Study your flashcards anywhere!

Download the official Cram app for free >

  • Shuffle
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Alphabetize
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Front First
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Both Sides
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Read
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off

How to study your flashcards.

Right/Left arrow keys: Navigate between flashcards.right arrow keyleft arrow key

Up/Down arrow keys: Flip the card between the front and back.down keyup key

H key: Show hint (3rd side).h key

A key: Read text to speech.a key


Play button


Play button




Click to flip

177 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Shay's Rebellion
In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 armed farmers attacked a federal arsenal to protest the foreclosure of farms in the western part of the state; led to Constitutional Convention
New Jersey Plan
proposed at Constitutional Convention by smaller states; each state would be represented equally
Virginia Plan
proposed by large states at Constitutional Convention. Two houses in legislature, executive chosen by legislature, national legislature with supreme powers, one house elected directly by people
Great Compromise
("Conneticut"); created solution to which plan to follow. House of Reps. based on population, Senate of two members per state. It reconciled interests of big and small states.
Three-Fifths Compromise
Slaves count as three-fifths of a person when apportioning votes.
Federalist Papers
Authored by Alexander Hamiliton, James Madison, and John Jay; a series of newspaper articles supporting the Constitution. They were designed to persuade the states of the wisdom of a strong central govt. coupled with autonomous political power retained by states.
a system of govt. under which the national government and local governments share powers.
dual federalism
occurs when federal and state governments remain separate and independent.
judicial review
the power of the Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by the legislature, made decisive in Marbury v. Madison
delegated powers
those powers that belong to the national government; enumerated powers.
reserved powers
powers that belong exclusively to the states, according to 10th Amendment, these powers include any that the Constitution does not either specifically grant to the national govt. nor deny to the states.
concurrent powers
some powers shared by the federal and state govts. Power to collect taxes, build roads, operate courts of law, and borrow money.
full faith and credit clause
an obligation in which the states are required by the Constitution to accept the court judgments, licenses, contracts, and other civil acts of all the other states.
privileges and immunities clause
the states may not refuse police protection or access to their courts to a U.S. citizen just because he lives in a different state
states must return fugitives to the states from which they have fled.
supremacy clause
requires conflicts between federal law and state law to be resolved in favor of federal law.
categorical grants
liked by liberals; the type of aid that has federal strings attached.
block grants
liked by conservatives; gives states broad powers to experiment and use the money as they see fit.
Congress can also check the president's veto by overriding the veto, but it needs a two-thirds majority in both houses.
necessary and proper clause
allows Congress to "make all laws" that appear "necessary and proper" to implement its delegated powers; known as elastic clause.
Presidential Practice
expands executive power; executive orders bypass Congress in policy making and are not mentioned in Constitution.
First Ten Amendments
Collectively known as the Bill of Rights.
14th Amendment
expanded the right to due process to all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity. It also made African Americans citizens of the nation and their home states.
15th Amendment
granted voting rights to males of all races - designed to extend voting rights to newly free slaves
17th Amendment
direct election of U.S. Senators
19th Amendment
granted voting rights to women
23th Amendment
allowed residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections
24th Amendment
outlawed poll taxes, which had been used to prevent African Americans from voting
26th Amendment
lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
13th Amendment
abolished slavery
16th Amendment
authorized Congress to impose and collect federal income taxes
18th Amendment and 21st Amendment
Began and ended Prohibition
22th Amendment
limited the number of years an individual may serve as President
25th Amendment
provided for the selection of a new vice president should the position become vacant; it also allowed a vice president to assume presidency temporarily when President is disabled
27th Amendment
If Congress votes itself a pay increase, that increase cannot take effect until after the election
16th Amendment
authorized Congress to impose and collect federal income taxes
18th Amendment and 21st Amendment
Began and ended Prohibition
22th Amendment
limited the number of years an individual may serve as President
25th Amendment
provided for the selection of a new vice president should the position become vacant; it also allowed a vice president to assume presidency temporarily when President is disabled
27th Amendment
If Congress votes itself a pay increase, that increase cannot take effect until after the election
Criminal Case
A case in which an individual is accused of a crime.
Civil Cases
A case in which disputing parties can sue to receive compensation.
Property Taxes
Generate a large portion of state revenues
Revenue Sharing
Federal money granted to the states for general purposes.
Issue Public
An issue of enough importance to a smaller group which causes those voters to become more politically active.
Saliency - of Public Opinion
The degree to which it is important to a particular individual or group.Example: Social Security has high salience for senior citizens but not for youth.
Intensity - of Public Opinion
How strongly do people feel about a particular issue.
Political Socialization
A process through which individuals develop their political attitudes.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Established precedent of federal courts using judicial review.
Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
