war, American politics entered an era of __________________ during which neither party maintained control over the government.

Northern and Southern

The issue of slavery split the Democratic Party into what two factions?

Third Parties

Impact elections by siphoning off votes from major parties spoiling a party’s chance in a close race.

Third Party

Electoral college system and other campaign practices make it exceedingly difficult for even popular ______________ candidates to successfully run for the presidency.

Party Realignment

When the minority party becomes stronger than the majority party, usually the result of winning a critical election.

Critical Election

The coming to power of a new coalition, replacing an old dominant coalition of the other party

Third Parties

These parties often emerge as off-shoots of major parties or as single-issue parties. They typically act as critic/innovator bringing attention to issues and influencing the platforms of the major parties.


The Jacksonian Era marked an important change in the process used to nominate Presidential candidates with the emergence of party _________________, eliminating caucuses.

Party Identification

Voters tendency to identify with a party that shares their views on important issues ignoring the party's stance on issues they deem less important. to be life-long unless there is a major change in the party's platform. 2. Influenced by race, gender, education and religion. Age is less of a determining factor as most young people support the party their parents support.

Party Dealignment

When neither political party is dominant.


During Presidential election years or when the nation is divided on policy agenda, particularly regarding salient issues, voter turnout is _____________

Internal Efficacy

The belief that one can understand politics and therefore participate in politics

External Efficacy

The belief that one is effective when participating in politics, for example that the government will respond to one’s demands

Political Efficacy

_______________ indicates a citizens’ faith and trust in government and their own belief that they can understand and influence political affairs

Interest Groups

Organization of individuals with similar policy goals who enter the political process to influence legislation that affects the organizations interests


Type of interest group represented in Washington by another individual or organization. (Ex. Ford Motor Company pays a lobbyist in Washington to represent them.)


An interest group organization that represents a specific group of people (Ex. NAACP, AARP)

Political Action Committee

The name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates. An organization becomes one by receiving contributions or making expenditures in excess of $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.

Soft money

Federal laws limit the amount of ___________ that can be donated directly to campaign coffers.


PACs may donate a ______________ amount of indirect or in-kind donations to a campaign. (Ex. placing ads to support their candidate)


The overall public has a ___________ view of PACS in terms of bought votes and adding to the cost of running for office

Campaign Finance Reform

Most Americans support ______________ primarily as part of their criticism of PACs


Individual contributions to PACs are limited to ______________ dollars per candidate per election with primaries, general and special elections counting separately.


When the population’s overall feeling of political efficacy is low, voter turnout is _______.


Term limit for House of Representatives.


Age Requirement for House of Representatives.


Representatives serve ____ year terms


These candidates win re-election to the House 80-90% of the time.


Age Requirement for the Senate


Senators are re-elected every ___ years with 1/3 of the Senate being up for election every 2 years.


Senators have a __________ rate of re-election than Representatives primarily because of their larger constituency and lack of direct involvement with them.


Number of years a Senator must reside in the US prior to taking office


Number of years a Representative must reside in the US prior to taking office

Pork Barrel Spending

The appropriation of government spending for projects that are intended primarily to benefit particular constituents, such as those in marginal seats or campaign contributors.

12th Amendment

Requires the Electoral College to vote for President and Vice President separately.


Number of Electoral College votes required to win the Presidency.

Electoral College

Several Presidents have been elected without winning the popular vote. As a result, In 1970 and 1979, Amendments were proposed to disband the ______________, neither passed.


Minimum number of voters per state in the Electoral College.


An election in which voters in a jurisdiction select candidates for a subsequent election. In other words, one means by which a political party nominate candidates for the following general elections.


People may vote in a party’s primary only if they are registered members of that party. Independents cannot participate. Note that because some political parties name themselves independent, the term “non-partisan” often replaces “independent” when referring to those who are not affiliated with a political party.


A registered voter may vote in any party primary regardless of his own party affiliation. When voters do not register with a party before the primary, it is called a pick-a-party primary because the voter can select which party’s primary he or she wishes to vote in on election day.


Practice by which voters of one party crossing over and voting in the primary of another party, effectively allowing a party to help choose its opposition’s candidate.


Popular until the early 20th century when they lost favor to primaries due to corruption, now used in only 12 states.

General Election

Held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

House of Representatives

Elects the President if no candidate receives 270 Electoral College votes.

Raise Public Awareness

First step in the Policy Making Cycle.

Policy Making Cycle

Raise Public Awareness, Create Policy Agenda, Prioritize Agenda, Enact Policy, Public Evaluation

Public Bills

Legislature bills that affect all citizens.

Private Bills

Legislature bills that affect only a small group of citizens.

Speaker of the House

Assigns bills to the appropriate House committee.


Decides which bills will be considered.


Responsible for further investigation, hearings, and amendment to a bill

Rules Committee

Powerful standing committee that puts bills on the legislative calendar and establishes the processes by which the bill will be discussed on the floor.

Majority and Minority Leader

Responsible for assigning bills to committee in the Senate.


Because there is no Senate Rules Committee, Senators can debate a bill for an _________________ time.

Conference Committee

After a bill has passed both the House and Senate, it goes to _________________ where any differences between the house bill and the senate bill are resolved before sending to the President for signature


If 10 days remain in session and the president does not sign an act of Congress, the law is ___________.


If 10 days do not remain in session and the president does not sign an act of Congress, the bill __________.


Executive check on Legislative Branch.


___________ vote in both the House and Senate may override a Presidential veto of legislation.


Members of this party typically include Conservative Christian groups, higher socio-economic classes, middle-class white collar, and suburban voters.


Members of this party typically include women who support liberal policies on abortion and equal pay, Jews, Catholics, Blacks and other minorities, Blue-collar working class, urban, labor unions, and intelligensia

Salient Agenda

Agenda that includes issues that affect the daily lives of the people.


Baby boomers, women, and voters with higher levels of education tend to have a ____________ voter turnout.


High School Dropouts, Blacks, Hispanics, Recent immigrants, and People under 25 or over 75 tend to have a _________ voter turnout.

Baby Boomers

These voters tend to have a high voter turnout because of their strong since of civic duty due to growing up during an era of political and civil unrest.


This group of voters historically supported Republicans, a party founded on an anti-slavery platform. During the 1930’s they began supporting the New Deal policies of the Democratic party.


While these voters have traditionally supported the Democrats, some have begun to support Republicans in light of the Democrats liberal policies on abortion.

October 1st

The federal fiscal year begins ___________.


Procedure typically requiring 3/5 vote of the entire Senate to end a filibuster.

Press Secretary

Established by President Hoover, It is the _______________ job to keep the press informed and orchestrate press conferences

Scandal Mongering

At one time, the press generally refrained from publishing personal information that would be damaging. FDR, Eisenhower, and JFK all benefited from this reluctance to engage in _____________________. However, the American publics appetite for sensational stories along with intense competition among the media outlets has lead to less restraint. This has lead political parties to be much more careful in their candidate selection

Trial Balloon

Information sent out in order to observe the reaction of an audience. Used by politicians who deliberately leak information on a policy change under consideration.

