Shared Flashcard Set


American Government
PS 101
Undergraduate 1

Additional Civics Flashcards




the 15th Amendment
prohibited the denial of voting rights on basis of race and thus gave the right to vote to black men.
3. By the end of the 19th century, blacks were disfranchised (deprive of right, especially voting) in the South through such things as
a. The grandfather clause (which exempted those whose grandfathers had the right to vote before 1867)
b. Literacy tests
c. Poll tax
d. White primary (which prevented blacks from voting in primary elections before the general elections).
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA)
a. Made it illegal to interfere with anyone’s right to vote
b. Abolished the use of literacy tests
c. Sent federal voter registrars into counties where less than 50% of voting age population (black and white) was registered, in order to prevent serious barriers to voter registration
d. Gave the federal government power to approve of any changes in election procedures
“cracking, stacking, and packing”
2. Success of the VRA led to gerrymandering
a. Used by some white officials, particularly in the South, to diminish the political clout of blacks in heavily populated black areas by redrawing districts to minimize black representation
Solution to gerrymandering
a. Majority-minority district (the majority of the constituents in the district are racial or ethnic minorities )
i. Came about through congressional revisions of the VRA in 1982 and upheld by the Supreme Court
ii. Increases the probabilities that minorities will win seats in government.
Powerful interests opposed suffrage for women
a. Liquor interests feared women’s suffrage would lead to prohibition
b. Businesses feared women’s suffrage would force better working conditions for women and children
c. The Catholic Church opposed women’s suffrage as being against the “proper” role of women.
The 19th Amendment
Gave women the right to vote in 1920
The 26th Amendment
gave 18 year olds the right to vote in 1971
who is barred from voting today?
convicted felons,
the mentally incapable,
and those not meeting minimal residence requirements
The complex structure of offices, tasks, rules, and principles of organization that is employed by large scale institutions to coordinate effectively the work of their personnel
Common features of bureaucracies
a. Hierarchies of authority (i.e., place in a “pyramid” structure) fewer near the top and more near the bottom
b. Individuals with more expertise and experience have more authority; advancement is based on performance and/or seniority
c. Hierarchical structure can generate undemocratic behavior.
d. Bureaucracies are hired not elected.
The Official Role of The Federal (Public) Bureaucracy
implement and enforce policies made by elected officials (i.e., Congress and the president)
Characteristics of the Federal Bureaucracy (Goals)
1. supposed to promote public interest
Federal Register Act (1934)
Requires that all rules and regulations proposed by government agencies be made public in the Federal Register, a government publication
Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
Provides for public participation in the rule-making process
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Lets any member of the public apply to an agency to obtain access to unclassified documents in its archives.
i. Presidents have played important role in the policy on FOIA implementation
ii. Democratic presidents have traditionally been more open than Republican presidents
Sunshine Act (1977)
Requires that most government meetings be conducted in public and that notice of such meetings be posted in advance
Why the Federal Bureaucracy Has Grown
1. Demands of the American public
a. Paradox at play—Americans criticize government’s growth but, at the same time, demand services from the government
2. Grow over time due to additional responsibilities assigned to them.
3. Usually expands during national crises.
a. After 9/11, Homeland Security
4. Sometimes it grows because the president and Congress want it to be more accountable.
5. Bureaucratic agencies are rarely eliminated once established.
Patronage system
Allows elected officials to fill bureaucratic jobs on the basis of political loyalty rather than merit (friendship or nepotism)
Merit system
A system of filling bureaucratic jobs on the basis of competence rather than patronage.
a. Established by the Pendleton Act of 1883 that set up the Civil Service Commission which conducts competitive examinations to fill bureaucratic jobs with competent individuals.
b. Established neutral competence (requires that individuals are chosen for their expertise in executing policy in a non-partisan or neutral manner) as the professional standard for civil service employees.
Cabinet Departments
: Organizations within the executive branch that form the president’s cabinet
a. Department heads are called secretaries
b. Except for the head of the Justice Department- the Attorney General
i. Appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate
ii. Directly responsible to the president
c. Currently there are 15 cabinet departments, and they make up most of the federal bureaucracy (60% of civil servants).
d. Exist to carry out the president’s policies in specific functional areas, such as national security, foreign affairs, fiscal, etc
The Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy
1. Cabinet Departments
2. Independent Executive Agencies
3. Independent Regulatory Boards and Commissions
4. Government Corporations
Independent Executive Agencies
They differ from cabinet departments in that they are usually smaller and their heads do not sit in the cabinet
a. Agency heads are appointed by and responsible to the president
b. Sometimes a president does extend cabinet status to the head of an independent executive agency, most notably the director of the EPA
CIA, the Social Security Administration, NASA, the Peace Corps, FBI
Independent Regulatory Boards and Commissions
:”Independent” parts of the bureaucracy; supposed to be removed from politics as much as possible.
a. Each regulate specific area of business or the economy
i. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)- regulates electronic media
ii. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)- makes and enforces rules regarding stocks, bonds, and securities.
iii. Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”)- sets prime interest rates and controls the amount of money in circulation Ben Bernanke-Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the U.S
b. Headed by presidential appointees
c. By law, each board and commission must be balanced with members of both major political parties (i.e., Democratic and Republican Party)
d. Appointees serve staggered terms
e. Cannot be removed by presidents who dislike their decision.
Government Corporations
Business run by government to provide services the public needs but, no private company will provide because they are not profitable
a. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): The 1st government corp, created in 1933 when no utility company was willing to invest in the infrastructure necessary to bring electricity to a very poor and under-developed region of the country.
b. Postal Service: Formerly a cabinet department; converted to a gov’t bus in 1971.
c. Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation): Created when railroads in the 1960s were no longer willing to provide passenger service.
d. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): Insures private bank deposits because no private insurance company was willing to take the risk.
Functions of the Federal Bureaucracy
1. Policy implementation:
2. Two major components of policy implementation:
a. Administering policy: Execute, enforce, and apply the rules that have been made either by Congress or the bureaucracy itself.
b. Making policy: Clarify laws and formulate rules to implement them (i.e., “de facto” policymaking).
i. Delegated legislative authority: The power to draft, as well as execute, specific policies
3. Regulation: A special kind of policymaking- one that produces rules, standards, or guidelines conferring benefits and imposing restrictions on business conduct and economic activity. (gallons of gas, compared to liters of gas)
a. Has the force of law
b. Made by regulatory agencies whose directors and board members are appointed by the president.
c. Most regulations are derived from laws passed by Congress.
4. Data collection and analysis (U.S. Census)
a. The bureaucracy collects data and makes it available to the public, such as the Census which takes place every 10 years
b. Keeps the public informed about what government is doing, mainly via the Internet
c. Engages in research (NDC)
5. The bureaucracy provides continuity in governing- career civil servants keep government agencies functioning day in and day out so that all essential work continues even as elected and appointed officials come and go from.
Overseeing the Federal Bureaucracy
1. Presidents
2. Congress
3. Courts
4. Interest Groups and Individuals
Supporting users have an ad free experience!