Term Definition
government the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies
public policies all things a government decides to do, i.e. dealing with taxation, crime, education, etc
legislative power power to make law and to frame public policies
executive power power to execute, enforce, and administer law
judicial power power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within society
constitution the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes, of a government
dictatorship form of government where power is held by one person or small group of persons often without consent from public, not accountable for the will of the people
democracy form of government where supreme power is held by the people
state a body of people, living in a defined territory, organized politically, and with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher power
soverign having supreme and absolute power within its own territory and can decide its own foreign and domestic policies
autocracy a government in which a single person holds unlimited political power
oligarchy a government in which power is held by a small, usually self-appointed elite
unitary government government where all powers are held by a single, central government
federal government government in which powers are divided between a central and several local governments
division of powers the dividing of powers that cannot be changed by either the local or national level acting alone
confederation an alliance of independent states
presidential government government where the powers are divided between the executive and the legislative branches of government
parliamentary government government where the executive is made up of the prime minister or premier, and that official’s cabinet
compromise the process of blending and adjusting competing views and interests
law of supply and demand law stating that when supplies of goods and services become plentiful, prices tend to drop
mixed economy an economy in which private enterprise exists in combination with a considerable amount of government regulation and promotion
limited government the idea that government is not all-powerful and that each person has certain rights which the government can’t take away
representative government the idea that government should serve the will of the people
magna carta the great charter signed by king john that limited his power and protected certain rights of people
petition of right petition limiting the king’s power; demanded that people not be imprisoned without lawful judgement
english bill of rights document prohibiting a standing army in peacetime, and required that all parliamentary elections be free
charter a written grant of authority from the king
bicameral two-house legislature
proprietary colonies colonies that were organized by a proprietor
unicarmeral one-house legislature
confederation the joining of several groups for common purpose
albany plan of union franklin’s plan proposing the formation of an annual congress of delegates from each of the 13 colonies, which would have power to act as a government
delegates representatives
boycott a refusal to buy or sell certain products
repealed withdrawn or canceled
popular sovereignty where government can only exist with consent of the governed
articles of confederation document establishing “a firm league of friendship” among the states, acting as a guide to what the congress could do
ratification formal approval
presiding officer the chair but not president
framers group of delegates who attended the philadelphia convention
virginia plan plan for new government with three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial
new jersey plan plan for unicameral congress of the confederation with each state equally represented
connecticut compromise compromise where congress should be composed of two houses: in the senate the states would be represented equally and in the house the representation of each state would be based upon its population
three-fifths compromise compromise where all free persons would be counted and three-fifths of slaves would also be counted for population of each state
commerce and slave trade compromise compromise where congress was forbidden the power to tax the export of goods from any state and was forbidden the power to act on the slave trade period of at least 20 years
federalists those for favored ratification
anti-federalists those who opposed ratification
quorum majority
preamble introduction to the constitution
articles numbered sections of the constitution
constitutionalism the idea that government must be conducted according to constitutional principles
rule of law concept where government and its officers are always subject to the law
seperation of powers the concept where basic powers are distributed to independent branches of government
checks and balances system where each branch is subject to a number of constitutional checks by the other branches
veto rejection
judicial review the power of courts to determine whether what government does is in accord with what the constitution provides
unconstitutional to declare illegal, null, and void, of no force and effect an act that defies the constitution
federalism the division of power among a central government and several regional governments
amendment a change to the constitution
formal amendments changes or additions that become part of the written language of the constitution itself
bill of rights the first ten amendments
executive agreement a pact made by the president directly with the head of a foreign state
treaty a formal agreement between two or more sovereign states
electoral college the group that makes the formal selection of the nation’s president
cabinet advisory body to the president
senatorial courtesy the practice of senate approves only the presidential appointees who are acceptable to the senator or senators of the president’s party from the senate involved
federalism a system of government in which a written constitution divides the powers of government on a territorial basis between a central, or national, government and several regional governments
division of powers system where certain powers are assigned to the national government and certain powers to the states
delegated powers powers delegated to the government by the constitution (expressed, implied, and inherent)
expressed powers powers delegated to the government that are written out in the constitution
implied powers powers not expressly stated in the constitution by are reasonably implied by the expressed powers
inherent powers powers that belong to the national government because it is the national government of a sovereign state in the world community
reserved powers powers that the constitution does not grant to the national government and does not deny to the states
concurrent powers powers that both the national government and the states possess and exercise
enabling act an act directing the people of the territory to frame a proposed state constitution
act of admission an act creating the new state
grants-in-aid-programs grants of federal money or other resources to the states and/or their cities, counties, and other local units
revenue sharing program where congress gave an annual share of the huge federal tax revenue to the states and their cities, countries, and townsihps
block grants grants that are made for much more broadly defined purposes than are categorical grants
