U s government notes

Advanced Placement AP.

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As a high schooler, you're undoubtedly on the verge of participating in the democratic process. It's a great time to learn more about the structure and history of our government and how politics actually work. You've probably been taking notes in your AP US Gov class based on your teacher's lectures and what's written in your textbook, but it can be nice to have all the info you need in one place.

This article will give you links to notes on every topic in the AP US Government curriculum along with a few tips on how to study effectively. Due to the COVID coronavirus pandemic, AP tests will now be held remotely, and information about how that will work is still evolving.

These notes may be used throughout the year if you're looking for materials to help you review for in-class tests. It's a smart idea to supplement the notes in this article with more detailed notes from your AP Gov class or a review book.

You might find that your review book or textbook outlines certain topics more clearly or contains a more consolidated list of key concepts. If you're using these notes to prepare directly for the final AP US Gov exam, I recommend taking a full-length official practice test before reviewing them. You can then decide which topics to target based on where you made the most mistakes on the practice test. It's more efficient to do things this way rather than reading through all the notes indiscriminately.

It's also nice to get used to the format of the AP Gov questions and the timing of the exam before you get too far into your studying. You might discover that you have more issues with timing or question wording than with content knowledgein which case you'll want to focus on doing additional practice questions.

Basic Structure of the US Government

The exam covers six main topicseach of which has several major subtopics. These notes have practice questions that go along with them at the end, which can be used to help you retain the information you read. You can also look at these detailed political timelines from CourseNotes to put all these concepts in context and see how they've impacted American history.

These documents are love letters to democracy that show the Founding Fathers' devotion to political equality for all citizens i. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you look through these AP Government notes. Tailoring your study strategies to the structure of the curriculum and the format of test questions is the first step toward earning a high AP score! US Government is one of the more technical humanities subjects, so the free-response questions have multiple parts that only require short answers.

In most cases, if you give a valid example or definition and a short explanation, you'll earn points. There's no reason to pad your answers with unnecessary fluff or write them in an essay format. Make sure you review plenty of free-response questions and scoring guidelines to get a better idea of what's expected on the test in comparison to, say, a history or literature AP exam.

There are a number of important court cases and legislative acts that have dramatically shaped US politics over the years. Be sure that you understand the most prominent of these before you take the test; they will come up often in both sections. Even if free-response questions don't ask about these cases and acts directly, you might need to use them as supporting examples for other responses.Having been current for years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.

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They were known popularly as " greenbacks ", a name inherited from the earlier greenbacks, the Demand Notesthat they replaced in During the s the so-called second obligation on the reverse of the notes stated: [1].

They were originally issued directly into circulation by the U. Treasury to pay expenses incurred by the Union during the American Civil War. During the next century, the legislation governing these notes was modified many times and numerous versions were issued by the Treasury. United States Notes that were issued in the large-size format, beforediffer dramatically in appearance when compared to modern American currency, but those issued in the small-size format, startingare very similar to contemporary Federal Reserve Notes of the same denominations with the distinction of having red U.

Treasury Seals and serial numbers in place of green ones. Existing United States Notes remain valid currency in the United States; however, as no United States Notes have been issued since Januarythey are increasingly rare in circulation and command higher prices than face value as items of numismatic interest.

Duringthe first year of the American Civil War, the expenses incurred by the Union Government much exceeded its limited revenues from taxation, and borrowing was the main vehicle for financing the war. While issued within the legal framework of Treasury Note Debt, the Demand Notes were intended to circulate as currency and were of the same size as banknotes and closely resembled them in appearance. The beginning of found the Union's expenses increasing, and the government was having trouble funding the escalating war.

Demand Notes—which were used, among other things, to pay Union soldiers—were unredeemable, and the value of the notes began to deteriorate.

Branches of the U.S. Government

Congressman and Buffalo banker Elbridge G. Recognizing, however, that his proposal would take many months to pass Congress, during early February Spaulding introduced another bill to permit the U.

The Act also intended for the new notes to be used to replace the Demand Notes as soon as practical. Legal tender status guaranteed that creditors would have to accept the notes despite the fact that they were not backed by gold, bank deposits, or government reserves, and had no interest.

However, the First Legal Tender Act did not make the notes an unlimited legal tender as they could not be used by merchants to pay customs duties on imports and could not be used by the government to pay interest on its bonds. The rationale for these terms was that the Union government would preserve its credit-worthiness by supporting the value of its bonds by paying their interest in gold.

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Early in the war, customs duties were a large part of government tax revenue and by making these payable in gold, the government would generate the coin necessary to make the interest payments on the bonds.

Lastly, by making the bonds available for purchase at par in United States Notes, the value of the latter would be confirmed as well. Thaddeus Stevensthe Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee of Ways and Means, which had authored an earlier version of the Legal Tender Act that would have made United States Notes a legal tender for all debts, denounced the exceptions, calling the new bill "mischievous" because it made United States Notes an intentionally depreciated currency for the masses, while the banks who loaned to the government got "sound money" in gold.

