American Government

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American Government

Unit II Review – Chapters 5-9


Define the following:

Political Party - A group that tries to control government by winning elections and holding public office

Referendum - a legislative measure (proposed law) is referred to the State’s voters for final approval or rejection

General Election - Voters select government officials

Recall - voters sign a petition for a special election to decide whether to remove the current officeholder early

Splinter party – a group of voters break away from one of the main parties, thus taking many votes away from the main party

Initiative – a proposed law is placed on the ballot after voters have gained enough signatures from registered voters to do so

Polling Place – where people vote

19th Amendment – women’s suffrage

24th Amendment – outlawed poll taxes

26th Amendment - set the minimum voting age at 18

Interest Group - a private organization that forms to promote the interests of its members

Lobbyists – hired by interest groups to persuade legislators to vote in support of the interest group’s policies

Grassroots Campaign – local campaigning such as writing letters, making phone calls, etc.

Complete the following:

  1. List the functions of a political party. Nominate candidates; inform and inspire voters; ensure candidate quality; help govern; act as watchdogs

  2. What type of party system exists in the United States? Two-party

  3. What is the main reason minor parties have struggled to gain power in the U.S.? Electoral System – single member districts

  4. What type of minor party often “spoils” an election and why? Splinter Party – they take votes away from the main party when people move to the other party

  5. List the three aspects of the structure of political parties. Party in Office, Party in the Electorate, Party Leaders

  6. List the four basic federal election laws that no state can violate. Can’t discriminate based on race, ethnicity; can’t discriminate based on sex; can’t tax people to vote; can’t set minimum voting age over 18.

  7. List the two main groups of citizens that state will NOT allow to vote. Felons & Mentally Incompetent

  8. List the various aspects of mass media. TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Internet, etc.

  9. Which form of mass media has the most impact on American politics? TV

  10. Which form of mass media has made candidates less dependent on political parties? TV

  11. List the good and bad things interest groups do. GOOD - Keeping close ties with the party; Getting members of their group active in the political party; Giving candidates money through PACs (Political Action Committee. BAD – Engage in dishonest behavior

  12. What is the main purpose of Political Action Committees? Raise money for candidates

  13. What regulates the activities of lobbyists? Federal Laws

  14. Why is it important that we pay taxes? To keep basic public services.

  15. Why is it important for people to vote? To have a say in our government/our lives

  16. Describe the process of jury duty AND why it is important for us to serve. If we want a fair trial if/when needed, we should be willing to give one to someone else too

  1. List the representative(s) for each branch of Georgia’s Government

    1. Executive – Governor

    2. Legislative – General Assembly

    3. Judicial – Georgia Supreme Court

  2. List the ELECTED positions in local government structures. Mayor, Councilmen, Commissioners

  3. List the functions of a state constitution.

Is the State’s supreme law.

Provides for popular sovereignty and limited government.

Outlines civil rights.

Defines the structure of State and local governments**

Divides power among the branches of State government.

Sets out ways in which it may be revised or amended.

Most likely needs to be reformed.

  1. Describe what each level of local government does


Administers State and county laws and maintains such things as jails, roads, schools, and tax collection


Zoning is a common form of city planning. States establish cities through incorporation. Charters lay out cities’ basic laws


Delivers services provided by city and county governments elsewhere


Usually provides rural functions such as road maintenance and law enforcement

Special district

Performs governmental functions at the local level, such as administering schools and providing water, police protection, and bridge and park maintenance

  1. On what do we pay the following:

    1. Sales tax – various commodities

    2. Property tax – land, vehicles, etc.

    3. Income tax – individual & business

    4. Inheritance tax – an heir’s share of an estate

  2. List the services provided by state and local governments. Education, Public Welfare, Highways & Roads, Public Safety, Protecting Consumers, Keeping Public Lands for Conservation, Keeping Public Lands for Recreation, Regulating Business & Commerce

  3. By what two means are the services from the question above provided? Directly through state agencies and programs

And through the local governments they establish

Flashback section:

Recall the Articles of the Constitution and the breakdown of the amendments (the three areas into which the amendments can be divided).

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