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Midterm Study Guide

by: Isabel Sistachs

Midterm Study Guide 24358

Isabel Sistachs

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Weeks 1-4 study guide
American Government and Politics
Alvin Tillery
Study Guide
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This 30 page Study Guide was uploaded by Isabel Sistachs on Saturday January 30, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to 24358 at Northwestern University taught by Alvin Tillery in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see American Government and Politics in Political Science at Northwestern University.


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Date Created: 01/30/16
Hamilton, Madison and Jay, ​The Federalist Papers, ​ #’s 47, 48, 10, 51 ● Federalist 47 ○ separation of powers is essential to a non-tyrannical government ■ unequal division of powers could result in the loss of liberty ● Federalist 48 ○ system of checks and balances must be established ○ each branch has certain exclusive powers ○ must understand and distinguish differences between legislative, executive, and judicial branches ○ legislative branch is most likely to abuse power ■ most power is given to them ■ executive and judicial power is simpler in nature and the constitution clearly defines and limits it ● Federalist 10 ○ addresses the question of how to guard against groups of citizens with interests contrary to the rights of others ○ strong, united republic would better be able to guard against dangers of rebellious citizens ● Federalist 51 ○ addresses checks and balances ○ advocates for a separation of powers within the national government ○ “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” The New American Democracy (ch.1 & 2) ● new american democracy is marked by a permanent campaign ○ phrase means that campaigning never ends ○ institutions matter for our understanding of the permanent campaign ■ set of rules that govern/direct how people interact with each other ● presidency, congress, courts, media, ● trust in government as decreased over time ○ people are frustrated with existing political rules ● government performs four key functions ○ protects citizens from unlawful activity ○ regulates social and economic relationships ○ provides services ○ defends the country from foreign aggression ● government by one person (monarchy, tyranny) ○ pharaohs, emperors, kings, tsars, and other monarchs ruled by hereditary right or religious appointment ■ ex: British Royal Family in England ● government by the few ○ aristocracy: most leaders are meritorious and chosen by virtue of birth into noble families ■ ex: Roman Republic of the first century BCE ○ oligarchy (more common): individuals who have captured power either through military action or through political party ■ ex: China, small group of Communist leaders rules ● government by the many (democracy) ○ all citizens share power ○ if democracy turns perverse → mobocracy ● direct democracy: all citizens participate personally in making government decisions ○ still exists in small New England towns where community decisions are made at regular town meetings ● representative democracy: citizens periodically choose representatives who have the authority to decide what governments do ○ prospective voting: citizens must look to the future while voting, taking into account each candidate’s campaign promises ○ retrospective voting: looking at the results of past policies rather than guessing at which future policies are best ● primary election: preliminary contest that narrows the number of candidates down ● general election: each party chooses a nominee and those two face off ● referendum: law or state constitutional amendment that is proposed by a legislature or other elected body but goes into effect only if approved by a specified majority of voters ● key developments that have contributed to the permanent campaign ○ separate election days for federal, state, and local elections ○ rise of mass communication ○ proliferation of polls ○ role of campaign money ● Mayflower compact: first document in colonial America in which people gave their express consent to be governed ● governance of the colonies ○ proprietary colonies: governed either by a prominent English noble or by the company ○ colonial assembly: lower legislative chamber elected by male property owners of colony ○ colonial council: upper legislative chamber appointed by British officials ○ governors had patronage power which was the power to hand out jobs and benefits ○ only white men could vote (they usually had to be property owners too) ● in 1765, British parliament imposed a stamp tax ○ colonial leaders opposed this ■ taxation without representation: levying of taxes by a government in which the people are not represented by their own elected officials ● First Continental Congress: boycott of British goods ● Second Continental Congress: directed the struggle for independence ● Declaration of Independence: document asserting independence from GB ● articles of confederation: first government document of the U.S. (forerunner of the constitution) ○ granted all national powers to the congress ○ thus, the constitution was created ■ constitutional convention ● virginia plan: each state is represented in proportion to its population, congress has general power ● new jersey plan: every state has the same # of representatives in congress, congress has limited and defined power ● connecticut compromise (great compromise): states represented equally in upper