This controversy would continue until the removal of the exceptions during As a result of this inflationthe greenback began to trade at a substantial discount from gold, which prompted Congress to pass the short-lived Anti-Gold Futures Act ofwhich was soon repealed after it seemed to accelerate the decrease of greenback value.Please enable JavaScript in your web browser; otherwise some parts of this site might not work properly. Learn the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and see a lesson plan for teachers.

View a larger version of the infographic. Constitutionwanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, they wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. Each branch has its own responsibilities and at the same time, the three branches work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored or disallowed.

A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government. The Senate has elected senators total; 2 senators per state. Each senator serves a 6-year term. Each representative serves a two-year term and may be re-elected.

American Government

The president is the head of state, head of the U. The Cabinet members are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate with at least 51 votes. They serve as the president's advisors and heads of various departments and agencies. Congress established them around the country to handle federal business as the country grew, using power granted by the Constitution.

u s government notes

This ability of each branch to respond to the actions of the other branches is called the system of checks and balances. American citizens have the right to vote for Senators and Representatives through free, confidential ballots. It includes the president, vice president, the Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees. American citizens have the right to vote for the president and vice president through free, confidential ballots.

Much of the work in the executive branch is done by federal agencies, departments, committees, and other groups. The Executive Office of the president communicates the president's message and deals with the federal budget, security, and other high priorities.

u s government notes

These are the main agencies of the federal government. The heads of these 15 agencies are also members of the president's cabinet. These agencies are not represented in the cabinet and are not part of the Executive Office of the president.

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They deal with government operations, the economy, and regulatory oversight. Congress or the president establish these smaller organizations to manage specific tasks and areas that don't fall under parent agencies. Although they're not officially part of the executive branch, these agencies are required by federal statute to release certain information about their programs and activities in the Federal Registerthe daily journal of government activities.

It is comprised of the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

American Government Chapter 4 Highlighted Notes

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. The Justices of the Supreme Court are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to establish other federal courts to handle cases that involve federal laws including tax and bankruptcy, lawsuits involving U.

Other federal judicial agencies and programs support the courts and research judicial policy. Appointments for Supreme Court Justices and other federal judgeships follow the same basic process:. Learn how cases reach the Supreme Court and how the Justices make their decisions.

Use this lesson plan in class. An appeal is a request for a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court. Most appeals come from federal courts. They can come from state courts if a case deals with federal law. Dissatisfied parties petition the Court for review Parties may appeal their case to the Supreme Court, petitioning the Court to review the decision of the lower court. Justices study documents The Justices examine the petition and supporting materials.For all that it is and does, the United States federal government is based on a very simple system: Three functional branches with powers separated and limited by constitutionally declared checks and balances.

The executivelegislative and judicial branches represent the constitutional framework envisioned by the Founding Fathers for our nation's government. Together, they function to provide a system of lawmaking and enforcement based on checks and balances, and separation of powers intended to ensure that no individual or body of government ever becomes too powerful. For example:. Is the system perfect? Are powers ever abused?

Of course, but as governments go, ours has been working quite well since Sept. As Alexander Hamilton and James Madison remind us in Federalist 51, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

Recognizing the inherent moral paradox posed by a society in which mere mortals govern other mere mortals, Hamilton and Madison went on to write, "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place. The executive branch of the federal government ensures that the laws of the United States are obeyed. In carrying out this duty, the President of the United States is assisted by the Vice President, department heads — called Cabinet Secretaries — and the heads of the several independent agencies.

The executive branch consists of the president, the vice president and 15 Cabinet-level executive departments. The President of the United States is the elected leader of the country. As the head of state, the president is the leader of the federal government, and Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Elected according to the Electoral College processthe president serves a four-year term and is limited to serving no more than two terms. The Vice President of the United States supports and advises the president.

Under the process of presidential successionthe vice president becomes president if the president becomes unable to serve. The vice president can be elected and serve an unlimited number of four-year terms, even under multiple presidents. The heads of the executive departments are nominated by the president and must be confirmed by a simple majority vote of the Senate. The legislative branch, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senatehas the sole constitutional authority to enact laws, declare war and conduct special investigations.

In addition, the Senate has the right to confirm or reject many presidential appointments. There are a total of elected Senators—two from each of the 50 states.

Senators may serve an unlimited number of six-year terms. In addition, there are non-voting delegates who represent the District of Columbia and the territories in the House of Representatives.

Representatives may serve an unlimited number of two-year terms. Composed of federal judges and courts, the judicial branch interprets the laws enacted by Congress and when required, decides actual cases in which someone has been harmed. Federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, are not elected. Instead, they are appointed by the president and must be confirmed by the Senate.

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Once confirmed, federal judges serve for life unless they resign, die, or are impeached. The U. Supreme Court sits atop the judicial branch and federal court hierarchy and has the final say on all cases appealed to it by the lower courts. A quorum of six Justices is required to decide a case.Department of the Treasury. They are the safest investments in the world since the U. This low risk means they have the lowest interest rates of any fixed-income security.