Smith Act

1940 Act Prohibiting any person from advocating overthrowing the government through violence or force.

Joseph McCarthy

Wisconsin Republican who exploited public concern for political gain during the 1950’s through freewheeling investigations of alleged Communists.

Due Process of Law

Designed to protect the individual against the arbitrary power of the state.

Substantive Due Process

Laws must be reasonable. The Supreme Court has abandoned this concept in regards to business matters citing that it is the responsibility of Congress to regulate economic matters. The court has continued to apply this to matters of civil liberties and privacy.

Procedural Due Process

Laws must be administered in a fair manner.

John F. Kennedy

First Roman Catholic elected President.

Free Exercise Clause

Guarantees that citizens cannot be compelled by the government to act in a way that is contrary to their religious beliefs. (ex. Conscientious objection to military service required by the draft is the execution of ______________)

Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act

Permitted court authorized wire-tapping and bugging by federal, state, and local authorities and use of such evidence in trial. Later reversed by the Supreme Court based on 4th Amendment rights.

Grand Jury Indictment

Finding that enough evidence exists to warrant a criminal trial.

Criminal Information

In lieu of an indictment, the state prosecutor may file a _______________ charging the person with a crime.

Double Jeopardy

Constitutional protection of the accused to not be tried for the same crime twice.

Mallory Rule

Requires that a suspect in a federal case be arraigned without unnecessary delay.

Selective Incorporation

The Supreme Court practice of applying most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states under the 14th Amendment.

14th Amendment

Define US Citizenship as any person born or naturalized in the United States.

Jus Soli

Literally meaning “right of soil”, confers citizenship by place of birth.

Jus Sanguinis

Literally meaning “right of blood”, confers citizenship to a child from the parents.


An immigrant who wished to become a citizen may be naturalized after living in the US for ___ years.

national quotas

The Immigration Act of 1965 abolished the practice of _______________ allowing more diversity among immigrants.

8 Million

The estimated number of illegal aliens living in the US.

Proposition 187

California measure designed to deny welfare and other benefits to illegal aliens. Overwhelmingly passed the popular vote, but overturned in federal court because it extending beyond the bounds of state rights to attempt to control immigration.

may not

The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress_________________ take away a person’s citizenship unless it is freely renounced.


A word that comes from two Greek roots, demos, “the populace,” and kratia, “rule”—taken together, “rule by the people.”


What occurs when government adopts a public policy that provides, or distributes, benefits to people or groups.


The concept that all people are of equal worth, even if not of equal ability.


The individuals, institutions, and processes that make the rules for society and possess the power to enforce them.


The action, or actions, taken by government to carry out a policy.

Majority Rule

Concept of government by the people in which everyone is free to vote, but normally whoever gets the most votes wins the election and represents all the people, including those who voted for the losing candidate.


A course of action decided upon by a government—or by any organization, group, or individual—that usually involves a choice among competing alternatives.


The pursuit and exercise of power

Public Policy

A course of action chosen by government officials

Redistributive Policy

A public policy that takes something away from one person or group and gives it to another person or group.


Form of government in which the people are sovereign but their power is exercised by their elected representatives.

Articles of Confederation

(1781-1789) The written framework for the government of the original 13 states before the Constitution was adopted. Under this, the national government was weak and dominated by the states. There was a unicameral legislature, but no national executive or judiciary.

Charter Colonies

Colonies in which freely elected legislatures chose the governor and the king could not veto laws.

Checks and Balances

The provisions of the Constitution that divide power among three constitutionally equal and independent branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—in the hope of preventing any single branch from becoming too powerful.


A group of independent states or nations that come together for a common purpose and whose central authority is usually limited to defense and foreign relations.

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.

Electoral College

The body composed of electors from the 50 states who formally have the power to elect the president and vice president of the United States. Each state has a number of electors and electoral votes equal to its number of senators and representatives in Congress.

Eminent Domain

The principle that the government, as provided in the Fifth Amendment, can take property for “public use” with “just compensation” to the owners.

Flexible Construction

The principle, established by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1819 in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland, that the Constitution must be interpreted flexibly to meet changing conditions.

Military-Industrial Complex

A term often used to describe the economic and political ties between the military establishment and the defense-aerospace industry.

Natural Rights

The belief that all people possess certain basic rights that may not be abridged by government.

Proprietary Colonies

Colonies in which the proprietors (who had obtained their patents from the king) named the governors, subject to the king’s approval.

Royal Colonies

Colonies controlled by the British king through governors appointed by him and through the king’s veto power over colonial laws.

Supremacy Clause

Article VI, Paragraph 2, of the Constitution, which declares that the Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the United States made under it, are “the supreme Law of the Land” and prevail over any conflicting state constitutions or laws.


A legislature with only one house.

Concurrent Powers

Powers of government exercised independently by both the federal and state governments, such as the power to tax.

Creative Federalism

A term coined by President Lyndon B. Johnson to describe his own view of the relationship between Washington and the states.

Enumerated Powers

Powers of government that are specifically granted to the three branches of the federal government under the Constitution.

General Purpose Grants

Federal aid that states and localities may use mostly as they wish.

Implied Powers

Powers of the national government that flow from its enumerated powers and the “elastic clause” of the Constitution.

Inherent Powers

Powers of government that the national government may exercise simply because it exists as a government, such as the right to conduct foreign relations.

Unitary System

A centralized system of government, such as that of France, where most of the important policy decisions are made by a central government.

Absolute Position

The view advocated by Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas that there are provisions of the Bill of Rights that cannot be diluted by judicial decisions.

Balancing Test

The view of the majority of the Supreme Court that First Amendment rights must be weighed against the competing needs of the community to preserve order.

Civil Liberties

The fundamental rights of a free society that are protected by the Bill of Rights against the power of the government, such as freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly.

Clear and Present Danger

A test established by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in 1919 to define the point at which speech loses the protection of the First Amendment.

Patriot Act

A controversial law overwhelmingly passed by Congress in October 2001, after the terrorist attacks of September 11 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It greatly expanded the power of federal law enforcement authorities to move against suspected terrorists.

Affirmative Action

Programs of government, universities, and businesses designed to favor minorities and remedy past discrimination.

Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas

Ruling by the Supreme Court in 1954 that racial segregation in public schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s requirement of equal protection of the laws for all persons.

Dred Scott Decision

A ruling by the Supreme Court in 1857—reversed by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868—that black Americans were not citizens under the Constitution.


The drawing of the lines of congressional districts, or of any other political district, in order to favor one political party or group over another.

Jim Crow Laws

Laws that were designed to segregate black and white Americans and give legal recognition to discrimination.

