AP Government AP Exam Review Questions Name__________________________
1. Define natural rights. Why did the colonists believe they had a right to natural rights?
2. Under the Articles of Confederation, which facet of government had the most control over dealing with policy
3. Define due process rights? Why are they so important?
4. Describe what Madison means when he states, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
5. What was the central issue in the framing of the U.S. Constitution?
6. What was the Great Compromise? Why was it so great?
7. Define republic? Why did the framers choose this style of government?
8. Define separation of powers
9. What is the most common method used to amend the Constitution? How does it reflect federalism?
10. Define Federalism
11. Define separation of powers. From whom did the framers get this idea?
12. What are the reserved powers? In which amendment does it state the reserved powers?
13. What are the enumerated powers? In which Article are these powers listed?
14. Why did the Anti-federalists disagree with the U.S. Constitution?
15. Is it legal to burn the flag?
16. Why do conflicts in our civil liberties occur?
17. Define selective incorporation. How has selective incorporation affected the states?
18. Define libel. Define slander. How are these two terms different?
19. What is symbolic speech? Is it protected under the First Amendment? Give an example.
20. Define Free Exercise and No Establishment. In what amendment are those 2 clauses found?
21. Define the exclusionary rule. What is the purpose of it? How does it contain the executive branch?
22. Define the term “one man one vote”? What court case established that precedent? Why is that precedent so
23. What are civil rights? Can laws make distinctions between people? Are all distinctions acceptable?
24. Define strict scrutiny. What does the Supreme Court mean if they are going to apply strict scrutiny? To what issues
do the court’s apply strict scrutiny?
25. Why did the NCAA strategy of using the courts and litigation to further civil rights work so effectively?
26. What is the difference between de jure and de facto segregation?
27. What is the right to privacy? What amendment has the right to privacy been based on ? Why is the right so
28. Define Affirmative action. Why does it exist? Why is it so controversial?
29. What was the Bakke case? Why did the Supreme Court rule that quotas were illegal?
Know the Bill of Rights and the following Court cases and precedents:
Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Brown v. the Board of Ed. Of Topeka, KS, Mapp v. Ohio,
Miranda v. Arizona, Baker v. Carr, Gitlow v. New York
30. Define democracy
31. Define Federalism. How does the necessary and proper clause affect the relationship of federalism?
32. What are the key elements of American political culture?
33. What is the difference between equality opportunity and equality of result?
34. List and explain important political ideologies in the U.S. (ie Liberal, Conservative …)
35. Define due process. Why is this right so important?
36. How does American political culture foster religious diversity in America?
37. Why do churches in the U.S. foster a sense of civic duty and civic competence?
38. Why do Americans have a low degree of class consciousness?
39. In recent decades, what has been the relationship between public confidence in political institutions and that in
40. What is political efficacy?
41. Why did the Framers choose a Federalist system of government?
42. What were Madison’s views on Federalism?
43. What was McCulloch v. Maryland? What was its importance?
44. What is the doctrine of nullification?
45. Most forms of economic activity are now included in what expressed power of Congress?
46. In the 1960s and 1970s, federal grants increasingly became based on what?
47. Define categorical grant. Define Block grant?
48. Define Mandate. Define condition of aid. Give and example of each
49. What was one of the problems associated with the administration of the Americans with Disabilities Act?
50. What was driving the devolution effort of the mid 1990s?
51. What is cooperative and fiscal federalism
52. Defined public opinion. Why does public policy often differ from public opinion?
53. What factors affect the validity of public opinion polls?
54. What percentage of adults adopt the party preferences of their parents? Which partisan identification is most
transferred from parent to child?
55. Why has strong party identification declined in recent years?
56. What are the voting preferences of the following groups(ie liberal or conservative): Jews, white Protestants, blacks,
white Catholics, and hispanics? Which of these tends to be more conservative?
57. What effect does attending college have on political attitudes?
58. Which traits are correlated with a conservative political ideology… graduating from college, religious, conservative
family, living in red America.
59. What does the term cross-cutting cleavages in public opinion refer to?
60. In polling, what is a random sample?
61. How does sampling error affect horse race polls? (ie if a margin of error is 3% and Obama’s approval rating is 41%
where does the truth lie?)
