Government Structure/Civic Participation

Government Structure/Civic Participation

**This will NOT be taken for a grade.

You must know this material to do well on the 20% cumulative final exam.

Government Systems

SSCG1 Compare and contrast various systems of government.

  1. What is an autocracy?
  1. What are the two types of autocracies?
  1. What is the difference between an absolute monarchy and a constitutional (parliamentary) monarchy?
  1. What is an oligarchy?
  1. What is a democracy?
  1. What is the difference between a direct and representative democracy?
  1. What government(s) hold the power in a unitary system?
  1. What government(s) holds the power in a confederation?
  1. What government(s) holds the power in a federal system?


SSCG2 Demonstrate knowledge of the political philosophies that shaped the development of United States constitutional government.

  1. What document (1215) introduced the ideas of limited government, due process of law, trial by jury, and the protection of private property and civil liberties while establishing that the power of the monarchy was not absolute?
  2. What document (1628) established basic rights for citizens, challenged the divine right theory (power to rule comes from ______) and directed monarchs to obey the law of the land?
  3. Which document (1689) effectively ended the absolute monarchy by placing limits on the monarchy and requiring a greater say from the Parliament?
  4. Which philosopher (author of Leviathan) defended the role of absolute monarchs in a social contract because they would make and enforce laws to secure a peaceful society which was better than the state of nature.
  5. Which philosopher agreed with the idea of the social contract theory but believed that natural rights like life, liberty and property could not be taken away by anyone, including an absolute monarch and that the people had the power to revolt against the king if their rights were violated by the sovereign (ruler)?
  1. Which philosopher favored a direct democracy over a representative democracy in the social contract?
  1. Which philosopher encouraged the idea of three branches of government with a separation of powers as well as checks and balances?
  1. The following ideas found their origins in the documents and from the philosophers listed above. Thomas Jefferson included them in what document?
  • All men are created equal
  • Unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Governments are instituted among men and derive their power from the consent of the governed
  • It is the right of the people to alter or abolish government and institute a new government

SSCG3 Demonstrate knowledge of the framing and structure of the United States Constitution.

  1. The confederation created by the Articles had several weaknesses. How was each fixed in the Constitution?

Articles / Constitution
One branch of government – Congress
Unicameral congress
One vote per state in Congress
(despite population)
Presiding officer of Congress led
national gov’t
No power to tax or regulate trade
between states
Amendments required approval of
all 13 states
  1. The ______Convention (aka Constitutional Convention) was attended by 12 of 13 states and led by George Washington as the men who would become known as the FRAMERS worked to make compromises that would lead to a more effective government.
  1. How did the Connecticut (Great) Compromise set up the legislative branch to settle the issue of legislative representation between the Virginia and New Jersey Plan?
  1. The south wanted to count slaves in the population count for the House of Representatives. The north did not. What is the name of the compromise made on slavery in the Great Compromise? ______What did it say about counting slaves?


  1. The ______established that Congress would power to regulate both foreign and interstate (between state) trade. It also kept Congress from issuing an export tax on goods (like tobacco) and forced them to stay out of the slave trade for 20 more years. This compromise protected concerns of the southern states that northern commercial interests would outweigh the south’s agriculture interests.
  1. Explain each of the following Constitutional principles:
  2. limited government
  3. rule of law
  4. federalism
  5. separation of powers
  6. checks and balances
  7. popular sovereignty
  8. The ______wanted a strong national government because they feared that too much power to the states would lead to a fractured nation with each state operating like a separate nation.
  1. The ______argued that the national government had too much power and not enough powers were given to the states, that no provisions to protect civil liberties, and that the power to print money was given to the national government and not the states.


SSCG4 Demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government.

  1. What is the primary function of the legislative branch?
  2. Congress is made up of the ______and the ______.
  3. How many members are in the House? ______What is this based on? ______
  4. How many members are in the Senate? ______
  5. Since the 17th Amendment, members of both houses are elected by ______
  6. Congress declares ______, passes ______, approves or rejects Presidential ______, levies ______, establishes the budget and can borrow money.
  7. What is the primary function of the executive branch?
  8. Who is the leader of the executive branch? The ______& ______
  9. Responsibilities of the chief executive include ______members to the Cabinet.
  10. What is the primary function of the judicial branch?
  11. Federal and Supreme Court justices are appointed by the ______and confirmed by the ______
  12. Know the checks and balances of each branch on the other two branches. For example:

SSCG5 Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system of government described in the United States Constitution.

