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AP Government Midterm Review

December 29, 2010

The fundamental beliefs of a constitutional democracy-

LIFE: The individual's right to life should be considered inviolable except in certain highly
restricted and extreme circumstances, such as the use of deadly force to protect one's own or
others' lives.

LIBERTY: The right to liberty is considered an unalterable aspect of the human condition.
Central to this idea of liberty is the understanding that the political or personal obligations of
parents or ancestors cannot be legitimately forced on people. The right to liberty includes
Personal freedom: the private realm in which the individual is free to act, to think and to
believe, and which the government cannot legitimately invade;
political freedom: the right to participate freely in the political process, choose and remove
public officials, to be governed under a rule of law; the right to a free flow of information
and ideas, open debate and right of assembly; and
Economic freedom: the right to acquire, use, transfer and dispose of private property
without unreasonable governmental interference; the right to seek employment wherever
one pleases; to change employment at will; and to engage in any lawful economic activity.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: It is the right of citizens in the American constitutional

democracy to attempt to attain - "pursue" - happiness in their own way, so long as they do not
infringe upon the rights of others.

JUSTICE: People should be treated fairly in the distribution of the benefits and burdens of
society, the correction of wrongs and injuries, and in the gathering of information and making of

EQUALITY: All citizens have: political equality and are not denied these rights unless by due
process of law; legal equality and should be treated as equals before the law; social equality so as
there should be no class hierarchy sanctioned by law; economic equality which tends to strengthen
political and social equality for extreme economic inequality tends to undermine all other forms of
equality and should therefore be avoided.

TRUTH: Citizens can legitimately demand that truth-telling as refraining from lying and full
disclosure by government be the rule, since trust in the veracity of government constitutes an
essential element of the bond between governors and governed.

POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY: The citizenry is collectively the sovereign of the state and hold
ultimate authority over public officials and their policies.

RULE OF LAW: Both government and the governed should be subject to the law.

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT: The republican form of government established under

the Constitution is one in which citizens elect others to represent their interests.

INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS: Fundamental to American constitutional democracy is the belief that

individuals have certain basic rights that are not created by government but which government
should protect. These are the right to life, liberty, economic freedom, and the "Pursuit of
happiness." It is the purpose of government to protect these rights, and it may not place unfair or
unreasonable restraints on their exercise. Many of these rights are enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

FEDERALISM: Power is shared between two sets of governmental institutions, those of the states
and those of the central or federal authorities, as stipulated by the Constitution.

Direct Democracy is a pure democracy in which the government is directly run by the people without the
use of an intermediary such as a representative in a republic.

The Constitutional Convention is the convention held from May 25 to September 17, 1787 after the
Annapolis Convention of 1786 that framed the Constitution of the United States.

James Madison, only 36 at the time of the framing of the Constitution, was already a distinguished scholar
at the time and helped frame the Virginia Constitution while also serving in the Virginia Assembly and in
the Continental Congress. Madison was the leader of those who favored a strong central government in
the Constitutional Convention.

The Great Compromise, also known as the Connecticut Compromise, is the compromise made between the
Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. This took parts from both plans to appease the supporters of
small states and large states and concluded with having a lower house based on population to appease the
larger states and an upper house with equal representation to appease the smaller states. This is the
compromise that formed the Constitution.

The Three-Fifths Compromise also led to the unification of the north and south under the
Constitution by imposing that three-fifths of slaves counted for taxes and population.

Federalists are people who vouched for the adoption of the new constitution. Prominent members
included Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay; all writers of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS.

Antifederalists are those who opposed the constitution on some grounds or another, most notably the lack
of a Bill of Rights. Prominent members included Edmund Randolph, George Mason, and Patrick Henry.

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Examples of Checks and Balances include:

The Necessary and Proper Clause, also the Elastic Clause: Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 18, empowers Congress to make
all laws that are “necessary and proper” for it to fulfill the powers it was given in the Constitution, also
called enumerated powers.

Implied Powers are powers not found explicitly stated in the Constitution, but are reasonably implied by
the expressed powers.

“Examples of implied powers include Congress’s regulation of labor-management agreements,

the prohibition of racial discrimination in public palaces, and the building of an interstate
highway system. Although these powers are very diverse, Congress acted on its authority
under one expressed power—the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce—to
initiate these acts.”

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

The Reserved Powers stated in the Constitution means that any power not specifically given to the federal
government resides in the rights of the states or the rights of the people. This is the Tenth Amendment.