62. Voters in the South have become progressively less attached to which political party? Why?
63. What is the definition of political ideology?
64. Around the time of Franklin Roosevelt, the term liberal began to mean what exactly? How did that change from its
65. Define pure conservative and pure liberal. How do these two ideologies differ in regards to government involvement
politically? Economically? Socially?
66. Which demographic groups tend to vote the most? The least?
67. Define populist, conservative, liberal, libertarian.
68. In presidential elections what is the typical voter turnout?
69. What reasons are given for low voter turnout in America?
70. What was “motor voter”? How did it make registering to vote easier? Did it increase registration?
71. What are the requirements necessary to vote in America? Can all Americans vote? What portion of the electorate
can NOT vote? Why?
72. Define: grandfather clause, poll tax, literacy test, Australian ballot, and white primary.
73. Know the 19th amendment and 26th amendments. Who did those two amendments enfranchise?
74. What do some scholars account for the decline in voter turnout? Is it possible that it is more apparent than real?
Why and how?
75. Why does religious involvement increase political participation?
76. How does “bowling alone” affect social capital? Why is social capital necessary in a democracy?
77. Blacks participate more than whites of the same socioeconomic status. Why is that the case? How was that statistic
78. Is there a correlation between eligible voters’ distrust of political leaders and the likelihood they will vote?
79. What effect does cynicism have on voter turnout?
80. What is the effect of increased voter registration drives on voter turnout? (i.e. more voter)
81. If measures were taken to improve voter turnout, which political party would benefit?
82. Which country has the most frequent opportunities to participate in elections?
83. What’s the definition of a political party? How is it a faction? How are parties different than interest groups? What is
the key definition of political party?
84. Why are US political parties more decentralized than European parties? What effect does decentralization have on
US political parties?
85. In most states, how are candidates for office chosen?
86. How did the founding fathers view political parties/factions? Does the Constitution say anything regarding political
87. Discuss two effects of a direct election of presidential candidates.
88. Define critical realignments. According to the text, why are dramatic realignments unlikely to occur again?8. Who
manages the day-to-day work of the party?
89. How has the increase in independent voters, political consultants, primaries and role of the media affected
90. Define party machines? How do they affect democracy?
91. With media centered elections, a presidential candidate must obtain a personal following. Why? How has that
affected the manner in which he/she campaigns?
92. Define two party system. Do many countries have a two-party system?
93. Define plurality. Define majority. What is the difference between those two terms? Define winner-take-all system.
94. How does a winner-take-all system discourage third parties from holding office?
95. What role do minor (third) parties play in elections?
96. What is a current disadvantage of the primary system? What type of voters do primary elections attract? What type
of voters do general elections attract?
97. Which election produces the largest voter turnout?
98. What are the major differences between presidential and congressional campaigns?
99. Define presidential coattails. Has this phenomenon become more or less significant today?
100.How do voters in a primary differ from voters in the general election? How does that effect a candidates’
101. Define incumbent. What is the incumbency rate for the House? For the Senate?
102. Define reapportionment. How often does the Constitution call for reapportionment?
103. Define the trustee voting style of a congressmen.
104. What are the drawbacks to candidates participating in tv debates?
105. How are presidential elections funded? Congressional elections?
106. Give characteristics of a blue county. Give characteristics of a red county.
107. What is soft money? What is hard money? What are the limits of hard money?
108. Define 527 committees? What is their affect on campaigns and elections?
109. Define the franking privilege (this is my favorite privilege... it evokes my narcissism). How does this privilege
advantage the incumbent?