project grants grants made to states, localities, and sometimes private agencies that apply for them
interstate compacts agreements among states and foreign states
full faith and credit clause clause that most often comes into play in court matters
extradition the legal process by which a fugitive from justice in one state can be returned to that state
privileges and immunities clause clause that no state can draw unreasonable distinctions between its own residents and those persons who happen to live in other states
bill of rights first ten amendments
civil liberties guarantees of the safety of persons, opinions, and property of arbitrary acts of government
civil rights prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religious belief, or national origin
aliens people who are not citizens of the country they live in
due process clause 14th amendment: no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
process of incorporation process incorporating most of the guarantees in the bill of rights into the 14th amendment’s due process clause
establishment clause freedom of religion
parochial church related
free exercise clause guarantees to each person the right to believe whatever he or she chooses to believe in matters of religion
libel the false and malicious use of printed words
slander false and malicious use of spoken words
seditious speech advocating the violent overthrow of the government or other unlawful violence
sedition the crime of attempting to overthrow the government by force or to disrupt its lawful activities by violent acts
prior restraint government cannot place ban on words before they are said
shiel laws laws give reporters some protection against having to disclose their sources or reveal other confidential information in legal proceedings in those states
symbolic speech expression of opinion or feeling by facial expression or the wearing of a symbol
picketing patrolling of a business site by workers who are on strike
assemble gather with one another
content neutral government can regulate assemblies on the basis of time, place, and manner, but it can’t regulate assemblies on the basis of what might be said there
right of association right to associate with others to promote political, economic, and other social causes
substantive due process the substance or policies of governmental action in the due process clause
procedural due process the methods of governmental action in the due process clasue
police power authority of each state to act to protect and promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare
search warrant court order authorizing a search
involuntary servitude forced labor
discrimination unfairness
writs of assistance blanket search warrants that are prohibited by the 4th amendment
probable cause reasonable suspicion of crime
exclusionary rule evidence gained as the result of an illegal act by police cannot be used at the trial of the person from whom it was seized
writ of habeas corpus court order demanding reasoning for prisoner to continued to be held before being convicted of something
bill of attainder legislative act that inflicts punishment without a court trial (prohibited by article 1, sections 9 and 10)
ex post facto law law passed after the fact of a crime can apply to a crime committed before its passing
grand jury formal device by which a person can be accused of a serious crime
double jeopardy once a person is tried for a crime they can’t be tried again for the same crime
bench trial trial with only a judge hearing the case
miranda rule person must be told their rights and provided a public defender if needed
bail a sum of money that the accused may be required to give to the court as a guarantee that they will appear in court at the proper tiem
preventive detention judge order for the accused to be held without bail when there is a good reason to believe that the accused will commit another crime if released
capital punishment death sentence
treason 1) levying war against the United States or 2) aiding enemies
immigrants aliens legally admitted as permanent residents
reservations public lands set aside for native american tribes
refugees people who seek protection from war, persecution, or other danger
assimilaition the process by which people of one culture merge into and become part of another culture
segregation separation of one group from another
jim crow laws laws that separate people on the basis of race
separate but equal doctorine constitutional base for jim crow laws
integration the process of bringing a group into the mainstream of society
de jure segregation segregation by law
de facto segregation segregation by tradition
affirmative action action to fix past damage made by discrimination
quotas certain number allowed
reverse discrimination discrimination against majority group
jus soil law of soil meaning if someone is born in a country they become a citizen of that country by birth
jus sanguins law of blood if you are born to a parent who is a citizen of a country you become a citizen by being born to them
naturalization legal process by which a person becomes a citizen of another country at some time after birth
expatriation legal process by which a loss of citizenship occurs
denaturalization loss of citizenship by court order
deportation legal proces in which aliens are legally required to leave the united states
term of congress two year period starting on january third of every odd year
session of congress one year period where congress assembles and conducts business
prorogue end of congressional session
special sessoin meeting to deal with some emergency situation
apportioned distributed
reapportion redistribute
off-year elections congressional elections that occur in the nonpresidential years
single-member district arrangement where voters in each district elect one of the state’s representatives from among a field of candidates running for a seat in the house from that district
at-large arrangement where state’s seats are filled by election from the sates as a whole rather than from a district
gerrymandered drawing of districts to the advantage of the political party that controls the state’s legislature
strict constructionist anti-federalists led by thomas jefferson wanting the government to only practice expressed and implied powers (conservative)
liberal constructionist federalists led by alexander hamilton that wanted a liberal government
consensus general agreement
direct tax tax that must be paid directly to the government by the person on whom it is imposed
indirect tax tax that is paid by one person and then passed to another
public debt all the money borrowed by the federal government over the years and not repaid
deficit financing practice of spending more money than one has, then paying debt later
commerce power power of congress to regulate interstate and foreign trade
legal tender legal money
bankruptcy legal proceeding in which the bankrupt’s assets are distributed among those to whom a debt is owed
copyright the exclusive right of an author to reproduce, publish, and sell their work
patent sole right to manufacture, use, or sell a product
eminent domain the inherent power to take private property for public use
appropriates assigns to a particular use
doctrine a principle or fundamental policy
successor a person to fill the vacancy
impeach accuse a president of illegal action
aquit find someone not guilty
subpoena legal order directing one to appear in court and/or produce certain evidence
government sem 1

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