Glossary of Government AP Flashcards
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- Several groups exist, and their consensus based decisions allow for policy that everyone enjoys.
- A few elite (wealthy) people control policy decisions
- Too many groups exist with too many conflicting opinions for there to ever be a consensus, so policy decisions never arise.
- Separation of Powers- Spirit of the Laws
- Virginia Plan
- States get votes depending on population
- New Jersey Plan
- States get votes equally
- Great Compromise
- Established a bicameral legislature which gives one house (the HOR) votes by population and Senate votes equally
- Factions/Tyranny of the Majority
- If a few people (the minority) are economically at an ADVANTAGE, the majority will tyranize them and prevent them fully exercising their rights, etc.
- Beard's Thesis
- The basis of the constitution was "economic determinism" which was that the founders had an economic interest in the outcome of the constitution and frame dit to beneift themselves.
- Methods of Amending the Constitution (formal)
- 2/3 of the Congress and Senate can go to 3/4 of the state legislature or 3/4 of the national convention
or 2/3 of the national convention can go to 3/4 of the state legislature or 3/4 of the national convention
- Methods of Amending the Constitution (informal)
- 1. Presidential decision (the abridgment of rights during a war)
2. Judicial interpretation
3. Actions of Congress
4. Political Parties
5. Technology and the Media
- Dual, Cooperative, and Competitive Federalism
- Dual- They have their own separate spheres
Cooperative- share money for jointly enacte dpolicies
Comepttive- fight for citizenry support and financial aid
- External v. Internal Efficacy
- External- the belief that the government will respond to one's concerns and problems
Internal - the belief that on is capable of understanding and affecting public policy
- a state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disapprove legislation or a constitutional amendment proposed by the state legislature
- a process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such a referendum
- Realigning Elections
- Elections in which minority parties overthrow the majority parties
Three significant ones:
a) 1860- Southern states were split amongst the Democrats and Abraham Lincoln came out on top leading the Republicans
b) 1896- Significant in terms of the tactics employed by McKinley and Bryan. McKinley spent a lot of money. While Bryan, for the first time, made it a point to campaign especially heavily in highly contested states.
c) 1932- FDR overthrew Hoover's stale tactics and put in place his New Deal Policies.
- Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary
- The Iowa Caucus has traditionally been the first indication of which candidate would win its party’s nomination. New Hampshire’s primary election is also extremely significant in determining how well a candidate will do in the presidential elections. Candidates who do well or don’t do well receive immediate media attention (along with those chosen from the Iowa Caucus), and the combined effect makes Iowa and New Hampshire significant states in the presidential election overall.
- Soft Money
- Political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grass roots level. Unlike money that goes to the campaign of a particular candidate, such party donations are not subject to contribution limits.
- Political Action Committee (PACs):
- Funding vehicles that were created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. Corporations, unions, or special interest groups can create a PAC and register with the Federal Election Commission which will meticulously monitor its expenditures
- Iron Triangle
- The method by which bureaucracy functions with the inclusion of interest groups, legislators, and the executive branch.
Example: The bureaucracy does interest groups special favors through low regulation, etc. Special interest groups then electorally support Congress which then gives funding and political support to the bureaucracy.
- Incumbency Effect
- The explanation for why incumbents usually win elections. This is because their policies are already well known, the way they vote is already well-known, and they have a well established and loyal following.
- Pork Barrel
- The list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions in the district of a member of Congress
- The act of Congress regulating programs implemented by the executive branch through the use of federal agencies, policies, and programs
- Budget Control and Impoundment Act of 1974
- Requires both branches of congress to vote approval of presidential requests to terminate programs through withholding funds.
- Richard Neustadt- power of persuasion
- Essentially, in his book Presidential Power, Neustadt argues that the president is actually very weak within the American government since everything the President wants to implement can be overturned or must be approved by Congress first. Neustadt argues that as a result of this institutionalized barrier system, the President must rely on personal persuasion, public prestige, and professional reputation to get things done.
- Chief of Staff
- This is the appointed person whose job is to serve as aide to the President in terms of managing the role of others within the White House Office as well as managing the influence that outsiders have on the President. He has been dubbed, “the second most powerful man in the country”, and his role has been established also as the “gatekeeper”.
