POLS 1105 Honors: Study Guide 1
(Test Date: 2/11/19)
Week 1 Vocab
- Authority: the acknowledged right to make a particular decision.
- Bargaining: trading one good another.
- Book example: the prolonged exchange of proposals and counter-proposals between teenagers and their parents.
- Cabinet: legislature elected team of executives.
- One of these members serves as the premier or prime minister.
- Coalition: parties that control the legislature and the executive.
- Collective action: challenges group members to figure out what they want to do and how to do it.
- Collective goods: includes both true public goods and mixed policies that also confer private benefits.
- Compromise: a settlement in which each side concedes some preferences to secure others.
- Conformity costs: the necessity that collective decisions obligate participants to do something they prefer not to.
- Ex: paying property taxes or serving overseas
- Constitution: establishes institutions and sets of rules and procedures these institutions must follow to reach and enforce collective agreements.
- Coordination: involves members sharing information about their preferences - Includes effectively organizing every members’ contribution.
- Direct democracy: citizens participate directly in collective decision making. - Free-rider problem: to defect from the agreement by withholding a contribution to the group’s undertaking while enjoying the benefits of the collective effort.
- Important form of the prisoner’s dilemma.
- Government: consists of institutions and the legally prescribed process for making and enforcing collective agreements.
- Many forms including: monarchy, representative democracy, dictatorship, etc. - Initiative: places a proposal on the ballot when the requisite number of registered voters have signed the petitions to place the issue on an election ballot. Don't forget about the age old question of How does the initiation of tata box help rna polymerase?
- A pure form of direct democracy
- Parliamentary government: lodge decision authority in a popularly elected legislature, whose actions are not subject to the same severe checks by executive and judicial vetoes.
- Politics: the process through which individuals and groups reach agreement on a course of common action.
- Power: refers to an officeholder’s actual influence with other officeholders and, as a consequence, over the government’s actions. We also discuss several other topics like How are waves similar to sounds?
If you want to learn more check out What refers to a person's cognitive understanding of a situation?
- Preferences: “givens”; individuals and groups know what they want
- May reflect the individuals economic situation, religious values, ethnic identity, etc.
- Prisoner’s dilemma: Refers to a variety of settings in which individuals find themselves personally better off by pursuing their private interest and undermining the collective effort even when they want it to succeed.
- Private goods: things people buy and consume themselves in a marketplace that supplies these goods according to the demand for them.
- Privatize: converting something from a collective good to a private good - Public goods: goods which everyone participates in supplying.
- Referendum: Nearly half the states allow the legislature to propose a change to the states’ laws or constitution, which all voters subsequently vote on.
- Regulation: setting up rules limiting access to the common resource and monitoring and penalizing those who violate them.
- Representative government: a modern democracy that blends delegation with majority rule.
- Ie. Citizens limit their decisions to the selection of government officials who deliberate and commit the citizenry to collective enterprises.
- Republic: designed to allow some degree of popular control and also avoid tyranny. - Separation of powers: an act of vesting the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government in separate bodies.
- Tragedy of the commons: concentrates on individuals’ costless consumption of a public good that results in its ruination. We also discuss several other topics like What are the components of a table of reagents?
- Important form of the prisoner’s dilemma.
- Transaction costs: the time, effort, and resources required to make collective decisions - Tyranny: cruel and oppressive government or rule.
Week 1 Questions
1. Why can’t we solve our disputes through simple bargaining all the time? What factors undermine bargaining in different settings? What can people or governments do to help solve disputes despite these factors?
a. Bargaining is a tool that only works when issues are simple and participants know and trust one another.
b. The factors that can undermine bargaining in different settings include: mistrust between governments, differing types of government control, language or cultural differences among government leaders, etc.
c. People and governments can use a mixture of bargaining and compromising to settle disputes despite limiting factors.
