[Ideas that are found on almost all AP exams]
[A good check-list to use]
1. The Framers believed that the primary functions of government were to protect life,
liberty, and property. Be able to define these three.
2. Madison, in Federalist #10, expressed the view that political factions are undesirable
but inevitable in a free society. Be able to define political factions.
3. The “Rule of Four” simply states that if four Supreme Court Justices agree to hear a
case, it will be placed on the docket
4. Nominees for federal judgeships are appointed for life by the President with the
advice and consent of the senate
5. In selecting members of the White House staff, Presidents try to pick people who are
personally loyal to the President
6. Know the Exclusionary Rule [evidence obtained illegally cannot be used in a trial]
7. Very few Presidential vetoes are overridden, so Presidents can use the mere threat of
a veto to increase their leverage with Congress. Presidents may not veto part of a
bill, so Congress may put less desirable provisions into a bill they know the
President will sign anyway.
8. Know what PAC’s are, what they represent, and how they legally operate
9. Know the purpose and definition of Cloture [rule 22 in the Senate] Cloture is a rule
that ends filibustering in the Senate. It requires 60 senators to be present and
voting in order to end a filibuster
10. Know what a direct primary is and what the result of using them has been
A weakening of political control over nominations
More extreme candidates
An increase in the number of people involved in the choice of candidates.
11. The rise of interest groups and the decline of political parties is best explained
by the fact that interest groups are better able to articulate specific policy positions
than political parties.
12 he news media in the US is important because they affect what issues the public
thinks are important.
13 Know the term jury nullification
14 Know what selective incorporation means
15 Know which groups vote Republican and which vote Democratic. Blacks are the
most heavily democratic and Jews are strong as well. Hispanics differ by origin—
Mexicans are liberal, Cubans are conservative.
16 Know the following Acts/Resolutions
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act
All 27 Amendments-especially the Bill of Rights
War Powers Resolution Act
17 ost criminal cases in the US end in a plea bargain
18 Know the following terms
Due Process: Procedural and Substantive
Judicial Review
19 Know the “Necessary and Proper Clause,” aka “Elastic Clause”
20 Know the difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint
21 Congress is most likely to defer to the President on issues of foreign policy
22 The President is generally more effective than the Congress at using the media
23 Know all about the rise and fall of the Line Item Veto. Why was it supported and why
was it criticized? What did the Court say and what was the case?
24 Executive agreements, which have the same force as a treaty, do not require Senate
approval, but may require congressional allocation of funds. They are not binding
on successive governments. Treaties end wars
25 Reforms of the Presidential nomination process have made the process more
26 Incumbents in the House enjoy a 90% re-election rate because:
They are better known than their challengers
They find it easier to raise campaign funds
They can use staff members to serve constituents
They can serve on committees that help constituents
27 The OMB has primary responsibility for preparing the budgetState legislatures are
responsible for drawing the boundaries of congressional districts
27 The most common form of political activity in the US is voting
28 The higher people’s incomes, the more likely they are to be Republicans
29 A majority agree in principle with the rights of free speech and assembly, but in
practice many people are intolerant of view they do not support [no one want a NeoNazi group to march]
30 The 14th amendment nationalizes the Bill of Rights to the states
31 The legislative process at the national level reflects the intent of the Framers to create
a legislature that would be cautious and deliberate, yet supreme to the President
32 The federal system in the US leads to
Inequality in government services
Opportunities for experimentation
Multiple points of access for interest groups
Decentralized political conflict
33 Divided government reflects a frequent election pattern over the last 30 years
34 The FOIA [freedom of information act] was designed to allow citizens access to
information about the executive branch
36 The Congressional system of committees fosters the development of expertise by
37 Elections for the House of Representatives provide approximately equal
representation for every voter
38 Know the difference between
a. Categorical Grants-in-aid
b. Block Grants
c. Revenue sharing
d. Mandates
e. Unfunded mandates
Congress creates all inferior federal courts
The two party system in the US persists because of the winner-take all, singlemember district system
An interest group has the most influence on issues that are narrow issues and involve
lost of technical information
Incumbency is the single biggest factor in any congressional election
The voter turnout rate in the US is lower than in other Western democracies
Republican dominance in Presidential elections 1968-1988 did not carry over to
Voters in primaries are considerably more likely to be members of political parties
than voters in a general election
In upholding federal statutes that outlawed segregation, the Supreme Court relied on
the reasoning that such segregation affected interstate commerce
Know how the Clear and Present Danger test is used to define when free speech can
be limited
Import tariffs were permitted in the Constitution.