  1. What is federalism?
  1. What are enumerated powers? Give two examples.
  1. What are reserved powers? Give two examples.
  1. What are concurrent powers? Give two examples.
  1. What are implied powers? Give two examples.
  1. What clause of the Constitution gives us the implied powers? What is it’s nickname?
  1. What are denied powers? Give two examples.
  1. What is the intent of the Supremacy Clause in Article 6 of the Constitution?
  1. What is an amendment?
  1. Complete the following chart on the amendment process outlined in Article 5.

Proposal by ______gov / Ratification by ______gov
2/3 of ______/ 3/4 of state ______
2/3 of a Constitutional Convention / 3/4 of state ratifying conventions

Civil Rights/Civil Liberties

SSCG6 Analyze the meaning and importance of each of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and how each is secured.

Amendment / What it says

SSCG7 Demonstrate knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights.

  1. The process of ______guarantees that the Bill of Rights are also applied at the state level of government under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
  1. What are civil liberties?
  1. What are civil rights?
  1. The ______guaranteed voting rights for ALL Americans and outlawed discrimination in a number of areas including public schools, publicly funded programs and job-related matters.
  1. The court case ______vs. ______struck down the Plessy v. Ferguson decision and said that separate facilities were not equal facilities and began the integration of public schools.
  1. Explain each of the following clauses. What amendment are they from?
  2. Due Process Clause
  1. Equal Protection Clause
  1. Is there ever a time that your 1st Amendment rights can be restricted? Why/why not?
  1. Explain each of these provisions of the 5th Amendment
  2. Double Jeopardy
  1. Grand Jury
  1. Self-Incrimination
  1. Why are each of the following amendments important to suffrage?

Amendment / Suffrage granted to/based on….

Legislative Branch/Interest Groups

SSCG8 Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative branch of government.

  1. What are the qualifications for someone to be in the House of Representatives?
  1. What are the qualifications for someone to be in the Senate?
  1. What is the length of term for a representative?
  1. What is the length of term for a Senator?
  1. Which Amendment allows us to choose Senators instead of them being appointed? ______
  1. ______are the people that members of the House and Senate represent (House = district; Senate = state)
  1. Who is the president of the Senate? Who presides in the absence of the President of the Senate?
  1. Who is the presiding officer of the House?
  1. What is the job of the majority and minority leaders?
  1. What is the job of the majority and minority whips?
  1. Identify the type of committee

Type / Description
Permanent, set up by topic to review bills
Short-term; primarily for investigations
Has members of both House and Senate
Works out differences between a House and Senate version of a bill
  1. The power of the purse allows the Congress to tax, including income tax after the ______Amendment?
  1. What powers are held ONLY by the House?
  1. What powers are held ONLY by the Senate?
  1. What is a bill?
  1. Explain the process of how a bill becomes a law.
  1. Bill is ______(written)
  2. Bill is ______(by a member of House or Senate)
  3. Bill is sent to ______
  4. Rules Committee in the House sets rules of debate for House Floor
  5. Bill is debated and amended on the floor
  6. Bill is sent to other ______(committee and floor votes)
  7. Bill may need to go to ______Committee
  8. Conference Committee bill must be voted on by ______
  9. Bill is sent to ______to be signed or vetoed
  10. Possible ______of veto (takes a ____/____ vote of each chamber)
  1. A bill is engrossed if it has been ______
  1. What is a filibuster?
  1. What is cloture?
  1. What is a presidential veto? How can a presidential veto be overridden?
  1. ______includes activities by members and representatives of an interest group (NAACP, NRA, MADD, etc.) to try to get laws passed in favor of their group.
  1. Identify one positive aspect and one negative aspect to the activities of lobbyists.

Executive Branch

SSCG9 Explain the impeachment and removal process and its use for federal officials as defined in the U.S. Constitution.

  1. What is impeachment?
  2. Who impeaches a President? ______What vote is needed? ______
  3. Who determines if an impeached President will be removed? ______
  4. How many Presidents have been impeached? ______Were they removed?______

SSCG10 Demonstrate knowledge of the executive branch of government.

  1. What are the constitution requirements to be president of the United States?
  1. What are the “unwritten qualifications” met by most of our presidents?
  1. What is the term of office for an elected President & VP?
  1. What changes to the Presidency were made by each of the following?

Amendment/Law / Description
Succession Act / 1. President & VP
  1. How many Electors does each state get?
  2. How many total Electors are there?
  3. How many Electors are needed to win the Presidency?
  4. Most states are “winner-takes-all”. What does this mean?
  1. If no candidate wins the necessary Electoral Vote who selects the President?
  1. Explain each of the roles of the President:

a. Chief of State

b. Chief Executive

c. Commander in Chief

d. Chief Diplomat

e. Chief of the Party

f. Chief Agenda Setter

SSCG11 Explain the functions of the departments and agencies of the federal bureaucracy.

