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AP Government and Politics Study Guide

The Constitution
Longevity
The Preamble: defines the objectives of the Constitution o To form a more perfect union o To establish justice o To ensure domestic tranquility o To provide for the common defense o To promote the general welfare o To secure the blessings of liberty The major factors creating longevity of the Constitution o The separation of powers of each branch of government o Checks and balances including a recognition that a simple majority vote may not be enough of a check o A built in elastic cause as part of Congresss power o A reserved power clause giving states power not delegated to the national government o Rights guaranteed to the citizens o Precedents and traditions creating an unwritten constitution o Judicial review growing out of an interpretation of the power of the Supreme Court o An amending process, which is flexible enough to allow for change even though it involves more than a majority vote o The inherent powers of the president

Branches of Government
Article I: the legislative powers of Congress o Bicameral legislature: The House of Representatives: the body most directly responsible to the people Senate: makeup based on equal representation, joins in a partnership with the House in passing laws. o Rules of Impeachment o Public view of Congress has continued to deteriorate since the 1970s. Oct 2005: 75% of people questioned were critical of Congress A majority of people indicated that they would vote for their incumbent o 1995 Thorton v Arkansas: state-imposed term limits were unconstitutional, indicating that the only way congressional terms could be altered was through an amendment

Powers of the Chief Executive


Article II: the nature of the chief executive, gives responsibility to a president and vice president.

Outlines the mechanics of the Electoral College and determines its procedures in the case where a candidate does not receive a majority of the electoral votes. o Refers to executive departments (does not specifically mention the presidents cabinet or federal bureaucracy.) The presidents major responsibility is to administer and execute the public policies of the United States. The inherent power of the president includes those powers that the president exercises that grow out of the existence of the national government, expands the power of the presidency. By signing congressional legislation into law, the president assumes the responsibility of enforcing the laws of the land. Foreign policy

Judicial Branch
Article III: nature of the judicial branch o Most vague o Does not give the Supreme Court the broad authority it has assumed o Scope of the court system Defines treason, and provides for a range of penalties, including death, if a person is convicted of the crime Marbury v. Madison (1803): judicial review Ethel and Julius Rosenberg: convicted of giving the Soviet Union information concerning the development of the atom bomb. Tried and convicted of treason and executed after the Supreme Court denied their appeal.

Legislative Powers
House of Representatives o 435 members: based on census (one House seat per 650,000 people in each state) o shadow representatives from D.C, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Senate o 2 senators per state Baker v. Carr: one man, one vote o Created guidelines for drawing up congressional districts and guaranteed