Literacy Tests

Tests of a voter’s ability to read and write, which were often used to keep recent immigrants and blacks from voting.

Poll Tax

A tax on voting abolished by the Twenty-fourth Amendment in 1964, long used by southern states to keep blacks (and, in some cases, poor whites) from participating in elections.


The separation of people by race.


The possible tendency of some voters or convention delegates to support the candidate who is leading in the polls and seems likely to win.

Cluster Sampling

A technique polling organizations use in which several people from the same neighborhood are interviewed.

Exit Polls

Polls taken as people leave voting places. In the past, television networks sometimes used these polls to predict election outcomes before the polls close. In 1992, the television networks agreed not to project the winner in a state until the majority of the polls had closed in that state.

Political Culture

A nation’s set of fundamental beliefs about how government and politics should be conducted.

Political Socialization

The process through which an individual acquires a set of political attitudes and forms opinions about political and social issues.

Public Opinion

The expression of attitudes about government and politics.

Quota Sampling

A method of polling, considered less reliable than a random sample, in which interviewers are instructed to question members of a particular group in proportion to their percentage in the population as a whole.

Random Sample

A group of people, chosen by poll-takers, that is representative of the universe that is being polled.

Reference Group

Groups whose views serve as guidelines to an individual’s opinion. See also primary groups and secondary groups.

Secondary Group

Organizations or groups, such as labor unions or fraternal, professional, or religious groups, that may influence an individual’s opinion.


The total group from which poll-takers may select a random sample in order to measure public opinion.

Independent Expenditures

Funds spent for or against a candidate by committees not formally connected to the candidate’s campaign and without coordination with the campaign.

Interest Groups

Private groups that attempt to influence the government to respond to the shared attitudes of their members.


Communication with legislators or other government officials to try to influence their decisions.

Political Action Committees

Independent organizations, but more often the political arms of corporations, labor unions, or interest groups, established to contribute to candidates or to work for general political goals.

Equal Time

A provision of the Federal Communications Act that requires broadcasters to provide the same amount of exposure to all legally qualified political candidates.

Freedom of Information Act

A law passed in 1966 that requires federal executive branch and regulatory agencies to make information available to journalists, scholars, and the public unless it falls into one of several confidential categories.


A group of writers, journalists, and critics who exposed corporate malfeasance and political corruption in the first decade of the 20th century.

Shield Laws

Laws passed by state legislatures that are designed to protect reporters from being forced to reveal their news sources.

Dark Horse

A political candidate who is thought to have only an outside chance of gaining the nomination.

Major Political Party

A broadly based coalition that attempts to gain control of the government by winning elections in order to exercise power and reward its members.

National Chair

The head of a national political party

National Committee

Between conventions, the governing body of a major political party. Members of this group are chosen in the states and formally elected by the party

National Convention

The formal source of all authority in each major political party. It nominates the party candidates for president and vice president, writes a platform, settles disputes, writes rules, and elects the members of the national committee.

527 Organizations

Groups named for the section of the Internal Revenue Service code under which they must report their expenditures. The tax-exempt groups were created to exploit a loophole in the law regulating campaign finance.

Negative Advertising

Political commercials that strongly attack a rival candidate.

Soft Money

Until the law was changed in 2002, the term described unregulated campaign funds not subject to the limits of federal law because they went to party committees and not directly to candidates. The 2002 law banned contributions of soft money to national political parties.

Blanket Primary

A primary in which any registered voter is able to vote for candidates from more than one party. A voter, for example, may vote for a Democrat for U.S. senator and for a Republican for governor. In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the blanket primary in California, Washington state, and Alaska but left intact Louisiana’s somewhat different “nonpartisan” version of the blanket primary.

Deviating Elections

Elections in which the majority party (according to party identification) is defeated in a temporary reversal.

Maintaining Elections

Elections that reflect the basic party identification of the voters.

Office Column Ballot

Also known as the Massachusetts ballot, groups candidates according to the office for which they are running—all the presidential candidates of all the parties appear in one column or row, for example.

Party Column Ballot

Also known as the Indiana ballot, lists the candidates of each party in a row or column, beside or under the party emblem. In most cases, the voter can make one mark at the top of the column, or pull one lever, and thus vote for all the party’s candidates for various offices. This ballot encourages straight-ticket voting.

Periodic Registration

A system of voter registration in which voters must register every year or at other stated intervals.

Permanent Registration

A system of voter registration in which voters must register only once in their district.

Realigning Elections

Elections that may lead to a basic shift in the party identification of the electorate.

Retrospective Voting

Voting based on looking back and making judgments about the way things have gone and the kind of government experienced during a political leader’s time in office.

Appropriation Bills

Bills passed by Congress to pay for the spending it has authorized.


Congress’ first step towards allocating funds

Committee of the Whole

A device that allows the House of Representatives to conduct its business with fewer restrictions on debate and a quorum of only 100 members


The practice that allows senators to delay or even kill floor action on legislation, a nomination, or other matters by asking their party leaders not to schedule them.

Instructed Delegate

A legislator who automatically mirrors the will of the majority of his or her constituents.

Joint Committees

Committees of Congress composed of both representatives and senators.

Legislative Veto

A provision of law in which Congress asserts the power to nullify actions of the executive branch. In 1983 the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional, but Congress continued to pass laws containing such provisions.

Pork-Barrel Legislation

Bills that benefit legislators’ home districts, or powerful corporate contributors, with sometimes wasteful or unnecessary public works or other projects.

Recorded Vote

A vote in the House of Representatives in which the position of each member is noted and published in the Congressional Record.

Select Committee

Committees created by Congress to conduct special investigations. Although normally temporary, some become, in effect, permanent.

Senatorial Courtesy

An unwritten custom by which individual senators who belong to the same political party as the president exercise an informal veto power over presidential appointments in their states.

Seniority System

A system, until modified and reformed in the 1970s, that automatically resulted in the selection as committee chair of those members of the majority party in Congress who had the longest continuous service on a committee.

Standing Committees

The permanent committees of a legislature that consider bills and conduct hearings and investigations.


Concept of the British statesman Edmund Burke that legislators should act according to their own consciences.


A legislative leader of each party who is responsible for rounding up party members for important votes.


The president, the vice president, the heads of the major executive departments of the government, and certain other senior officials who may hold “cabinet rank.”

Civilian Supremacy

The principle of civilian control of the military, based on the clear constitutional power of the president as supreme commander of the armed forces.

Cold War

(1945-1991) The period after the Second World War marked by rivalry and tension between the two nuclear superpowers, the United States and the communist government of the Soviet Union. The Cold War ended when the Soviet government collapsed in 1991.

Executive Agencies

Units of government under the president, within the executive branch, that are not part of a cabinet department.

Executive Agreements

International agreements between the president and foreign heads of state that, unlike treaties, do not require Senate approval.

Executive Privilege

The claim by presidents of an inherent right to withhold information from Congress and the judiciary.