  1. What is the bureaucracy?
  2. Who serves on the Cabinet?
  3. What is the job of the Cabinet?
  4. ______are not under the direct control of the president but oversee parts of our economy to protect consumers (ex. FDA, EPA)
  1. ______are created by Congress to perform a business task rather than having a private company take it on (ex. Post Office, Amtrak)
  1. ______are organized like Cabinet departments but take care of public tasks like space exploration and civil rights protections.

SSCG12 Describe the tools used to carry out United States foreign policy, including diplomacy and treaties; economic, military, and humanitarian aid; and sanctions and military intervention.

Tool / What is it?
Economic, Military,
Humanitarian Aid
Military Intervention

Judicial Branch

SSCG13 Demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the judicial branch of government.

  1. Justices are nominated by the ______. The Senate Judiciary Committee

holds hearings on the nominee. The ______must confirm the member who will be

appointed for a term of ______.

  1. What is the difference between original and appellate jurisdiction?
  1. The two levels of courts are ______and state courts.
  1. ______cases involve the violation of laws. ______cases involve money

and property

  1. The ______brings a case to trial against the ______that they

are accusing of something.

  1. What is judicial review?
  1. What court case defined judicial review? What was challenged in this case?
  1. In what order do cases go through the federal court system

Court / Job
Trial courts; original jurisdiction
Review courts; appellate jurisidiction
Court of last resort; original & appellate jurisdiction
  1. What is the process for presenting a case in the Supreme Court?
  2. Writ of ______- order to send up lower court records
  3. ______- 4 of the 9 justices agree to hear case
  4. ______- each side is allowed 30 minutes to argue case
  5. Justices meet in ______- need 5 of 9 to decide a case
  6. Opinions written
  7. ______– required, gives explanation for decision
  8. ______- written by justice that agrees (maybe different reason)
  9. ______- written by justice that disagrees with case
  10. What is a precedent?
  11. What is the difference between judicial restraint and judicial activism?

Criminal Justice Process

SSCG14 Demonstrate knowledge of the criminal justice process.

  1. What is the difference between procedural and substantive due process?
  2. Know how due process is protected in 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendment?
  3. What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor?
  4. What is the difference between personal crimes and property crimes?
  5. Know what happens in each step of the criminal justice process:
  6. Investigation
  7. Arrest
  8. Indictment
  9. Arraignment
  10. Bail
  11. Plea Bargains
  12. Trial
  13. Verdict
  14. Sentencing
  15. Appeal
  16. Know what different types of sentences (punishments) are available in the system?
  17. Death penalty/capital punishment
  18. Incarceration
  19. Probation
  20. Boot camp
  21. Fine
  22. Community Service

Elections/Political Parties

SSCG15 Demonstrate knowledge of local, state, and national elections.

  1. What is the primary job of a political party?
  2. Describe the party system the U.S. has.
  3. ______is strong support of a political party.
  4. What is a minor party?
  5. ______is the formal endorsement of a candidate.
  6. ______help determine whose name goes on the ballot for each party.
  7. The nomination happens at the ______every 4 years.
  8. The ______election determines who takes the job and goes into office.
  9. You vote at a ______assigned to you on a ballot.
  10. What is the difference between a PAC and a SuperPAC that donates money to candidates?
  11. What is the difference between hard and soft money in campaigns?
  12. What was the goal of the BCRA?
  13. What is the role of the media in campaigns?
  14. How do campaign ads influence voters?
  15. How does public opinion polling influence candidates?

SSCG16 Analyze the difference between involuntary and voluntary participation in civic life.

  1. A civic duty is a responsibility of a citizen.

Explain these involuntary (mandatory) civic duties:

  1. Paying taxes
  2. Serving on jury duty
  3. Signing up for Selective Service

Explain these involuntary (mandatory) civic duties:

  1. Voting
  2. Volunteering
  3. Staying informed
  4. Pledge of Allegiance

SSCG17 Demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of state and local government described in the Georgia Constitution.

  1. How many branches of government are there in Georgia?
  2. What is the title of the head of the executive branch in each state?
  3. States pay their bills with the following types of revenue:
  4. Ad Valorem Tax – real property tax (land, cars, boats, business inventory)
  5. Sales Tax
  6. SPLOST – special purpose local option sales tax
  1. What are some of the reserved powers that the states are responsible for?
  2. What is an initiative?
  3. What is a referendum?
  4. What is a recall?