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Unformatted text preview: REVIEW SHEET MID-TERM #1 PSCI 101 AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT In class reading : the materials need to read carefully!! Below is a list of major terms/concepts that have been covered in the readings and/or class discussions to date in PSCI 101. Please note : this list is *not* intended to be a comprehensive study guide. (That is: everything in the readings and class discussions is fair game for the exam.) This guide is intended only to remind students of major themes/concepts found in the class materials and discussions. representative democracy Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy . It is an element of both the parliamentary system and presidential system of government and is typically used in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons (UK) or Bundestag (Germany), and is generally curtailed by constitutional constraints such as an independent judiciary or an upper chamber. It has been described by some political theorists as Polyarchy . checks and balances The American constitutional system includes a notion known as the Separation of Powers . In this system, several branches of government are created and power is shared between them. At the same time, the powers of one branch can be challenged by another branch. This is what the system of checks and balances is all about. There are three branches in the United States government as established by the Constitution. First, the Legislative branch makes the law. Second, the Executive branch executes the law. Last, the Judicial branch interprets the law. Each branch has an effect on the other. The separation of powers , Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is into an executive , a legislature , and a judiciary . Legislative Branch Checks on the Executive o Impeachment power (House) o Trial of impeachments (Senate) o Selection of the President (House) and Vice President (Senate) in the case of no majority of electoral votes o May override Presidential vetoes o Senate approves departmental appointments o Senate approves treaties and ambassadors o Approval of replacement Vice President o Power to declare war o Power to enact taxes and allocate funds o President must, from time-to-time, deliver a State of the Union address Checks on the Judiciary o Senate approves federal judges o Impeachment power (House) o Trial of impeachments (Senate) o Power to initiate constitutional amendments o Power to set courts inferior to the Supreme Court o Power to set jurisdiction of courts o Power to alter the size of the Supreme Court Checks on the Legislature - because it is bicameral, the Legislative branch has a degree of self- checking....
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- Spring '11