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Exam Review

Exam One

The Study of American Government

Power – the ability to change behavior

Authority – the ability to use power
Direct Democracy – participation of all or most citizens
Representative Democracy – leaders make decisions on behalf of citizens
Challenges to Democracy
 Balancing popular sovereignty/majority rule
 Balancing political freedom/political equality
 Non-ideal policies?
 Delegating authority
 Trade-off between freedom and order
 Instability of majority rule
Autocracy – authority vested in one person
Oligarchy – authority vested in a small group
Five Views of Government
 Class view – dominated by wealthy
 Power elite view – dominated by top leaders
 Bureaucratic view - dominated by appointed officials
 Pluralist view – competition affects policy
 Creedal passion view – dominated by “true believers”

The Constitution

Virginia Plan (Madison) – proposed a bicameral legislature with a popularly elected lower house
and upper house nominated by state legislatures (favored large states)
New Jersey Plan – proposed a one-house legislature with equal state representation
Connecticut Compromise (aka the “Great Compromise”) – proposed a two-house legislature
with House apportioned on the basis of population and Senate representing states on equal basis
Checks and balances – the way in which the three branches regulate each other’s powers
Three branches of government
 legislative (makes laws)
 executive (enforces laws)
 judicial (examines laws)
Federalism – sharing of power between national and state government
Enumerated powers – explicitly given to national government alone
Reserved powers – powers that state governments retain
Concurrent powers – shared powers


Confederal system – power held by independent states

Unitary system – power centralized
Federal system – power divided between central and state/local governments
Dual federalism – shared power
Cooperative federalism – two distinct spheres of power
McCulloch v. Maryland – “necessary and proper”
Arizona v. United States – Immigration law and enforcement is a federal power
Initiatives – voters place legislative measures or constitutional amendments on ballot
Recall – voters remove an elected official from office
Categorical grants – federal money designated for state purposes?
Conditions of aid – rules set by federal government to receive money
Block grants – grants without a specified purpose
Devolution – returning power to the states
10th Amendment – powers reserved to the states

Civil Liberties

Civil liberties – the protections of citizens from improper government actions

Incorporation doctrine – the Bill of Rights applies to state governments as well as the federal
government through the “due process clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment
Schenck v. United States – “clear and present danger test”
Brandenburg v. Ohio – “imminent lawless action test”
Elements of libel
 publication, identification, harm, must be false
Miller v. California – set obscenity criteria, but it’s still difficult to define what is considered
Symbolic speech – an action that expresses an idea
Cantwell v. Connecticut – extended First Amendment provisions to the state governments
(especially regarding freedom of religion)
Everson v. Board of Education – created “separation of church and state”
Lemon v. Kurtzman – established three-prong “Lemon Test” for evaluating laws
Lemon Test – the statute must…
 not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religious affairs
 not advance or inhibit religious practice (effect)
 have a secular legislative purpose
Mapp v. Ohio – exclusionary rule (4th/14th Amendments)
Gideon v. Wainwright – right to counsel (6th Amendment)
Miranda v. Arizona – right against self-incrimination (5th Amendment)

Civil Rights

Civil rights – the rights of people to be treated without unreasonable or unconstitutional

Brown v. Board of Education – overturned Plessy and is one of the most important civil rights
decisions ever made by the Supreme Court. “Separate is not equal”
Civil Rights Act of 1964 – outlawed segregation in schools and public places, barred
discrimination in employment based on sex, among others.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 – federal government responsible to ensure eligible voters were not
denied access to the ballot
Suspect classifications – classifications of people based on race/ethnicity; laws so classifying
people are subject to “strict scrutiny”
Strict scrutiny – the standard to which suspect classifications are judged. Classification must be
related to a compelling government interest, be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest, and use
the least restrictive means available
Griswold v. Connecticut – found a “right to privacy” in the Constitution that would ban any state
law against selling contraceptives
Roe v. Wade – state laws prohibiting abortion were unconstitutional
Lawrence v. Texas – state law may not ban sexual relations between same-sex partners
Obergefell v. Hodges – same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke – a quota-like ban on Bakke’s admission was
unconstitutional but that “diversity” was a legitimate goal that could be pursued by taking race
into account
Gratz v. Bollinger – numerical benefits cannot be used to admit minorities into college, but race
can be a “plus factor” in making those decisions
Affirmative action – laws or administrative regulations that require a business firm, government
agency, labor union, school, college, or other organization to take positive steps to increase the
number of African Americans, other minorities, or women in its membership.
19th Amendment – women have a right to vote.
Title IX – no sexual discrimination when it comes to participating in any educational program or
activity receiving federal financial assistance
Equality of results – making certain that people achieve the same result
Equality of opportunity – giving people an equal chance to succeed
Equal Rights Amendment – would have guaranteed equal legal rights for all American citizens
regardless of sex. Not enough states ratified it in time to be included in the Constitution.
Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in
the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.

Multiple Choice – 25 Questions, 2 Points Each

True/False – 10 Questions, 2 Points Each
Matching – 10 Questions, 2 Points Each (Match court case to what it did)
Short Answer – 5 Questions, 2 Points Each (One sentence per question will suffice)
Extra Credit – 5 Questions, Fill in the Blank, No Word Bank