Made the contract clause of the Constitution a powerful instrument to protect property rights against state challenges.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Established national supremacy of the Constitution over the power of the states.
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Increased federal power over interstate commerce by implying that anything concerning interstate trade could potentially be regulated by the federal government.
Barron v. Baltimore (1833)
Determined that the Bill of Rights applied only to the national govt., not the state governments.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Allowed separate but equal facilities based on race.
Schenck v. U.S. (1919)
Clear and present danger test for free speech under First Amendment.
Gitlow v. New York (1925)
Declared that state limits on speech and press should not exceed federal limits.
Smith v. Allwright (1944)
The denying of African Americans the right to vote in a primary election was found to be a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Dennis v. United States (1951)
Found Smith Act unconstitutional; one can advocate the overthrow of the government as long as not actively seeking a way to do so.
Brown v. Board (1954)
Declared school segregation unconstitutional: "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal"
Brown v. Board II (1955)
Ordered schools to desegregate "with all due and deliberate speed."
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Established the exclusionary rule for police searches under the Fourth Amendment and that illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial.
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Prohibited state-sponsored recitation of prayer in public school through the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Ordered state representative districts to be near as equal as possible: "One man on vote."
Abbington v. Schempp (1963)
Prohibited devotional bible reading by virtue of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Gideon v. Wainright (1963)
Ordered states to provide legal defense in felony cases for those who cannot afford a lawyer.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones that are considered libel or slander, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice.
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Established the implied privacy in a birth-control case through the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Established the verbal Miranda warnings (right to counsel and protection against self-incrimination) that must be given to a suspect during arrest and detention.
Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)
Prohibited states from banning the teaching of evolution in public schools because that would violate the establishment clause and the free speech clause.
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
Brandenburg, a leader in the KKK, made a speech at a Klan rally and was later convicted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law. The Court found the law unconstitutional; the defendant's right to free speech as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments had been violated.
Swann v. Charlotte-Meckenburg (1970)
Ruled that the federal courts are constitutionally authorized to remedy state-imposed segregation with broad and flexible powers.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
Established a three-part test to determine establishment clause.
New York Times v. United States (1971)
The Pentagon Papers case ruled that the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication - prior restraint - of what it termed "classified information" violated the First Amendment.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
Established national abortion guidelines by extending the inferred right of privacy from Griswold (a woman's freedom to make a private decision about her reproductive practices).
United States v. Nixon (1974)
Stated that the president cannot claim executive privilege to withhold evidence in a criminal investigation.
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
Allowed legislatures to limit campaign contributions, but not how much a candidate can spend of their own money.
U.C. Regents v. Bakke (1978)
Eliminated strict racial quotas under affirmative action but allowed race to be one of the factors relating to admission status.
INS v. Lopez (1984)
The Fourth Amendment and the exclusionary rule do not apply in deportation proceedings.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989)
Did not overturn Roe v. Wade, but allowed states to restrict access to abortions.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
The Court upheld that the First Amendment did not require schools to affirmatively promote particular types of student speech, which equated into censorship of a school paper.
Shaw v. Reno (1993), Miller v. Johnson (1995)
Race cannot be the sole or predominant factor in redrawing legislative district boundaries (cannot segregate voters based on race).
United States v. Lopez (1995)
Finds that firearms in schools have nothing to do with interstate commerce.
Adarand v. Pena (1995)
The presumption of disadvantage based on raced alone, and consequent allocation of favored treatment is a discriminatory practice that violates the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The allocation of favored treatment "must serve a compelling government interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest."
Clinton v. New York (1998)
Banned presidential use of line-item veto as a violation of legislative powers (an unconstitutional delegation of authority to the president).
Bush v. Gore (2000)
Use of Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause to stop the Florida recount; the ballots cannot be devalued by "later arbitrary and disparate treatment."
Atkins v. Virginia (2002)
Death penalty for mentally retarded found unconstitutional, for it violates the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the Eight Amendment.
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002)
Public money can be used to send disadvantaged children to private schools on voucher programs; it does not violate th e establishment clause.
Board v. Pottawatomie (2002)
School districts can give random drug tests only to those students who are involved in extracurricular activities.
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2002)
Struck down a federal ban on "virtual" child pornography; court found it was not the best means to protect children, that it covered too much protected material, and that blocking software installed on home computers would do as good a job without preventing free speech.