2. What sorts of institutions are commonly used to manage conflicts in societies? What are some examples of where these institutions have failed?
a. Institutions can be created to solve several varieties of conflicts in society. These institutions are given power in government to solve issues.
i. An example would be the Department of Education which was created during Jimmy Carter’s first term in order to increase funding for schools
and training for teachers.
b. An example of a failed institution would be rules set in place that were not followed in Abu Ghraib. The videos and images of the abuse that were released created huge outrage about the institutional failures of the Army Prison System. We also discuss several other topics like What is the difference between flowrate and flowtime?
3. In what ways are challenges to today’s government a consequence of collective action problems?
a. Some challenges in today’s government are a result of two different
consequences of collective action problems: conformity costs and transaction costs. These two often trade-off with each other. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the study of geographic distributions of species?
4. In what ways is the parliamentary system of representative government designed to work with fewer transaction costs than the U.S. presidential system?
a. The parliamentary system works with lower transaction costs because, unlike the U.S. presidential system, the coalition/majority party makes all the decisions. 5. What are some examples of public and private goods?
a. Examples of public goods: freeways (can be used by anyone and is paid for by taxes).
b. Examples of private goods: toll roads (because its costs are paid for by the motorist who pay the toll to use the road).
6. What does it mean for a government to be a republic?
a. If a government is a republic they actively avoid tyranny and allow for some degree of popular control.
Week 2 Vocab
- Agency loss: The discrepancy between what citizens ideally would like their agents to do and how the agents actually behave.
- Agenda control: The capacity to set the choices available to others.
- Agent: Someone who makes and implements decisions on behalf of someone else. - Antifederalists: A loosely organized group (never an official political party) that opposed ratification of the Constitution.
- Believed state’s rights and individual freedoms would be jeopardized - After ratification, the Anti Federalists worked to adopt the Bill of Rights. - Articles of Confederation: The compact among the the 13 original states that formed the basis of the first national government.
- Supplanted by the Constitution in 1789.
- Bicameral legislature: A two chamber legislature with limited power.
- Book example: House of Representatives and Senate in the U.S.
- Bill of Rights: The first 10 amendments to the U.S. constitution.
- Checks and balances: A constitutional mechanism giving each branch some oversight and control of the other branches.
- Book example: Presidential veto, Senate approval of presidential appointments, and judicial review of presidential and congressional actions.
- Command: The authority of one actor to dictate the actions of another. - Commerce clause: The clause in Article 1, Section 8, of the constitution that gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with other nations and among states.
- Confederation: A political system in which states or regional governments retain ultimate authority except for those powers they expressly delegate to a central government. - Delegation: The act of one person or body authorizing another person or body to perform an action on its behalf.
- Electoral College: A body of electors in each state, chosen by voters, who formally elect the president and vice president of the U.S.
- Faction: A group of people sharing common interests who are opposed to other groups with competing interests.
- Fast-track authority: Impermanent power granted by congress to the president to negotiate international trade agreements.
- Federalists: Name given to two related, but not identical, groups in the late 18th century in American politics.
- Group 1: led by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison who supported the ratification of the constitution.
- Group 2: The Federalist party, led by Hamilton and Madison, which dominated politics from 1789-1801.
- Great Compromise: The blending of the Virginia and New Jersey plans. - Outcome: two-chamber legislature with the lower chamber (house of representatives) based on population and the upper chamber (senate) equal for every state. House of Reps. levies taxes.
- Home rule: managing one’s own domestic affairs, including taxation. - Book example: Great Britain succeeding and allowing the U.S. to have home rule.
- Judicial review: The authority of a court to declare legislative and executive acts unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
- Logroll: The result of legislative vote trading.
- Book example: legislators representing urban districts may vote for an agricultural bill provided that legislators from rural districts vote for a mass transit bill.
- Majority rule: The principle that decisions should reflect the preferences of more than half of those voting.
- Fundamental procedure of democracy
- Nationalists: Constitutional reformers led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton who sought to replace the Articles of Confederation.
- Necessary and proper clause: The last clause of Article 1, Section 8, of the constitution that grants Congress the authority to make all laws that are “necessary and proper” and to execute those laws.
- New Jersey Plan: William Paterson’s plan to have only one house chamber with equal representation despite population differences.
