AP US Government : Forming Political Beliefs

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Forming Political Beliefs

The term "political socialization" refers to a process by which

Possible Answers:

People acquire their political affiliations, ideas, and behaviors

Governments become more intrusive in their citizens' lives

People become more involved in the political process as they grow older

People come into contact with other citizens through political discussions

Governments redistribute wealth among their citizens

Correct answer:

People acquire their political affiliations, ideas, and behaviors

Explanation:

The term political socialization refers to the process through which people develop their political beliefs and affiliations.  Agents of political socialization can include (but are not limited to) families, the media, friends, schools, and religious communities.

Example Question #2 : Forming Political Beliefs

Political socialization is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

the process by which an individual comes to their political opinions and feelings

the discord that exists between government rhetoric and government action

the process by which the arrival of various immigrant groups changes American society

the ability of the media to manipulate the political opinions of the population

the process by which an immigrant is assimilated into American society

Correct answer:

the process by which an individual comes to their political opinions and feelings

Explanation:

Political socialization is the term given to the process by which an individual comes to their political opinions and feelings. It is how someone decides what they believe and who they will vote for. The most important factors are usually parents, economic background, and the media.

Example Question #3 : Forming Political Beliefs

The process by which an American citizen acquires a political identity is called?

Possible Answers:

Special interest formation

Political methodology

Political socialization

National assimilation

Grassroots movement

Correct answer:

Political socialization

Explanation:

Political socialization is the long and complex process by which an individual citizen acquires a political identity: it includes the individuals for whom they might vote, what issues they support, and how seriously they take their political responsibilities (and the political system in general). Political socialization is primarily directed by family life, but there is a myriad of other factors, including education, the media, and affiliation with some special group, like a trade union.

Example Question #4 : Forming Political Beliefs

Which of these demographics groups is incorrectly matched with the political party for which they will most likely vote, based on recent election results?

Possible Answers:

All of these demographic groups are correctly matched with the political party they recently have been most likely to vote for.

Urban individuals : Democrats.

Women : Democrats.

African Americans : Democrats.

Rural people : Republicans.

Correct answer:

All of these demographic groups are correctly matched with the political party they recently have been most likely to vote for.

Explanation:

All of these social groups are correctly matched with the political party that members of that social group are considered most likely to vote for. African Americans, women, and people living in cities have recently been more likely to vote for a candidate from the Democratic Party. White men, very wealthy individuals, devout protestants, and people from rural backgrounds have recently been more likely to vote Republican.

Example Question #5 : Forming Political Beliefs

Which of these best summarizes the political beliefs of a libertarian?

Possible Answers:

Favor a free market economy, but with government regulation of social behavior

Favor a free market economy and no government interference in social life or personal liberty

Favor a strong centralized government that spends heavily on defense programs

Favor a regulated economy and government regulation of social behavior

Favor a regulated economy, but no government interference in social or private life

Correct answer:

Favor a free market economy and no government interference in social life or personal liberty

Explanation:

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that takes its name from original liberalism. Libertarians believe that the government should be very small and have limited powers. They favor a completely free and unregulated economy and believe the government should not be able to interfere in social or private life, or regulate personal liberty.

Example Question #6 : Forming Political Beliefs

Advocates of Keynesian economics would most likely contend that __________.

Possible Answers:

the United States Federal Government should issue tariffs against goods imported from foreign nations to protect American internal interests

the Stock market is naturally volatile and should be considered detrimental to the maintenance of a healthy economy

the government should stay out of the economy as much as possible, in order to prevent artificial inflation

the national government should always seek a favorable balance of trade with foreign nations

the government should wield greater economic influence during times of recession to help the economy to recover

Correct answer:

the government should wield greater economic influence during times of recession to help the economy to recover

Explanation:

Keynesian economic theory is derived from the writings of British economist John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s. The theory primarily contends that the government should wield greater economic influence during times of recession and depression to aid the recovery of the economy. As an economic theory, it was most influential during the Great Depression, but has seen a resurgence during the recent recession of the early twenty-first century.

Example Question #7 : Forming Political Beliefs

Rational-choice theory states that __________.

Possible Answers:

politicians will always act in the best interests of the district which elected them

people will almost always be opposed to a declaration of war

politicians will always act in the best interests of those who help fund their campaigns

voters will always make the best choice for the overall good of the nation

voters are most likely to vote for a candidate who best serves their own interests

Correct answer:

voters are most likely to vote for a candidate who best serves their own interests

Explanation:

Rational-choice theory states that when picking a candidate for any branch of government, the voter is most likely to pick a candidate that will best serve his or her interests. For example, a wealthy person is most likely to vote for someone who will protect the interests of the wealthy. This is in contrast to the more ideological notion that a voter should pick a candidate who will serve the greatest good for the country.

Example Question #8 : Forming Political Beliefs

According the Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence (1776), the purpose of government is to __________.

Possible Answers:

protect people from foreign invaders

protect the society at the expense of the individual

protect all from anarchy

protect people’s natural rights

Correct answer:

protect people’s natural rights

Explanation:

Jefferson wrote about inalienable rights which were given to people by their creator. He also went on to describe that no government should have the authority to infringe on these rights. Much of the Declaration of Independence revolves around the idea of protecting the rights of individuals.

Example Question #9 : Forming Political Beliefs

John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in opposition to the divine right of kings. They wrote about a government’s duty to uphold people’s rights and how the governments should draw their power from the consent of the governed. These new found ideas encouraged ultimately led people to?

Possible Answers:

Engage in revolutions to establish democratic governments

Look for leaders who would exercise dictatorial powers

Remain firm in their support of absolute monarchs

Call for church leaders to create theocracies and replace the monarchies

Correct answer:

Engage in revolutions to establish democratic governments

Explanation:

Many enlightenment writes challenges the authority of long established monarchs. Locke and Rousseau argued that government should be based on the consent of the governed, this is a fundamental idea behind a number of constitutional elements of American democracy.

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