April 27, 2007

Study Guide

 Here are about 30 basic themes. This list is not exhaustive, but should serve as a reminder to you as to where we have gone. Thank you,


2007 Study Guide

Intro to American Gov’t

“Events, dear boy, events”



1)       Framing of the Country – Escape from Central Gov’t

2)       “Tyranny of the Majority” – changing nature of that term

3)       States as Key Players;  they are the central feature of the Constitution, and the national government derives from them

4)       The Civil War Amendments’ greatly expanding the power of the federal government

5)       “State Action” requirement of constitutional violation, and the ONE exception to that

6)       Locke/Jefferson – roots of political theory

7)       Parliament/Monarchy – roots of political practice

8)       Conception of equality and how it has changed from 1789 to 2007


1)       Establishment of Judicial Review – facts and aftereffects. Be prepared to detail specifically the facts leading up to the suit being filed. You should know who Marbury was, who Madison was, and who Marshall was.

2)       Explain why the suit was filed in the Supreme Court, instead of one of the ‘lower courts’ Congress established.

3)       Explain the difference between Appellate and Original Jurisdiction as it relates to MvM and the Judiciary Act.

4)       Explain the political tension the court was under (remember – John Marshall was appointed by Adams, who was just defeated by Jefferson). Explain the ‘two bad alternatives’ assumed that the court was under, and explain the ‘third option’ invented by Marshall. And be sure to use its proper name (Hint: J_______ R________).

5)       Difference between ‘state courts’ and ‘inferior/lower courts’

6)       Describe the meaning of ‘good behavior’ and what it might mean in our context.

7)       The Vice President typically presides over the US Senate. In the case of the impeachment of a President, the Chief Justice does. Why do you think this is?

8)       What is John Roberts’ job title?


1)       Nature of House v. Senate – which body represents what constituency?

2)       Two Chambers compared to England’s Parliament (will also be an ‘executive/presidency question). Why do we have a separation of powers? (Remember English/Colonial history here!)

3)       What is the appointment process and how is it similar to passing a bill?

4)       How are Senators elected? How were they elected, and why?

5)       How are Members of Congress elected, and  what process, held each ten years, determines how districts are set up? We spoke recently about an early reference to that process involving slavery and taxes. Be prepared to discuss that reference.

6)       Who is the leader of the House of Representatives and who is the Leader of the Senate? Which position do you feel is more important?

7)       Explain what processes a Senator can use to prevent something being passed.


1)       Who elects the President, and how are they chosen?

2)       What does the popular vote determine in the several states?

3)       What body determines the manner of elections for federal office?

4)       Who won the popular vote in the year 2000?

5)       Who won the popular vote in the year 2004?

6)       Name the only two Vice Presidents in history  (that we know of…I hear Walter Mondale has a mean temper) to have shot a person while in office.

7)       What is the group of people who collectively make up the Executive Branch called, and who hires and fires them?

8)       In Iowa, describe our process for selecting candidates for President

9)       Be prepared to offer your analyses of the differences between the six top candidates for President from both parties


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