You are on page 1of 6

Midterm Study Guide

1. Social Contract: Presumption of an imaginary or actual agreement among people to set up a

government and obey its laws. The English natural rights philosopher John Locke, among others,
to explain the origin of legitimate government, developed the theory.
2. Judicial Branch: The branch that interprets the Constitution in courts at a local, state, and federal
level. Judicial review is the power of the courts to declare laws and actions of the local and state
governments or nation government invalid if they are found to contradict the US Constitution.
3. Executive Branch: The branch of government that carries out the laws made by the legislative
branch and undertakes other constitutionally provided functions:
The authority to carry out and enforce the law (executive power)
4. Legislative Branch: A group of elected government officials with authority to make and change
5. Separation of Power: The division of the powers of government among the different branches.
Separating powers is a primary strategy of promoting constitutional or limited government by
ensuring that no one individual or branch ahs excessive power that can be abused.
6. Government: an organization of rule in established over territory that has certain powers to look
over and take care of the said territory. There are three such forms of a different manner amongst
people in the country.
7. Delegate: a person chosen to act for or represent others. At the Philadelphia Convention different
delegates were sent from each of the thirteen states to represent them and their views on the
8. Checks and Balances: In American constitutional thought, distributing and balancing the powers
of government among different branches so that no one branch or individual can completely
dominate the others.
9. Enumerated Powers: Those rights and responsibilities of the U.S. government specifically
provided for and listed in the Constitution.
10. Northwest Ordinance: Passed by congress under the articles, the ordinance defined the process
by which territories would become states, protected civil liberties in new territories, and was the
first national legislation to set limits on the expansion of slavery.
11. Amend: to fix or heal, an amendment was a change or addition to a legal document, which
benefited society and the common good.
12. Proportional Representation: According to the Virginia Plan that benefited the larger states,
states should be represented in the government in a manner proportional to their population.
13. 3/5 Clause: Compromise in representation in which the North and South agreed to count five
slaves as three people as part of the population.
14. Divided Powers: The division of powers to the state, national, and local governments
15. Necessary and Proper Clause: Gives congress the power to make all laws that are necessary and
proper to carry out the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. It is also known as
the elastic clause because of the vagueness of the phrase necessary and proper.
16. Anti-Federalists: Opponents to the ratification of the US Constitution who believed that it gave
excessive power to the federal government and failed to protect the rights and liberties of the
17. Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the US constitution. The Bill of Rights list many basic
rights that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect. Nearly all these
rights are now protected from violation by state governments.
18. Electoral College: A process established by the founding fathers long ago which consisted of 538
votes, 270 to win the majority of the vote. It gives each as many votes as its representation in
Congress, meaning, one vote for each senator and state representative in the state. It was created
as a compromise of those who wanted vote for president in Congress and Popular vote with the
19. Democrat: Represented by a blue donkey. A group of people who represent the lower portion of
the population of America. Led by Barrack Obama and believe in equality and lowering the
nations deficit. They oppose the republicans in most economic and social/public issues.
20. Republican: Represented by a red elephant. A group of people who represent the higher portion
of the population of America. Led by many, including Mitt Romney and believe in empowering the
military and taxing all of the population. They oppose democrats in most economic and
social/public issues.
21. Constitution: A plan of government that sets forth the structures and powers of government. In
democracies, a constitution is an authoritative law through which the sovereign people authorize
a government to be established and grant it certain powers.
22. Ratify: Formal approval of some form of legal instruments such an s a constitution or treaty.
23. Filibuster: Parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to
delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal.
24. Pocket Veto: The President can pocket veto, which means he can put it aside or table it. He can
come back to it if he chooses, whenever he wants.
25. Veto: The president can simply refuse to sign a bill passed, where it can be override by Congress
again, but until then, it cannot be passed
26. Precedent: Previous court decisions upon which legal issues are decided.
27. Supremacy Clause: States that the US constitution, laws passed by Congress, and treaties for the
United States shall be the supreme Law of the Land and binding on the states.
28. Popular Sovereignty: The natural rights concept that ultimate political authority rests with the
29. Appeals: The bringing of a court case from a lower court to a higher court to be heard again.
30. Judicial Review: The power of the courts to say that the Constitution does not allow the
government to do something.
31. Roger Sherman: Author of the Connecticut Compromise or the Great Compromise
32. George Washington: President of the Constitution
33. Benjamin Franklin: Delegate at the Constitution, only Founding Father who signed the
Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the
United States Constitution. He was also an abolitionist.
34. Thomas Jefferson: Father of the Declaration of Independence
35. James Madison: Father of the Constitution
36. George Mason: Father of the Bill of Rights
37. Differences Between Democrats and Republicans: *See Democrat and Republican (18 and 19)
38. Differences Between House and the Senate: SENATE: 6-year term, informal, 100 people,
personal, infinite debate time, 2 senators represent each state. H.O.R: 2-year term, formal, 435
people, impersonal, one hour debate time, representative for each district within district.
39. 2012 Republican Primary Candidates: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick
Santorum, Michele Bachmann
40. Federalist/Anti-Federalist Party: FEDERALISTS: First political party, led by Alexander Hamilton,
wanted good relations with Britain, supported tariffs and a national bank ANTI-FEDS: Created
after the federalist party, led by men such as Samuel Adams, believed we should not associate
with foreign countries, and opposed national bank and tariffs.
41. Function of Political Parties: Mobilizing support and gathering power, a force for stability and
moderation, unity, linkage, accountability, electioneering, party as a voting, and issue cue.
42. Special Interest Groups: Lobbyists-groups who seeks to influence politicians on an issue.
Partisan-Loyal to one political party
Non Partisan-No commitment to any political party
No permanent friends, no permanent enemies
Donate Money to campaigns, help define issues, endorse candidates, convince congressmen to pass
43. Political Spectrum:

44. Liberal Characteristics: the group of political philosophies that advocates
minimizing coercion and emphasizes freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians
generally advocate a society with significantly less government compared to most present day
45. Conservative Characteristics: A group of people who want to prevent the change of the
Constitution. They want to restore things into tradition and maintain rules of the Constitution.
These people do not want change.
46. Moderate Characteristics: Groups of people, who are not on extreme ends of the spectrum,
therefore are not extreme parts of partisan or radical sides of the spectrum.
47. Role of Political Parties: Parties are put in place to coalesce people with similar interests
together so they can battle each other and reach a reasonable compromise. Without parties, there
would be no argument, therefore, more poor laws would be passed.
48. Advertising Techniques:
Testimonial-endorsements from celebrities and other well-known people

Mudslinging-often referred to as attack ads Name Calling, groundless assertions, to create
negative impression of ones opponent. This strategy may backfire by making the first candidate
appear cruel and arrogant.

Transfer-Use of positive symbols to create a positive image for the candidate or use of negative
symbols to create negative image of ones opponent.

Card Stacking-Use of statistics, often in a one sided manner.

Plain Folks-An attempt by a candidate to appeal to the average voter as just one of the people

Glittering Generalities-Usually first type of ad used in a campaign, positive, to leave a good
impression, using very vague words and phrases, having a positive effect on the viewer and
appeal to a variety of interests

Bandwagon-Similar to card stacking, attempt to convey a sense of momentum, everybody is
doing it, so should you

Contrast Ad-juxtaposing positive images of ones candidacy with negative images of the opponent
in the same ad.

