Government in America: Unit 1

Emily Ragan
Note by Emily Ragan, updated more than 1 year ago
Emily Ragan
Created by Emily Ragan over 5 years ago


AP US Government AP US Government Note on Government in America: Unit 1, created by Emily Ragan on 01/07/2015.

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Page 1

Dollar Bill SymbolismThis note is a legal tender for all debts, public and privateNo gold/silver backingIn God We TrustThe Great Seal of the United States13 arrowsOlive branch with 13 leavesBald eagleFaces toward olive branchUnique to North AmericaMajesticE pluribus unum-Out of many, onePyramid13 layersMDCCLXXV=1776Eye of providence, all-seeing eye 

Lecture [Jan. 7]

Government: institutions that make policy e.g. executive, legislative, judicial, bureaucracy             key functions             1. maintain national defense                         protect country in times of peace and war             2. provide public goods and services                         collective goods: police department, highways             3. preserve order                         ex: Kent State national guard, Ferguson             4. socialize the young                         public education, knowledge of country, national pride (pledge of allegiance)            5. collect taxes                         money for public functions                                            

Politics: process by which government leaders are selected and what policies these leaders produce Political participation: activities in which citizens engage in order to influence that selection

Policy making process: individuals or groups identify a problem (linkage institutions) problem becomes part of the policy agenda Congress passes legislation bureaucracy implements it feedback leads to revisions    

Democracy: a system with free and fair elections and civil rights and liberties             equality in voting (1 person=1 vote)             effective participation (express opinions and participate in government decisions)             enlightened understanding (inform public about issues so they can make decisions)             citizen control of agenda             inclusion (everyone has opportunity to become citizens, all citizen have same rights)

Theories of US democracy:             1. Pluralist theory: theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies                         groups will work together                         public interest will prevail             2. Elite/Class theory: theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule                         money=power (1%)                         policies benefit those with money/power             3. Hyperpluralism theory: a state in which many groups or factions are so strong that a government is unable to function                         political groups have weakened the government

Challenges to democracy: increased complexity of issues (so much information available and average citizen not able to completely understand issues) limited participation in government (citizens take participation for granted and decide not to participate) escalating campaign costs (removes principles and focuses on money) diverse political interests (diverse population, gridlock may occur)

Political culture: set of shared values within American society             Americans share a commitment to democratic government

Lecture [Jan. 8]

Constitution: a nation's basic laws–relates to scope of government

Road to Revolution:1. "taxation without representation"–French and Indian War resulted in debt for Britain2. John Locke's philosophy–natural rights: rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on government–consent of the government=a government is legitimate only if the people approve of it (social contract)–limited government=natural rights are superior to a government, governments should have limited power3. Declaration of Independence–based on the idea of natural rights (life, liberty, and property)–listed grievances against King George III of England–justifies revolution–approved July 2, 1776 but ratified/adopted July 4, 1776

Articles of Confederation (1777):–first document to govern US–established a confederation among 13 states ("13 original colonies")–preserve independence of states, states had most governmental power–Congress had few powers, no president, no national court system

Consequences of Weaknesses:–economic turmoil     –postwar depression left farmers unable to pay debts–Shay's Rebellion     –series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers who could not pay off debts     –government had no power to raise a militia to deal with violence

Philadelphia Convention (Second Continental Congress):–55 delegates from 12 of 13 states (excluding RI)–mostly wealthy planters and merchants–most college graduates with some political experience–most coastal residents from larger cities not rural areas

divergent view about major issues:–human nature: people are self-interested, prone to war–political conflict: distribution of wealth is source of conflict, factions arise because of conflicts and can prevent progress of society–purpose of government: preservation of property (economically focused government)–nature of government: limited but balanced government with checks and balances between separated powers to prevent tyranny

Equality Issues:1. New Jersey plan: one house legislature (unicameral) and equal representation in Congress–supported by smaller states who feared losing power in the federal government2. Virginia plan: two hours legislature (bicameral) and representation in Congress based on population–supported by larger states who would get more representation and thus have more power

Making the Constitution

The Great Compromise:–two house legislature (bicameral)–equal representation in the upper house of Congress (Senate)–representation in lower house of Congress (House of Representatives) to be proportional to populationThree-Fifths Compromise:–persons "not free" count as 3/5 of a person for purposes of taxation and representation

Economic Issues:–interstate tariffs–worthless paper money–Congress couldn't raise money

Individual Rights Issues:–writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended (cannot be punished without trial before judge)–bills of attainder cannot be passed–religious qualifications cannot be used as a prerequisite for public office–trial by jury in a criminal case (applies to everyone)

Madisonian Model:–to prevent a tyranny of the majority     –electoral college     –separation of powers     –checks and balances     –federal system of government

Ratifying the Constitution

–approval was needed by at least nine states–anti-federalists     –feared the Constitution favored an elite minority     –failed to protect too many individual freedoms     –a strong central government would limit the power of the states     –Constitution=tool of aristocracy–federalists     –Federalist Papers defended the Constitution     –Constitution would benefit the growing middle class and wealthy plantation owners     –Bill of Rights to guarantee individual liberties–ratified in 1789 because the authors promised to add bill of rights–established the united states as a federal republic in which power would be divided among levels of government

Changing the Constitution:–formal amending process     –proposed by Congress with 2/3 vote in each House or by national convention called by 2/3 of states     –ratified by 3/4 of state legislatures or by Conventions in 3/4 of the states–informal amendment process     –through changing political practice, technology, and increased demands on policymakers     –through judicial interpretation (Marbury v. Madison)

Intent of the Founders

Elitism: founders were an elite group of educated and wealthy politicians who wanted to control the government1913Evidence:–Bill of Rights required for ratification of Constitution by some states–Congress receives lots of power over how country is run (affecting lives of people)–Convention was mainly wealthy college-educated planters and politicians from urban areas–the founders knew that they would most likely be the ones in Congress/Presidential executives–27th Amendment was first proposed in 1798 but not ratified until 1992 (Congress cannot change pay)

Divinely Inspired: founders were divinely inspired because the Constitution has lasted for 200+ years and has created a functioning countryEvidence:–oldest lasting constitution in the world–protects the people that follows the document, like Bible–Constitution supreme law of land, Bible is the supreme source for Christians–no kings for both–Declaration of Independence: "endowed by their Creator"

Pragmatic Politicians: based on compromises1948Evidence:–used England as example of complete opposite of what they wanted for a government–split up power among branches–power is elected and replaced every few years–Great Compromise–government publish records so that public knows whats going on–ability to add amendments

Marbury v. Madison

Election of 1800Executive: Adams (Federalist)/Jefferson (Democrat-Republican)Legislative: Federalists/Democrat-RepublicanJudicial: Federalist/Federalist

Marbury sued Madison for refusing to deliver his Supreme Justice of peace appointment

John Marshall, Chief Justice of Supreme Court decided in favor of Marbury. Judicial review established by decision, saying that the Supreme Court could now overturn laws passed by Congress. Supreme Court now as powerful as the other branches of federal government.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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