house, proportionally in lower house ● constitution created a framework that facilitated an ever more popular democratic experiment ● constitutional design of the federal government ○ 3 branches of federal government ○ separation of powers ○ bill of rights ■ first 10 amendments to the constitution ● federalism: type of government that divides sovereignty between at least two different levels ● anti-federalists: opponents to the U.S. constitution who argued that power should reside in the hands of the original 13 states Constitution ● consists of amendments and articles ● established America’s national government and fundamental laws ● guaranteed basic rights for citizens Lecture Notes (Week #1) ● what is government? ○ Thomas Hobbes (1651): the basic function of government is to preserve human life ○ F and P: there are four basic function of governments: to PROTECT citizens, to REGULATE socioeconomic relationships, to provide SERVICES, and to provide for a national DEFENSE ● The New American Democracy: there are key changes underway in our republic that some scholars believe threaten its survival ● key features of “the new american democracy” ○ people don’t know who to scold when things go wrong or praise when things go right because we have so many politicians/elections ○ permanent campaign cycle in american politics makes governing difficult ○ american citizens have exhibited declining trust in government and the civic engagement since the 1970s ● america became a “real” democracy in 1965 when voting rights act happened ● people lost faith in government when they saw a president (richard nixon) lie about watergate → created great degree of distrust in government ● Charles Beard (1874-1948) ○ developed the economic interpretation of the Founding ■ held that social and economic status of the framers led them to privilege their property rights over the democratic rights of the masses in the Constitution ● Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick (1960) ○ argued that Beard was wrong; the framers were motivated by a desire to resolve collective action problems and preserve the republic ■ collective action problem: advantageous for each state not to pay it’s taxes, creates problem for government ○ Shay’s Rebellion (1786): the financial crises that led to the rebellion cemented the national elite’s desire to promote reforms ■ framers wanted manufacturing economy (same currency) ○ they also point out that the federal constitution expanded rights for the masses ● we see elements of truth in both the Beard thesis and the Elkins and McKitrick thesis when we look at the debate over ratifying the constitution ○ there is no doubt that a desire to protect economic interests informed the proponents of both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan ○ the delegates’ willingness to accept the Connecticut Compromise shows that they were committed to the national project Lecture Notes (Week #2) ● liberalism: philosophy that elevates the rights of individuals over traditional forms of authority ● declaration of independence: america’s liberal charter ○ authored by Thomas Jefferson ○ political equality, individual rights, instrumental government, limited government, right to rebel ● individualism → core value of Americans ● sources of american individualism ○ tocqueville (1835): the absence of feudalism leads Americans to have low expectations from centralized authorities ■ feared that Americans might even prefer “equality in servitude to inequality in freedom” ■ argued that “self interest properly understood” was the key to Americans protecting their liberty ● Samuel P. Huntington ○ believed that this reality means that America will be impaired by periods when “creedal passion” bubbles up and leads Americans to press their leaders for policies aimed at promoting more equality in the U.S. ● necessary and proper clause of constitution: ○ gives the congress the power to take all actions that are “necessary and proper” to the carrying out of its delegated powers ○ federal law is supreme to state law ● how federalism is structured: 10th amendment challenges ○ virginia and kentucky resolutions: state laws that nullified the Alien and Sedition Actions passed by the U.S. Congress ○ mcculloch v. maryland: state of Maryland’s attempt to tax a federal government entity → declared unconstitutional under supremacy clause ○ john c. calhoun: urged SC to nullify the national tariff of 1832; threatened to secede from the Union ● how federal supremacy is structured: end of nullification ○ civil war (1861-1865): union victor firmly entrenched the notion of federal supremacy in the national consciousness ○ hayes-tilden compromise (1877): a brokered settlement of the Presidential Election of 1876 that allowed Rutherford B. Hayes to become president in exchange for ending Federal Reconstruction; emboldened southern governments to challenge federal authority ○ civil rights cases (1883): supreme court strikes down the civil rights act of 1875 on the basis that the 14th amendment does not prohibit private acts of discrimination. the decision announced the Supreme Court’s intention to use judicial review to mediate conflicts between the states and federal government of federalism ● sources of federal supremacy: the commerce clause and the new deal ○ new deal: programs enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the purpose of stimulating an economic recovery after the Great Depression ○ commerce clause: article 1 of the U.S. constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce “among the states” ● cooperative/marble