110. Why would democrats be predicted to win every elections if the only factor considered party identification?
111. According to the text, why do campaigns make a difference?
112. What group is the strongest democratic block? What group (demographic) have democrats lost their one- strong
113. Define political socialization. What is the most influential political socialization factor?
114. How do interest groups and political parties both promote US democracy?
115. When have critical elections (realignments) typically occurred?
116. Why has the percentage of voters identifying themselves as either democrat or republican declined since the
117. What factors best accounts for the rise of interest groups and the decline of political parties in recent years?
118. Over the past 20 years, reforms of the presidential nomination process have had which of the following effects?
119. Define independent expenditures. How do they affect elections and campaigns?
120. What is party realignment most closely related to?
121. What is a closed primary? Open? Blanket? Nonpartisan? Which one does Illinois have?
122. What is a PAC? What is the primary function of a PAC?
123. What did James Madison believe latent causes of factions were rooted in? How did he view factions?
124. What are the following reasons for the proliferation of interest groups in this country?
125. Define interest group.
126. Why do Americans participate in civic associations more frequently than do citizens of other countries?
127. Which committee in the House sets the conditions for debate and amending most legislation?
128. What is the main mechanism lobbyists use to try to influence legislators?
129. What was a major cause in the decline of union membership in the US?
130.Where are the details of legislation worked out? Why is most of the work done there?
131. What demographics are most likely to join interest groups? Why.
132. Of nearly 7000 group represented in Washington, approximately what percentage are corporations? Public-
133. What is the best measure of an interest group’s influence? Why...
134. What is the most effective commodity at the command of an interest group? Why.
135. What restrains lobbyists from misrepresenting facts or information or misleading legislators?
136. Money does not buy votes but what?
137. Which expressed power is often used to expand federal power?
138. What does the book say about interest groups using disruption or making trouble?
139. Interest group activity is protected by which amendment?
140. What is one important effect of bicameralism?
141. Originally, how were senators selected?
142. Which expressed power does Congress use most frequently to augment its power?
143. What effects has decentralization had on the House?
144. What is the purpose of a filibuster? How do you stop one?
145. What is the franking privilege? How does it benefit incumbents?
146. Since 1950 how has the composition of membership changed in the House? Senate?
147. The sharp rise in the proportion of House members serving only their first or second term in 1995 can be attributed
148. What is a marginal district? A safe seat?
149. Define sophomore surge?
150. Define gerrymandering. Malapportionment.
151. How many members are in the House? When was that number fixed?
152. When does reapportionment of seats in the House occur? After what?
153. Know the voting styles-- trustee, delegate, etc.
154. In the Senate, in which leadership position does the greatest power lie?
155. Why do Congressional members tend to support the policy position of their party?
156. What is the Congressional Black Caucus?
157. Where is the real work of Congress done?
158. Define conference committee? What is the purpose?
159. According to the text, what is the main reason that incumbents are hard to defeat?
160. Define entitlement spending? Mandatory spending? How much of the federal budget is entitlement spendings?
161. Define single member district. An electoral district based on single-member districts is characterized by what?
162. Describe the bill making process? Who can introduce a bill into Congress?
163. The complexity of the procedure for enacting a law gives the advantage to the bill’s opponents. Why?
164. Where must all revenue bills originate? In which House? What committee would this bill be referred?
165. Define mark-up session. Why is it important?
166. Define discharge petition. Why is it important?
167. What is a problem with the representational interpretation of congressional voting behaviors?
168. Define pork barrel. Why does it need to be trimmed from Congressional spending?
169. Senate confirmation (advise and consent) is needed for which presidential appointments?
170. Discuss the power of the Speaker of the House?
171. Discuss why an intense struggle over the nomination of Robert Bork could have occurred in America? What does it
say about our political process?
172. What is the chief judicial weapon in the government’s system of checks and balances?
173. Define judicial activism?
174. Between 1789 and the Civil War, the Supreme Court was primarily occupied with what issues?
175. Rulings by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland established what principles? 6.
From the Civil War to the 1930s, the Supreme Court was primarily occupied with what issues?
176. The period in Supreme Court history from 1936 to the present has been marked by a concern for what issues?
177. Define Court-packing. Why would a president court-pack?
178. What does the US Constitution have to say about the size of the Supreme Court?
179. Define senatorial courtsey.
180. Typically, who is responsible for complaining about the litmus testing of judicial candidates?
181. Discuss the dual-court system of the US?
182. Citizen X is suing his neighbor Y for ramming his $7000 car. Which court would have original jurisdiction of this
183. The majority of cases heard by the federal courts begin in which courts?
184. What is the relationship between an appeal and a certiorari?
185. A writ of certiorari is issued by whom?
186. Discuss the relationship between the judicial branch and public opinion? How does public opinion influence the
187. Define sovereign immunity? Why does the principle exist?
188. Why are class-action suits are more advantageous than single-party suits?
189. In most cases presented to the Supreme Court, the bulk of the argumentation presented by either side will be
found in what?