Independent Regulatory Agencies

Government agencies that exercise quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers and are administratively independent of both the president and Congress (although politically independent of neither).

Line-Item Veto

The power of the president, struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998, to veto parts of appropriations bills. Most state governors have this power.

National Security Council

A White House council created under the National Security Act of 1947 to advise the president and help coordinate American military and foreign policy.

Pocket Veto

A power of the president to kill a bill by taking no action (if Congress adjourns during the 10-day period after the president receives the bill). Some court rulings have suggested that a president may exercise a pocket veto only when Congress adjourns for good at the end of a second session, and not during a recess.


Provisions tacked on to a piece of legislation that are not relevant to the bill.


Disapproval of a bill by a chief executive, such as the president or a governor.

War Powers Resolution

A law passed by Congress in 1973 in an effort to set a time limit on the use of combat forces abroad by a president.


Voters in a political district, or supporters of an elected official; or interest groups or client groups that are either directly regulated by the bureaucracy or vitally affected by its decisions

Government Corporations

Agencies that were at one time semi-autonomous but that through legislation have been placed under presidential control since 1945.

Hatch Act

A federal law passed by Congress in 1939 to restrict political activities by federal workers. The law prevents federal employees while on duty from taking an active part in party politics or campaigns and also bars federal employees from running for public office as a candidate of a political party.

Iron Triangle

A powerful alliance of mutual benefit among an agency or unit of the government, an interest group, and a committee or subcommittee of Congress. Also called a triangle or a subgovernment.

Issue Networks

A loose grouping of people and organizations who seek to influence policy formation.

Political Patronage

The practice of victorious politicians to reward their followers with jobs. Also known as the spoils system.

Public Administration

The term most political scientists prefer to describe the bureaucratic process—the business of making government work.

Senior Executive Service

A group of high-level administrators and managers at the top of the government bureaucracy. SES members have less job tenure but are eligible for substantial cash bonuses for merit.

Social Regulation

Laws, rules, and government programs designed to protect individual rights and specific groups, as well as to benefit society as a whole in such areas as health, worker safety, consumer protection, and the environment.

Spoils System

The practice under which victorious politicians reward their followers with jobs.


A powerful alliance of mutual benefit among an agency or unit of the government, an interest group, and a committee or subcommittee of Congress. Also called a triangle or iron triangle.


Government employees who publicly expose evidence of official waste or corruption that they have learned about in the course of their duties.

Administrative Law

The rules and regulations made and applied by federal regulatory agencies and commissions.


The proceeding before a judge in which the formal charges of an indictment or information are read to an accused person, who may plead guilty or not guilty.

Civil Cases

Court cases that involve relations between individuals and organizations, such as a divorce action, or a suit for damages arising from an automobile accident or for violation of a business contract.

Criminal Cases

Court cases that concern crimes committed against the public order.


A legal principle of fair dealing, which may provide preventive measures and legal remedies that are unavailable under existing common law and statutory law.


Serious crimes, such as murder, arson, or rape.

Judicial Activism

A philosophy that Supreme Court justices and other judges should boldly apply the Constitution to social and political questions.

Judicial Restraint

A philosophy that the Supreme Court should avoid constitutional questions when possible and uphold acts of Congress unless they clearly violate a specific section of the Constitution.


The kinds of cases that a court has the authority to decide.


The philosophy that government should intervene as little as possible in economic affairs.

Marbury v. Madison

The 1803 case in which the Supreme Court, by declaring a portion of an act of Congress unconstitutional, first firmly set forth and established the power of judicial review.


Minor criminal offenses, such as speeding.

Original Jurisdiction

The right of the Supreme Court, under the Constitution, to hear certain kinds of cases directly, such as cases involving foreign diplomats, or cases in which one of the 50 states is a party.

Stare Decisis

A Latin phrase meaning “stand by past decisions,” a principle that judges often use in deciding cases. Ruling based on precedents.

Statutory Law

Law enacted by Congress, or by state legislatures or local legislative bodies.

Writ of Certiorari

A writ designed to protect against illegal imprisonment by requiring that a person who is detained be brought before a judge for investigation.

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

A 1972 treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union limiting the number of defensive missiles each country could build. In 2001 President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the treaty.


The foreign policy of the United States during the period after the Second World War, designed to contain the expansion of Soviet power.


A relaxation of international tensions.

Foreign Policy

The sum of the goals, decisions, and actions that govern a nation’s relations with the rest of the world.


A world economy characterized by the free movement of goods, capital, labor, and information across national borders.


The policy established after the Second World War that America must take an active leadership role in world affairs


A strand of American foreign policy that was visible by the end of the 19th century; it included “gunboat diplomacy” and other forms of military involvement by the United States in various parts of the world.


A policy of avoiding foreign involvement.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

The chair and the heads of the three armed services, and, when Marine Corps matters are under consideration, the commandant of the marines. By law, they advise the president and the secretary of defense and are the chiefs of their respective military services.

Marshall Plan

A plan to provide billions of dollars of American aid to Western Europe to speed its economic and social recovery after the Second World War.

Monroe Doctrine

A declaration by the President in 1823 that warned European powers to keep out of the Western Hemisphere and pledged that the United States would not intervene in the internal affairs of Europe.

National Security

A broad concept that may be defined in many ways, but the term is generally used to refer to the basic protection and defense of the nation.


Love of country and a desire for independence; it can also mean an excessive form of patriotism exploited by political leaders.

Nuclear Proliferation

The spread of nuclear weapons to more nations.

Strategic Deterrence

A policy adopted by the United States after the Second World War that assumed that if enough nuclear weapons were deployed by the United States, an enemy would not attack for fear of being destroyed in retaliation.

Transnational Relations

Contacts, coalitions, and interactions across national boundaries—such as personal contacts or business relationships—that are not controlled by the central foreign policy organs of governments.

Balance of Payments

The net balance or relationship between total income and total expenditures by the nation in its dealings with the rest of the world, including trade, loans, and investments.

Balance of Trade

The relationship between the total cost of foreign goods imported to this country and sales of U.S. products overseas.

Budget Resolutions

Overall spending targets set by the Congress.

Budget Surplus

The amount of money available when the government’s income is greater than what it spends in a fiscal year.


An economic system of free enterprise with private ownership of the means of production.


The gap between the government’s income and outlays.

Fiscal Policy

Government regulation of the economy through its control over taxes and government spending. Controlled by the Department of Treasury.

Gross Domestic Product

The yearly value of goods and services produced within a country.

Monetary Policy

Government regulation of the economy through its control over the supply of money and the cost and availability of credit. Controlled by the Federal Reserve Board.

National Debt

The total amount of money that the United States owes to its creditors.

Supply Side Economics

An economic philosophy that advocates both tax and budget cuts to increase incentives to produce in order to expand the total supply of the nation’s goods and services.


A federal tax on imports.