cake federalism ○ cooperative/marble cake federalism: the theory that all levels of government can work together to solve common problems ■ michigan governor puts michigan city in water crisis ■ president obama signs that it is a “state of federal emergency” and sends help into michigan ○ spending clause: provision of the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to collect taxes and provide for the general welfare ○ intergovernmental grants: a grant from the national government to the states or local governments ● the great society programs: federalism through categorical grants ○ war on poverty: President LBJ urged Congress to develop a series of categorical grants to the states to help reduce poverty ○ categorical grants: grants from the federal government that specify how the money is to be spent ● dismantling the great society: the new republican federalism ○ republican victories in the presidential elections of 1986 and 1980 prompted shifts away from categorical grants ○ Presidents Nixon and Reagan sought to weaken the War on Poverty by shifting to block grants and general revenue sharing ○ divided governments prevented Republicans from completely eliminating categorical grants ● devolution: the new dual sovereignty? ○ William Rehnquist: led efforts to revive the dual sovereignty framework of federalism ○ 11th amendment: the judicial power of the US shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the US by citizens of another state or by citizens of subjects of any foreign state ○ state sovereign immunity: private parties cannot sue states under federal statutory laws; lynchpin of the revival dual sovereignty interpretation The New American Democracy (ch. 3 & 4) ● sovereignty: fundamental governmental authority ● federalism: divides sovereignty between at least two different levels ○ national government and state governments ○ most democracies reject federalism in favor of unitary government (all authority is held by a single, national government) ○ each level of government must have: elected officials, capacity to raise revenues by means of taxation, and independent authority to pass laws ○ anti-federalists opposed this opinion because they were suspicious of potential threats against national power from state/local governments ○ different constitutional powers granted to national and state governments ■ constitution does not clearly define powers of federal and state governments ○ federal government and federal law are supreme ● dual sovereignty agreement ○ federal government: conduct foreign relations, raises armies and declare war, regulate imports/exports, regulate interstate commerce, provide for the general welfare, makes laws that are “necessary and proper” ○ state government: maintain state militias, regulate commerce within the state, levy taxes, borrow money, exercise powers “not granted to the national government” ● necessary and proper clause: gives congress the power to take all actions that are “necessary and proper” to the carrying out of its delegated powers (also know as the elastic clause) ● Dillon’s rule: local governments are mere “creatures of the state” ● unitary government: all authority is held in single, national government ● state sovereign immunity: states cannot be sued under federal law by private parties ● state and local governments now play an even bigger role in society than they ever have before ○ maintain roads, take care of parks, provide police, fire, and sanitation services, run the schools ● state governments has strong resemblance to that of the national government ○ independently elected governor ○ maintain state parks, highway systems, and prisons, manage welfare and medicaid programs, give grants to local governments ● U.S. is an unusual example of diverse people coexisting peacefully under a long-lasting democratic government ● multiculturalism: idea that ethnic and cultural groups should maintain their identity within the larger society and respect one another’s differences ● classical liberalism: sought to free individuals from a society structured by heredity and religious privilege and to empower them at the expense of the nobility and the clergy ○ wanted people to make political and religious choices from themselves ○ stresses rights and liberties of individuals ● civic republicanism: placed more emphasis on the obligation of citizens to act virtuously in pursuit of the welfare of the community relative to the rights of the individual ● political socialization: continues to instill liberal values long after the initial basis for those values eroded American Exceptionalism Reconsidered: Culture or Institutions? ● Americans have come to distrust their government because it doesn’t work well ● country founded by immigrants who sought to escape oppressive governments ● cultural theory: cultural values we learn early on in life from our parents shape how we view the world and our beliefs ○ critique: people are shaped by their entire life experience, not just their elders ○ values, culture, and attitudes change with experience ● what citizens believe about politics is shaped by what government does for them ● institutional fragmentation continues to grow → hard for president to move a legislative agenda ● by gaining trust of people, presidents can reconstruct political culture American Politics: Promise of Disharmony ● political theory has been relatively underdeveloped in the US in comparison with Europe ● american creed: certain basic political values and ideas ○ broadly supported by most elements in american