American Government 2e: Chapter 3 Flashcards

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Bi cameral legislature

A legislature with two houses


Block Grants

Federal programs that provide funds to state and local governments for general functional areas such as criminal justice or mental health


Commerce Clause

The section of the constitution in which congress is given the power to regulate trade among states and with foreign countries


Categorical Grants

Federal Grants to states or local governments that are for specific programs or projects


Concurrent Powers

Powers held jointly by national and state governments


Confederal System

It is one type of system to order relations between governments. It consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states. During the first years of the United States inception, it used a confederal system. Additionally, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is an example of a confederal system


Cooperative Federalism

A certain period of federalism where the theory that the states and the national government should cooperate in solving problems (1937-1960)


Creative Federalism

A period of federalism where the national government's societal objectives were predominant - national goals defined by Congress and carried out by the states (1960-1972)



The transfer of power from a national or central government to a state or local government.


Dual Federalism

A period of federalism where the state and national government retain supremacy in their own spheres - it looks like co-equal powers (1865-1937)


Elastic Clause / Necessary and Proper

Article 1 Section 8 that grants congress the power to do whatever is needed to execute its specifically delegated powers


Electoral College

A group of persons that elect the president, # of electors = rep+senators - DC gets same electors as smallest state


Enumerated Powers

Powers specifically granted to the national government by the constitution - First 17 clauses of Article 1, Section 8 specify most of these of the national government



Funds are awarded according to a formula that takes into account the relative wealth of the state.


Executive Agreement

An international agreement between chiefs of state that does not require congressional approval.



To surrender an accused or convicted criminal to the authorities of the state from which he or she has fled, to return a fugitive criminal to the jurisdiction of the accusing state.


Federal Mandate

A requirement in federal legislation that forces states and municipalities to comply with certain rules.


Federal System

a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and regional, or subdivisional governments, each level must have some domain in which its policies are dominant and some genuine political or constitutional guarantee of its authority.



It is one type of system to order relations between governments. In the United states, there are nearly 90, 000 governments. In this particular system, power is divided between central government and states; each has their own sphere of influence.



the name given to people who were in favor of adopting the US constitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government.


Full Faith and Credit Clause

states must recognize one another's laws and court decisions. Deeds, wills, contracts and other civil matters will be honored state to state.


Gibbons vs Ogden

1803 court case about boats - Marshall held that because Gibbons was duly authorized by the national government to navigate in interstate waters (between New York and New Jersey), he could not be prohibited from doing so by a state court. Schmidt et al (2009-2010 Texas Edition): p. 103.


Great Compromise

The compromise between the New Jersey and Virginia plans that created one chamber of the Congress based on population and one chamber representing each state equally; also called the Connecticut Compromise.


Horizontal Checks and Balances

Checks and balances in which the branches of government that are on the same level can check the other


Implied Powers

They are those powers authorized by the US Constitution which, while not stated, are understood as powers that exist and such powers are based on the Constitution’s right to make any laws that are “necessary and proper” to carry out those expressed powers. Examples are McCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden.


Inherent Powers

These powers derive from the fact that the United States is a sovereign power among nation, and as such, its national government must be the only government that deals with other nations. Inherent Powers are important because each nation must have the ability to act in its own interest among and with the community of nations—by, for instance, making treaties, waging war, seeking trade, and acquiring territory. The national government has these powers whether or not they have been enumerated in the Constitution.


Intrastate Commerce

buying and selling of products within a specific state


Interstate Commerce

Trade that takes place across state lines - article 1 section 9, clause 3 gives the congress authority to regulate interstate trade as well as foreign trade.


Interstate Compact

An agreement between two or more states. Agreements on minor matters are made without congressional consent, but any compact that tends to increase the power of the contracting states relative to other states or relative to the national government generally requires the consent of congress. Such compacts serve as a means by which states can solve regional problems.


Judicial Review

The power of the Supreme Court and other courts to declare unconstitutional federal or state laws and other acts of government


Matching Funds

funds where state and local governments must put up a share of the money


Madisonian Model

3 branches of government


McCulloch v. Maryland

In 1816 BANKS - Supremacy and N&P Clauses, Congress chartered The Second Bank of the United States. In 1818, the state of Maryland passed legislation to impose taxes on the bank. James W. McCulloch, the cashier of the Baltimore Maryland branch of The Second Bank of the United States, refused to pay the tax. Maryland took James McCulloch to its state court and the state of Maryland won against him (so McCulloch was supposed to pay the tax). But, the national government appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. Courtesy of “Oyez” (May 12, 2010): The case presented two questions: 1) “did Congress have the authority to establish the bank?” and, 2) did the Maryland law unconstitutionally interfere with congressional powers? Courtesy of “Oyez” (May 12, 2010): In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court held that Congress had the power to incorporate the bank and that Maryland could not tax instruments of the national government employed in the execution of constitutional powers. This case enhanced the implied powers of the national government (through the Necessary and Proper Clause) and the idea of national supremacy (through the Supremacy Clause


Natural Rights

Rights held to be inherent in natural law, not dependent on governments. John Locke stated that natural law, being superior to human law, specifies certain rights of “life, liberty, and property.” These rights, altered to become “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” are asserted in the Declaration of Independence.


New Deal Programs

The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the "3 Rs": Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is, Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.


New Federalism

1972-Present - federalism with a goal to restore to the states some of the powers that have been exercised by the federal government since 1930 - limiting national government power by restoring power to the states.



The idea that states could declare a national law null and void


Police Power

The authority to legislate for the protection of the health, morals, safety and welfare - in the US most police power is reserved to the states



National laws take precedence to state laws


Privileges and Immunities.

A provision in the United States Constitution: “[t]he Citizens of each state shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” This clause indicates that states are obligated to extend to citizens of other states protection of the laws, the right to work, access to courts, and other privileges they grant their own citizens. It means that if you are a student from Iowa attending college in Ohio, you have the same rights as Ohioans to protest a traffic ticket, to buy a car, to hold a job, and to travel freely throughout the state.


Prohibited Powers

It is a power(s) that is/are denied to one or more governments. The Constitution prohibits or denies a number of powers to the national government. For example, the national government has expressly been denied the power to impose taxes on goods sold to other countries (exports). Moreover, any power not delegated expressly or implicitly to the federal government by the constitution is prohibited to it. For example, the national government cannot create a national public school system. The states are also denied certain powers. For example, no state is allowed to enter into a treaty on its own with another country.



Formal Approval


Representative Assembly

A legislature composed of individuals who represent the population


Reserved Powers

The powers not delegated to the national government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states, or the people



States leaving a union: IE the south in the civil war.


separation of powers

the principle of dividing government among different branches


social contract

a voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.



A group of people occupying a specific area and organized under one government may either be a nation or a subunit of a nation


State-Centered Federalism

early US - the states were the most important part of government


Supremacy Clause

The constitutional provision that makes the Constitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting state and local laws. That is, A doctrine that asserts the priority of national law over state laws. This principle is rooted in Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that the Constitution, the laws passed by the national government under its constitutional powers, and all treaties constitute the supreme law of the land


Unicameral Legislature

A legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral (which are two chambers) legislature, such as the U.S. Congress. Today, Nebraska is the only state in the Union with a unicameral legislature.


Unitary System

It is one type of system to order relations between governments. In this particular form, a centralized governmental system or sub-divisional governments exercise only those powers given to them by the central government


Vertical Checks and Balances

Checks and balances that exist between the states and the national government. For example, the reserve powers of the states act as a check on the national government and the national government, in turn, can check the state policies by exercising its constitutional powers.