- Pluralism: A theory describing a political system in which all significant social interests freely compete with one another for influence over the government’s policy decisions. - Plurality: Rule in electing members of Congress by which the candidate who receives the most votes wins. Regardless of whether the plurality reaches a majority.
- Popular sovereignty: citizens’ delegation of authority to their agents in government, with the ability to rescind that authority.
- Principal: Someone who possesses decision-making authority.
- They may delegate their authority to agents, who then exercise it on behalf of the principals.
- Shays’s Rebellion: American Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels in a protest against economic and civil rights injustices.
- Demonstrated that the confederation could not perform the most basic function of government-- keeping the peace.
- Simple majority: A majority of 50 percent plus one.
- States’ rights: Safeguards against a too-powerful national government that were favored by one group of delegates to the constitutional convention (1787).
- Supremacy clause: A clause in Article 5 of the Constitution declaring that national laws are the “supreme” law of the land and therefore take precedence over any laws adopted by states or localities.
- Supermajority: A majority larger than a simple 51% majority, which is required for extraordinary legislative actions such as amending the Constitution or certain congressional procedures.
- “Take care” clause: The provision in Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution instructing the presidential to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
- Veto: The formal power of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of Congress.
- A veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in each house.
- Virginia Plan: Madison’s plan to fashion an active national government, even if it imposed high conformity costs on the states.
- Cornerstone: a bicameral legislature.
- Voting rule: Rules prescribing who votes and the minimum number of votes required to accept a proposal or elect a candidate.
Week 2 Questions
1. What is a political ideology? Are there any ideologies that are inherently incompatible with the constitutional system of the US?
a. A political ideology is a comprehensive integrated set of views about government and politics.
b. A dictatorship is an example of a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitutional system of the US.
2. What steps were taken to construct a national government before the Articles of Confederation? What resulted from these steps?
a. The Americans learned from the british that the legislature in charge of the money could dominate the other governmental institutions.
3. How were decisions made under the Articles? What sorts of decisions were not made by the confederation? How did this system affect the war effort? How did it affect the conduct of the national and state governments once the war was over?
4. Why is the Electoral College so complicated?
a. It was the only way to mix state, congressional, and popular participation in the election process. The goal was to place importance with the role of the individual constituent states above the choices of the voters .
5. How did the Framers balance the powers and independence of the executive and legislative branches?
a. Through the system of checks and balances and by having multiple branches of government.
6. Discuss how the coordination and transaction costs for states changed when the national government moved from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution. a. In the Articles of Confederation, Individuals disagreed and got trapped in a Prisoner's Dilemma. Transaction costs & coordination costs were missing which led to poor agenda control.
b. In the Constitution, there were more decisions (and compromises) over coordination costs which in turn rose transaction costs.
7. What are principals and agents? When in your life have you been one or the other? a. Principals are people who hold the decision making authority. Agents are those who make and implement decisions on behalf of someone else.
b. I was the principal in deciding what car I would buy. I was an agent is deciding what my dogs eat for dinner.
8. What mechanisms for constitutional amendment were included in the Constitution? Why were multiple methods included?
a. Amending the Constitution requires unanimous consent of the states. 9. Explain how ‘limited government’ in the US constitutional system works. a. The idea of limited government implied the notion of a separation of powers and the system of checks and balances (in the Constitution). The 9th Amendment and the 10th Amendment explain the principle of limited government.
10. In what ways did slavery influence the creation of elected branches of government in the US?
a. The issues involved how much slaves would count towards the population. The three-fifths compromise was the solution.
11. What governing institution does Article I create? Article II? Article III? a. Article 1: commerce clause and necessary and proper clause
b. Article 2: “take care” clause
c. Article 3: judicial power
12. Explain the process through which the U.S. Constitution can be amended. a. The Constitution can amended with a ⅔ majority in both house or an ‘application’ can be made by ⅔ of states.
Week 3 Vocab
- Block grant: A broad grant of money given by the federal government to a state government.