49. Purpose of Federalism: A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a
central government and state and local governments.
50. Shared Powers (w/examples): To tax, To borrow money, To establish courts, To make and
enforce laws, The charter bank and corporations, To spend money for the general welfare, To take
private property for public purposes with just compensation.
51. Federalism: A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central
government and state and local governments.
52. Branches of Government: Executive, Judicial, Legislative
53. How Legislative Checks Other Branches: JUDICIAL: impeaches judges and removes them from
office, approves or reject presidential nominates to the courts, participate in amending the
Constitution EXECUTIVE: overrides presidential vetoes, impeaches president or declares war,
confirms or rejects presidential appointments, ratifies or rejects treaties of the president, controls
money for government programs
54. Who is in the Legislative Branch: Congress (Senate and House of Representatives)
55. Who is in the Executive Branch: President, Vice President, Cabinet
56. Who is in the Judicial Branch: Supreme Court, Justices of S.C.
57. Who has Power in a Representative Democracy: The citizens or the people
58. Powers of Judicial Branch: Holds trials of significance and deals and solves all cases brought to
the supreme courts. Interprets Laws.
59. Powers of Executive Branch: To execute laws created by Congress. To maintain the nations
deficit and spending and to command the army, navy, and air force.
60. Powers of Legislative Branch: Creation of law, controls federal finances, creation and
maintenance of a military for the country, Congress to hold hearings and committee investigations,
and balance in the federal government.
61. Shays Rebellion: An armed revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and
mortgage foreclosures. The rebellion fueled support for amending the Articles of Confederation.
62. Framework of our Government: Articles of Confederation that proposed rules to the first
thirteen states or colonies.
63. Purpose of Constitutional Government: The purpose of having a constitutional government is
to limit power of rulers and members of a government and having a higher law that everyone
must obey. Also, it spreads power in a good fashion so that no one can have too much power.
Basically, it limits the powers of a government.
64. Philadelphia Convention: The meeting held in Philadelphia from May to September 1787 at
which the US constitution was written. Also called the constitutional convention.
65. F/AF Bill of Rights Arguments: Federalists thought it was unnecessary and that the Constitution
is clearly portraying the rules and rights indirectly. Anti-Feds thought the Constitution was not
specific and did not talk about human rights, therefore, it should be added to the Constitution
66. F/AF Powers of National Government Arguments: They believed that representative
government could only work in a small community because only then will the representatives
accurately reflect the needs and desires of that community. Plus since the geography was so large,
Robert Yates argued that it could no longer reflect hose citizens character or wishes. Then to
uphold their power, they will use force instead of going by the popular agreement.
67. Virginia Plan: The plan presented at the Philadelphia Convention that provided for a national
government composed of three branches. It proposed a Congress of two houses, both of which
would be based on proportional representation. The Virginia Plan favored a strong national
68. The Great Compromise: To solve the quarrel between the NJ plan and Virginia plan, they
decided to have two parts of the government. The senate would have two votes from each state
corresponding to the New Jersey Plan and the House of Representatives in which representation
would be proportional to each states population.
69. New Jersey Plan: Plan presented at the Philadelphia Convention, which called for one house
national legislature, in which each state would have equal representation. This arrangement
would favor small states. The NJ Plan followed the framework of the Articles and favored a weak
national government.
70. Pleads the 5
: part of the Fifth Amendment that gives you the right not to testify against
yourself in court.
71. Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the Constitution. It lists some basic rights of the
people that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect.
72. Self Incrimination: the act of accusing one self for a crime for which they can then be prosecuted.
73. Double Jeopardy: The provision in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a person
may not be tried twice for the same crime.
74. Petition: A formal, written request.
75. Press: Newspapers, magazines and other news media. Also, the reporters and people who
produce them.
76. Assembly: the right to meet with others to discuss your beliefs, ideas, or feelings.
77. Search Warrant: Formal writing that gives federal government the right to search for something.
Must have probable cause and or evidence.
78. Limits on Right to Assembly: Safety hazards, disturbance of the peace, incitation of riots, and or
unsafe conditions.
79. Eminent Domain: The inherent power of the state to seize a citizen's private property or to
expropriate property or rights in property without the owner's consent. The Fifth Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution provides for "just compensation" for private property taken for public use,
known as the "takings clause".
80. Due Process: A fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and
that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the
government acts to take away one's life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that
a law shall not be unreasonable
81. The Free Exercise Clause: The part of the First Amendment that says the government shall not
stop you from holding any religious beliefs you choose. The government may not unfairly or
unreasonably limit your right to practice any religious beliefs you wish.
82. Limits of Free Exercise Clause: The clause cannot be used as a loophole. It cannot be an excuse
for doing something illegal in which case the clause breaks down.
83. Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: Unreasonable searches of ones person and unreasonable
seizure of a person without warrant are not allowed until ones safety is jeopardized.
84. Right to Bear Arms: 2
Amendment-Part of the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution in 1791.
The Amendment says "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
85. Protection of the Accused Against Excessive Fines, Bail, and Cruel/Unusual Punishments:
Limits federal governments from fining someone excessively for a crime, and also cannot inflict
cruel punishment without consent or approval of court after trial.
86. Freedom of Expression: The right to make knew such things as your beliefs and opinions by
means that are protected by the First Amendment.
87. Habeas Corpus: A court order directing that a prisoner be brought to court before a judge to
determine if the detention of the person is lawful. From the Latin term meaning, "you shall/should
have the body."
88. Appellate Court: A judicial body that hears appeals from a lower court.
89. Marbury vs. Madison:
Facts of the Case:
The case began on March 2, 1801, when an obscure Federalist, William Marbury, was designated
as a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. Marbury and several others were appointed to
government posts created by Congress in the last days of John Adams's presidency, but these last-
minute appointments were never fully finalized. The disgruntled appointees invoked an act of
Congress and sued for their jobs in the Supreme Court.

