Front Back
The collection of public institutions in a nation that establish and enforce the rules by which the members of that nation must live
Social contract
An agreement to form a government and abide by its rules.
Social equality
Equality and fair treatment of all groups within the various institutions in society that serve the public at large.
Equality of opportunity
The idea that each person is guaranteed the same chance to succeed in life
Political equality
A condition in which members of different groups possess substantially the same rights to participate actively in the political system.
Public goods
Goods, such as clean air and clean water, that everyone consumes and must share
A political orientation that favors a more assertive role in the redistribution of economic resources, but emphasizes individual freedom on a range of social issues
Declaration of Independence
Formal document listing colonists' grievances and articulating the colonists' intention to seek independence; formally adopted on July 4, 1776.
Freedom of choice.
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
A form of government in which one person, usually a member of a royal family or a royal designate, exercises supreme authority.
A form of government in which a small exclusive class, which may or may not attempt to rule on behalf of the people as a whole, holds supreme power.
A form of government in which a particular religion or faith plays a dominant role in the government.
Franchise (Suffrage)
The right to vote.
Natural rights
Rights citizens are born with (including life, liberty, and property) that government cannot take away.
Popular sovereignty
The idea that the ultimate source of power in the nation is held by the people.
Representative democracy
A form of government designed by the U.S. Constitution whereby free, open, and regular elections are held to allow citizens to elect individuals who govern on their behalf and who are responsible for making and enforcing public policy.
Direct democracy
A system of government in which all citizens participate in making policy, rules, and governing decisions.
Political culture
The values and beliefs about government, its purpose, and its operations and institutions that are widely held among citizens in a society.
Amendment 1
Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
Amendment 2
Right to keep and bear arms.
Amendment 3
Prohibits the quartering of troops.
Amendment 4
Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
Amendment 5
Right to a fair trail, can't be tried twice for the same crime, and you don't have to testify against yourself.
Amendment 6
Right to a fair, speedy trial
Amendment 7
Right to a trial by jury in civil cases
Amendment 8
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment 9
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
Amendment 10
Powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people
Amendment 13
Prohibition of slavery
Amendment 14
Rights of citizens: 1)all persons born in the united states are granted citizenship, 2) no state can deny any person the equal protection of the laws, 3)no state can deny any person life, liberty, property without due process of law
Amendment 15
No denial of vote because of race, color, previous condition of servitude
Amendment 19
Women's right to vote
Amendment 20
Presidential/VP/congressional terms of office begin in Jan; New meeting dates for Congress; Emergency presidential and VP succession
Amendment 22
(Presidential Term Limits) Limits the president to two terms or a maximum of ten years
Amendment 23
Right to vote for president in District of Columbia
The supreme political power of a government to regulate its affairs without outside interference.
The doctrine underlying a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and constituent political subunits.
Cooperative federalism
The doctrine of federalism that affords Congress nearly unlimited authority to exercise its powers through means that often coerce states into administering and/or enforcing federal policies.
Dual federalism
The doctrine of federalism that holds that state authority acts as a limit on congressional power under the Constitution.
States' rights
The right of states to limit the power of the federal government.
Grants from the federal government to states that allow state governments to pursue specific federal policies, such as highway construction
Virginia plan
A proposal that empowered three separate branches of government, including a legislature with membership proportional to population.
New Jersey plan
A proposal that would have retained the Articles of Confederation principle of a legislature where states enjoyed equal representation.
Three-Fifths Compromise
A compromise proposal in which five slaves would be counted as the equivalent of three free people for purposes of taxes and representation.
Connecticut plan
The Great Compromise; bicameral congress with equal representation in one house and proportional representation in the other house.
Article 1
Article of the Constitution that defines the Legislative Branch, it's powers, members, and workings.
Article 2
Article of the Constitution that defines the Executive Branch, it's powers, duties, and means of removal.
Article 3
Article of the Constitution that sets up the Judicial Branch and defines treason.
Amendment process
step 1: amendment proposed by 2/3 vote of both houses of congress OR a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of 2/3 out of 50 states. THEN amendment ratified by 3/4 of the 50 state legislatures OR 3/4 of special constitutional conventions called by 50 states THEN the ne…
Enumerated powers
Express powers explicitly granted by the Constitution such as the taxing power specifically granted to Congress.
Reserved powers
Those powers expressly retained by the state governments under the Constitution.
Concurrent powers
Those powers shared by the federal and state governments under the Constitution.
Necessary and proper clause
The clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that affords Congress the power to make laws that serve as a means to achieving its expressly delegated powers.
Implied powers
Powers that congress has that are not stated explicitly in the constitution
Supremacy clause