- Common Core: A national set of education standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy that outline what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade.
- Cutthroat competition: Competition among states that involves adopting policies that each state would prefer to avoid.
- Book example: states engage in cutthroat competition when they underbid one another on tax breaks to attract business relocating their facilities.
- Dual federalism: A system of government in which the federal government and state governments each have mutually exclusive spheres of action.
- Elastic clause: Allows Congress to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.”
- Enumerated powers: The explicit powers given to Congress by the Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, including the powers of taxation, coinage of money, regulation of commerce, and provision for the national defense.
- Externality: Public goods or bads generated as by-products of private activity. - Book example: air pollution is externality (public bad) because it is, in part, the by-product of the private activity of driving a car.
- Federalism: A system of government in which power is divided between a central government and several regional governments.
- Grants-in-aid: Funds given by Congress to state or local governments for a specific purpose.
- Matching grant: A grant of money given by the federal government to a state government for which the federal government provides matching funds, usually between one and two dollars, for every dollar the state spends in some area.
- Nationalization: Shifting to the national government responsibilities traditionally exercised by the states.
- Preemption legislation: Laws passed by Congress that override or preempt state or local policies.
- Derives from the supremacy clause of the Constitution.
- Race to the bottom: When states ‘race’, or compete, to provide a minimum level of services (such as welfare spending) or regulation (such as tax incentives for corporations).
- Shared federalism: A system in which the national and state governments share in providing citizens with a set of goods.
- Tenth Amendment: The amendment that offers the most explicit endorsement of federalism to be found in the constitution: “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
- Unitary government: A system of government in which a single government unit holds the power to govern the nation (in contrast to a federal system, in which power is shared among many governing units).
Week 3 Questions
1. What are the main differences between unitary governments, confederations, and federal governments? Which type of government is most common?
a. Unitary governments have one unit that holds all the power. Federal governments divide power between the central government and several regional governments. Confederations have all the power in regional governments. b. Federal governments are the most common.
2. Most of the Framers felt that the Constitution adequately protected the states against encroachment by the national government. How, then, did proponents of nationalization succeed in expanding the power of the national government?
a. The supremacy clause.
3. When states encounter problems that cross state borders, why don’t they just make formal agreements with each other to solve the problems? What happens in the absence of such arrangements?
a. Gibbons v. Ogden: where congress has power to regulate commerce with foreign countries and among states.
4. Why would national majorities sometimes find it easier to work through the national government than through state governments? What are some examples of policy areas in which this strategy has been used?
a. The national government is a centralized body that is one, compared to the 50 states that are all separate. Dealing with one entity is much easier than 50 seperate ones.
b. This strategy has been used for air pollution, climate change & environmental protection.
5. What are the three main types of collective action problems faced by state governments? Give an example of each.
a. Free riders: receiving unemployment and not looking for work (if you’re able). b. Prisoner’s dilemma: being unable to reach an agreement because of distrust. c. Tragedy of the commons: taking advantage of common good and ruining it.
6. Familiarize yourself with the power granted and denied to the federal and state governments?
a. Powers granted: Collecting taxes, build roads, provide education, borrow and spend money, make and enforce laws, and establish courts.
b. Powers denied: Grant titles of nobility, permit slavery (13th Amendment), deny citizens the right to vote due to race, color, or previous servitude (15th Amendment), and to deny citizens the right to vote because of gender (19th Amendment).
7. What is the Articles of Confederation and what were the problems with it? How does the Constitution address these issues?
a. “The Articles of Confederation had several weaknesses. As a result, a new plan of government, the Constitution, was written to clear up the weaknesses. Under the Articles of Confederation, there were many things the federal government couldn’t do. It couldn’t tax, make trade treaties, resolve disputes between states,
keep order, or pay its debts. To help solve these issues, the writers of the Constitution created a federal government with three branches.” (enotes.com) 8. What effect did the Great Depression have on federalism in the United States? a. Increased the growth and power of the national government over commerce, state power was not directly curtailed.
