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AP Government Review Sheet  and AP Gov Notes

AP Gov review sheet, flashcards, notes, and study guide for the AP® Government and Politics test.

Key Terms To Know (click the links)

Direct Democracy, Republic, Trustee, Delegate, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Philadelphia Convention, Great Compromise, Commerce Clause, Federalists and Anti-Federalists, Federalist Papers, Federalist #10, Bill of Rights,Federalism, Elastic Clause, Dual Federalism, Cooperative Federalism, Block Grants, Categorical-Formula Grants and Revenue Sharing  Entitlement Programs, Social Security  Mandate New Federalism, Supremacy Clause, Denied Powers, Impeachment, Unwritten Constitution, Formal and Informal Constitution, Pluralist and Elitist Theories, Political Socialization, Cross-Pressured Voter, Motor Voter Law, Australian Ballot, Public Opinion Polls, Random Sample, Activism, Linkage Institution, Political Party, National Chairperson, Political Machine, Divided Government, New Deal Coalition, Minor/Third Party, Interest Group Lobbying, , Revolving Door, Grassroots Lobbying,Litigation , Public-Interest Group, PACs  , Hard and Soft Campaign Money, Super PACs    Watchdog Media, Press Secretary, Horse Race Journalism, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Leader, Incumbent  Marginal and Safe Districts, Franking Privilege, Party Polarization, Caucus (Congress) and Caucus (primary), Staff Agency,




Legislative Veto, Committee and Chairs, Standing Committee, Ways and Means Committee, Rules Committee, Appropriations Committee, Bill, Filibuster, Rider, Logrolling, Pork-Barrel Legislation, Reapportionment, Gerrymandering, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall, Line-Item Veto, Pocket Veto, Resolutions of Congress, Open and Closed Primary, Nominating Convention, Electoral College, Plurality and Winner-Take-All, Executive Order, War Powers Act, Cabinet, White House Staff, EOP, Independent Regulatory Agencies, Federal Reserve Board, Legislative Oversight, Advice and Consent, Executive Privilege, Presidential Approval Rate, Presidential Succession, Lame Duck, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction, Judicial Review, Writ of Certiorari, Original Intent and Living Constitution, Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint, Stare Decisis, Court Packing Scheme, Plea Bargain, Class Action Suit, Amicus Curiae, Bureaucracy, Merit System, Bureaucratic Discretion, Casework, Monetary and Fiscal Policy, National Debt and Sequester, Keynesian Economics, Supply Side Economics, Iron Triangle, Issue Network, Jim Crow, De Jure and De Facto Segregation, Civil Disobedience, Little Rock 9, Naturalization, Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, Wall of Separation, Selective Incorporation, Exclusionary Rule, Affirmative Action, Equal Rights Amendment             



 AP Gov Flashcards!




Key Questions (click the links)


In what ways do people politically represent themselves?

What do the three branches of government do?

What are the main powers of each branch?

What are the qualifications to hold major office?

What types of federal grants should I know?

How can the Constitution be changed?

What are the most important checks and balances to know?

What ideologies do I need to know? What’s a liberal? What’s a conservative?

What shapes public opinion? 

How does the US compare to other nations in terms of voter turnout?

What obstacles do voters face?  




What types of ballots should I know?

What do I need to know about the history of political parties?

How might candidates at the state level stray from the national party platform?

What has happened to the number of interest groups over the last 60 years?

What are some specific special interest groups to know, and what do they support?

What forms of media are there?

How does the media affect public policy?

What is the relationship between the President and the media?

What are the powers of Congress?

What are some major differences between the House and the Senate?

What standing committees should I know about?

How does a bill become a law?

How does the President win an Election?

What are the major powers of the President?

How does the Supreme Court operate? What other tidbits are relevant to know?

How might special interests affect who is appointed to the Supreme Court?

Since the early twentieth century, what has happened to the size of the bureaucracy?

What types of jobs make up the bureaucracy?

How can the bureaucracy be checked?

How is the federal budget created?

What should I know about environmental policy? Healh care policy? Miliary policy?

In what ways were African Americans denied the right to vote after ratification of the 15th Amendment?

How does one become a citizen?



Amendments Lesson and Bill of Rights Song 



Bill of Rights Amendments to Know

1st – Freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and right to petition the government.

2nd – Right to bear arms.

4th – Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

5th – Due process rights (right to fair justice, and freedoms from self incrimination). Also, one cannot be tried twice for the same crime. This is a freedom from “double-jeopardy.”