Selective incorporation
Applying the Bill of Rights to state law on a case-by-case basis.
Preferred position doctrine
The doctrine reflects the Court's belief that freedom of speech in fundamental to liberty; any limits on free speech must address severe, imminent threats to the nation.
Shield Laws
Protect state reporters from testifying in state courts.
Freedom of association
Government may not restrict number or type of groups or organizations people belong to, provided these groups do not threaten national security.
Establishment Clause
Government cannot establish a state religion.
Exclusionary Rule
Allows for illegally obtained evidence to not be admissible in court. (Evidence has to be collected through warrants and legal acts.)
Equal Pay Act of 1963
A federal law that made it illegal to base an employee's pay on race, gender, religion, or national origin. This act was also important to the women's movement and to the civil rights struggles of other minorities.
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Allows mothers and fathers 12 weeks of unpaid leaver after a child has been born.
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Allows mothers and fathers 12 weeks of unpaid leaver after a child has been born.
What are six determining factors in ideological and political behavior?
Education level, race/ethnicity, religion, gender, income level, and region.
What are the three types of political groups?
Political parties, interest groups, and political action committees (PACs).
What are political party characteristics?
Parties serve as intermediaries between people and the government; parties are made up of grassroots members, activist members, and leadership; parties are organized to raise money, present positions on policy, and get their candidates elected to office; and parties were created outside of the Constitution.
What is the effect of primary elections?
Weakened power of political parties.
What are six functions performed by political parties?
Recruit and nominate candidates, educate and mobilize voters, provide campaign funds and support, organize government activity, provide balance through opposition of two parties, and reduce conflict/tension in society.
Soft Money
Money contributions used for general purposes; can have unlimited contributions.
Interest groups
Organizations dedicated to a particular political goal or to a set of unified goals. Example: Christian Coalition, NAACP
Closed Primary
Most common type; voting is restricted to registered members of a political party. Voters may vote only for candidates running for the nomination of their declared party.
Open Primary
Voters vote only in party's primary, but they may vote in whichever party primary they choose.
Blanket Primary
Use same procedure as general election; voters vote for candidates of either party.
A method large states employ in which the date of the primaries has moved forward in hopes of having greater influence on which candidates win the nominations.
Purpose of national convention?
Unify a party.
Electoral College
Institution created by framers as a means of insulating the govt. from the whims of a less educated public. Each state is given a number of electors equal to the sum of its federal legislators (senators plus representatives). The winner of the presidential election in each state wins all of that state's electors (winner-take-all system).
House of Representatives
435 members, elections every two years, members must reside in the district they represent, be a citizen of the state, and at least 25 y.o. Election to House takes place within each congressional district.
Two members per state, term lasts six years, one-third of the Senate elections occur every two years (staggered basis), more high-profile position.
House Ways and Means Committee
Only the House of Representatives may initiate tax laws and spending bills, Ways and Means Com. oversees taxing and spending legislation.
Bills of Attainder
Laws that find people guilty of a crime and sentence them to prison - Congress cannot do this.
Ex post facto laws
Laws that punish people for actions that occurred before the behavior was made criminal.
Besides writing laws, what are Congress' three equally important functions?
Oversight (reviews federal agencies), public education, and representing constituents within the govt.
Sponsor or the bill
Whoever introduces a bill.
Rules Committee
Unlike the Senate, the House has this committee which is responsible for determining how long a bill will be debated and whether to allow an open or closed rule for amending the bill.
Since the Senate has no time restraints on debate of bills, senators can invoke filibusters (speak with no intention of stopping).
Standing Committees
Permanent, specialized committees. Example: House Ways and Means, Senate Judiciary Com. There are 20 standing committees in House and 18 in Senate.
Joint Committees
Made up of members of both the House and Senate. These committees are normally used for communicating to the public or for investigations but generally do not send bills to the floor for votes.
Select Committees
Temporary committees organized in each house for some special purpose. Example: House Watergate Committee
Conference Committee
Temporary and include members from the committees of the two houses who were responsible for writing a bill. These committees try to negotiate a bill.
Speaker of House
Nancy Pelosi
Majority Leader in House
Steny Hoyer
Minority Leader in House
John Boehner
Majority Whip House
James E. Clyburn
Minority Whip House
Roy Blunt
President of Senate
Dick Cheney
President Pro Tempore
Robert C. Byrd
Majority Leader Senate
Harry Reid
Minority Leader Senate
Mitch McConnell
Majority Whip Senate
Richard Durbin
Minority Whip Senate
Trent Lott
Critical Election
When a new party comes to dominate politics.
Amendment ratification requirements
2/3s of both houses and 3/4s of the states.
Amicus Curiae briefs
"Friend of the Court" briefs that like-minded individuals or organizations file in lawsuits to which they are not a party so the judge may consider their advice in respect to matters of law that directly affect the cases in question.
Appellate Jurisdiction
Courts whose rule is to hear appeals from lower courts.
Budget Resolution
Set of budget guidelines that must pass both houses of Congress in identical from by April 15. The budget resolution guides government spending for the following fiscal year.
Civil Liberties