Closed Shop

A place of work in which only union members may be hired.


Multi-interest and often multinational corporations that, under one corporate roof, may manufacture a wide variety of products.

Entitlement Programs

Programs mandated by law and not subject to annual review by Congress or the president.


A public assistance program established in 1965 to help pay hospital, doctor, and medical bills for people with low incomes.


A federal program established in 1965 to provide hospital and medical services to older people through the Social Security system.


Control of a market by a single company.


The concentration of economic power in the hands of a relatively few large companies.

Right to Work Laws

State legislation designed to outlaw the union shop, passed by 21 states acting under Section 14B of the federal Taft-Hartley Act.

Social Security

A compulsory national insurance program, financed by taxes on employers and employees. The insurance falls into four categories: old-age and survivors insurance, disability insurance, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.

Union Shop

A place of work in which any person may be hired provided that he or she joins the union within a specified time.

Commission Plan

A form of city government under which a board of city commissioners is popularly elected (often on a nonpartisan ballot). The commissioners make policy as a city council, but they also run city departments as administrators.

Council-Manager Plan

A form of city government under which a council, usually elected on a nonpartisan ticket, hires a professional city manager, who runs the city government and has power to hire and fire officials.

Enterprise Zones

Urban or rural areas in which businesses are encouraged to locate because of tax breaks and other incentives.

Home Rule

The power of some municipalities to modify their charters and run their affairs without approval by the state legislature.


A method of amending state constitutions under which proposed constitutional amendments can be placed on the ballot if enough signatures are obtained on a petition. Almost half the states also employ the initiative on the ballot to allow voters to enact or repeal laws.

Mayor-Council Plan

A form of city government under which power is divided between a mayor and an elected city council.

Power Structure

A term popularized by sociologist Floyd Hunter to describe the community leaders who he said determined policy in Atlanta, Georgia. More broadly, the term is used to describe “power elites” generally.


A procedure that in certain circumstances permits voters to remove elected state or local officials from office before their terms have expired.


A method available in most states that allows voters, in effect, to “veto” a bill passed by the legislature or to accept or reject a proposal, such as a bond issue, made by a government agency.

Town Meeting

An annual meeting held in the spring in many New England towns, at which the townspeople come together to elect a board of selectmen and to discuss local policy questions. It has become a symbol of participatory democracy.

Lord Acton

According to this nineteenth-century British peer and historian, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


Requests from people or groups for health care for the aged, loans for college students, equal opportunity for minorities, and higher subsidies for farmers are examples of:

Little Difference

Most modern political scientists believe there is ________________ between politics and government.

Political System

It is possible either to describe people, government, politics, and power as isolated, static elements, or to look at them as interacting elements in a_______________


6 In the view of Robert L. Lineberry, policy analysts focus on the _______________.

Redistributive Policy

A policy that takes something away from one person and gives it to someone else,


Population migration patterns since the second World War have increased the power of _____________.


Economists generally agree that the major responsibility for promoting prosperity and full employment falls on ________________.

Winston Churchill

Which historical figure described democracy as “the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time?”

Shay’s Rebellion

This event was an important factor in creating the climate for a new Constitution.

Great Compromise

This called for three-fifths of all slaves in a state were counted for purposes of apportioning representation in the House of Representatives.

Export Taxes

As part of the negotiations concerning the Constitution, the South fought for and won an agreement forbidding the imposition of _______________.

Enact a Bill of Rights

In order to win support for ratification of the Constitution, the Federalists had to promise that the first order of business under a new government would be to _______________.

Flexible Construction

In his historic decision in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), Chief Justice Marshall established the principle of _____________.

Committees of Correspondence

The ______________________ were formed to unite the colonists against Britain.

14th Amendment

This amendment includes the due process clause, the equal protection clause, and gave rights to former slaves.


The power to tax is an example of _______________ powers.

Interstate Compact

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is an example of an

Categorical Grants

By far, the largest amount of federal aid to state and local governments comes in the form of:

Categorical Grants

The Medicaid and Food Stamp programs are examples of two very large


Germany, Switzerland, and India are examples of countries with a _______________ system of government.

Implied Powers

Which powers of the national government flow from its enumerated powers and from the “elastic clause” of the Constitution?

National Supremacy

In addition to the doctrine of implied powers, Chief Justice Marshall, in his decision in the Supreme Court case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), established the key concept of:

Regulatory Federalism

The 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, the 1965 Highway Beautification Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act are all examples of ____________________.

Roe v. Wade

In which case did the Supreme Court rule that the concept of privacy included the right to a legal abortion?

Selective Incorporation

In the 1925 Gitlow case, the Supreme Court began a process of ______________ of the Bill of Rights to the states.

Freedom of Religion

In 2002, a federal appeals court struck down the Pledge of Allegiance on the grounds that it violated ________________.

Free Speech

In a 1943 case, the Supreme Court upheld the right to refuse to salute the American flag on the basis of the constitutional guarantee of _________________.

Due Process of Law

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments provide for _____________.


Puerto Rico has ____________ status.


The median income of women is ___________ percent of men.

It Failed to be Ratified

The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated in 1982 because ____________________________.


In the year 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America had a constitutional right to ban _____________ members.

1964 Civil Rights Act

This act prohibited Discrimination because of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin by employers or labor unions; The adoption by voting registrars of different standards for black and white applicants; and Racial or religious discrimination in public accommodations.


In which case did the Supreme Court rule that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not prohibit private affirmative action programs?


In the view of W. Lance Bennett, the people who hold and express opinions are constantly changing, as are the issues and conditions to which the public responds. As a result, Bennett suggests that public opinion is______________.


A study of Bennington College students in the 1930s illustrated that the influence of the family on political attitudes tends to ______________ as they grow older and come into contact with other groups.

Exit Polls

In 1992, the television networks agreed not to release these until a majority of polling places had closed in each state

Public Opinion

Political leaders typically try to both lead and follow ____________.


In his classic study of community power in New Haven, Connecticut, political scientist Robert A. Dahl concluded that the city was a __________ system dominated by many different sets of leaders

The Federalist #10

In this essay, James Madison recognized that reconciling the competing interests of various groups was what legislation was all about


According to one survey, what percentage of Americans belongs to groups that sometimes take a stand on public issues


Between 1909 and 2002, the number of daily newspapers in the United States______________.

Political Advertising

The FCC’s equal time policy applies to _____________.

1st Amendment

In 1987, the FCC abandoned the fairness doctrine on the grounds that it unconstitutionally restricted the ______________ rights of broadcasters.

Offensive Language

In 1978, the Supreme Court, in the “seven dirty words” case, ruled that the government has the right to prohibit the broadcasting of _______________.

Federal Courts

Although camera are allowed in most trial courts, they are banned from ______________.


To an extent, the press and the government have a relationship that is _______________ and mutually dependent.