6th – Right to a fair trial and attorney.

10th – Division of powers between the states and federal government (called federalism).


Civil War/Reconstruction Amendments

13th Amendment – Abolition of Slavery

14th Amendment – Equality and Due Process Clause

15th Amendment – Universal Male Suffrage

Progressive Era Amendments

16th Amendment – Graduated Income Tax

17th Amendment – Direct Election of Senators

19th Amendment – Women’s Suffrage


These Could Come Up As Well

22nd Amendment – Two Term Limit for Presidents

25th Amendment – Clarified succession of the President, and vacancy of Vice President’s office.

26th Amendment – Lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971, as Vietnam War soldiers were not old enough to vote.







Checks and Balances Song





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Court Cases You Should Know 

Marbury v. Madison, 1803 - First use of judicial review.

McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819 - Maryland could not tax the Bank of the United States because of federal supremacy, and the right of the national government to charter a bank.

Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824 – The federal government is superior to the states and controls interstate commerce.

Baker v. Carr, 1962 – The Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts could hear cases and force states to redraw where the districts are.

Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 - Districts had to be of similar populations, adhering to the principle of “one person, one vote.”

Buckley v. Valeo, 1976 – Campaign contributions are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857 - Chief Justice Roger B. Taney said that slaves were property, and owners could not be deprived of them.

Slaughterhouse Cases, 1873 - The Fourteenth Amendment did not protect slaughterhouse workers attempting to conduct a business.

Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 - Justified Jim Crow laws. “Separate but equal” was constitutional.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 1954 - Ended segregation in schools. “Separate but equal” is inherently unequal.

Schenck v. US, 1919 - Said that free speech was not absolute. One can’t utter something that creates a “clear and present danger,” as someone can’t shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater.

Korematsu v. US, 1944 - Japanese internment was constitutional, as in times of war, rights can be limited.

Dennis v. US, 1951 - Upheld the Smith Act during the Cold War making it illegal to speak about overthrowing the government. Due process was limited because of a fear of communism. This was similar to “clear and present danger” of the Schenck case. 

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) Mapp v. Ohio (1961) - All three of these decisions of the Warren Court protected rights of the accused.

Roe v. Wade, 1973 - Legalized abortion, but not in all cases. A woman’s privacy was protected.

Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965 - A Connecticut law making it illegal for married people to obtain contraceptives (birth control) was declared unconstitutional. The right to a married couple’s privacy was protected.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke – Race can be considered in the university admissions process, but distinct racial quotas are illegal.   

Texas v. Johnson, 1989 - Burning of the American flag was protected by the First Amendment.

Reynolds v. United States, 1879 - The Court ruled that religion could not be used as a defense against polygamy, as the free exercise clause is not absolute.

Oregon v. Smith, 1990 – The Supreme Court ruled that illegal drug use performed as part of a religious ceremony is still illegal drug use.

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission – Overturned part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act denying certain entities campaign ads before elections.      

United States v. Nixon, 1974 - President Richard Nixon was not protected by executive privilege, and had to hand over tape-recordings. Nixon remains the only President to resign the office.

Bush v. Gore, 2000 - Ended Al Gore’s Campaign’s sponsoring of hand-counting ballots in Florida’s Presidential Election. 

Cases Involving a School

Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969 - A student wanted to protest the Vietnam War, so he and some friends wore a black armband. They were suspended for making such a political statement. The Supreme Court ruled that clothing is an extension of free speech (First Amendment), and the students should not have been suspended.

Engel v. Vitale, 1962 - The Supreme Court ruled that official school-sponsored prayer is a violation of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971 –The decision created the “Lemon Test” where a government’s laws had to be secular, can’t have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and can’t have entanglements with religion.

Everson v. Board of Education, 1947 –  The Supreme Court decided that the busing was constitutional, as the benefits to the students was the main purpose of the law, and not the helping of a religious institution.



Important Acts to Know (click on links)

Judiciary Act of 1789, Pendleton Act, Executive Order 9066, Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act and Lobbying Disclosure Act, Smith Act, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, War Powers Act, Clean Air Act, Freedom of Information Act, Federal Election Campaign Act, American Disabilities Act (ADA), Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act/Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, Whistleblower Protection Act, Brady Bill, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Welfare Reform Act of 1996, Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Defense of Marriage Act, Patriot Act, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, Budget Control act of 2011

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