Political Science 2310 Study Guide for First Exam Professor: Sherri Morra
Characteristics of American Political System:
-Conflict- politicians can’t get along to get anything done
-Competition- topic levels of important are controversial
-Community- through our differences we still have a sense of community -Compromise- make sacrifices to make government work
-Collaboration- republicans and democrats working together
Conflict between liberty and security:
-It evolved over time but since 9/11 the states have more power; we have let them pay some of our freedom so that we feel more secure
-Inverse relationship (more liberty, less security or less liberty and more security)
an individual's coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose and scope of government
our collect beliefs and attitudes about government and political process
2 Central principles of democracy:
1. All men are created equal
2. Legitimacy of the government depends on the consent of the people being governed
Direct democracy v. indirect democracy:
Direct: when the people themselves make the decisions in government for them Indirect: when the people elect representatives to make the decisions for them/on their behalf Don't forget about the age old question of What is high customer satisfaction?
Supreme power is in the people, they vote in regularly held elections. A government in which the people elect their leaders, also a republic. We also discuss several other topics like What can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy?
Number of governments in America:
It’s over 89,000
Plato, Aristotle, Locke, and Montesquieu:If you want to learn more check out What does it mean to have a trivial solution?
All came up with their own view of government and its relationship with the people Plato: gov could be discovered through the exercise of human reason, described the nation-state as consisting of a ruling class/ warrior class, and working class Aristotle: used the concept of human reasoning to analyze nation-states that existed
Locke: We consent to the government so they can protect us, and secure our liberty. Government existed to protect life, freedom, and property.
Montesquieu: Spoke against strong centralized government to avoid the decline to tyranny. Liberty would be more secured by a separation of powers.
Types of government described by Aristotle:
-government by one, by few, or by many
Elements of nation-states:
-Population: must be sufficient
-Territory: land a state controls with defined boundaries
-Permanence: some stability in its existence over time
-Political organization: form of government
-Sovereignty: supreme political authority
Articles of Confederation:
-First governing document of the colonies
-Lasted 7 years
-Weak central government with strong states
Protests in 1786-87 by American farmers against the state and local tax collectors and debt judgers. The national gov was not strong enough to deal with the situation and led to the recognition that the American government needed to be rethought. We also discuss several other topics like What does it mean to be american?
Key elements of the Constitutional Convention:
-Connecticut compromise (great compromise)- bicameral legislature like today -Commerce compromise- congress could ban slave trade until 1808
Articles of the U.S. Constitution (What does each provide?): Article I: creates legislative branch, enumerated powers, necessary and proper clause (which grants congress the power to pass laws if they are necessary for Congress to carry out its duty) If you want to learn more check out It is a type of bond in that hydrogen is attached to an electronegative atom. what is it?
Article II: structure of executive branch, role of president, and Electoral College Article III: establishes judicial branch, left room for congress to create additional courts as they saw necessary, but only establishes 1 court in the article itself – the supreme court
Article IV: interstate relations, full faith and credit clause, privileges and immunities clause
Article V: outlines how the constitution should and can be amended Article VI: supremacy clause, constitution is the supreme law of the land
What are its governing bodies?:
Executive, legislative, and judicial
Amendments to the Constitution:
27 amendments in total, the first ten are the bill of rights
Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay to argue the cause for ratification to the American people
Types of Governments – Unitary, Confederal, Federal:
Unitary: (what America had under British rule) power flows down, starting from national government, formal authority rests with the national government, and lower levels of government are only prescribed power by the national directive Confederal (what we had before the continental congress met) division of power from national and state governments, but the state gov had almost all the power, national government is created by and derives its authority from the member states, We also discuss several other topics like What are the types of rewards?
Federal: power is shared and both state and national governments can enforce laws. A constitutional division of power exists between the nation and the states, in which each level of government enforces its laws directly on its citizens.
Sum of interactions between levels of government. States control local gov
Marbury v. Madison:
First U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of “judicial review”. The power of federal courts to void acts of congress in conflict with the constitution.
McCulloch v. Maryland: Supreme Court held that congress has implied powers derived from those listen in Article 1, Section 8, the necessary and proper clause gave congress the power to establish a national bank
Evolution of Federalism (Types):
- State-centered: national gov did very little, states provided all - Dual: also called “layer cake” both sides of government did very specific things
- Cooperative “marble cake” began when the size of the federal government exploded under FDR and his “New Deal” program
- Centralized: federal government imposed its own policy preferences on state and local governments - under Lyndon B Johnson
- New Federalism (devolution): When Reagan was in office, return of powers to the states. Reagan took notes from Nixon about federal grant money.
- Representational Federalism: started by Garcia v. Metropolitan city bus of San Antonio, which refused to pay the government’s requirement of minimum wage, the case ended in favor of Garcia and the Federal Government now was recognized to be able to make broad policies and requirements that all states would have to follow.
Problems with federalism:
Obstruction of Action/frustrating policy
Cost and benefits not being spread evenly
Benefits of federalism:
Distributes power, increases participation, improves efficiency, manages conflict, allows for policy innovation, allows states to handle programs in their own way instead of having to craft a national agenda on matters such as departments of safety and eduction.
Value of grants in aid to states:
$400 billion per year – money or resources going from the federal government to the states
Types of grants in aid to states:
Categorical grants – split into two types and the grant money must be spent in the specific way the government states
1. Project grants: awarded on the basis of competitive applications 2. Formula grants: a formula dictates the amount of funding each state will receive
Block grants – allows for more flexible choice of spending by the states and localities in a variety of areas