Proportional Representation

A system of _______________, as in Italy, encourages the existence of many parties by allotting seats to competing candidates according to the percentage of votes they win.

Convention Bounce

This term refers to the gain in the polls that a candidate often enjoys after a national convention


Today the South is is a two-party battleground, in which the ______________ often have the upper hand

Party of Economic Protest

According to V. O. Key, Jr., the Populist Party of the 1890s is an example of a ____________________.


After analyzing 1,795 platform pledges over a 10-year period, Gerald M. Pomper concluded that almost ____________ of these promises were fulfilled


In a political campaign, the surest way of reaching the largest number of voters is usually _____________.

Ticket Splitters

Walter DeVries and Lance Tarrance have concluded that in many elections the outcome is determined by ______________.


Political strategists believe that presidential elections will normally be won or lost in _______________states.


In the area of foreign affairs, _______________ often have the advantage because


________ of voters identify with one political party in advance of the campaign.

National Political Parties

The 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act banned contributions of soft money to______________.

Television and Radio

The single biggest item in campaign spending at the presidential level is ___________________.


The average voter turnout between 1960 and 2004 was __________ percent

Gender Gap

______________ refers to the differences in political attitudes and voting behavior between men and women


Approximately 33% of American voters identify themselves as _______________ party.


In states using primaries, the most common form of primary election is the ___________ primary.

Permanent Registration

Which form of registration prevails in all but a few states?

Straight Ticket Voting

The party-column ballot, or Indiana ballot, encourages _______________.


The reason that electors are chosen in each state by popular vote is ____________.

Reynolds v. Sims

In the 1964 case of ____________, the Supreme Court: established “one person, one vote”,

Electoral Connection

David R. Mayhew has suggested that this influences congressional behavior. The ________________ is the relationship between members of Congress and their constituents.

House of Representatives

The framers of the Constitution created the Senate to function as a check on the ________________.

General Accounting

Which office serves as a watchdog into waste or fraud in the bureaucracy and conducts investigations at the request of congressional committees


The attitudes and actions of people that sustain and buttress the political system at all levels and allows the political system to continue to work.


The pursuit and exercise of power.


The binding decisions that the government makes whether in the form of laws,regulations, or judicial decisions


The demands of and supports for a political system


The response of the rest of society to actions by the authorities.

Separate but Equal

The 1896 case of Plessy v. Fergusan established the racial segregation policy of __________________.


Southern whites prevented blacks from ____________ through use of poll taxes, literacy tests and intimidation tactics after the Civil War.

W.E.B. DuBoise

Early civil rights leader established the Niagara Movement and helped to establish the NAACP.


First civil rights organization to use non-violent tactics to promote racial equality and desegregation


Signed the executive order banning segregation in the armed forces.


Smith v. Allwight (1994) was the first vase in which the Supreme Court upheld the voting rights of _____________ in state primary elections.

Separate but Equal

in Sweatt v. Painter (1950), The Supreme Court upheld that ___________________ was inherently not the case as is applied to the University of Texas Law School.

Dynamic Conservatism

Eisenhower’s philosophy of being liberal in all things human and being conservative with all things fiscal. Appealed to both Republicans and Democrats.

Earl Warren

Appointed by Eisenhower, this Supreme court justice who played an important role in the court’s stance on the advancement of civil rights.

Thurgood Marshall

First African American appointed to the Supreme Court

Affirmative Action

Programs are designed to give preferential access to education, employment, health care, or social welfare to groups of people, especially minorities and women, who have historically been discriminated against.

Reverse Discrimination

In _______________ cases such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), the Supreme Court has upheld that while Affirmative action policies are legal, race and gender cannot be the only determining factors.

School Desegregation

Dayton Board of Education v. Brinkman (1979) upheld that bussing programs were an acceptable way to enforce ______________________.


Article I of the Constitution establishes the ___________________ branch.


Article II of the Constitution establishes the ______________ branch.

Article IV

________________ of the Constitution governs the relationships of the states.

Article V

________________ of the Constitution dictates how the Constitution shall be amended.

Article VI

The Supremacy Clause appears in ________________ of the Constitution.


Article VII of the Constitution outlines the process of ____________________.

Secretary of State

The state officer typically responsible for overseeing federal elections at the state level is the


Since 1960, there has been a general trend of ______________ participation in elections.

Department of State

First Executive Branch


The strongest factor contributing to an individual’s political socialization tends to be


Largest interest group in the US.


Proponents of limited government, unregulated free markets, national self-reliance, and conventional social values are best describes as

Propose an Amendment

This may be done by a national constitutional convention called by Congress on the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures OR By the passage of a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress

Campaign Contributions

Lobbyists for special interest groups have found ____________________ to be the most direct and effective method to secure their objectives in Congress.


he United States Constitution was opposed by which group?

General Accounting Office

The agency that provides Congress with evaluations of public policies is the


Federal and State Courts function in a _____________manner so that federal courts may receive appeals from state courts.

State Legislatures

____________________ define Congressional voting districts acting within constraints set down by Congress and the Supreme Court.


Most states have ___________ legislatures.


Which of the following factors is likely to be the weakest indicator of an individual’s political beliefs and opinions? Age, Race, Intelligence, or Religion

Bowers v. Hardwick

In this case, a gay man from Georgia charged with committing sodomy in his own home with a consenting adult. The court ruled that the Constitution does not explicitly grant the right for homosexuals to practice their lifestyle and that laws against sodomy were Constitutional.

Mark Up Session

After hearings are complete, a congressional subcommittee will usually determine a bill’s future in final deliberations known as


In Congress, _____________ are informal organizations of individual congressional representatives with like interests or constituencies. Members work together to promote the interests of the groups they represent through legislation, policy, and pressure on government agencies.

Separation of Powers

James Madison proposed to deal with the threat of political factions by ______________________.

Department of Treasury

______________________is responsible for the management of the federal debt and the printing of currency. It is the major fiscal policy agency.

The Federal Reserve Board

_____________ is responsible for monetary policy.


The Supreme Court is the only judicial body that may hear disputes between _________________.

Entitlement Spending

Spending determined by the number of qualified recipients and their legally determined need is called

Electoral Votes

The number of ______________ a state receives is based on the number Representatives and Senators that the state has in Congress


In the mid-term elections following a President’s inauguration, his party tends to ___________ seats in Congress.

Economic Interest Groups

This category of interest groups has been the strongest and most effective in lobbying Washington


The expansion of cable and satellite tv has _________________ the president’s power to influence public opinion.

Pass the fundraising threshold

In presidential campaigns, federal matching funds are provided to candidates who ______________.

de facto

The way things actually are.

de jure

The way things should be by law

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Congress defined the steps for the creation and admission of new states. It forbade slavery while the region remained a territory although citizens could legalize it. First congress would appoint a territorial governor and judges. Second as soon as 5 thousand male adults lived in a territory, the people could write a temporary constitution and elect a legislature that would pass the territories laws. Third, when the total population reached 60,000 the settlres could write a constituion which Congress would have to approve before granting statehood

Constitutional Initiative

Process by which citizens propose an amendment by petition.

