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American Government 12A
EOC Study Guide
American Government: Origin & Structure (who, what, where, when, how, why)
 The definition, role and purpose of government
 Origins of democracy and republic. Difference between a democracy and a republic.
 England’s Influence on American Government
 Essential ideals and objectives of: the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the
Articles of Confederation, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution
 The difference between presidential and parliamentary systems of government and
between unitary or federal geographic distribution of power
 How John Locke’s natural rights philosophy influenced the formation of government;
belief that government should serve the people
 The six purposes of government as stated in the Preamble to the Constitution.
 Why the Articles of Confederation failed
 The Virginia and New Jersey plans, leading to the Great Compromise/ Connecticut
Compromise
 The basic outline of the Constitution and the amendment process
 Dictatorships and Democracies differ in the number of people allowed to participate in
government
 Constitutional principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, limited
government, federalism and popular sovereignty
 Common philosophy on government of John Locke (natural rights ), Thomas Hobbes,
and Jean Jacques Rousseau
 Clauses in Constitution: Supremacy Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause
Election Politics: who, what, where, when, how, why
 The factors that influence public opinion and voting (media, bias, propaganda, lobbyists,
special interest groups, demographics, incumbent v. challenger)
 The various individual and organizations that contribute to campaigns and the impact of
those contributions (PACs, FEC, political parties)
 The impact of redistricting and reapportionment on elections
 The role of political parties in elections; purpose of national convention
 The major political parties and an overview of their platforms
 The purpose of minor parties
 How to use a political spectrum in identifying political issues and individual beliefs
 Define suffrage and know the critical suffrage amendments and voting rights acts
(Specific Amendments: 15,19,24,26, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act)
 Voter qualifications and state’s impact on them
 Primaries & Caucuses (main purpose of them)
 Requirements for elections (date of federal election & precinct & polling places)
 Constitutional requirements of candidates (age, residency, citizenship)
 Electoral College
Revised October 2013
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The Legislative Branch: who, what, where, when, how, why
 The legislative branch makes law.
 Congress is a bicameral legislature that is made up of a Senate and House of
Representatives.
 The U.S. Constitution authorizes and limits congressional power
 A senator serves a six year term and a representative serves a two year term
 The Senate is made up of two members of each state
 The number of representatives in the House of Representatives
 Idaho’s Congressional districts and effect of the census
 The leadership of the Senate consists of president, president pro tempore, majority
leaders, minority leaders, and committee chairs
 The House leadership consists of the Speaker of the House, the majority leader, the
minority leaders and committee chairs
 The Speaker of the House is chosen by the majority party. The Speaker is the most
powerful position in Congress.
 Reapportionment is the process of redrawing congressional districts to voters account for
population changes among states.
 Redistricting???
 The process by which a bill becomes a law:
o Introduced by a member
o Assigned/Debated/Amended in committee
o Debated/Amended on floor
o Process repeated in Senate/House
o Conference Committee (if needed)
o President can sign, veto, pocket veto, no action
o If vetoed, Congress can override with 2/3 vote
 The three types of powers are: expressed, implied and inherent
 Congress divides into committees to manage the workload of lawmaking (standing, joint,
select, special, conference)
 The role of lobbyists
 Know the following terms: seniority rule, quorum, patronage, partisanship, constituency,
filibuster, cloture, precinct, politico, trustee, delegate and personal interests.
Revised October 2013
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EOC Study Guide Semester 1