Is Marbury entitled to his appointment? Is his lawsuit the correct way to get it? And, is the
Supreme Court the place for Marbury to get the relief he requests?

Yes. Yes. It depends. The justices held, through Marshall's forceful argument, that on the last issue
the Constitution was "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation" and that "an act of the
legislature repugnant to the constitution is void." In other words, when the Constitution--the
nation's highest law--conflicts with an act of the legislature, that act is invalid. This case
establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial review.

90. Establishment Clause: The part of the First Amendment that says the government cannot set up
an official religion.
91. Biggest Argument of Federalists: Representation of different interests in government would
protect basic rights. The legislative branch could protect the local interests, the executive, national
interests, and the judicial ensured good judgment in government.
92. Biggest Argument of Anti-Federalists: National government does not protect individual rights,
the people are not represented, no limit to the power of Congress, the national level received too
much power over the states.
93. Problems of the Articles of Confederation: The Articles of Confederation give too much power
to the states and not enough power to the national government. That way, the states were almost
as separate as different nations rather than being united. This caused rebellions such as Shays
and made the monetary system worthless. Plus, they had no army or police system to control
people and enforce laws. No one could agree to pass laws either because meetings as a nation
were almost impossible to call because of how distinguished they were.
94. How does a Bill become a Law: A bill idea is introduced, it is put into a hamper, then is put in a
committee in either house, then after being voted on and revised, it is then voted on in what ever
house, then goes on to the next one, if voted successfully, the bill goes to the president where it
can be vetoed, pocket vetoed, or passed as a law.
95. Why most bills do not become law: Most bills die in committee because of lack of sponsors,
information, originality, etc. There are too many bills like it and most do not go past the committee
96. Committees: Groups where bills are revised, amended, and changed. Many different types of
committees that research bills and then vote to pass it forward in the bill process. Conference,
Standing, Sub, Select.
97. Committee Process: A bill is put into a committee; it is researched, and presented, then voted on.
98. Term Limit for President: 4 years
99. Term Limit for Representative: 2 years
100. Term Limit for Senator: 6 years
101. Term Limit for S-Court Justice: Until impeached or death