society ○ plays a central role in the definition of american national identity ● values of american creed: liberty, equality, individualism, democracy, and the rule of law under the constitution ● most significant attempt to develop an alternative set of values was in the case of the South with slavery ○ slavery contradicts all of the values of american creed ● principal elements of the creed: the individual has sacred rights, the source of political power is the people, all governments are limited by law and the people, local government is to be preferred to national government, majority is wiser than the minority, the less government is better The New American Democracy (ch. 5, 6) ● public opinion is the aggregation of people’s views about issues, situations, and public figures ● socialization: people learn political beliefs/values in their families, schools, communities, religious institutions, and workplaces ○ childhood and adolescence are most influential time periods ○ can be socialized through personal experiences, self-interest, education, reference groups, the media ● polling is a big way in which we measure public opinion ○ sampling error: chance variation that results from using a representative, but small, sample to estimate the characteristics of a larger population ○ selection bias: distortion caused when a method systematically includes or excludes people with certain types of attitudes from the sample ○ measurement error: error that arises from attempting to measure something as subjective as opinion ● characteristics of public opinion ○ uninformed: people have little or no information ○ many opinions expressed in polls are not strongly held ■ respondents are not firmly committed to answers ○ not ideological ○ inconsistent ● public opinion remains influential and powerful, despite its flaws ● suffrage: the right to vote ○ women’s suffrage has progressed very slowly ○ separate states extended the suffrage in different ways at different times ○ WWI stalled suffrage movement temporarily ● costs and benefits of voting ○ costs: time consuming, costly ○ benefits: possibility that your vote might swing an election, civic duty to vote ● undervotes: although you cast your ballot, you are not counted ● why has american turnout declined? ○ declining personal benefits: americans are less interested in public affairs and in political campaigns ○ declining mobilization: impersonal style of mobilization is less effective in prompting people to vote than the face-to-face contact of an old-fashioned grassroots campaign ○ declining social connectedness: people feel less connected to the political world ● studies show that blacks are less likely to vote than whites ● low turnout isn’t a problem? ○ conservative argument: high turnout may indicate tension or conflict, even a belief that losing is unacceptable ○ elitist argument: nonvoters are less educated, less informed, less interested in politics, and less concerned about politics than voters ○ cynical argument: elections in the U.S. don’t matter--they are charades ○ many marxists believe that high turnout rates lull people into a sense of false consciousness ● low turnout is a problem? ○ voters are unrepresentative ○ low turnout reflects a “phony” politics ○ low turnout discourages individual development ● 3 ways to lower institutional barrier to voting ○ election-day registration ○ motor-voter laws ○ making election day a national holiday ● alternative forms of political participation other than voting ○ contributing money ○ volunteering ● blacks and whites vote the most out of anyone else ● persons with college degrees vote at substantially higher rates than others ● persons 45+ vote at substantially higher rates than others The Rational Public and Democracy ● participation by all citizens is generally impossible ● majoritarian democracy: business of government to “increase to the utmost pleasures, and diminish to the utmost pains, which men derive from one another” ○ community must choose their representatives and check their actions periodically ○ only citizens themselves can be trusted to control government in their own interests ● many americans do not know a lot about politics ● collective public opinion is real ○ public has preferences about policy issues ○ measurable through survey research ○ stability in public opinion ■ changes are gradual ○ reflects stable system of values shared by the majority of Americans Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community ● mobility and sprawl ○ people who move around a lot (more mobile) tend to participate less ■ don’t have roots in their communities ○ americans are more likely to move residences than people in other countries ○ people who live in cities generally tend to have a lower rate of civic participation ● mass media has become the foundation for a new economic era ● news and entertainment have become increasingly individualized ○ people get to choose what they watch ○ “there is a TV show for everyone” ● electronic technology allows us to consume this entertainment in private, and alone ● first means of mass communication was the printed word (newspaper) ○ important for civic engagement ● interest in knowing about the news declines generationally ● americans have nearly highest viewership of TV watching in the world ● most important consequence of the TV revolution has been to bring us home ○ has caused family relationships to deteriorate ○ habitual, less intentional part of our lives ○ generational differences in TV viewing preferences ● more TV watching means less civic