PSCI 1040 (Prof. Vail)
Final Exam Study Guide
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) wrote about the state of nature in the Leviathan (1668)
● Stated humans have natural rights: We are endowed by nature with certain rights because we are human.
● The state of nature is perfectly equal and free - HOWEVER our rights are not guaranteed within the state of nature
● You have the right to execute justice on your own behalf- this does not exclude violence ● Hobbes said that you need a Leviathan, a force so strong and expansive that it can pull us out of the state of nature. This is why people chose to be sovereign. (aka: you have the ability to call police, have insurance, go to court, etc)
John Locke (1632 - 1704) wrote Two Treatises of Government (1689) through which he stated
● Rights of people come from nature rather than from the sovereign (we have natural rights that we traded to the king, but they were ours to begin with)
● Society is not built around the king, but rather built around the individuals
● Society is based upon the mutual consent of the government and governed
● John Locke believed strongly in the importance of separation of powers
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1777) wrote The Social Contract (1762) through which he stated
● Sovereignty rests with the people; not the with the government
● Individuals hold no duty to a government which would deprive them of their natural rights ● Seen as hero of the french revolution; illegal copies of The Social Contract were printed and distributed Don't forget about the age old question of How is behavior shaped by consequences?
● A state has no right to enslave conquered people
Mancur Olson (1932 - 1998) wrote The Logic of Collective Action (1968) and Power and Prosperity (originally published 1999) within these he stated
● Governments exist to solve this public action problem; we all pay taxes/are required to pay taxes by our government.
● How do you convince an individual to create private goods?
● Government exists to facilitate and promote the creation of private goods We also discuss several other topics like What is john quincy adams best known for?
● Olson brought up the conflict of the Stationary Bandit vs. The Roving Bandit ● Stationary Bandit (ex. A goat farmer); exacts tribute from subject, makes more money than the roving bandit (ex. A goat thief) who steals
● Society has come to conclusion that their leader needs them more than they need the leader
● Tyrant grants rights to subjects to encourage cultivation of resources, the Tyrant needs these resources
Robert Wright (1957-Present) wrote the The Moral Animal (1994) through which he stated
● We needed to live in clan to survive, humans relied on other humans
● We have become the most adapted ape in our lineage, and we cooperate out of habit ● Believed that there never was a “state of nature” because we’ve always worked in clan/together
Essential purposes of government:
● Provide national defense (protection against all threats, foreign and domestic), which is preferred to the state of nature If you want to learn more check out What are biological traits?
Establish a System of Laws:
● Establish rules that govern interaction in society, provide sanctions against transgressors. (ex. laws, police, courts, fines/prison)
Protect the common good:
● Refers to public goods. They are non excludable (everyone has access) and non rivalrous Economy/Economics
● Mints currency
● Start chains of economic activity so that we can thrive and have economic growth and security (facilitate prosperity)
● The government steps in to regulate monopolies
● Government provides the incentive to invest property and create new enterprise
America is a liberal democratic republic.
Republicanism, means we are ruled by elected leaders rather than direct democracy. (we only vote on who represents us)
What is American Political Culture?
Liberal Democracy and individual sovereignty: We believe strongly in liberty, equality, democracy. Don't forget about the age old question of What is american musical theater?
● Freedom from government control
● Personal Freedom
● Economic freedom (right to make a living for yourself as you see fit)
● Linked to the concept of limited government We also discuss several other topics like What are asteroids and comets?
● Equality of opportunity
● Equality of outcome
● Political equality
● People choose their rulers and have some say over what those rulers do
● When ultimate power rests with the citizens this is called popular sovereignty Pluralism We also discuss several other topics like Why should one avoid loop constructs?
● Groups and organized interests also participate in politics
● Groups and organized interests provide funds for candidates, lobby and try to influence public opinion.
● The pattern of struggles among interests is called group politics or pluralism. ● Have the right to organize: freedom of assembly
- Federalism: A system of government in which sovereignty is divided between national and state governments. Federalism is why states have their own constitutions and laws.