190. What happens if a vote by the Supreme Court ends in a tie?
191. The strongest type of Supreme Court opinion is what type?
192. Justice Michele Bertola, for example, votes on the side of a majority of Supreme Court justices on a particular case
even though her reasoning differs from the others. She might choose to express her feelings in what?
193. Scholars of the Supreme Court voting behavior have noted the formation of blocs of opinion surrounding what
194. The number of federal laws that have actually been overturned by the Supreme Court is around what number?
195. What factors allow one to measure of the power of the federal courts?
196. Justices who believe the Supreme Court should change the direction of legislative policy are advocating?
197. Between 1961 and 1990, the largest percentage increase in court cases occurred in what area?
198. Federal courts are offered opportunities for designing remedies in part because of Congress does what?
199. A study of appellate court reviews of decisions made by regulatory agencies found that the agencies’ position was
supported by the courts approximately what percent of the time?
200. The most practicable course of action for a senator who does not like a constitutional decision by the Supreme
Court is to do what?
201. The Fourteenth Amendment overturned what Supreme Court decision and precedent?
202. Congress has the power to decide the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts. This means what exactly?
203. When Supreme Court justices read law review articles commenting on their opinions, they are acknowledging
204. If the size and scope of government were reduced, we could expect
what change to occur in the courts.
205. Define stare decisis.
206. Be sure to know the following indepth:
1). The three eras of the federal judiciary
2). Judicial activism vs. Judicial Restraint
3). Congressional checks on judicial power
207. Define bureaucracy?
208. Discuss the formal tools Congress uses to oversee the bureaucracy?
209. Define “iron triangle”? Who are the main players? Why do they exist?
210. Define the OMB? Why is it so powerful?
211.What is an independent regulatory agency? What makes it independent?
212. Most federal agencies must share their functions and powers with?
213. When executive agencies standards and regulations are contested, it reflects which aspect of our political culture?
214. What are the advantages of patronage?
215. Define entitlement spending. Why is it considered “uncontrollable spending”?
216. What was the great watershed in the expansion of the government bureaucracy?
217. Generally, what was the role of government bureaucracies up to the end of the 19th centuries?
218. Periodically, the size of the bureaucracy has grown substantially. What events, times etc. have caused these
219. What characterized the change of the bureaucracy due to the depression and World War II?
220. Define the role of the federal reserve bank? Why does it have such influence in America?
221. The TEXT argues the best measure of the power of a bureaucracy is what?
222. When did the merit system begin? After the passage of what law?
223. What are the advantages of the merit system?
224. Define legislative veto? How is it used?
225. Civil service recruitment and retention policies work to ensure that most agencies have what type of “point of
226. A survey of top-level, nonpolitical federal bureaucrats found their political outlooks to be more liberal, why?
227. Why was the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989 passed?
228. Where does the bureaucracy get its power from?
229. What is the biggest difference between a government agency and a private organization?
230. Why are iron triangles less common today?
231. Discuss how Congress supervises or oversees the bureaucracy?
232. Describe these bureaucratic “pathologies”-- imperialism, conflict, turf wars...
233. Define individual entitlements? Discuss two examples of entitlement spending.
234. What is the name of the new bureaucratic agency created by W?
235. How was the National Performance Review different from preceding reforms? Why?
236. How does federalism promote diversity in public opinion?
237. What determines the legitimacy of the government’s actions?
238. In this country, the scope of things that government may legitimately do has over time grown? Why?
239. The actions of Republican Presidents’ Eisenhower and Nixon illustrate what about the growth of the national
240. Why does the government add new programs to its agenda, despite the absence of public demand for them?
241. How do courts play an important role in policymaking?
242. When considering the costs and benefits of a policy, it is important to remember that it is usually the ________ that
most affects politics.
243. What is pork barrel politics? An example?
244. What have public-interest groups used most effectively to bring pressure on agencies to regulate businesses?
245. To a considerable extent, the move toward deregulation reflect changes in whom?