AP US Government Practice Test: Foundations of Democracy

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Question 1
Which of the following is NOT expressed in the Declaration of Independence?

A
Natural rights
B
Popular sovereignty
C
Separation of powers
D
The social contract
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The Declaration of Independence explains why the American Revolution happened. It does not setup branches of government. Natural or unalienable rights (A) are listed as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Popular sovereignty (B) is found in “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The social contract (D) is found in the phrase “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
Question 2
Which of the following comparisons is correct?

A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). All of the powers in the Constitution column are part of the Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation, the president was elected by Congress and had almost no power, so answer (A) may be eliminated. Congress did not have the power to tax, which rules out answer (B), and there was only one branch of government, the legislature, which rules out answer (C). The legislature consisted of a unicameral congress under the Articles of Confederation, so answer (D) is correct.
Question 3
Which of the following events indicated that the Articles of Confederation needed to be strengthened?

A
The Battle of Yorktown
B
The election of 1785
C
Shays’ Rebellion
D
The Whiskey Rebellion
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Many prominent Americans agreed that the Articles of Confederation should be strengthened when the governments of Massachusetts and the United States were unable to halt Shays’ Rebellion. Later, after the Constitution was adopted, the new, stronger government stopped the Whiskey Rebellion (D), demonstrating that the new Constitution could be effective. Answers (A) and (B) are not related to the question.
Question 4
Article V of the Constitution illustrates

A
federalism.
B
judicial review.
C
limited government.
D
popular sovereignty.
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Article V is the constitutional amendment process, which normally requires a two-thirds majority in each house of Congress and the approval of three-quarters of the states. Thus, power is divided “federally,” between the Congress and the states. Judicial review (B) is the power of federal courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws or actions of the executive branch. Limited government (C) is the idea that government power should be limited by a constitution. Popular sovereignty (D) is the idea that government authority emanates from the people.
Question 5
Questions 5–7 refer to the chart below:

Based on the chart above and what you know about United States government, which of the following is true?

A
Federal grants to state and local governments have increased at a rate greater than the rate of inflation.
B
Federal grants to state and local governments have increased at about the same rate as inflation.
C
Federal grants to state and local governments have increased at a rate lower than the rate of inflation.
D
Federal grants to state and local governments have not increased at all.
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Inflation has increased annually at an average rate of 3.75 percent since 1960, but the graph on the left shows grants increasing at a far greater rate.
Question 6

The largest section of the pie chart probably goes to support

A
insurance subsidies.
B
Medicare.
C
Medicaid.
D
veterans benefits.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Medicaid is a federally-funded state-run healthcare program. Medicare (B) and the Veterans Administration (D) are both run by the federal government. Insurance subsides (A) do not relate to the question.
Question 7

In order to receive the grants shown above, states and localities would have to agree to

A
block grants
B
categorical grants
C
discretionary grants
D
conditions of aid
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). This question is purely definitional. Block grants (A) come without conditions of aid and can be used by state and local governments for almost anything. Categorical grants (B) have narrow purposes and usually have several conditions of aid. Discretionary grants (C) are competitive and based on merit.
Question 8
An impeachment hearing is an example of

A
checks and balances.
B
popular sovereignty.
C
rule of law.
D
separation of powers.
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). In an impeachment hearing, Congress puts a check on the president, vice president, high-level officers of the executive branch, or judges. Popular sovereignty (B) is the idea that government authority emanates from the people. The rule of law (C) is the idea that no one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law. Separation of powers (D) assigns the legislative, executive, and judicial powers to separate branches of government.
Question 9
How do most strict constructionists feel about the Patriot Act and other surveillance laws passed by Congress since the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

A
They support such laws because the federal government should have a strict response to terrorism.
B
They support such laws because the Constitution puts the federal government in charge of national defense.
C
They do not support such laws because they believe states should be in charge of homeland security.
D
They do not support such laws because surveillance of American citizens is not explicitly listed as a power of Congress in the Constitution.
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Strict constructionists believe the federal government should be strictly limited to powers that are expressly stated in the Constitution, which eliminates (A) and (B). (C) is plausible, but only (D) meets the exact definition.
Question 10
Which of the branches of government did James Madison and Alexander Hamilton predict would be strongest? Which branch did they predict would be weakest?

A
Legislative, Executive
B
Legislative, Judicial
C
Executive, Legislative
D
Executive, Judicial
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The answer is derived from several writings, but in particular, it draws from The Federalist No. 51 and The Federalist No. 78. There are also clues found in the Constitution itself; Article I is much longer than Article III and lists specific powers delegated to Congress, which was done to keep Congress from overreaching its authority. Finally, George Washington limited his use of the veto to legislation that he thought was unconstitutional. The executive branch is now much more powerful than it was in the eighteenth century. Interestingly, the Anti-Federalists accurately predicted that the executive branch would grow in power.
Question 11
Which of the following statements is the most accurate description of the Great (Connecticut) Compromise?