- Confederal: Subnational gov. gives sovereignty to the national gov. Confederal governments have the highest power of state gov.
- Federal: Federal gov. helps to establish states and the states establish the fed; they are dependant on each other. Federal government has moderate power of state gov.
- Unitary: The national gov. has the power to establish subnational government; central authority is the granting power. Unitary has the least power of state government.
- Types of Government Powers
- Implied & Expressed Powers: Expressed (Enumerated powers) are the seventeen powers granted to the national government under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Includes taxation and the regulation of commerce and authority to provide for the national defense. Implied powers are found within the necessary and proper clause (basically the national government can do whatever they “need” to do; the term is implicitly vague)
- Reserved & Concurrent Powers: Reserved Powers are the powers granted to the states under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Concurrent Powers are powers that are shared by both the State and the federal government. These powers may be exercised simultaneously within the same territory and in relation to the same body of citizens. These concurrent powers including regulating elections, taxing, borrowing money and establishing courts.
- Policy Power: States have the authority to pass laws.
● Constitution is not specific on what police powers are; but they are essentially powers to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety and health of the public.
● Involve laws regarding education, health transportation, economic development and criminal justice
● The way states exercise their police powers can have consequences (what a state chooses to spend money on; some areas may thrive while others suffer)
- Types of Grants
- Grants in aid: Are funds provided by the federal government to a state
or local government for a specific purpose The new deal expanded grants in aid to include social programs (Dept of agriculture, medicare, medicaid, social welfare) - Categorical Grants: Congressional grants given to states and localities
on the condition that the expenditures be limited to a problem or group as specified by law.
- Formula Grants: Grants in aid in which a formula is used to calculate the
amount of funds a state or federal government will receive.
- Project Grants: Project grants are a type of categorical grant.Projects are
grants given by the federal government to state and local governments on the basis of merit.
- Block Grants: a grant from a central government that a local authority
can allocate to a wide range of services
- Morton Grodzine’s Cake Analogy
- Dual Federalism is a Layer Cake: Separate layers (one is federal
government and one is state, they don't mix)
- Cooperative Federalism is a Marble Cake: Mixed layers (all levels of
government work together)
- Types of Federalism
- Regulated Federalism: a term used to describe the emergence of federal
programs aimed at, or implemented by, state and local governments
- New Federalism: a political philosophy of devolution, or the transfer of
certain powers from the United States federal government back to the states
Texas in the Federal System
- Supreme Court Decisions
- Loving v. Virginia (1967): Ending of Anti-Miscegenation Laws by State.
Stopped prohibition against marriage between interracial couples ( antimiscegenation
laws). Texas was one of the 16 states that prohibited interracial marriage.
- Lawrence v. Texas (2003): A gay couple was walked in on by a police
officer while they were having sex. Even though they were in their own home he
attempted to prosecute them because of Sodomy Laws. Struck down laws prohibiting
same-sex activity (sodomy laws)
- Brown V. Board of Education (1954): a landmark United States Supreme
Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.
- Obergefell v. Hodges (2015): Struck down laws in Texas and 13 other
states from prohibiting same sex marriage
- The House and The Senate
- House of Representatives
- Speaker of the House: the chief presiding officer of the house of representatives; the most important party and house leader--can influence the legislative agenda, the fate of
individual pieces of legislation, and members' positions within the house
- Majority Leader: the elected leader of the majority party in the house of representatives or in the senate; in the house they are subordinate to the speaker of the house
- Minority Leader: the elected leader of the minority party in the house or senate - Whip: a party member in the house or senate responsible for coordinating the party's legislative strategy, building support for key issues, and counting votes
- Types of Committees:
- Standing committees: Allow members to “secure pork”. Pork barrel
spending: Refers to divvying up meat, certain members give states better cuts of meat/better benefits. Determining how to divide things up.
