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AP Government 3

AP Government - Chapter 3 Vocabulary

Chapter 3 TermsDefinitions
Devolution The current effort to scale back the size and activities of the national government and to shift responsibility for a wide range of domestic programs from Washington DC to the states. In recent years these areas have included welfare, health care, and jo
Block Grants Grants of money from the federal government to states for programs in certain general areas rather than for specific kinds of programs.
Federalism A political system in which ultimate authority is shared between a central government and state or regional governments
Sovereignty Supreme or ultimate political authority; a sovereign government is one that is legally and politically independent of any other government.
Unitary System A system in which sovereignty is wholly in the hands of the national government so that subnational political units are dependent on its will.
Confederation or Confederal System A political system in which states or regional governments retain ultimate authority except for those powers that they expressly delegate to a central government.
Federal System A system in which sovereignty is shared so that on some matters the national government is supreme and on others the state, regional, or provincial governments are supreme.
Necessary and Proper Clause/ Elastic Clause The final paragraph of Article I, section 8, of the Constitution, which allows Congress to pass laws to carry out the enumerated powers. Provides flexibility to Congress.
Nullification A theory first advanced by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that the states had the right to declare a federal law null and void. The theory was revived by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in opposition to federal efforts to restrict slavery.
Federal Regime A political system in which local units of government have a specially protected existence and can make final decisions over some governmental activites.
Dual Federalism A constitutional theory that the national government and the state governments each have defined areas of authority, especially over commerce.
City A municipal corporation or municipality that has been characterized by a state to exercise certain defined powers and provide certain specific services.
Municipal Corporation or Municipality A legal term for a city. It is characterd by the state to exercise certain powers and provide certain services.
Special Act Charter A charter that denies the powers of a certain named dity and lists what the city can and cannot do.
General Act Charter A charter that applies to a number of cities that fall within a certain classification, usually based on city population.
Dillon's Rule A legal principle that holds that the terms of city charters are to be interpreted narrowly. Under this rule, a municipal corporation can exercise only those powers expressly given, implied, or essential, state powers.
Home-Rule Charter A charter that allows the city government to do anything that is not prohibited by the charter or by state law.
Ordinance: A law passed and enforced by a city government
County The largest territorial unit between a city and a town.
Special-district governments or Authorities A local or regional government with responsibility for some single function such as administering schools, handling sewage, or managing airports.
School Districts A special-district government responsible for administering public schools
Police Power The powerof a state to promote health, safety, and morals.
Referendum The practice of submitting a law to popular vote at elction time. The law may be proposed by a voter's initiative or by the legislature.
Recall A procedure, in effect in over twenty states, whereby the voters can vote to remove any elected officials from office.
Grants In Aid Federal funds provided to states and localities. These are typically provided for airports, highways, education, and major welfare services.
Categorical Grants Federal grants for specific puposes defined by federal law. Usually require that the state or locality put up money to "match" some part of the federal grants.
Revenue Sharing A law providing for the distribution of a fixed amount or share of federal tax revenues to the states for spending on almost any government purpose. Destribution was intended to send more money to poorer, heavily taxed states and less to richer ones.
Conditions of Aid Federal rules attached to the grants that states receive. States must agree to abide by these rules in order to receive the grants.
Mandates Rules imposed by the federal government on the states as conditions for obtaining federal grants or requirements that the states pay the costs of certain nationally defined programs.
Second-order Devolution The flow of power and responsibilty from states to local governments.
Third-order devolution The use of nongovernmental organizations to implement public policy.
Initiative A procedure allowing voters to submit a proposed law to a popular vote by obtaining a required number of signatures.
Created by: monkeykist