Final Exam Study Guide
Note: Definitions are in bold and important points are underlined Chapter 1: The Study of American Government
Two Questions about Politics:
To what ends?
Political Power – the ability of one person to get another person to act in accordance with the first person’s intentions People who exercise political power may or may not have the authority to do so. Authority – the right to use power; the exercise of rightful power is easier than the exercise of power that is not supported by any persuasive claim of right Legitimacy – political authority conferred by law, public opinion, or constitution What is Democracy?
Democracy – has two different meanings
Direct or participatory democracy – a political system in which all or most citizens participate directly by either holing office or making policy. The town meeting, in which citizens vote on major issues, is an example of participatory democracy. Representative democracy (R.D.) – 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 gov’t used by nations that are called democratic. Framers embraced representative democracy because they saw it as a way of minimizing the chances that power would be abused by a tyrannical popular majority or by self-serving officeholders R.D. is any system of government in which leaders are authorized to make decisions by winning a competitive struggle for the popular vote Majoritarian politics – the politics of policy-making in which almost everybody benefits from a policy and almost everybody pays for it Elite – identifiable group of persons who possess a disproportionate share of some valued resource- in this case political power Four theories of Elite Influence
Marxists – people who believe that those who control the economic system also control the political one Claim societies are divided into capitalists and workers; whichever class dominates the economy will also dominate the gov’t Media/ Nongovernmental Elite – government is dominated by the media, whom are outside of government and enjoy advantages in wealth, status, or organizational position Bureaucrats – appointed officials who operate government agencies from day to day; Weber claims gov’t has fallen under control of large bureaucracies whose experience is essential to the management of contemporary affairs Pluralists – a theory that competition among all affected interests shapes public policy
Chapter 2: The Constitution
Unalienable – based on nature and providence, and not on the whims or preferences of people Articles of Confederation – 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 Constitutional Convention – Philadelphia meeting to revise the Articles; which produced a totally new constitution still in use today Shay’s Rebellion – 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 revolt highlighted the weaknesses of the Confederation and bolstered support for a stronger national government The Virginia (Big States) Plan –
strong national union organized into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial Legislature composed of two houses: first elected directly by the people and the second chosen by the first house from among the people nominated by state legislatures Executive was to be chosen by the national legislature
Judiciary chosen by national legislature
National legislature would have supreme powers on all matters on which the separate states were not competent to act, as well as the power to veto...