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63 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Census
Process for counting a nation's population.
Executive Order
A rule the President issues that has the force of law.
Checks and Balances
A system in which each branch of government is able to limit the power of the other branches.
Civil Law
Law concerned with disputes between people or between the government and its citizens.
Due Process of Law
Procedures established by law and guaranteed by the Constitution. Amendments 5 and 14.
Common Law
A system of law that is based on precedent.
Federalism
The system of government in which the power to govern is shared between the national government and the states.
Concurrent Powers
The powers shared by the national and state governments.
Electoral College
A group of people who elect the President and Vice President. Each state has as many votes as they have members in Congress. All states and the District of Columbia are guaranteed at least three votes as of 2003.
Government
The power or authority that rules a country.
Court of Appeals/Appeals Court
A federal or state court that hears only cases on appeal from lower trial courts. Federal: District courts or federal agencies State: Superior courts or state agencies.
Felony
A serious crime such as robbery or murder. Punishments exceed one year in prison up to life or death.
Democracy
A government in which citizens hold the power to rule and to make the laws.
Ex Post Facto Law
A law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when the action took place. Such laws are unconstitutional.
Gerrymandering
Dividing a state into odd-shaped election districts for political reasons.
Immigrant
A person who comes to a country with the intention of living there permanently.
Implied Powers
Congressional powers not stated specifically in the Constitution but suggested by the Constitution's necessary and proper clause. (Art.1, Sec. 8, Cl. 18)
Judicial Review
The power of the Supreme Court to review federal and state laws and decide whether they are in accord with the Constitution. Precedent for this was established by Marbury vs. Madison.
Libel
The criminal act of printing lies about other people.
Majority Leader
The leader of the party with the most seats in each house of Congress.
Minority Leader
The leader of the party with the fewest seats in each house of Congress.
Misdemeanor
A relatively minor crime. Punishments are up to one year in jail.
Patronage
Giving jobs or special favors to loyal party members.
Platform
A political party's statement of its goals and positions on public issues.
Plea Bargain
An agreement to plead guilty to a crime in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Pocket Veto
The President's power to kill a bill, if Congress is not in session, by not signing it for ten days.
Preamble
The introduction to the United States Constitution.
Precedent
A ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case.
Primary election
An election in which party members choose candidates to run for office. An intraparty election.
General Election
An interparty election. An election between political parties for various governmental offices.
Ratification
The act of approving an amendment or treaty.
Seniority System
A system that gives the most desirable committee assignments to members of Congress who have served the longest.
Slander
The criminal act of lying about another person to harm that person's reputation.(Spoken)
Sovereignty
The supreme power to govern.
Speaker of the House
The leader of the House of Representatives, chosen by the majority party.
Split Ticket Voting
The practice of voting for candidates of different parties in an election.
Standing Committee
A permanent committee of Congress that focuses on a particular area.
Straight Ticket Voting
The practice of voting for all the candidates of one political party.
Treason
An act that endangers one's country or gives assistance to its enemies.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A court order guaranteeing a person who is arrested the right to appear before a judge in a court of law.
Naturalized Citizen
An immigrant who is at least 18 years old, has lived in the US for at least five years, passes a "test" on American history and government, completes an application and is accepted, and takes an oath of loyalty to the US may became an official citizen of the US with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with citizenship.
Magna Carta
In 1215, King John of England, signed this document recognizing that there were certain limits to his power and that he, too, had to obey the laws. The first instance of limited government in history.
Mayflower Compact
In 1620, a group of 41 colonists wrote a plan for government to direct the Plymouth Colony. They pledged to create and obey laws that were "just and equal" for the good of the community. The first instance of direct democracy in the New World.
Declaration of Independence
Adopted by the Second Continental Congress explaining why the Americans had the right to be free from British control. Established the basic principles of government borrowed from John Locke.
Articles of Confederation
The first government of the United States in which a system of cooperation was established among the independent states adopted in 1781. The government consisted solely of a unicameral legisalature where each state had one vote. Many weaknesses led to its replacement within a few years.
The Great Compromise
An agreement between the small states (New Jersey Plan) and the large states (Virginia Plan) over the issue of representation in Congress. One house would have equal representation, the other house would have its representation based on each state's population.
The Three-Fifths Compromise
An agreement between the southern states and the northern states on how enslaved persons would be counted toward as state's population, thus its representation in the House of Representatives.
The Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments added to the Constitution in 1791 describing the powers and rights of American citizens and reflects the principle of limited government. These amendments place strict limits on how the national government can use its power over the people.
One Party System
A system in a country where the populace only has one choice for leadership/control of the government. Communist governments are a prime example.
Multiparty System
A political system with competition between many parties for control of the leadership of government. These systems are common in Europe. One major problem is that the vote is divided among so many parties that it is difficult for one party to get a majority to take the reins of government.
Republican Party
A political party within the US that tends to believe that if they help the nation's economy grow, poor people will have a better chance of finding work and meeting their needs on their own. Generally labeled "Conservative".
Senate
The upper house of Congress with 100 members. Representation of each state is equal.
House of Representatives
The lower house of Congress with 435 members. Representation of each state is based on the state's population. Seats are reapportioned after each ten year census.
Supreme Court
Highest court in the federal system which holds the power of judicial review and hears cases from lower federal courts and from state courts. Its decisions are final.
Criminal Law
A body of law that defines wrongdoings committed against the public.
Democratic Party
Political party within the US that tends to believe that the federal government should be more directly involved in providing housing, income, education and jobs for the poor. Generally labeled as "Liberal".
Enumerated Powers
The powers of the federal government specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Third Party
A minor political party in the United States that challenges the two major parties. May be based on a particular issue or a particular personality.
Two Party System
A system where the populace chooses between two major parties for leadership within the government.
District Court
Lowest level of the federal court system. Federal trial courts which have original jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. Juries decide the outcome of the case.
Impeach
An accusation by the House of Representatives against a federal official for "high crimes and misdemeanors".
PAC--Political Action Committee
An organization established to raise money to support an issue or candidate.
Affirmative Action
Programs to help minority groups and women gain access to jobs and opportunities.