engagement/participation ○ major commitment to TV watching is incompatible to major commitment to community life ● 7% of Americans watch TV for information as opposed to entertainment ● heavy TV viewers are significantly less likely to belong to voluntary associations and to trust other people ● epidemic of civic engagement began a little more than a decade after the widespread availability of TV ● residents of communities are more likely to be centrally involved in their community's activities in the absence of TV ● TV is only leisure activity that seems to inhibit participation in other leisure activities ● TV steals time and encourages lethargy and passivity ● more time spent watching news → more active in the community ● more time spent watching dramas, soap operas, etc → less active in community Lecture Notes (Week #3) ● public opinion: the aggregation of people’s views about issues, situations, and public figures ● V.O. key: defines the public opinion as “those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed ● socialization: the end result of all the processes by which social groups give individuals their beliefs and values; most socialization happens in childhood years ● personal experiences: researchers began to suggest that childhood socialization can be modified by adult experiences ● self-interest: a view of public opinion that suggests that attitudes are shaped by individual’s self interest ● education: higher education predisposes individuals to toleration of others, volunteerism, and political efficacy ○ political efficacy: belief that one can make a difference in politics by expressing an opinion or acting politically ● Gallup and Roper were two original polling companies ○ now there are dozens ● participation lags because the material costs of participation are higher than the benefits ● Fiorina et al: also note that individual benefits to voters have declined markedly since the 19th century--when vote buying was common ● Following Anthony Downs, most political scientists believe that political participation has declined in modern America because it is costly ● main institutional burdens on voters ○ voting age population: all people in the US over the age of 18, including those who may not be legally eligible to vote ○ voting eligible population: voting age populations with groups such as felons and noncitizens subtracted ○ registered voters: those legally eligible to vote have registered accordance with the requirements prevailing in their state and locality ● how the american system is different from the rest of the world ○ in most countries, registration is the responsibility of the government--the government canvasses and puts voters on the rolls ○ compulsory voting: levying fines or other penalties on non-voters ○ registration in the U.S.: controlled by states; closes 30 to 14 days before election; depresses turnout by as much as 20% of population ● Robert Putnam: argues that decline in ‘social capital’--reciprocity and trust forged through rich social connections--is responsible for decreased participation ○ cites several societal changes in the middle of the 20th century as the sources of declining social capital: mobility and urban sprawl, technology and mass media; generational change ● compositional effect: a shift in the behavior of a group (i.e. american voters) that results from a change in the group’s composition, rather than a change in the behavior of individuals ● errors in public opinion measuring ○ how questions are worded ■ measurement error ○ type of audience watching shows ■ liberal vs. conservative ■ selection bias ○ sampling error ■ not representative amount New American Democracy (ch. 7, 8) ● interest groups: organizations or associations of people with common interests that participate in politics on behalf of their members ○ americans have tendency to form groups ■ increased government activity gave people more reasons to form groups ■ feeling of belonging ■ advances in communications made groups easier to form ○ single issue groups are narrowly focused on one issue only ■ pro life groups ● people join interest groups for social reasons, material gain, or purpose driven reasons ● free rider problem: people can enjoy benefits of group activity without bearing any of the costs ○ overcoming the free rider problem: coercion, social movements, increasing the perceived impact, selective benefits (available only to group members), patrons and political entrepreneurs ■ selective benefits: specific private goods that an organization provides only to its contributing members ● public vs. private goods ○ public: air, laws and policies ■ goods enjoyed simultaneously by a group as opposed to a private good that must be divided up to be shared; free rider problem is most severe when groups are committed to generating public goods ○ private: food in your pantry ● interest groups influence government by… ○ lobbying: interest group activities intended to influence directly the decisions that public officials make ○ grassroots lobbying: consists of attempts to influence elected officials indirectly through their constituents ● association puts pressure on constituents, which in turn put pressure on elected representatives ○ electioneering and PAC’s (political action committee): specialized organizations for raising and spending campaign funds ○ persuading the public ○ direct action: peaceful sit-ins, demonstrations, riots, rebellions ○ litigation: influencing government through the courts ● wide disagreement about how influential interest groups are ● most americans