- Joint Committees: a (usually) temporary legislative committee setup to
highlight or investigate a particular issue or address an issue not within the jurisdiction of existing committees
- Select Committees: a legislative committee formed of members of both
the house and senate
- Conference Committees: a joint committee created to work out a
compromise on house and senate versions of a piece of legislation
- How a Bill Becomes a Law:
a. Drafted (Authoring phase)
i. Must be drafted by a member of congress
b. Submission phase
c. Sponsorship Phase
i. The first signers and sponsors often have the most say over what the policy will end up looking like
ii. Some legislatures withhold their sponsorships until a late phase, their support or rejection may be the determining factor of whether the it passes or not
d. Committee work and markup
e. Floor action
f. Join action by house and senate
g. Presidential action
h. Signing the bill
i. Judicial review
- The Senate and the Filibuster
- In the Senate, a filibuster can prevent a vote from taking place unless 60
senators agree. Some senators want to change the senate rules so that a vote must be held whenever a majority of senators agree. That would eliminate the filibuster.
- The Senate has a tradition of unlimited debate
- Rule to limit debate adopted in 1917
- Closure requires 60 votes
- There are “talking filibusters” and “silent filibusters”
- Regular Sessions: The Texas Constitution specifies that regular sessions
of the legislature be 140 odd days biennially in odd numbered years. Thousands of bills and resolutions are introduced during a regular session
- Special Sessions: The governor may call a special session of no more
than 30 days
- The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is the most important
party and house leader
- Influences the legislative agenda, the fate of legislation, and house
- The lieutenant governor of Texas is the presiding office of the Senate.
- Expressed Powers: specific powers granted by the constitution to Congress (Article 1, Section 8) and to the President (Article 2)
- Implied Powers: powers claimed by a president that are not expressed in the Constitution, but are inferred from it
- Delegated Powers : constitutional powers that are assigned to one governmental agency but are exercised by another agency with the express permission of the first
- Veto: the president's constitutional power to turn down acts of Congress (may be overridden by 2/3 vote of each house)
- Pocket Veto: a presidential veto that is automatically triggered if the president does not act on a given legislation passed during the final ten days of a legislative session
- 1st Amendment: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition - 2nd Amendment: Right to bear arms
- 4th Amendment: Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
- 8th Amendment: Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
- 19th Amendment: Granted women the right to vote
- Affirmative action: A policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities - Brown v. Board of Education: 14th amendment; ruling: ended segregation legally - Civil Liberties: The fundamental rights of individuals in a free society
- Civil Rights: The right of every person to equal protection under the laws and equal access to society's opportunities and public facilities
- Due Process Clause: clause in the fifth and fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution that requires states to treat all citizens equally and the state must follow certain rules and procedures
- Equal-Protection Clause: a clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that forbids any state to deny equal protection of the laws to any individual within its jurisdiction
- Equal Rights Amendment: constitutional amendment passed by Congress but never ratified that would have banned discrimination on the basis of gender
- Establishment Clause: First Amendment provision stating that government may not favor one religion over another or favor religion over nonreligion, and prohibiting Congress from passing laws respecting the establishment of religion
- Glass Ceiling: Metaphor alluding to the invisible barriers that prevent minorities and women from being promoted to top corporate positions.
- Loving v Virginia (1967): Ruled Virginia law that forbid mixed racial marriage to be unconstitutional, unanimously
- Obscenity: material of a "particularly offensive type" and must be perceived as such by a "reasonable person"
- Reasonable-Basis: a test applied by courts to laws that treat individuals equally. Such a law may be deemed constitutional if its purpose is held to be "reasonably" related to a legitimate government interest
Chapter 5: The Courts
1. Judicial review is an important feature of our Republican form of government. (critical thinking) a. The constitution does not specify that courts have power of judicial review
b. An argument in favor of judicial review is that it allows courts to give voice to minority interests
c. Affirming the first amendment rights of the Westboro Baptist Church is an example of a decision by the supreme court that could be considered unpopular
d. In 1803 the supreme court decided the case of Marbury v. Madison
e. One example of the Court exercising judicial review would be if it told the president that NSA surveillance programs violate citizen's’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.
f. The power of judicial review rests on the assumption that the Court has the power to interpret the Constitution.