Those protections against government power embodied in the Bill of Rights and similar legislation. Civil liberties include the right to free speech, free exercise of religion, and right to a fair trial.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Federal law made segregation illegal in most public places, increased penalties and sentences for those convicted of discrimination in employment and withheld federal aid from schools that discriminated based on race or gender.
Civil Service System
Method of hiring federal employees based on merit rather than on political beliefs or allegiances. Replaced spoils system.
Class action suit
A lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of people, and whose result affects that group of people as a whole. Interest groups such as the NAACP often use these as a means of asserting their influence over policy decisions.
A combination of groups of people who work together to achieve a political goal. The coalition on which the Democratic Party rests, for example, is made up of Northern urban dwellers, Jews, African Americans, and labor unions.
Cooperative Federalism
Form of U.S. federalism since the passage of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment initiated the long demise of dual federalism by providing the national government the means to enforce the rights of citizens against state infringement. The result is a system called cooperative federalism in which the national and state governments share many powers.
The weakening partisan preferences that points to a weakening of the two-party system and a rise of independents in politics.
Double Jeopardy
The act of trying an individual a second time after he has been acquitted on the same charges. Double jeopardy is prohibited by the Constitution.
Due Process
Established legal procedures for the arrest and trial of an accused criminal.
Eminent Domain
The power of the government to take away property for public use as long as there is just compensation for property taken.
Entitlement Programs
Social insurance programs that allocate federal funds to all people who meet the conditions of the program. Ex: Social Security, it is the largest. Entitlement programs are the hardest to cut funds.
Equal Rights Amendment
Failed Constitutional amendment that would have guaranteed equal protection under the law for women (1970s).
Executive Agreement
Presidential agreements made with foreign nations. Executive agreements have the same legal force as treaties but do not require the approval of Senate.
Executive Privilege
The right of president to withhold information when doing so would compromise national security.
Federal Reserve Board
Executive agency that is largely responsible for the formulation and implementation of monetary policy; keeps economy stable.
Freedom of Information Act (1974)
Declassified government documents for public use.
Gramm-Rudman-Holings Bill (1985)
Set budget reduction targets to balance budget but failed to eliminate loopholes.
Great Society
President Lyndon B. Johnson's social/economic program, aimed at raising the standard of living for America's poorest residents. Among the Great Society programs are Medicare, Medicaid, Project Head Start, Job Corps, and VISTA.
Hatch Act (1939)
A congressional law that forbade government officials from participating in partisan politics and protected government employees from being fired on partisan ground.
Process through which voters may propose new laws. One of several Progressive Era reforms that increased voters' power over govt.
Jim Crow laws
State and local laws passed in the post-Reconstruction Era South to enforce racial segregation and otherwise restrict the rights of African Americans.
Judicial Restraint
Refers to the actions of a court that demonstrates an unwillingness to break with precedent or to overturn legislative and executive acts.
Legislative Oversight
One of Congress's most important tasks. In order to check the power of the executive branch, congressional committees investigate and evaluate the performance of corresponding executive agencies and departments.
National Security Council
Presidential advisory board established in 1947. The NSC consults with the president on matters of defense and foreign policy.
Office of Budget and Management
Executive branch office responsible for drawing up the president's proposals for the federal budget.
Original jurisdiction
Term used to describe a court's power to initially try a case. Courts in which cases are first heard are those with original jurisdiction in the case. By contrast, appellate courts hear challenges to earlier court cases.
Prior Restraint
Censorship of news material before it is made public.
Recall election
Process through which voters can shorten an office holder's term. One of several Progressive Era reforms that increased voters' power over govt.
Process through which voters may vote on new laws.
Regulatory Agency
Executive agency responsible for enforcing laws pertaining to a certain industry. The agency writes guidelines for the industry, such as safety codes, and enforces them through methods of inspection.
Senatorial Courtesy
A check placed on the president by which candidates for the federal bureaucracy must first be approved by a vote within the Senate.
The Patriot Act (2001)
In response to the terrorist acts of September 11,2001. Congress granted broad policy authority to the federal, state, and local governments to indict, prosecute, and convict terrorists.
Unanimous consent decree
Agreement passed by the Senate that establishes the rules under which a bill will be debated, amended, and voted upon.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Federal law that increased government supervision of local election practices, suspended the use of literacy tests to prevent people (blacks) from voting, and expanded government efforts to register voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1970 permanently banned literacy tests.
War Powers Act
Law requiring the president to seek periodic approval from Congress for any substantial troop commitment. Passed in 1973 in response to national dissatisfaction over the Vietnam War.
Warren Court (1953-1969)
The Supreme Court during the era in which Earl Warren served as Chief Justice. The Warren Court is best remembered for expanding the rights of minorities and the rights of the accused.
Writ of certiorari
A legal document issued by the Supreme Court to request the court transcripts of a case. A writ of cert. indicates that the Court will review a lower court's decision.