Week 4 Vocab
- Affirmative action: Government action to create equality
- Black codes: Laws enacted by southern legislature after the civil war that prevented former slaves from voting and holding certain jobs, among other prohibitions. - Civil liberties: Basic rights and freedoms that apply to an individual.
- Civil rights: Basic rights and freedoms that apply to a group.
- De facto segregation: segregation by choice (ie. living in a place with one common culture or racial group)
- De jure segregation: segregation by law
- Fugitive Slave Law: The 1850 law compelling northerners to honor southerns’ property claims to slaves, passed in return for the South’s agreeing to admit California as a free state (and hence lose its ability to block legislation in the Senate).
- Grandfather clauses: Statutes stating that only those people whose grandfather had voted before Reconstruction could vote, unless they passed a literacy or wealth test. - Post Civil War this was a mechanism to disenfranchise African Americans. - Hate crime: A violent crime directed against individuals, property, or organizations solely because of the victims’ race, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. - Jim Crow laws: A series of laws enacted in the late 19th century by southern states to institute segregation.
- Created ‘whites only’ public accommodations such as schools, hotels, and restaurants.
- Literacy test: A legal barrier used to exclude African Americans from voting. Prospective black voters would have to read and interpret arcane passages of the states’ constitution.
- Nominating convention: A political convention used to select a candidate to run in an upcoming convention.
- Poll tax: A tax imposed in people when they register to vote.
- Post Civil War this tax was used to disenfranchise black voters.
- Quotas: Specific shares of college admissions, government contracts, and jobs set aside for population groups that have suffered from past discrimination.
- The Supreme Court has rejected the use of quotas whenever it has encountered them.
- Racial profiling: Identifying the suspects of a crime solely on the basis of their race or ethnicity.
- Segregation: The political and social practice of separating whites and blacks into dual and highly unequal schools, hospitals, prisons, public parks, housing, and public transportation.
- Separate but equal doctrine: The Supreme Court- initiated doctrine that separate by equivalent facilities for African Americans and whites are constitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
- Suffragists: Women who campaigned early in the 20th century for the right of women to vote.
- White primary: A practice that permitted political parties to exclude African Americans from voting in primary elections.
Week 4 Questions
1. What benefits did Reconstruction produce for former slaves? For northern whites? What benefits and which groups did Reconstruction “leave out,” and why?
a. Slaves were freed, but not yet equal.
b. Northern whites saw very little benefits.
c. Restriction on southern rights (they were left out).
2. What party did most African Americans support prior to the 1930s, and why? Why did this change after the 1930s, and what was responsible for the change?
a. There was a switch from the Republican to Democratic party because the party dynamics changed.
3. How did the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s change the political calculations of Democratic politicians? How were the demonstrations planned strategically to increase pressure on politicians?
a. The Democratic party was forced to take an aggressive civil rights policy. b. After the Birmingham Demonstration, President Kennedy could not
accommodate the southern democrats.
4. What challenges and opportunities do Hispanics face in their current civil rights efforts? How do these challenges differ from those blacks faced in their civil rights campaigns? 5. Which were the Civil War (aka the Reconstruction) Amendments and what did they do? How do they provide for a “second founding” of the US?
a. 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments
b. These amendments made drastic changes to the original constitution in terms of civil rights.
6. Explain the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. a. “Equality of Opportunity: We all start at the same point, but differences in outcome aren't necessarily unjust—they could reflect harder or better work. Equality of Outcome: Anything other than perfect equality shows discrimination, and we all ought to have the same amount (i.e. outcome.)” (quora.com)
Week 5 Vocab
- Clear and present danger test: A rule used by the Supreme Court to distinguish between speech protected and not protected by the 1st amendment.
- Under this rule, the 1st amendment does not protect speech aimed at inciting an illegal action.
- Clear and probable danger test: A rule introduced by Chief Justice Fred Vinson for the courts to enlist in free expression cases: “In each case [the courts] must ask whether the gravity of the ‘evil’, discounted by its probability, justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid danger.”
