AP US Government : Political Ideals and Beliefs

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Political Ideals And Beliefs

Which of the following options are considered basic tenets of American political culture?

I) Civic responsibility

II) Economic equality

III) Individual rights

Possible Answers:

I, II, and III

III

I and III

I

I and II

Correct answer:

I and III

Explanation:

Civic responsibility, also called "civic duty," refers to the idea that all eligible American citizens have a duty to vote and engage actively with the democratic political process. Individual rights refers to the idea that all individuals have certain inalienable rights that cannot be violated or impressed upon by the government. America has supposedly equal ability to compete economically, but true economic equality cannot realistically be a feature of a capitalist society.

Example Question #1 : Political Ideals And Beliefs

Why Thomas Jefferson support voting restrictions based on income and land ownership?

Possible Answers:

He thought that those who did not own land were morally inferior to those who did and thus did not deserve a vote.

He thought then that those who owned land had more knowledge of how to successfully manage structures and institutions.

He considered it rude to allow poorer classes in the same voting places as richer people.

He felt that a man who was fully dependent on another, an employee, could then be economically coerced into voting contrary to his own conscience.

He wanted to solidify power in the hands of himself and his friends.

Correct answer:

He felt that a man who was fully dependent on another, an employee, could then be economically coerced into voting contrary to his own conscience.

Explanation:

Thomas Jefferson in particular argued that employees could not freely exercise democratic privileges because their bosses would inevitably force them to vote as the bosses wished. Jefferson believed that democracy must occur in public, every man aware of his neighbors' positions. While many of the other answers sound plausible, it's important to consider the philosophy of a figure as influential and ideological as Thomas Jefferson.

Example Question #1 : Political Ideals And Beliefs

The “honeymoon period” refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

the increased success of presidential incumbents who try to get reelected as opposed to presidential candidates who try to get elected to the office for the first time

the ability of a president to pursue his political agenda with greater success in his second term in office

the decline in popularity that a president suffers during times of economic recession

the inflated popularity of a president shortly after being elected

the inflated popularity of a political party shortly after its creation

Correct answer:

the inflated popularity of a president shortly after being elected

Explanation:

The term “honeymoon period” is used to refer to the inflation of popularity that a president generally receives shortly after being elected. For the vast majority of presidents, their popularity reaches its peak shortly after coming into office and then declines until they are either voted out of office or their term limits expire.

Example Question #1 : Fundamental Political Beliefs

In Federalist #10 James Madison argued in favor of which of the following forms of government?

Possible Answers:

Monarchy

Oligarchy

Aristocracy

Direct democracy

Representative democracy

Correct answer:

Representative democracy

Explanation:

You can immediately eliminate the forms of government that were not advocated by the Founding Fathers: monarchy, aristocracy, and oligarchy. James Madison wrote in Federalist #10 about the dangers of many factions. He believed that these factions would arise as a result of a direct democracy. For him, the representative democracy would be the best form of government because it allowed for the expression of ideas, but for these ideas to be put through the filter of representatives in the government.

Example Question #1 : Political Ideals And Beliefs

The power to legislate for the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the people is known as _______________.

Possible Answers:

Social welfare

Police powers

Legislative powers

Constitutionalism

Civil obligation

Correct answer:

Police powers

Explanation:

Police powers are the powers, given to the legislative branch of government, to legislate for the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the people. Police powers were commonly used by the states to take care of internal affairs. When constructing the Constitution, it was recognized that the states had lots of power through police powers; therefore, the national government needed more.

Example Question #1 : Fundamental Political Beliefs

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

Possible Answers:

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

Governments become more intrusive in their citizens' lives

People acquire their political affiliations, ideas, and behaviors

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 #1 : Fundamental Political Beliefs

Political socialization is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

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

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

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

the process by which an immigrant is assimilated into American society

the discord that exists between government rhetoric and government action

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 #1 : Political Ideals And Beliefs

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

Possible Answers:

Political methodology

Grassroots movement

National assimilation

Political socialization

Special interest formation

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 #1 : Political Ideals And 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:

Urban individuals : Democrats.

African Americans : Democrats.

Women : Democrats.

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

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 #1 : Forming Political Beliefs

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

Possible Answers:

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

Favor a strong centralized government that spends heavily on defense programs

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

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

Favor a regulated economy and government regulation of social behavior

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.

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