Initiative, referendum and recall

Initiative is the procedure where a number of voters may via petition propose a law to be
submitted onto an election ballot

Referendum is the right of the people to submit for popular vote the measures passed by the
legislature to be reconsidered

Recall is essentially impeachment on a state and local level

The right of the Judiciary to strike down a government law or order is called judicial review.

A writ of mandamus is a court order directing an official to perform an official duty. This was a main
point established in the early 1800s decision Marbury vs. Madison

Types of Federalism

Duel Federalism – the idea that the separate levels of government have distinct and supreme
authority in their own little spheres of power. Supreme Court is the umpire between the states
and the federal level vouching for power

Cooperative Federalism – stresses that federalism is a system of interdependent entities that rely on
each other to run with overlapping powers. The relationship between levels of federalism allows
for all resources and services to be delivered to the people.

Marble Cake Federalism – All levels of government are involves in a variety of issues and programs
rather than a layer cake (duel federalism) with fixed divisions between layers of government.

Permissive Federalism – All of the power that the states hold is given to them from the power of
the federal government. This also allows for the supremacy of the federal government and the
revocation of state’s rights.

New Federalism (aka Devolution Federalism) – The national government gives back some of its
acquired powers back to the states. This usually invites the experimentation of social experiments
and leads to the advancement of programs. State’s rights.

Benefits of Federalism

Federalism checks the growth of tyranny Federalism keeps government closer to the people
Federalism allows unity without uniformity Federalism encourages experimentation

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Types of Grants

Block Grants are broad grants given to states from the federal government for prescribed activities
like welfare, child care, education, healthcare, etc. with only a few strings attached. This gives
states a lot of flexibility as to how to spend the money.

Project Grants consists of sums appropriated by Congress which then goes to local and state
governments, governmental agencies and nongovernmental agencies that apply for the grant, such
as the National Science Foundation.

Categorical-Formula Grants – Funds appropriated by Congress for specific purposes such as

highway building and maintenance and school lunches. They are put up when the requirements
are met and require some sacrifice of funds on the local level as well to receive federal stimulus.

Political Culture refers to the widely shared beliefs, norms and values concerning the relationship between
the person and their government and to one another. American political culture generally associates itself
and places importance on individualism, independence, liberty, equality, democracy, nationalism,
optimism, the rule of law, and idealism.

Political Ideology refers to the consistent patterns of ideas concerning politics and government. It includes
criticism of how government works and how it should work. It links basic values with government.
Most Americans fall into the two major schools of thought: Conservatism and Liberalism. And then again
three lesser schools of thought: environmentalism, socialism and libertarianism.

For government to adhere to the rule of law, all rules and policies must adhere to these five rules:

1. Generality: Laws should be stated generally, not singling out any group or individual
2. Prospectivity: Laws should apply to the future and not apply to actions in the past.
3. Publicity: Laws cannot be kept in secret and then enforced.
4. Authority: Valid laws are made by those with legitimate power and the people legitimate
that that power through some form of popular consent.
5. Due Process: Laws must be enforced impartially and speedily.

See Chart on Liberalism and Conservatism

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AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Political Socialization is the process by which parent teach their children about political beliefs, values and
attitudes. Political socialization can happen at home, school or in the neighborhood among friends.
Parental political identity is the strongest determinant as to how the child will align themselves, albeit in
the teenage years, friends are more influential.

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s nation or ethnic group. Think Hitler.

Demographics is the study of the characteristics of a population.

Let’s talk about cleavage. Not that kind.

Reinforcing Cleavages are divisions within a society that reinforce one another, making groups
more similar.

Cross-cutting Cleavages are divisions that cut across demographic categories to produce differing

To compare, take religion. If all of the rich were of religion and all of the poor of another, then
the differences will strengthen each other, thus being a reinforcing cleavage. In America, religion
is spread out across all economic barriers, meaning that a rich protestant and a poor protestant
would vote the same way, regardless of economic status, leaning into a cross-cutting cleavage.
Because of the multitude of cross-cutting cleavages in American society, society is comparably very

Gender Gap Facts:

“The median full-time salary for U.S.

women is 77%of that of U.S. men….
Women who work part-time make more
on average than men who work part-
time…. Women are far more likely than
men to be social workers, paralegals and
legal assistants, teachers, nurses, speech
pathologists, dental hygienists, maids and
housekeeping cleaners, and childcare
workers.” – American Political Science

The gender gap is slowly filling

in, but there still is a distinct
division between “a man’s job”
and a “woman’s job.”

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Lobbying is the process of persuading public officials to take actions favorable to a given organized group
called an interest group.

