American Government Midterm Study Guide

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Social Contract
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an implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits
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Judicial Branch
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interprets laws
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Executive Branch
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passes laws
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Legislative Branch
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created laws
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Seperation of powers
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dividing the powers of government among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
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Government
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the governing body of a nation, state, or community
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Delegate
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a person appointed or elected to represent others
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Checks and balances
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a system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
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Enumerated
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powers given to the national government alone
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Northwest ordinance
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the first organized territory of the United States
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Amend
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make minor changes in (a text) in order to make it fairer, more accurate, or more up-to-date
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Proportional representation
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an election system in which each party running receives the proportion of legislative seats corresponding to its proportion of the vote
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3/5 clause
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slaves counted as 3/5 person for representation and taxation purposes
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Divided powers
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power divided between the states, the people, and the federal government
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Necessary and proper clause
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allows Congress \”To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the [enumerated] Powers
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Anti-federalist
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against the Constitution
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Bill of rights
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1st 10 Amendments
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Electoral college
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a group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
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Democrat
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ensuring that all people have the same rights
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Republican
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a group of people whose opinions are about having a small government and being slow to change
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Constitution
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a document which spells out the principles by which a government runs and the fundamental laws that govern a society
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Ratified
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formally approved
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Filibuster
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a lengthy speech designed to delay or kill the vote on a bill; used only in the Senate
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Pocket veto
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a bill fails to become law because the president did not sign it within ten days before Congress adjourns
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Veto
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chief executive’s power to reject a bill passed by a legislature
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Precedent
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a law established by following earlier judicial decisions
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Supremacy clause
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article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits
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Popular sovereignty
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a belief that ultimate power resides in the people
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Appeals
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request to a higher court for a review of a case
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Judicial review
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allows the court to determine the constitutionality of laws
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Political parties
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groups of people who organize to help elect government officials and influence government policies

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