2. Methods of judicial selection help to ensure judicial independence (social responsibility) a. The merit selection method of choosing judges is called the Missouri Plan.
b. The gubernatorial appointment method of selection most closely resembles the federal method of selecting judges.
c. The federal method of selection gives judges the greatest judicial independence. d. The federal system for selecting judges involves the president selecting nominees who must also be pleasing to the Senate in order to be confirmed.
e. A retention election is an election to determine whether someone who currently holds a position may keep it.
3. There are both pros and cons to tort reform (communication)
a. A car accident caused by one driver’s negligence is an example of a tort.
b. Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s because she was badly burned when she spilled a cup of their coffee in her lap.
c. Some people criticize tort cases because the large monetary damages are a windfall for plaintiffs and raise the costs of many consumer products and services.
d. Compensatory damages are monetary awards that compensate the plaintiff for his or her direct losses (physical and financial damage).
4. Ethical decision making is central to authority conduct (personal responsibility)
Chapter 6: Civil Liberties
1. The fourth amendment provides protection for your reasonable expectation of privacy (critical thinking)
a. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. b. Katz v. United States was decided in 1967
c. A search occurs when the police invade a space in which you have both a subjective and an objective expectation of privacy.
d. It is fine for police to search the trash you leave on the curb because you have abandoned those items, along with your expectation of privacy in them.
2. The fifth amendment gives police latitude in questioning criminal suspects, which can lead to false confessions (social responsibility)
a. Studies have revealed that over 80 percent of criminal suspects choose not to ask for an attorney during questioning.
b. Among other things, the Fifth Amendment protects the right to remain silent. c. The possibility of coercing a confession is a concern because coerced confessions undermine the legitimacy of the courts and are sometimes false.
3. The death penalty raises issues about the standards of decency in a modern society (communication)
a. The notion that the death penalty makes people less likely to commit murder is known as deterrence.
b. The U.S. Supreme Court first stated that the requirements of the Eighth Amendment would change with “evolving standards of decency” in the case of Trop v. Dulles. c. The case of Roper v. Simmons involved the Supreme Court ruling that a minor who commits a murder cannot be executed for his or her crime.
d. The changing atmosphere surrounding the death penalty may lead the Court to eliminate it.
4. The sixth amendment raises issues of the right to conscience (personal responsibility) a. If a criminal defendant decides to represent himself during his trial, we say he is proceeding pro se.
b. If a court of appeals determines that a criminal defendant did not have effective assistance of counsel at his trial, that defendant is entitled to a new trial.
c. Even guilty criminal defendants are presumed innocent when their trial begins. d. To convict a criminal defendant, the prosecution must provide proof that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
e. The Supreme Court first began to require appointment of counsel to indigent criminal defendants in some cases in 1932.
f. In 1963, the Supreme Court concluded that indigent criminal defendants are entitled to court-appointed counsel in all cases.
Chapter 7: Civil Rights
1. To protect individuals from unequal treatment based on certain demographic characteristics, violations of civil rights are often the subject of political protests and are remedied by federal legislation and judicial decisions. (critical thinking)
a. Under the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal for a company to allocate a larger share of the profits only to its male employees, as this constitutes a form of compensation.
b. In a democracy, it is more important to protect the right to equal treatment, which includes the context of pay equity.
c. In the fight for civil rights, government should make policy to protect civil rights, groups should voice their opposition to unequal treatment, and civil rights violations should be recognized as afflicting minority groups as well as others.
2. Civil rights refer to government action to ensure equal treatment, while civil liberties refer to protection from improper government action. (social responsibility)
a. In the Constitution, civil rights are first introduced and addressed in the 14th Amendment.
b. Civil rights protection focuses on ensuring equal rights.
c. Civil liberties are concerned with limiting the government’s power over individuals. d. The Naturalization Act of 1870 extended naturalization rights to whites and blacks. e. The difference between civil rights and civil liberties is that civil rights require the government to take action, but civil liberties do not.
3. The protection of civil rights is a process that varies over time (communication) 4. Ethical decision making in a vital part of ensuring that individuals and groups civil rights are protected (personal responsibility)