The provision in Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution that provides that the Constitution and federal laws override any conflicting provisions in state constitutions or state laws.
Full faith and credit clause
The provision in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution that forces states to abide by the official acts and proceedings of all other states.
Elastic clause
The final paragraph of Article I, Section 8, of the constitution, which authorizes congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the enumerated powers.
Interstate Commerce clause
The clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) that gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations.
States needed to ratify original Constitution
Two-thirds, or nine states.
Separation of powers
The principle that each branch of government enjoys separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility
The transfer of power and responsibilities for certain regulatory programs from the federal government back to the states.
A document giving an official instruction or command.
Unfunded mandate
A directive from the federal government to the states requiring that they perform certain functions, with no accompanying funds to support those functions.
The division of a legislature into two separate assemblies.
Marbury v. Madison
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review
McCulloch v. Maryland
The case that established that Congress enjoys broad and extensive authority to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" to carry out its constitutionally delegated powers.
Dred Scott v. Sanford
The case that ruled that slaves were property and could not sue.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
The federal law that invalidated literacy tests and property requirements and required select states and cities to apply for permission to the Justice Department to change their voting laws. As a consequence, millions of African Americans were effectively reenfranchised in the South.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The federal law that banned racial discrimination in all public accommodations; prohibited discrimination by employers and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate complaints of discrimination; and denied public funds to schools that continued to discriminate on …
Judicial Review
Authority given the courts to review constitutionality of acts by the executive/state/legislature; est. in Marbury v. Madison
Supremacy clause
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
Double Jeopardy
Being tried twice for the same crime. This is prevented by the 5th Amendment
Due process
5th Amendment Principle stating that government must follow procedures in trials
Selective incorporation
The process by which provisions of the Bill of Rights are brought within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment and so applied to state and local governments.
Civil Liberty
fundamental individual right protected by law and expressed as immunity from unwarranted governmental interference
Civil right
Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals.
Affirmative action
A policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities
De jure segregation
Racial segregation that occurs because of laws or administrative decisions by public agencies.
De facto segregation
Racial segregation that occurs because of past social and economic conditions and residential racial patterns.
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
Eminent domain
Power of a government to take private property for public use; the U.S. Constitution gives national and state governments this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken.
Exclusionary rule
A rule that provides that otherwise admissible evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial if it was the result of illegal police conduct
Plessy V. Ferguson decision
separate facilities were except able as long as they were substantially equal, couldn't force social interaction
Brown V. Board decision
Court realized that just because they're labeled equal they aren't. This case overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and ended segregation
Civil war Amendments
Also know as the 13,14,15 Amendments. The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery. The 14th guaranteed citizenship to former slavers. The 15th declared that states may not deny the vote of any citizen on the basis of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
Lemon Test
The three-part test for Establishment Clause cases that a law must pass before it is declared constitutional: it must have a secular purpose; it must neither advance nor inhibit religion; and it must not cause excessive entanglement with religion.
Periods of Federalism
shay Rebellion
Event that highlighted the weakness of the Articles of Confederation and sparked the new constitution debate
Standards of Judicial Review for civil rights case
Criminal law that touches on a constitutionally protected interest must be rationally related to furthering a legitimate government interest. (Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia): The rational basis test (example: requiring a license to perform surgery). If a fundamental right li…
Equality of outcome
The concept that society must ensure that people are equal, and governments must design policies to redistribute wealth and status so that economic and social equality is actually achieved
Terms of office for: congress, Presidency, and the courts
Unitary government
a centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single central agency
Confederal government
a form of government in which states hold power over a limited national government.
Federal Government
A form of government in which powers are divided between a central government and several local governments
Equal protection clause
14th amendment clause that prohibits states from denying equal protection under the law, and has been used to combat discrimination

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams


Join to view and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view and access 3M+ class-specific study document.


By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?