Government Final Test

  1. According to the preamble to the Constitution, the functions of government are to: establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.
  2. Politics is the making of policy decisions; who gets what, when, and how.
  3. A republic is a representative, or indirect, government, acting with the consent of the governed.
  4. With the Great Compromise, the framers agreed to a House of Representatives, apportioned by each state's population, and a Senate with two members from each state, chosen by the state legislatures.
  5. The Constitution provided for three branches of government based on separation of powers among the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary; and checks and balances of each branch against the other two.
  6. It takes approval of 2/3 of the U.S. House and Senate, plus approval of 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.
  7. Federalism is the allocation of power between the national government and the states.
    States are the basic unit of government; they establish local governments, and they are the building blocks of the federal government.
  8. Many states offer their voters one or more of these methods of direct democracy: a direct initiative, an indirect initiative, a referendum, or a recall.
  9. A bill, or proposed law, can only become law if it is passed by both houses of Congress and is approved by the president.
  10. A member of Congress acting as a "delegate" would vote the way his or her constituents want. A legislator acting as a "trustee" would vote according to his or her own best judgment.
  11. Some "magic numbers" in the U.S. Senate are: 41 - to maintain a filibuster, and prevent a vote on the Senate floor; and 60 - to invoke "cloture," or closing off debate to end a filibuster.
  12. Members of Congress have constituencies both in their home districts and in Washington, D.C.
  13. The War Powers Act of 1973 limits presidential authority. It requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops overseas, and to get congressional approval to put U.S. forces to combat for more than 60 days.
  14. The president can appoint executive officials, ambassadors, and federal judges, and make treaties, with the approval of the Senate.
  15. An executive order is a rule or regulation, issued by the president, that has the force of law. Unlike a law, it can be reversed immediately by any later president.
  16. A bureaucracy exists for the public good; is designed to be impersonal; gets its money from taxpayers; but is not directly accountable to them.
  17. The philosophy of "judicial restraint" holds that courts should not seek to make policy. The Supreme Court should apply the "original understanding" of the Framers' intentions to its interpretation of the Constitution.
  18. Each of the nine Supreme Court justices may issue or join in one of these three kinds of opinions: for the majority, in concurrence (with the majority), or dissenting.
  19. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, largely guarantees specific rights and liberties.
  20. The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
  21. The Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) allowed racial segregation laws in America, ignoring the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of rights by the states.
  22. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination in voting registration, public accommodations, public schools and facilities, and employment.
  23. Political action committees (PACs) are fund-raising committees that represent interest groups by give campaign money to candidates for office.
  24. Public opinion polls are interviews or surveys with samples of people to measure the opinions of an entire population.
  25. The Democratic Party grew, ca. 1800, around Anti-Federalist leaders; it is now the liberal/left party. The Republican Party was born in 1854 as an anti-slavery party; it is now the conservative/right party.
  26. The major political parties perform the following functions: form coalitions; recruit candidates for office; offer a choice of candidates and programs; manage the transfer of power; staff and run the government; link the branches and levels of government; and make elected officials accountable to the voters.
  27. The Constitution established an electoral college to select the president indirectly. It represented a compromise between direct popular election of the president and selection of the president by Congress.
  28. "Get-out-the-vote" efforts (GOTV) are campaign activities to push potential voters to the polls on election day.`
  29. "Paid media" is purchased print, radio and TV campaign advertising; "free media" is positive press coverage by reporters for print and electronic news outlets.
  30. Among the reasons people commonly give for not voting are: too busy, sick or disabled, didn't care/not interested, didn't like the candidates, or were out of town.
  31. The newspaper industry has been shrinking; there are fewer daily papers, fewer readers, less competition, and concentration of ownership in a few large chains.
  32. The "mainstream" media (major TV networks, newspapers, and news magazines) have an unstated liberal bias, but often attempt balance; the ´┐Żalternative´┐Ż media (talk radio, political websites, "niche" media) often have an open political bias, and make no attempt at balance.
  33. Massive federal government intervention in the economy began with Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" programs. They did not end the Great Depression, but probably extended it.
  34. To save Social Security for future generations, one or more of these actions will have to be taken: increase the payroll tax, cut benefit levels, increase the retirement age, start means-testing for benefits, or use private accounts to allow worker to invest for greater returns.
  35. If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.
  36. Government regulations generally channel and slow economic activity.
  37. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were all designed, at least in part, for collective security. If one member nation was attacked, the others agreed to defend it.
  38. A tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical, fundamentalist "Islamists."
  39. Among the Islamist enemies of America and the West are Islamist Shia, like Iran's ruling mullahs; and Wahabbist Sunni Islamists, like al Qaeda.
  40. The Cold War was usually fought through surrogates, brinksmanship, diplomacy and espionage. It only occasionally flared into a shooting "hot" war, and never directly between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Card Set
Government Final Test
Government Final Test