Treasury bills, notes, and bonds are also called "Treasurys" or "Treasury bonds" for short. The difference between bills, notes, and bonds are the lengths until maturity. They work similarly to regular bonds. The only difference is that the Treasury Department increases its value if inflation rises. When demand is low, they pay less.

Bills only pay interest at maturity. You get the face value no matter what you paid for the Treasury at auction. Since Treasurys are sold at auction, their yields change every week. The discount is like getting them on sale. As a result, the yield is high. Buyers pay less for the fixed interest rate, so they get more for their money.

u s government notes

However, when demand is high, they are sold at auction above face value. As a result, the yield is lower. The buyers paid more for the same interest rate, so they got less return for their money. In fact, Treasurys reached record-high demand levels on June 1, On July 5,the yield fell to an intra-day low of 1. There are three ways to purchase Treasurys.

The first is called a noncompetitive bid auction. That's the method most individual investors use. The second is a competitive bidding auction. That's for those who are only willing to buy a Treasury if they get the desired yield.

They must go through a bank or broker. The bank or broker acts as a middleman. You can profit from the safety of Treasurys without actually owning any. Most fixed-income mutual funds own Treasurys. You can also purchase a mutual fund that only owns Treasurys. There are also exchange-traded funds that track Treasurys without owning them. If you have a diversified portfolio, you probably already own Treasurys. Once treasury notes and bonds are issued, their prices fluctuate, so their yields remain linked to market prices.

Instead, its yield to maturity will fall, and its price will rise. In general, the longer until the bond matures, the greater the price fluctuation it will experience. In contrast, treasury bills experience very little price fluctuation since they mature in such a short amount of time.

It almost happened in the summer of during the U. Second, Treasury notes affect mortgage interest rates.Forgot Password Create a New Account Keep Me Signed In What does "Remember Me" do. Forgot Password Create a New AccountYou are being directed to ZacksTrade, a division of LBMZ Securities and licensed broker-dealer. The web link between the two companies is not a solicitation or offer to invest in a particular security or type of security.

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If you wish to go to ZacksTrade, click OK. If you do not, click Cancel. Visit the Earnings ESP Center See the Full List of Stocks To Beat Earnings 4 Tech Stocks Likely to Outperform This Earnings Season Enrich Your Portfolio With 5 Food Stocks Set to Beat Earnings Will Soft Comps Hurt Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) Q3 Earnings.

Sherwin-Williams (SHW) Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards. Real time prices by BATS. Delayed quotes by Sungard. NYSE and AMEX data is at least 20 minutes delayed. NASDAQ data is at least 15 minutes delayed. Space weather refers to changes in the space environment, particularly the region between the Earth and Sun.

The "solar wind" from the Sun stream past the Earth and is mostly deflected by the Earth's magnetic field, but variations in the solar wind cause changes in the Earth's magnetic field. Occasionally, a huge release of magnetic energy, called a solar flare, occurs on the Sun.

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Flares can produce large quantities of x-rays which affect the Earth's atmosphere. They can also accelerate atomic particles (mostly protons) to very high speeds (a substantial fraction of the speed of light. These high energy particles are dangerous to man and can reach the stratosphere where jetliners fly. Most aspects of space weather affect us to some extent. The more our society becomes dependent on technology and the more we utilise space, the more we are affected by space weather.

Some aspects of space weather are benevolent, and allow activities not otherwise possible such as long range radio communications.Why did this happen, and what can you do.

See all 10 articles. That's an increase from last month's Short-Term Energy Outlook by the U. Commodities traders also predict the price of oil in their futures contracts. Today's oil price changes daily. Prices have been volatile thanks to swings in oil supply versus demand in 2015 and 2016. That's because the oil industry changed in fundamental ways. Oil prices used to have a predictable seasonal swing. They spiked in the spring, as oil traders anticipated high demand for summer vacation driving.

u s government notes

Once demand has peaked, prices dropped in the fall and winter. It's expected to rise to 9. It would beat the previous record of 9.

Why is the U. Many shale oil producers became more efficient in extracting oil. They found ways to keep wells open because it's expensive to cap them. At the same time, massive oil wells in the Gulf came on line. They couldn't stop production regardless of low oil prices.

As a result, large traditional oil enterprises stopped exploring new reserves. These companies include Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. It was cheaper for them to buy out the less efficient, shale oil companies. That's because less-efficient shale producers either cut back or were bought. That reduced supply by around 10 percent, creating a boom and bust in U.

The second reason for recent volatility is foreign exchange traders. They drove up the value of the dollar by 25 percent in 2014 and 2015. All oil transactions are paid in dollars. The strong dollar helped cause some of the 70 percent declines in the price of petroleum for exporting countries.

Most oil-exporting countries peg their currencies to the dollar. Therefore, a 25 percent rise in the dollar offsets a 25 percent drop in oil prices.