Know the difference between Elitist Theory and Pluralist theory, which states that
there are different elites on different issues
A committee chair in the House is always a member of the majority party
Independent regulatory agencies are freer from Presidential control that are cabinet
Debate is more restricted in the House, as is the amendment process. Bills are more
likely to bypass committee consideration in the Senate, and there is no rules
committee in the Senate
Personal staff / committee staffs—understand the difference
Know all about the decision Roe v. Wade and how the Court found a “right to
privacy” in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th amendments
In the 1980’s many southern Democrats were replaced by southern republicans
Incumbent senators are less likely to be re-elected than members of the House
Since 1950, Americans have become more apathetic and less trusting of government
When voting for a presidential candidate, people vote by party affiliation. In voting
for Congress, they vote for the individual
Know about the Education Amendments Act of 1972 [Title IX]
Know the difference between checks and balances and separation of powers.
Confirmation procedures are an example of checks and balances
Know about the different types of primaries
Open primary
Blanket primary
Closed primary
Runoff primary
When selecting a VP nominee, you try to balance the ticket and add appeal to the
national ticket
PAC’s try to raise campaign funds to support favored candidates
64 During the 1980’s, the income gap between rich and poor widened
65 Voters do not directly elect the President of Supreme Court Justices
66 SC justices were given life terms to preserve their independence from direct political
67 Know about the types of jurisdiction: appellate, original, exclusive. Most SC cases
come from appellate jurisdiction through a writ of certiorari
68 Know what the Solicitor General and Attorney General do
69 Presidents try to influence Congress to support their legislative program by
Using the media
Lobbying legislators through legislative liaisons
Exploiting a partisan majority
Reminding legislators of the President’s popularity
70 Presidents try to pick federal judges with political philosophies similar to their own
71 Know Brown v. Board [1954]
72 Know what symbolic speech is
73 Know how Shay’s Rebellion indicated that a strong system was needed to protect
property and maintain order
74 The President must ask Congress if he wishes to create a new Cabinet department
75 Know about the Budget and Impoundment Control Act. What was Nixon doing that
Congress didn’t like?
76 If the SC finds a law unconstitutional, they only remedy is to pass a constitutional
77 The legislative process is frequently lengthy, decentralized, and characterized by
compromise and bargaining
78 In 1992, there was large influx of minorities and women into Congress
79 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination in public accommodations illegal
80 Know McCulloch v. Maryland and Marbury v. Madison
81 Political socialization is the process y which political values are passed to the next
82 Most Americans believe that Congress doesn’t do that good of a job—but they like
83 Know the process of impeachment-House accuses, Senate tries
84 Interest groups and political parties link citizens to the political process
85 Public money finances Presidential elections [at least a little bit]
86 The Warren Court [1953-69]
Ruled against mal-apportionment [one man-one vote]
Desegrated schools
Expanded the rights of criminal defendants
Increased protection for 1st Amendment freedoms
87 Critical elections occur when voters change their loyalties
88 18-`21 year olds turn out a lower rates than the rest of the electorate
89 Political coverage in newspapers during Presidential campaigns is devoted to day-today campaign activities
90 Party ID has declined since the 1970’s.
91 The Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce has been contested most
frequently in the federal courts
92 An “Iron Triangle” is formed by Congressional committees, an executive department,
and interest groups
93 Presidential goals often conflict with the institutional goals of cabinet agencies
[Reagan and the EPA]
94 The federal bureaucracy can set specific guidelines after receiving a general mandate
from Congress

a final exam review sheet for ap american government