participate indirectly in politics by joining interest groups ● pluralist account of the role of interest groups in american politics ○ special interests are better represented than general interests ○ the interest of the nation as a whole is not merely the sum of interests of the particular parts ○ groups support extreme positions in political debate and thus polarize political discussion, injecting excessive conflict into the political process ● political parties: central institutions of democratic governments, working mechanism of liberal democracy ○ organized and operate the government ■ parties coordinate the actions of thousands of public officials ■ political scientists think government would be chaotic without political parties ○ focus responsibility for governmental action ■ actions of one leader influences the reputation of fellow party members seeking office ○ developing issues and educating the public ■ parties engage in continual battle for control of public offices ● sharpen their issue positions as weapons in struggle ○ synthesize interests ■ develop platforms that offer a mix of benefits and burdens ○ recruiting/developing governmental talent ■ parties are always on the lookout for promising candidates ○ simplifying the electoral system ■ simplifies options ● political party flaws ○ capturing governments and dictating what they do, confusing responsibility, suppressing the issues, dividing society, recruiting candidates for the wrong reasons, oversimplifying the electoral system ● first party system: jeffersonian ○ federalist vs. democratic-republicans ● second party system: jacksonian democracy ○ democrats vs. whigs ○ developed national nominating conventions: gatherings of party officials and delegates that select presidential and vice presidential nominees ● third party system: civil war and reconstruction ○ union (republicans) vs rebels (democrats) ○ parties reached a high level of organization and were referred to as “machines” ● fourth party system: industrial republican ○ era of the progressives ■ wanted political reform to “clean up” america ● fifth party system: new deal ○ republicans vs. democrats ● contemporary party system ○ republicans vs. democrats ○ also includes other independent parties ○ each party has a platform ○ less stable and more confusing than most of the parties that have preceded it ● two party system: two significant parties compete for office ○ single-member, simple plurality electoral system ● parties in the U.S. are not as strong today as they were in earlier periods ○ parties have been democratized ○ political life is especially disorganized Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America ● party scholars say that a two party competition ensures the representation of a vide variety of groups ● race plays the largest role in politics, whether is it apparent or underlying ● racial cleavage was a central factor in the creation of the two-party system ○ union (pro-slavery) vs. rebels (anti-slavery) ● public appeal to african americans is crucial in winning elections ○ make up the largest percentage of voters Lecture Notes (Week #4) ● Kay Schlozman: demonstrated that ⅔ of 14,000 interest groups with offices in DC represented corporate, professional groups, governments, and unions ○ most of process is dominated by paid representatives (lobbyists) ○ same study found that only 12.5% of the groups operating in DC in 2010 were associations of individual citizens ● subgovernment thesis: the view from the 1940s and 1950s that alliances between congressional committees, executive agencies, and a small number of allied interest groups dominate policy-making in the U.S. ● Richard Hall and Frank Wayman (1990): demonstrated that lobbying gets interest groups time with politicians not necessarily the outcome they want ● Fiorina et al: report the dominant view among political scientists that “most of what interest groups do in politics is cancelled out” by other forces--including the activities of other interest groups ○ called counteractive lobbying ● duverger’s law: single-member, first-past-the-post electoral rules favor the develop of the two strong political parties ● who do political parties do? ○ recruit and slate candidates to run for office ○ help organize and fund campaigns for their candidates ○ organize primary elections to winnow candidates competing to run on their slates ○ develop messages to appeal to voters ○ help like minded politicians organized within government institutions ○ help like minded politicians coordinate to advocate for public policies within government ○ synthesize interests by building coalitions among citizens ○ educate the public by calling attention to and debating ideas in the public sphere ● popular critiques of parties ○ divided government leads to gridlock ■ divided government: government in which one party holds the presidency but does not control both houses of Congress ○ one party government can became dictatorial ○ confuse responsibility by constantly blaming each other for america’s problems ○ parties are bad because they under-represent minorities ● federalism led to civil war ○ point was to preserve the deal of slavery ○ states are co-equal with the federal government even though the federal constitution suggests otherwise Midterm ● 50 questions, multiple choice ● know names of researchers ○ aldridge, schlozman, downs ● on everything up to interest groups ● nothing on videos ● NO dates ● key terms and theories in the textbook ● highlighted words/concepts


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