State Treasurer

In charge of all state funds. Supervises the collection of taxes and payment of state’s bill

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Presides over any impeachment trial.

State Government

Laws on Schools, Marriage, and owning property;Licensee Lawyers, Doctors, and Teachers.

Delegated Powers

Powers specifically given to the federal government by the US Constitution, for example, the authority to print money.


Formal approval or consent given to a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty before it goes into effect.

Reserved Powers

Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people

Popular Sovereignty

The concept that political power rests with the people who can create, alter, and abolish government. People express themselves through voting and free participation in government


The introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …”

Majority Rule

the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group

Attorney General

In charge of state’s legal business. provide advice to other state official and represents the state in court if the state is involved in a lawsuit

State Auditor

Makes sure that funds are used safely and wisely. They oversee the state’s financial records

Public Policies

Things government decides to do, example: taxation, crime control, national defense, education, etc.

Mixed Economy

An economy in which most economic decisions result from the interaction of buyers and sellers in markets, but in which the government plays a significant role in the allocation of resources.

Writ of Mandamus

An extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official’s discretion


Presidential refusal to allow an agency to spend funds that Congress authorized and appropriated.

Non-protected Speech

Libel, obscenity, fighting words, and commercial speech, which are not entitled to constitutional protection in all circumstances.

Right of Expatriation

The right to renounce one’s citizenship.

Police Powers

Inherent powers of state governments to pass laws to protect health, safety, and welfare; the national government has no directly granted police powers but accomplishes the same goals through other delegated powers.

Contract Clause

Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 10) intended to prohibit state governments from modifying contracts made between individuals; interpreted as prohibiting state governments from taking actions that adversely affect property rights.

Petit Jury

a jury of 6 to 12 persons who determine guilt or innocence in a civil or criminal action

Equal Protection Clause

Clause in the 14th Amendment that forbids any state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The 5th Amendment also imposes this limitation on the national government.

Class Action Suit

lawsuit brought by an individual or group of people on behalf of all those similarly situated

Restrictive Covenant

A provision in a deed to real property prohibiting its sale to a person of a particular race or religion. Judicial enforcement is unconstitutional.


In an election with more than 2 options, the number of votes for the candidate or party receiving the greatest number, but less that half of the votes.

Safe seat

An elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of that party’s candidate is almost taken for granted

Closed rule

a procedural rule in the House of Representatives that prohibits any amendment to bills or provides that only memebers of the committee reporting the bill may offer amendments

Open rule

a procedural rule in the House of Representatives that permits floor amendments within the overall time allocated to the bill.


Special spending projects that are set aside on behalf of individual members of Congress for their constituents.


An offical who is expected to represent the views of his or her constituents even when personally holding different views; one interpretation of the role of the legislator


Act of exchanging favors for mutual gain

Discharge Petition

Petition that, if signed by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives, will pry a bill from committee and bring it to the floor for consideration

Presidential Ticket

Th joint listing of the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same ballot as required by the twelfth amendment

Take Care Clause

The constitutional requirement (in article II, sec 3) that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose of those laws

Office of Management and Budget

Presidential staff agency that serves as a clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies.

Cycle of Decreasing Influence

The tendency of presidents to lose support over time.

Hatch Act

Law enacted in 1939 to prohibit civil servants from taking activists roles in partisan campaigns .This act prohibited federal employees from making political contributions, working for a particualr party,or campaining for a particualr canidate


A court decision in an earlier case with facts and legal issues similar to a dispute currently before a court.

Amicus Curiae Brief

Literally, a “friend of the court” brief, filed by an individual or organization to present arguements in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case

Pendleton Civil Service Act

passed in 1883, it created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather than patronage.

Omaha platform

the 1892 platform of the Populist party repudiating laissez-faire and demanding economic and political reform

Charismatic authority

authority based on an individual’s outstanding traits, which attract followers

Welfare State

a government that undertakes responsibility for the welfare of its citizens through programs in public health and public housing and pensions and unemployment compensation etc.

Nuclear Proliferation

the spread of nuclear weapons to new nations

Selective exposure

The process by which individuals screen out messages that do not conform to their own biases

Focus Groups

a small group of voters chosen by a political campaign for their demographic similarities who are brought together to gauge how the group they represent feels about the candidate.

Horse race

A close contest; by extension, any contest in which the focus is on who is ahead and how much rather than on substantive differences between the candidates.

An individual who does not join a group representing his or her interests yet receives the benefit of the group’s influence.

Federal Register

An official document, published every weekday, which lists the new and proposed regulations of executive departments and regulatory agencies.

Collective Action

How groups form and organize to pursue their goals or objectives, including how to get individuals and groups to participate and cooperate.

Issue network

loose, competitive relationships among policy experts, interest groups, congressional committees, and federal agencies. Many observers argue that these have replaced iron triangles.


A tactic in which PACs collect contributions from like-minded individuals and present them to a candidate or political party as a “bundle,” thus increasing the PAC’s influence.

Quid Pro Quo

something given in exchange for something else; swap

527 Organization

A political group organized under section 527 of the IRS code that may accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on election activities so long as they are not spent on broadcast ads run in the last 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election in which a clearly identified candidate is referred to and a relevant electorate is targeted.

Antitrust Legislation

law intended to promote free competition in the market place by outlawing monopolies

Political ideology

a coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose. It helps give meaning to political event, personalities, and policies.


belief in the value of strong government to provide economic secruity and protection for civil rights, combined with a belief in personal freedom from government intervention in social conduct


an ideology that advocates limits on government power to address economic and social problems, relying instead on economic markets and individual initiative to address problems like health care and education, while promoting government involvement in moral matters to, for instance, minimize or eliminate abortions or permit prayer in public schools.


an economic system in which the factors of production are owned by the publicand operate for the welfare of all.


An ideology that cherishes individual liberty and insists on a sharply limited government, promoting a free market economy, a non-interventionist foreign policy, and an absence of regulation in the moral and social spheres.


the federal department that administers programs that provide services to farmers (including research and soil conservation and efforts to stabilize the farming economy)

Senate Standing Committees

Included are Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Finance; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Foreign Relations; Homeland Security and Government Affairs; Judicial; Rules and Administration; Small Business; and Veteran Affairs

House Standing Committees

Included are Ways and Means, Veteran’s Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, Standards of Official Conduct, Small Business, Science, Judiciary, Rules, Resources, Oversight of Government Reform, House Administration, Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, Budget, Armed Services, Appropriations, and Agriculture.

Veteran’s Affairs

Department established in 1988 by President G.H. Bush.


Established in 1947 as a combined Department of War and Navy.

