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AP American Government Semester 1 Review

AP American Government Semester 1 Review



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Published by irregularflowers
Short summaries of the chapters covered in the first semester of my AP American Government class
Short summaries of the chapters covered in the first semester of my AP American Government class

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Published by: irregularflowers on Jul 16, 2010
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Chapter 1: The Study of American GovernmentSummary There are two major questions about politics: who governs? To what ends?Four answers have traditionally been given to the question of who governs-The Marxist—those who control the economic system will control the political one-The elitist—a few top leaders, not all of them drawn from business, make the key decisions withoutreference to popular desires-The bureaucratic – appointed civil servants run things-The pluralist – competition among affected interests shapes public policy To choose among these theories or to develop new ones requires more than describing governmental institutionsand processes. In addition one must examine the kinds of issues that do get taken up by the political system andhow that system resolves them The distinction between different types of democracies is important. The Framers of the Constitution intended thatAmerica be a representative democracy in which the power to make decisions is determined by means of a freeand competitive struggle for citizens’ votes.Key TermsPowerAuthorityLegitimacyDemocracyDirect or participatory democracyRepresentative democracyEliteMarxistsBureaucratsPluralistChapter 2: The ConstitutionSummary The Framers of the Constitution sought to create a government capable of protecting both liberty and order. Thesolution they chose—one without precedent at that time—was a government that was based on a writtenconstitution that combined the principles of popular consent, the separation of powers, and federalism.Popular consent was embodied in the procedure for choosing the House of Representatives but limited by theindirect election of senators and the electoral college system for selecting the president. Political authority was tobe shared by three branches of government in a manner deliberately intended to produce conflict among thesebranches. This conflict, motivated by the self-interest of people occupying each branch, would, it was hoped,prevent tyranny, even by a popular majority.Federalism came to mean a system in which both the national and state governments had independent authority.Allocating powers between the two levels of government and devising means to ensure that neither large nor smallstates would dominate the national government required the most delicate compromises at the Philadelphiaconvention. The decision to do nothing about slavery was another such compromise.In the drafting of the Constitution and the struggle over its ratification in the states, the positions people took werechiefly determined not by their economic interests but by a variety of factors. Among these were profounddifferences of opinion over whether the state governments or the national government would be the best protectorof personal liberty.Key TermsUnalienableArticles of ConfederationConstitutional ConventionShay’s RebellionGreat CompromiseRepublic Judicial ReviewChecks and balancesFederalismSeparation of powersFactionFederalists
AntifederalistsFederalist papersCoalitionWrit of habeas corpusBill of attainderEx post facto lawBill of rightsAmendmentsLine-item vetoChapter 3: Congress and FederalismSummaryStates participate actively both in determining national policy and in administering national programs. Moreover,they reserve to themselves or the localities within them important powers over public services, such as schoolingand law enforcement, and public decisions, such as land-use control, that in unitary systems are dominated by thenational government.How one evaluates federalism depends in large part on the value one attaches to the competing criteria of equalityand participation. Federalism means that citizens living in different parts of the country will be treated differently,not only in spending programs, such as welfare, but in legal systems that assign in different places differentpenalties to similar offenses or that differentially enforce civil rights laws. But federalism also means that there aremore opportunities for participation in making decisions—in influencing what is taught in the schools and indeciding where highways and government projects are to be built. Indeed, differences in public policy—that is,unequal treatment—are in large part the result of participation in decision-making. It is difficult, perhaps impossible,to have more of one of these values without having less of the other.Key TermsDevolutionBlock grantsFederalismSovereigntyUnitary systemConfederation or confederal systemFederal systemFederal regime“necessary and proper” clauseNullificationDual federalismCityMunicipal corporation or municipalitySpecial-act charterDillon’s ruleHome-rule charterOrdinancesCountiesSpecial-district governments or authoritiesSchool districtsPolice powerInitiativeReferendumRecallGrants-in-aidCategorical grantsRevenue sharingConditions of aidMandatesSecond-order devolution Third-order devolutionChapter 4: American Political CultureSummary
 The American system of government is supported by a political culture that fosters a sense of civic duty, takespride in the nation’s constitutional arrangements, and provides support for the exercise of essential civil liberties. Inrecent decades mistrust of government officials has increased, and confidence in their responsiveness to popularfeelings has declined.Although Americans value liberty in both the political system and the economy, they believe equality is important inthe political realm. In economic affairs they wish to see equality of opportunity but accept inequality of results.Not only is our culture generally supportive of democratic rule, it also has certain distinctive features that make ourway of governing different from what one finds in other democracies. Americans are preoccupied with their rights,and this fact, combined with a political system that encourages the vigorous exercise of rights and claims, gives toour political life an adversarial style. We generally do not reach political decisions by consensus, and we often donot defer to the authority of administrative agencies. American politics, more than that of many other nations, isshot through at every stage with protracted conflict.Key TermsPolitical culturePolitical subculturePolitical ideologyCivic dutyCivic competenceWork ethicClass consciousnessOrthodoxProgressivePolitical efficacyInternal efficacyExternal efficacyChapter 5: Public Opinion“Public opinion” is a slippery notion, partly because there are many publics, with many different opinions, andpartly because opinion on all but relatively simple matters tends to be uninformed, unstable, and sensitive todifferent ways of asking poll questions.Americans are divided by their political ideologies but not along a single liberal-conservative dimension. There areseveral kinds of issues on which people may take “liberal” or “conservative” positions, and they often do not takethe same position on all issues.Political elites are much more likely to display a consistently liberal or consistently conservative ideology. Elites areimportant because they have a disproportionate influence on public policy and even an influence on mass opinionthrough the dissemination of information and the evocation of political norms.Key Terms John Q. PublicMiddle AmericaSilent majoritySocial statusReligious traditionGender gapPollRandom sampleLiberalConservativePolitical ideologySampling errorLibertariansPopulistsPolitical eliteNormChapter 6: Political ParticipationSummary The popular view that Americans don’t vote as a result of apathy is not quite right. It is nearer to the truth to saythat we don’t all register to vote and don’t always show up when registered. There are many factors having nothing

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