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US Government Final

Semester 1, US Government Final

Preamble States the purpose of the constitution.
Popular Sovereignty Basic principle of the American system of govt which asserts that the ppl are the source of any and all govt power, and the govt can exist only with the consent of the governed.
Separation of Powers The executive, legislative, and judicial powers are divided among 3 indep and co-equal branches of govt
Dictatorship A form of govt in which the leader has absolute power and authority
Compromise An adjustment of opposing principles or systems by modifying some aspect of each
Public Policy All of the many goals that the govt pursues in all of the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved
Democracy A form of govt in which the supreme authority rests with the people
Divine Right Theory God created the state and god had given those of royal birth a divine right to rule
Social Contract Theory People are willing to give up their power to the state to promote the safety/well being of all
Presidential Government A form of govt in which the executive and legislative branches of the govt are separate and indep and coequal
Federal Government A form of govt in which powers are divided between a central govt and several local govts
Law of Supply and Demand A low which states that when supplies and goods and services become plentiful, prices tend to drop. When supplies become scarcer, prices tend to rise
Magna Carta Great charter forced upon King John of England by his barons in 1215; established that the power of the monarchy was not absolute and guaranteed by trial by jury and due process of law to the nobility
Virginia Bill of Rights A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them, and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.
Limited Government Basic principle of the American govt which states that govt is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that govt cannot take away.
Bicameral A legislative body composed of two chambers
Representative Government System of govt in which public policies are made by officials, selected by voters, and held accountable in periodic elections
Ratification Form of approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty.
Great Compromise agreement made at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that balanced the interest of the small and large states, resulting in the United States Senate being made up of two Senators from each state and a House of Representatives based on population.
Rule of Law Concept that holds that govt and its officers are always subject to law
Checks and Balances System of overlapping powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to permit each branch to check the actions of the others
Veto vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to assent
Judicial Review Power of the court to determine constitutionality of a govtmental action
Unconstitutional Contrary to constitutional provision and so illegal, null and void, of no force and effect
Amendment A change in and addition to a constitution or law
Electoral College A group of persons chosen in each state and the district of Columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the president and vp
Cabinet Presidential advisory body, traditionally made up of the heads of executive departments and other officers
Grants-in-aid Program Grants of federal money or other resources to states, cities, countries, and other local units
Privileges and Immunities Clause Constitution’s stipulation that all citizens are entitled to certain privileges and immunities regardless of their state of residence
Full Faith and Credit Clause Constituion’s requirements that each state accepts the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state
Partisanship Govt action based on firm allegiance to a political party
Two-party system A political system dominated by two major parties
Bipartisan Supported by two parties
Consensus General agreement among various groups on fundamental matters; broad agreements on public questions
Coalition A temporary alliance of several groups who come together to form a working majority and so to control a govt
Incumbent The current officeholder
Electorate All of the people entitled to vote in a given election
Gerrymandering The drawing of electoral district lines to the advantage of a party or a group
General Elections The regularly scheduled elections at which voters make a final selection of officerholders
Caucus As a nominating device, a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election
Direct Primary An election held within a party to pick that party’s candidates for the general election
Political Action Committees (PACs) The political extension of special interest groups which have a major stake in public policy
Reapportionment Redistribution as in seats in a legislative body
Constituency The people and interest that an elected official represents
Expressed Powers Those delegated powers of the national government that are spelled out, expressly, in the constitution; also called the numerated powers
Implied Powers Those delegated powers of the national government that are suggested by the expressed powers set out in the constitution; those necessary and proper to carry out the expressed powers.
Impeach To bring formal charges against a public official; the house of reps has a sole power to impeach civil officers of the US
Committee Chairman Member who heads a standing committee in a legislative body
Seniority Rule Unwritten rule in both houses of congress reserving the top post in each chamber, particularly committee chairmanships, for members with the longest record of service
Standing Committee Permanent committee in a legislative body to which builds in a specified subject matter area or referred
Joint Committee Legislative committee composed of members of both houses
Filibuster Various tactics (usually long speeches) aimed at vote; associated with the us senate
Pocket Veto Type of veto a chief executive may use after a legislator has adjourned; when the chief executive does not sign or reject a bill within the time allowed to do so
Commander in Chief Term for the president as commander of the nation’s armed forces
Platform A political party’s formal statement of basic principles, stands on major issues and objectives
War Powers Resolution A United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat.
Bureaucracy A large complex administrative structure that handles the everyday business of an organization
Federal Budget A detailed financial document containing estimates of federal income and spending during the coming fiscal yr
Civil Service Those civilian employees who perform the admin work of govt
Progressive Tax A type of tax proportionate to income
Regressive Tax A tax levied at a flat rate, without regard to the level of a taxpayer’s income or ability to pay them
Estate Tax A levy imposed on the assets of one who dies
Deficit The yearly shortfall between revenue and spending
Surplus More income than spending
Public Debt All of the money borrowed by the govt and not yet repaid, plus accrued interest on that money; also called the national debt or federal debt
Interest A charge for borrowed money generally the percentage of the amt borrowed
Entitlement A benefit that federal law says that must be paid to all of those that meet the eligibility requirements, e.g. medicare, food stamps, and veteran’s pensions
Uncontrollable Spending Spending that congress and the prez have no power to change directory
Foreign Policy A group of policies made of all the stands and actions that a nation takes in every aspect of its relationships with other countries; everything nation’s govt says and does in world affairs
Deterrence The policy of making America and its allies so militarily strong that their very strength will discourage or prevent any attack
Foreign Aid Econ and military aid to other countries
Plaintiff In civil law, the party who brings a suit or some other legal action against another (defendant) in court.
Defendant In a civil suit, the person against whom a court action is brought by the plaintiff; in a criminal case, the person charged with the crime
Criminal Case A case in which a defendant is tried for committing a crime as defined by the law
Civil Case A case involving a noncriminal matter such as a contract dispute or a claim of patent infringement
Writ of Certiorari A order by a higher court directing a lower court to send up a record in a given case for a review; from the Latin meaning ”to be more certain”
Majority Opinion Officially called the opinion of the court; announces the court’s decision in the case and sets out the reasoning upon which it is based
Precedent Court decision that stands an example to be followed in future similar cases
Concurring Opinion Written explanation of the views of one or more judges who supported the decision reached by majority of the court, but to wish to add or emphasize a pt that was not made in the majority of the decision
Dissenting Opinion Written explanation of the views of one or more judges who disagree with a decision reached by the majority of the court
Civil Liberties The guarantees of the safety of persons, opinions, and property from the arbitrary acts of govt, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion
Civil Rights A term used for those positive acts of govt that seek to make constitutional guarantees a reality for all people. E.g. prohibitions and discrimination
Due Process Clause Part of the 14th amendment which guarantees that no state deny basic rights to its ppl
Establishment Clause Separates church and state
Free Exercise Clause Second part of constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, which guarantees to each person the right to believe what he or she chooses to believe in matters of religion
Slander False and malicious use of spoken words
Libel False and malicious use of printed words
Search Warrant A court order authorizing a search
Probable Cause Reasonable grounds or reasonable suspicion of crime
Equal Protection Clause Part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".
Free Enterprise System An economic system characterized by private or corporate leadership of capital goods and investments that determined by private decision rather by than by state control, and determined on a free market.
Mixed Economy An econ in which private enterprise exists in combo with a considerable amt of govt regulation & promotion
Created by: Tamayuki



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