A
It created the electoral college.
B
It allowed Congress to ban the importation of slaves after twenty years.
C
It gave equal consideration to both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan.
D
It accepted many of the provisions of the Virginia Plan but retained an upper house of Congress based on equality among the states.
Question 11 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). The Great (Connecticut) Compromise settled the debate over representation, which eliminates answers (A) and (B). The Great Compromise did not accept the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan equally. The Great Compromise accepted most provisions of the Virginia Plan, including a bicameral legislature. The New Jersey Plan included a unicameral legislature in which each state had one vote.
Question 12
In James Madison’s view, a large republic

A
was a democracy.
B
was based on majority rule.
C
would prevent a tyranny of the majority.
D
would stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains and possibly further west.
Question 12 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Madison opposed democracy (A) because, in a pure democracy, the majority could take away the rights of a minority. Hence, majority rule (B) was also something Madison was against. The United States government is not based on majority rule; it is based on majority rule with minority rights. Answer (D) is the definition of manifest destiny.
Question 13
In Contrast to most European countries, the United States government

A
is based on a written constitution.
B
operates quickly and efficiently.
C
operates slowly and deliberately.
D
shares fewer powers with subordinate governments.
Question 13 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Every country in Europe, except the United Kingdom, has a written constitution, so answer (A) may be eliminated. The United States government is based on a federal system, so answer (D) may also be eliminated. Due to separation of powers and checks and balances, it is difficult for one branch of government to act without the approval of at least one of the other branches. Therefore, answer (C) is correct. Answer (B) is the opposite of (C).
Question 14
Which of the following comparisons is correct?

A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
Question 14 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). According to Brutus No. 1, the states were closer to the people and could, therefore, best safeguard the people’s rights.

Hamilton and Jefferson both supported the Constitution and were, thus, both Federalists before the Federalists became a political party. Jefferson was never an Anti-Federalist. Therefore, answer (A) may be eliminated. Answers (B) and (C) are reversed.
Question 15
Which of the following comparisons is correct?

A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
Question 15 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The commerce clause, supremacy clause, and reserved powers grant powers to Congress. They helped move the United States from a Confederation of states to a unified country under a federal system of government. The necessary and proper clause (also known as the elastic clause) also strengthened the powers of Congress, so answer (A) may be eliminated. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (C) has been interpreted by the Supreme Court so that almost every part of the Bill of Rights now applies to the states, which effectively weakens state authority restrict civil rights and liberties. Thus, answer (C) may be eliminated. United States v. Lopez ruled federal gun-free school zones unconstitutional and, thus, returned some power to the states. Answer (D), therefore, may be eliminated. The Tenth Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It, therefore, enhances state power.
Question 16
Which of the following scenarios would be considered an unconstitutional use of state power?

A
California creates a single-payer healthcare system.
B
New York places a tax on cranberries imported from Massachusetts.
C
Texas puts extra law enforcement officers along its border with Mexico
D
Wisconsin decreases the drinking age to 19 years of age
Question 16 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). States are not allowed to place tariffs on goods made outside their borders. One might think answer (D) is correct. However, the 21-year-old drinking age is not a federal law. A state can opt for a lower drinking age if it does not mind losing its federal highways funds. Currently, all fifty states have a 21-year-old drinking age.
Question 17
Questions 17–20 refer to the passage below:

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

—James Madison, The Federalist No. 10
 
Which of the following comes closest to Madison’s notion of a faction?

A
Bureaucratic agency
B
Interest group
C
Military interest
D
Political party
Question 17 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Federal bureaucratic agencies did not exist at the time The Federalist Papers were published. The United States had no standing army under the Articles of Confederation, so answer (C) is unlikely. Political parties are mentioned and were considered a type of faction at the time, but answer (B) is the more inclusive answer.
Question 18
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

—James Madison, The Federalist No. 10
 
By what means do factions safeguard people’s rights?

A
Factions promote democracy.
B
Factions promote republicanism.
C
Factions encourage government to act against the interests of the people.
D
Factions discourage government from acting against the interests of the people.
Question 18 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Madison did not support democracy (A), the rule of the people. He did support a republican form of government (B), but factions do not promote republicanism. Rather, republicanism encourages factions. Answer (C) is the opposite of (D). Government has a hard time acting when different factions compete for power, and therefore, government has a difficult time violating people’s civil rights.
Question 19
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

—James Madison, The Federalist No. 10
 
Which of the following theories of government comes closest to the main point of The Federalist No. 10?

A
Bureaucratic
B
Elite
C
Participatory
D
Pluralistic
Question 19 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Pluralism involves many different groups competing for power and/or influence. The bureaucratic view (A) is the theory that bureaucratic agencies control government. The elite view (B) involves just a few key players. Participatory democracy (C) emphasizes the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems.
Question 20
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

—James Madison, The Federalist No. 10
 
Which of the following Constitutional amendments most directly protects the activities of factions?

A
First
B
Second
C
Fourth
D
Fourth
Question 20 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Interest groups are protected by the First Amendment rights to assemble as well as freedom of speech and the press. The Second Amendment (B) is the right to bear arms. The Fourth Amendment (C) protects against unreasonable search and seizure. The Ninth Amendment (D) protects the rights of the people that are not explicitly mentioned elsewhere in the Constitution.
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