- National Security Council
- This is one of the policymaking bodies which exists within the Executive Office of the President. It is an office that was created in 1947 to coordinate the president’s foreign and military policy advisors. Its formal members are the president, vice president, secretary of state, and the secretary of defense. It is managed by the president’s national security advisor whose job is to provide the president with information and policy advice as well as coordinate departmental activities bearing on national security.
- Office of Management and Budget
- Another of the policymaking bodies located within the Executive Office, the OMB grew out of the Bureau of the Budget which consisted of a handful of political appointees and hundreds of skilled professionals. The OMB performs both managerial and budgetary functions for the purpose of preparing the president’s budget.
- Council of Economic Advisors
- The third of the policymaking bodies which exists within the executive office, the CEA is a three member body appointed by the president to advise him on economic policy.
- Executive Orders
- These are regulations originating from the executive branch. These are one method that the president can use to control the bureaucracy. They have the stature of law.
- Reprieve, Pardon, Commutation, Clemency, Amnesty
- reprieve- the holding back of punishment
pardon- pardoning the crime and the penalties associated with it
commutation- Takes place when the executive branch lessens the sentence for a criminal act. Unlike a pardon, this does not pardon the crime, and commutations are often conditional and related to good behavior.
Clemency: Clemency is the lessening of a sentence without pardoning the crime itself. It is a type of reprieve.
Amnesty: This takes place when the Supreme Power pardons and forgets the act as well as the penalties. It is more than a pardon altogether in the sense that it erases all legal remembrance of the crime as well.
- Presidential Powers (Legislative)
- The president’s power to present information on the state of the union to Congress, recommend legislation to Congress, Convene both house of Congress on extraordinary occasions, adjourn Congress if the House and Senate cannot agree on adjournment, and veto legislation (although this may be overruled by Congress with a two-thirds vote in each of the houses).
- Presidential Powers
- The president is essentially responsible for the United States’ interactions with foreign countries. He appoints representatives, consuls, and ambassadors to other countries, chooses whether or not to recognize other countries, is responsible for Americans outside the United States, and participates in summit conferences.
- Presidential Powers
- Judicially, the President can grant reprieves and pardons for federal offenses (except impeachment). He can also nominate federal judges, who are confirmed by a majority of the senate.
- Presidential Powers
(Commander in Chief)
- As a commander in chief the president has civilian control of the military. This includes appointing high ranking military personnel, declaring war, and utilizing war powers. War Powers include declaring wars and being subject to legislative vetoes which allow the Congress to override a presidential decision. The War Powers Act, established during Nixon’s presidency, was created to ensure that the president took Congress’ opinions in establishing military agendas, and also that he would have to withdraw troops within 60 days of putting out troops unless approved otherwise by Congress.
- Presidential Powers
- As an executive, the President has the ability and the obligation to manage national affairs through the management of domestic rules and regulation. The president also has the ability to issue executive orders.
- Presidential Powers
- Economically, the president has the ability to make judgments about budget allocations and expenditures (through his policymaking bodies at the Executive Office, Council of Economic Advisors, and Office of Management and Budget)
- Presidential Powers
- As a party leader, the president supports the party of which he is a part and often uses this to endorse other candidates for Congress and local offices. Additionally, as a part of the idea of “presidential coattails”, some Congressmembers can be elected because individuals like the president and the Congress members in question belong to the same party as the President.
- Solicitor General v. Attorney General
- The solicitor general argues cases on behalf of the United States in front of the United States Supreme Court. However, the Attorney General is present in each court and voices the Presidents' opinion on the case (somewhat like an amicus curaie brief)
- Civil Rights v. Civil Liberties
- Civil liberties are not expressly stated in the Constitution but they guard against discriminatory behavior. Civil liberties are protected by the Bill of Rights.
- Stare Decisis
- A Latin phrase meaning, “let the decision stand”. The vast majority of cases reaching appellate courts are settled on this principle.
- Writ of Certiorari
- a formal document issued from the Supreme Court to a lower federal or state court that calls up a case.
- the process by which the lower courts can ask the Supreme Court to certify a legal matter.
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