Civics Unit 6

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Alignment

in politics, when the same social groups vote for the same party for long periods of time.

Anarchy

a state of lawlessness and chaos.

Aristocracy

a privileged, often hereditary ruling class with great power over the government.

Broad construction

also known as loose construction; idea that interpretation of the Constitution can use knowledge from outside the Constitution's text, such as history, scientific findings, and changing values.

Coalition

an alliance for combined action, such as an alliance of political parties.

Faction

a small, organized, group within a larger one, especially used to describe opposing groups in politics.

Federalist Party

a political party in early American history that promoted a strong central government.

French Revolution

an uprising in France against the monarchy from 1789 to 1799; the revolution resulted in the creation of a republic in France.

Internal improvements

public works such as roads, turnpikes, canals, and harbors.

Neutrality

a condition of not supporting or helping either side in a particular conflict.

Opposition

an organized group opposed to a group, party, or the government.

Partisan

related to party politics.

Pen name

a fake name (pseudonym) used by authors who might not want their identity known.

Political identity

how groups of voters identify with particular political parties.

Republican Party

also known as the Democratic-Republican Party, an American political party of the early 19th century favoring a strict interpretation of the Constitution and emphasizing states' rights.

Social stability

a condition where society is stable and people work together without conflict.

Strict construction

the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted based on an exact reading of the text and only the text.

Whiskey Rebellion

a revolt in western Pennsylvania in 1794 against a federal tax on whiskey that was crushed by the federal government.

Yeoman farmers

self-sufficient and independent farmers who cultivate their own land.

Candidate-centered politics

a political environment where candidates hold more of the power and influence through their ability to project their personalities into politics.

Caucus

a meeting of party leaders and party members to select candidates and elect convention delegates.

Cold War

a state of political hostility existing between Soviet-led countries and US-led Western powers from 1945 to 1990.

Corruption

dishonest or illegal behavior by those in power, typically involving bribery.

Democratic Party

one of the two major American political parties with origins in the Democratic-Republican party of the early 19th century.

Free Soil Party

a former political party that opposed the extension of slavery in territories not yet admitted to statehood; the Free Soil Party was active from 1846 to 1854.

Graft

an informal term for political corruption.

Grassroots organization

a political group that uses the efforts of people from the local level to bring about change at the local, regional, national, or international level.

Ideology

a system of ideas and ideals, especially those that lead to economic or political policy.

Mugwump

a person who remains independent from party politics; specifically this refers to Republican political activists who left the Republican Party in the election of 1884 because they rejected the financial corruption associated with Republican candidates.

New Deal

a group of government programs and policies established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression to deal with poverty and unemployment.

Party boss

a politician who controls votes in a party organization, often exchanging jobs for loyalty and votes.

Party-centered politics

a political environment where parties hold most of the power and influence.

Platform

a formal set of goals that are supported by a political party or individual candidates in order to appeal to voters.

Political machine

political organization where a boss or small group holds the loyalty of supporters and businesses, who receive then rewards for their efforts to generate votes.

Progressive Movement

a movement for reform occurring between 1900 and 1920, focused especially on eliminating government corruption and reducing the power of major corporations.

Republican Party

one of the two major American political parties with origins in the Whig Party and the Free Soil Party of the mid-19th century.

Slate

a group of candidates that run in elections on a common platform.

Subordinate

a person or group in a lower social class or lower in a political hierarchy.

Tammany Hall

a 19th century Democratic political machine based in New York City associated with corruption and abuse of power.

Whig Party

an American political party formed in the 1830s to oppose President Andrew Jackson and the Democrats.

Bias

giving greater weight to one particular view or group.

Electoral College

a group of electors chosen by the voters in each state to elect the president and vice president of the U.S.

Electoral Vote

a vote cast by a member of the Electoral College; in total, there are 538 electoral votes for which presidential candidates compete.

Electors

representatives in the Electoral College who cast the formal votes for president and vice president.

Faithless elector

a member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the presidential or vice presidential candidate for whom they had pledged to vote.

Federal Reserve Board

the governing body of the Federal Reserve System; its seven members are appointed by the president, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Majority

a number that is greater than half of a total.

Party loyalist

a person who remains loyal to a political party, and typically a person who is very involved in political campaigns for a party.

Platform

a set of goals that are supported by a political party or individual candidates in order to appeal to voters.

Runner-up

a competitor taking second place in a contest.

Sectionalism

loyalty to the interests of one's own region or section of the country as opposed to the good of the country as a whole.

Slate

a group of candidates that run in elections on a common platform.

State delegation

a group of people in a state who are chosen to vote in the Electoral College.

Ticket

a single election choice that fills more than one political office or seat, such as the candidates for President and Vice President, who are from the same party and run together.

Winner-takes-all

in politics, the candidate who wins the most votes wins all the delegates at stake.

Base

a group of voters who almost always support a party's candidates for elected office.

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

2002 law that regulates the finance granted for political campaigns, especially so-called "soft money." Also known as the McCain-Feingold Law.

Challenger

a candidate running against an incumbent in an election.

Consultant

in politics, professional advisers who assist with strategic planning, coordinating responsibilities of staff members, and arranging events to publicize the candidate or party.

Election fraud

illegal interference with the process of an election.

Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974

established limits on the amount of money that can be given to candidates for federal office by individuals, PACs, and political parties.

Hard money

regulated contributions to specific political candidates.

Incumbent

the current holder of a political office running for re-election.

Independent voter

a voter who does not identify with a particular political party.

In-kind conribution

contributions of goods or services to a campaign, other than cash grants.

Interest group

association of individuals or organizations that attempts to influence public policy in its favor.

Media coverage

getting television, radio, newspaper, and other media to devote time to a candidate.

Millionaire's amendment

part of the McCain-Feingold Law increasing contribution limits for candidates who face opponents putting large sums of personal funds into their own campaigns.

Off-year election

an election that does not occur in a presidential election year.

Open seat race

an election in which no incumbent is running.

Opportunity group

voters who are uncommitted to another candidate or who could be persuaded to vote for a candidate.

Party identification

the political party with which an individual identifies.

Political action committee

an organization that raises money privately to influence elections or legislation, especially at the federal level.

Recession

a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced.

Shadow contribution

when a person gives money to another person for that second person to contribute to a campaign; this is typically done to get around campaign finance laws.

Soft money

money that can only be used for "party-building activities" such as advocating the passage of a law and voter registration, and not for advocating a candidate in an election.

Split-ticket voting

a vote for candidates of different political parties on the same ballot, instead of for candidates of only one party.

Voter registration

the requirement for citizens to check in with some government office specifically for the purpose of being allowed to vote in elections.