Coordinated Spending

Spending by the national committees of the political parties to support the election of congressional candidates is known as


There is an _____________ relationship between Presidential approval ratings and unemployment


Which branch has the power to stop an executive order?

Interest groups

____________ often influence political appointments in an effort to influence bureaucracy

Fast Track Authority

To negotiate a complex and politically sensitive trade treaty, a President will often

Bill of Rights

the only amendments to be ratified through the process of “ratifying conventions,” not a vote in the state legislatures

Clothespin vote

the vote cast by a person who does not like either candidate and so votes for the less objectionable of the two, putting a clothespin over his nose to keep out the unpleasant stench

Valence issue

An issue on which voters distinguish rival parties by the degree to which they associate each party or candidate with conditions, goals, or symbols the electorate universally approves or disapproves of. Examples of such issues are economic prosperity and political corruption

Independent expenditures

Money spent by individuals or gorups not asociated with candidates to elect or defeat candidates for office

Public hearing

After a bill is assigned to a committee, the next step is typically a ______________

Clean bill

If significant amendments are made to a bill during committee, the bill is sometimes given a new number as a _______________

Recommit the Bill to Committee

After the bill reaches the house floor, if opponents have many changes, they may vote to ______________________


American politics is dominated by a small ___________ who is responsible for most of the important policy decisions


Which committee assignments would confer the most power and influence on members of the Senate?

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The primary purpose of _______________consolidate the nation’s disability laws and provide for strong federal enforcement of a strengthened disability rights mandate

Probable Cause

What principle, contained in the Fourth Amendment, protects a citizen from unwarranted search and seizure?

Increased competition

When the President’s own party gains power and influence, it more puts pressure on the President to conform to the will of the party, leading to________________ between the President and the party to define their public identities


The Articles of Confederation established a ________________ legislature.

blockbusting and redlining

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was somewhat undermined by racist practices in the real estate market such as _____________ and ______________, which continued illegally in many areas following passage of the Act.

Judicial Selection

The responsibility of the President to appoint federal judges when vacancies occur on the bench is referred to as


The 19th Century __________ party platform was opposed to the spread of slavery, promoted preservation of the union, supported the abolition of slavery, and promoted post civil was reconstruction.


In 1872, Susan B Anthony was arrested in Rochester, New York for


In the last 30 years, voter turnout among American 18- to 24-year-olds has been

Ways and Means Committee

This house committee is responsible for Supervising the authority of the federal government to borrow money, Raising the revenue required to finance the federal government by levying taxes, Overseeing Social Security and other social insurance programs, and Shielding American companies from unfair competition by levying tariffs on foreign goods.


The House appropriations committee has ___ subcommittees.


The house armed services and foreign affairs committees each have ___ subcommittees.


Most house committees are limited to _____ subcommittees.


Each Senate committee may have ________ subcommittees.


The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 restructured the number of ______________ in both the House and Senate.

Foreign Relations and the Judiciary Committees

These two Senate standing committees have existed, largely unchanged, since 1816.


Today the Senate operates with ____ standing and select committees. These select committees, however, are permanent in nature and are treated as standing committees under Senate rules.

Ways and Means Committee

The oldest House committee still in existence.

Spoiler Candidate

tips the balance between two leading candidates by attracting a minority of voters who otherwise might have voted for one of the leading candidates.

Dred Scott

This Supreme Court case infamously decided that a slave was not a citizen but property to be “used in subservience to the interests, the convenience, or the will of his owner”

Majority Whip

responsible for determining which bills will be considered on the House floor, and when they will be considered.

a senior senator of the majority party

The elected position of President pro tempore of the Senate is almost always held by

Securities and Exchange Commission or Securities Act of 1933

requires reporting of financial information by companies with publicly traded securities

state legislatures

According to the Constitution, the electors in the Electoral College shall be appointed in a manner to be determined by the

The Enlightenment

The European political philosophers whose writings influenced the concepts of liberty and government contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution belonged to the intellectual and cultural movement known as


The class of independent voters who do not vote according to party affiliation, but who typically have a broader range of concerns than single-issue voters, are known colloquially as

congressional oversight committee

In addition to overseeing the activities of one or more federal agencies, a ___________________may also serve as the authorizing committee for federal agencies’ programs and operations.


While both Asian and Hispanic immigrants experience various types of discrimination, Hispanic immigrants are more likely to experience economic discrimination. This explains why most Hispanics identify with the ____________ party, while Asians do not.


While the voting rights act of 1965 did direct the Attorney General to investigate the constitutionality of poll taxes and prohibit literacy tests, it did not expressly prohibit _____________

Voting Rights Act of 1965

This was amended in 1985 to prohibit vote dilution without requiring the proof of discriminatory purpose demanded by the original Act.


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 required states in the covered jurisdiction to attain _________________ from the Attorney General before making changes to voting standards, practice, or procedure

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), founded in 1932 by President Herbert Hoover to help combat the Great Depression, was the predecessor of which federal agencies?

presidential line-item veto

In 1998, the Supreme Court struck down the________________ law, declaring it unconstitutional, because Congress did not have the constitutional authority to hand that power to the President.

The Sugar Act and the Currency Act

Which two British Acts, passed in 1764, caused American colonists for the first time to organize protests against the injustices of British rule, and sparked the rallying cry “no taxation without representation”?


Cabinet positions must be ____________ by the Senate

Members of Congress

_____________ are expected to specialize in a few policy areas rather than claim expertise in the whole range of legislative concerns

Woodrow Wilson

Established the Federal Reserve Bank, responsible for conducting the nation’s monetary policy, maintaining the stability of the financial system, supervising and regulating banking institutions, and protecting the credit rights of consumers, and providing various financial services to the U.S. government, the public, financial institutions, and foreign official institutions.

Atomic Energy Act of 1946

Gave authority over atomic energy from military to civilians.

legislative and executive

Philosopher John Locke, in his 1690 work Civil Government (second treatise), advised separation of government power between


charge of misconduct brought against a government official.


The Constitution requires that state governments, like the federal government, must be _____________ in form, with final authority resting with the people.


A decision of the Supreme Court cannot be ___________.


Voter turnout is usually ____________ when there is a binding referendum on the ballot.

Supreme Court

Overturning unjust laws is the responsibility of _________________.


In the Federalist Papers, James Madison proposed that the states under the new Constitution would retain ____________ sovereignty.


The right to privacy is ___________ in the Constitution.


the main mechanism used by modern political parties to nominate their candidate for President.

Swing Voters in the Democratic Party

The term “Reagan Democrats” has become a generic term for

Budget Resolution

concurrent resolution, adopted by both Houses of Congress, that sets forth a Congressional budget plan for the budget year and at least four out-years.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Responsibilities include: Coordinating the nation’s intelligence activities and Evaluating and disseminating intelligence that affects national security

Coast Guard

most likely to board a foreign ship suspected of drug trafficking at a U.S. port


“lame duck” amendment