Political Science Study Guide

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Midterm Exam Review Sheet
POSC 10, American Government and Politics
Please note: Students are responsible for reading and knowing what is contained in all of the assigned chapters, as well as anything covered in class discussions, lectures, and handouts. This review sheet is not meant to be all inclusive, but rather is a general guide as to the types of things that may be included on the exam.

Introduction: The Democratic Republic
Some Things to Know:
• Harold Lasswell: “Who Gets What, When, and How” • Politics
• Government
• Authority
• Legitimacy
• Power
• Oligarchy
• Elites
• Aristocracy
• Democracy
- Direct or Participatory Democracy
- Indirect Democracy or Representative Democracy
• Legislature
• Initiative
• Referendum
• Recall
• Republic
• Consent of the People
• Representative Democracy
• Limited Government
• Elite Theory
• Pluralism
• Political Socialization
• Liberty, Equality, and Property

“The Critical Period” – John Quincy Adams

Popular Sovereignty

• What is required, when is it exercised, how is it exercised.
• Gives legitimacy to our government
• Bruce Ackerman: “We the People…”
-Founding, Civil War, 1930s/Great Depression
• Requirements for People to Exert it.

Characteristics of the American Political System

• Liberty, Equality, and Property, (Democracy).

How Voters Decide?

Who Governs?

-The Pluralists, Elites, Bureaucrats, etc.

The Changing Face of America

- Explain the concept.
- List and explain the factors involved.


• Defined, charted, who believes what.
• Socialist, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, Libertarian

Chapter Two: Colonial America and the Constitution.

Initial Colonizing

• Roanoke Island – 1588, Sir Walter Raleigh, “the Lost Colony”
• Jamestown – 1607, Virginia Company of London
• Mayflower – 1620, Mayflower Compact (Significance of)
-Depended on the consent of the affected individuals
-It served as a prototype for similar compacts in American History
• Massachusetts Bay Colony – 1630.
• Other Colonies in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and elsewhere.
• 13 Colonies by 1732

Sugar Act
Stamp Act
First Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
The Declaration of Independence (by Jefferson)
Natural Rights
Social Compact
Confederation (defined)
Unicameral Legislature (defined)
Bicameral Legislature (defined)
Articles of Confederation (Structure, Powers & Weaknesses, see pg. 37-38 of text) Shay’s Rebellion, Debtor crisis, etc.

Drafting the Constitution (by Madison)
• The Constitutional Convention: Conflicts and Resolutions of Issues Involved,
the Plans, Compromises necessary to resolve conflicts.
• Internal Debates: Strong vs. Weak Central Government;
• Virginia (Randolph) or Large State Plan; (Comparing the Plans) • New Jersey (Patterson) or Small State Plan (Comparing the Plans) • Connecticut Compromise (by Roger Sherman), 3/5 Compromise (Resolution of Differences)

• System of Separation of Powers (Spirit of the Laws, 1748, Baron Montesquieu) Drafting the Constitution cont.
• System of Checks and Balances (How it works, see pg. 45 of text) • Article I: The Legislature (Congress: House of Representatives and Senate) • Article II: The Executive (President)

• Article III: The Judiciary (The Supreme Courts and “inferior” courts) • The Final Document:
• At its core was the idea of Popular Sovereignty – Here the People Rule
• Understand the concept, when it is exercised, and why it is significant.
• Know the discussion of the Bruce Ackerman book, “We the People”
• Requirements for People to get involved.
• When have the people exerted their roles as sovereigns. • A...
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