- Community standards: The Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that a work in obscene if it is “utterly without redeeming social importance” and, “to the average person, applying contemporary ‘community standards,’ the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests.”
- Cruel and unusual punishments: Criminal penalties that are not considered appropriate by a society, that involve torture, or that can result in death when the death penalty has not been ordered.
- Due process clause: A clause found in both the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution protecting citizens from arbitrary action by the national and state governments.
- Equal protection clause: A 14th amendment clause guaranteeing all citizens equal protection under the law.
- The clause bars discrimination against women and minorities.
- Establishment of religion clause: The first clause of the 1st amendment that prohibits the national government cannot establish a national religion.
- Exclusionary rule: A judicial rule prohibiting the police from using at trial evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure.
- Free exercise clause: The 2nd clause of the 1st amendment that forbids the national government from interfering with the exercise of religion.
- Incitement: The government cannot forbid “advocacy of the use of force or of law violation” unless the advocacy is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
- Incorporation: The Supreme Court’s extension of the Bill of Rights to state and local governments through its various interpretations of the 14th amendment. - Lemon test: The most far-reaching of the controversial cases in which the Supreme Court specified three conditions every state law must satisfy to avoid running afoul of the establishment of religion prohibition: the statute in question “must have a secular legislative purpose,” such as remedial education; the statute’s “primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion”; and the statute must not foster “an excessive government entanglement with religion.”
- Miranda rule: Requirement that police inform suspects that they have the right to remain silent and a right to have counsel while being interrogated.
- Failure to inform suspects of their rights will result in any confession or evidence thus obtained being admissible against them in trial.
- Neutrality test: Policy favored by justices in establishment of religion decisions. - Used to prevent favoritism among religious groups as to root out policies that prefered religious groups generally over non religious groups engaged in a similar activity.
- Obscenity: Defined as publicly offensive acts or language, usually of a sexual nature, with no redeeming social value.
- Penumbras: Judicially created rights based on various guarantees of the Bill of Rights - Book example: The rights to privacy is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, however the Supreme Court has argued that this right is implicit in various clauses found throughout the Bill of Rights.
- Privileges and immunities clause: The clause in Section 1 of the 14th amendment stipulating that “no State shall make or enforce any laws which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the U.S.
- Selective incorporation: The Supreme Court’s gradual process of assuming guardianship of civil liberties by applying piecemeal the various provisions of the Bill of Rights to state laws and practices.
Week 5 Questions
1. Through what individual steps did the Constitution acquire civil liberties protections? a. Inclusion of the Bill of Rights and the ratification of the 14th amendment. 2. How has individual liberty been elevated from a private local matter into a prominent national policy issue?
a. Censorship is an example of Judicial Interpretation.
3. How has the role of national government differed in the development of civil rights policy versus that of civil liberties?
a. Civil liberties are court driven.
4. How did the Bill of Rights come to apply to states?
a. Gitlow v NY State: expansion of judicial power despite NY winning.
b. The 14th amendment
5. Do the states still have a role in defining civil liberties?
a. This role is primarily given to the Supreme Court.
b. However states have jurisdiction over criminal justice, education, and obscenities.
6. What are the 5 liberties guaranteed by the 1st Amendment?
a. Freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government.
7. What are the limitations on free speech rights? On the freedom of the press? a. Yes. Slander and Libel are not allowed in freedom of press. Freedom of speech is limited to issues against the government.
b. Schenck v U.S.: can’t yell fire in a crowded theater
8. Explain the Federalist opposition to the Bill of Rights. What did Anti-Federalists intend to use the Bill of Rights for?
a. Federalists argued that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary because the people and states kept any powers not given to the federal government.
b. Anti-Federalists believed that the Bill of Rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.
9. Explain the evolution of the 2nd Amendment from its inception to its incorporation in 2009.
a. In 2009, a ruling held that incorporates the 2nd amendment and the 14th amendment and allowed people to keep and bear arms for self defense. 10. How does the 9th Amendment permit the recognition/expansion of civil liberties without amending the Constitution?
a. This amendment opened the door to unstated.