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AP Gov Chapter 1
Terms and definitions
31
Political Studies
01/17/2011

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Term
power
Definition
the ability of one person to get another person to act in accordance with the first person's intentions
Term
authority
Definition
the right to use power
Term
legitimacy
Definition
political authority conferred by law, public opinion, or constitution
Term
democracy
Definition
a term used to describe a political system in which the people are said to rule
Term
direct (participatory) democracy
Definition
a political system in which all or most citizens participate directly by either holding office or making policy. The town meeting, in which citizens vote on major issues, is an example.
Term
representative democracy
Definition
a political system in which leaders and representatives acquire political power by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote. This is the form of government used by nations that are called democratic
Term
elite
Definition
an identifiable group of persons who possess a disproportionate share of some valued resource--such as money or political power
Term
Marxists
Definition
people who believe that those who control the econonmic system also control the political one
Term
bureaucrats
Definition
the appointes officials who operate government agencies from day to day
Term
pluralist
Definition
a theory that competition among all affected interests shapes public policy
Term
unalienable
Definition
based on nature and Providence rather than on the preferences of people
Term
Articles of Confederation
Definition
a constitution drafted by the newly independent states in 1777 and ratified in 1781. It created a weak national government that could not levy taxes or regulate commerce. In 1789 it was replaced by our current Constitution in order to create a stronger national government.
Term
Constitutional Convention
Definition
a meeting of delegates in 1787 to revise teh articles of confederation, which produced a totally new constitution still in use today
Term
Shay's Rebellion
Definition
a rebellion in 1787 led by Daniel Shays and other ex- Revolutionary War soldiers and officers to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes. The revelot highlighted the weaknesses of the Confederation and bolstered support for a stronger national government
Term
Great Compromise
Definition
a compromise at the Constitutional Convetion in 1787 that reconciled the interests of small and large states by allowing the former to predominate in the Senate and the latter in the House. Under the agreement each state received two reps in the Senate, regardless of size, but was allotted reps on the basis of population in the House
Term
republic
Definition
a form of democracy in which power is vested in reps selected by means of popular competitive elections
Term
judicial review
Definition
the power of the courts to declare acts of the legislature and of the executive to be unconstitutional and hence null and void
Term
checks and balances
Definition
the power of the legislature, executive, and judicial branches of government to block some acts by the other two branches
Term
federalism
Definition
a political system in which ultimate authority is shared between a central government and state or regional governments
Term
separation of powers
Definition
a principle of American government whereby constitutional authority is shared by three separate branches of government--the legislative, the executive, and teh judicial
Term
faction
Definition
according to James Madison, a group of people who seek to influence public policy in ways contrary to the public good
Term
Federalists
Definition
supporters of a stronger central government who advocated ratification of the Constitution. After ratification, they founded a political party supporting a strong executive and Alexander Hamilton's economic policies
Term
Antifederalists
Definition
opponents of a strong central governemtn who campaigned against ratification of the Constition in favor of a confederation of largely independent states. They successfully marshaled public support for a federal bill of rights. After ratification, they formed a political party to support states' rights.
Term
Federalist papers
Definition
a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, james Madison, and John Jay (all using the name "Publius") that were published in New York to adopt the newly proposed Constitution. They are classics of American constitutional and political thought
Term
coalition
Definition
an alliance among different interest groups (factions) or parties to achieve some political goal. An example is the __________ sometimes formed between Republicans and conservative Democrats
Term
writ of habeas corpus
Definition
a court order directing a police officer, sheriff, or warden who has a person in custody to bring the prisoner before a judge and show sufficient cause for his or her detention. Designed to prevent illegal arrests and imprisonments.
Term
bill of attainder
Definition
a law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime. The state legislatures and Congress are forbidden to pass such acts by Article I of the Constitution
Term
ex post facto law
Definition
a law that makes criminal an act that was legal when it was committed, that increases the penalty for a crime after it has been committed, or that changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier; a retroactive criminal law. The state legislatures and Congress are forbidden to pass such laws.
Term
bill of rights
Definition
a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
Term
amendments
Definition
Changes in, or additions to, the US Constitution. Amendments are propsed by a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by Congres at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures and ratified by approval of 3/4 of the states
Term
line-item veto
Definition
the power of an executive to veto some provisions in an approprations bill while approving others. The president does not have the right to exercise a ___________ and must approve or reject an entire appropriations bill