Direct Lobbying is the straightforward petitioning and essentially bribery of elected officials to act in
accordance with those petitioning.

Indirect Lobbying falls under two categories:

Electioneering is the process of helping a public official get re-elected. Giving money to some
campaign is the most effective way in which interest groups can reward politicians who have
voted favorably on that interest group's policy agenda.

Propagandizing is the effort by an interest group to persuade the general public that the interest
group is protecting the general interest in its policy agenda. As long as a group, doctors for
example, have a favorable image with the general public, it is difficult to pass legislation that
seems to be harmful to that group.

Types of Interest Groups:

Economic Interest Groups are large corporations, e.g. McDonalds, Ford, GM, Microsoft, Coca-
Cola; trade and other associations, e.g. the Chamber of Commerce, the Conference Board, and
the National Association of Realtors; and labor unions, e.g. Knights of Labor, American
Federation of Labor, and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Professional Groups are, strangely enough, groups that represent different professions, e.g.
American Bar Association, American Medical Association, Motion Picture Association of America,
and the American Hospital Association.

Ideological or Single-Issue Interest Groups behave very much like economic interest groups, but
instead of monetary gain, they are solely focused on the future legislation regarding their one
issue, e.g. Right to Life, Pro-Choice, National Rifle Association, Christian Coalition, and the
American Civil Liberties Union.

Public Interest Groups claim to promote the public interest of different segments of the public.
AARP claims to protect the rights of all senior citizens, regarless if they are part of the group.
Tax exempt charities fall under this category as the mission of their organizations benefits the
public as do environmental groups such as Greenpeace who claim to act on for the benefit of all.
Examples include Common Cause, American Heart Association, AARP, Boy Scouts, and
American Cancer Society

Foreign Policy Interest Groups pressure and influence the president and Congress te enact change
in the way the US handles foreign affairs and policy. The works of these groups enacted the
involvement of the US in the end of Apartheid in South Africa along with forming the American-

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Israeli Free Trade Agreement. Groups include The Council of Foreign Relations and the
National Association of Arab Americans.




Still no.

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

A Political Action Committee (PAC) is the branch of an interest group that is legally allowed to raise funds
on a voluntary basis from members, stockholders, or employees in order to contribute to a favored
candidate’s campaign. Until 2004, PACs were able to contribute unlimited amounts of soft money to a
candidate’s party for party building purposes. Now it is highly illegal, but PACs may still throw their
support for a candidate, but not though straight donations to the candidate’s party.

Characteristics of a Political Party:

They Organize the Competition. They recruit and nominate candidates for office while also
guaranteeing their competency. They activate voters and enlist volunteers to help with campaigns.
They organize all parts of the race building up to the election.

They Unify the Electorate. Although they are attributed with causing problems in the American
democratic system, they actually tend to simplify the election. There is a strong incentive in both
parties to fight differences within their own party and then all come together to fight the opposing

They Organize the Government. The American government system works along party lines. The
majority in Congress elects the officers of the chamber, the heads of the committees and has the
majority on almost all votes. All state legislatures, except Nebraska, run along party lines.

They Translate Preferences into Policy. The winning political party has to moderate its goals in
order to be reelected, leading towards stability in government with public policy never changing
greatly from election to election. But also, the parties bring their policies into action and have a
chance to fulfill their campaign promises.

They Provide Loyal Opposition. The political party not in power closely watches over the actions
of the party in power looking for corruption and misdeeds in efficiency and morality. There is
usually a honeymoon period right after the election where the watchdogging party does not
criticize to full extent.

National party leadership, meaning that there should be some form of structure at the national

Party platforms explaining what the political party stands for and the reasoning behind their plans
in a (somewhat) transparent manner. This also includes the power to nominate candidates for
public office.

AP Government Midterm Review
December 29, 2010

Types of political parties include:

Ideological parties are those based on a particular set of beliefs, a comprehensive view of social,
economic, and political matters. The Communist and Libertarian parties are examples of
ideological parties. Although they have not won many elections, they have been long-lived.

Economic protest parties are those parties rooted in periods of economic discontent, for example,
the Greenback and Populist parties of the late 1800s.

Splinter parties are those that break off from one of the two major parties, e.g. the "Bull Moose"
party of 1912 and the Dixiecrats" of 1948.

Criticism of political parties:

- Parties do not take meaningful and contrasting positions on most issues

- Party membership is essentially meaningless

- Parties are so concerned with accommodating the middle of the ideological spectrum they are
incapable of serving as an avenue of social progress