American Government Final Exam
To avoid traps on difficult questions, eliminate wrong answers before picking the correct one.
1. The number and types of the branches of the federal government are:
(a) 2, legislative and executive
(b) 3, legislative, executive and military
(c) 3, legislative, executive and judiciary
(d) 4, legislative, executive, judiciary and military
(e) 4, legislative, executive, judiciary and statehouses
2. Which of the following must be true about every President of the United States?
(a) He is at least 35 years old.
(b) He was born in one of the 50 states.
(c) He served as a governor or in Congress before becoming president.
(d) He fought in the military.
(e) He is a Christian.
3. When government hurts you by violating your rights under the U.S. Constitution, what is usually your strongest response?
(a) go and meet with your Congressman.
(b) call the White House.
(c) contact your governor.
(d) sue in federal court.
(e) sue in state court.
4. Which entity has the most influence over the rules concerning homeschooling?
(a) the presidency.
(b) the U.S. Supreme Court.
(d) the national media.
(e) state government.
5. “Federalism” refers to:
(a) a political party in 2008.
(b) the study of federal buildings
(d) a system of co-sovereigns that allows for a strong state government
(e) City Hall
6. Which is the fastest growing age group in America?
(a) Under 18.
(e) Over 65.
7. The “Supremacy Clause” is:
(a) a clause in the Constitution that says federal law is supreme over local laws.
(b) a rule in foreign countries that gives kings their power.
(c) part of the Fourteenth Amendment.
(d) part of the First Amendment.
(e) never applied in legal cases anymore.
8. An “exit poll” means:
(a) asking people what would cause them to leave the country.
(b) taking a survey on the internet as you sign off of your account.
(c) a series of questions asking people how they will vote in a future election.
(d) being correct in predicting how people will vote on Election Day.
(e) asking people how they just voted on Election Day.
9. A “leak” in government is:
(a) an unauthorized release of information to the press.
(b) a loss of support of a candidate.
(c) water seeping through an old roof in a government building.
(d) information given to a foreign country by a spy.
(e) a food produced by the government for people to make chicken soup.
10. All of the following are examples of “checks and balances” EXCEPT:
(a) Congress may impeach and remove a president from office.
(b) the President may veto an act of Congress.
(c) the Judiciary may refuse to apply an unconstitutional act of Congress.
(d) Congress can withdraw jurisdiction from the Judiciary.
(e) the President can order that the atomic bomb be dropped on a foreign country.
11. In the 2008 presidential elections, the primaries accomplish which purpose?
(a) picking the Vice President.
(b) picking governors.
(c) selecting the nominees for president for political parties.
(d) choosing between candidates already nominated by political parties.
(e) deciding where to hold the national convention for political parties.
12. Who is a “lobbyist”?
(a) someone who hangs around in the lobby of hotels.
(b) a tennis player who lobs every time his opponent rushes the net.
(c) a congressman who is repeatedly reelected.
(d) a staff member who works for a congressman.
(e) an unelected person whose job is to try to persuade elected officials how to vote.
13. “Affirmative action” consists of:
(a) giving special preferences to someone because of their race or gender.
(b) admitting people to a school without considering their race or gender.
(c) allowing all-male and all-female schools.
(d) answering in the “affirmative” when asked a question.
(e) always picking a minority in order to hire or admit someone.
14. The phrase the “separation of church and state” can be found where?
(a) in the original Constitution.
(b) in the Bill of Rights.
(c) in the amendments enacted after the Bill of Rights.
(d) in the Declaration of Independence.
(e) in none of the above, but in arguments by people seeking to censor Christianity.
15. Rank the following in terms of how open they are to public participation, from least open to most open:
I. closed primary
II. open primary
(a) I, II, III
(b) I, III, II
(c) III, I, II
(d) II, I, III
(e) III, II, I
16. The Miranda warning is given to whom?
(c) criminal suspects.
(d) police officers.
(e) sports stars.
17. The vote of how many Justices in your favor is necessary to ensure victory in the U.S. Supreme Court (choose the minimum amount necessary):
18. The decision that had the effect of ending prayer in school was:
(a) Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
(b) Engel v. Vitale (1962).
(c) Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
(d) Roe v. Wade (1973).
(e) Bush v. Gore (2000).
19. From year to year, the “sound bite” is becoming:
20. If someone comes to your door and asks if he can search your house, what would your attorney most likely tell you to do?
(a) let him in automatically.
(b) ask to see a search warrant first and not allow him in without a warrant.
(c) ask to see a search warrant first and let him in without a warrant.
(d) don’t let him in even if he has a search warrant.
(e) tell him you don’t speak English.
21. One good reason to spend more time working for an interest group than a political party is:
(a) political parties have no power anymore.
(b) sometimes political change requires attracting support from both major parties.
(c) political parties have no money.
(d) it is too difficult to join a political party.
(e) no work is accomplished at parties or celebrations.
22. The broadest support for a food regulation is for:
(a) increasing charges that people have to pay.
(b) prohibiting the sale of certain food.
(c) requiring disclosure of the contents of the food.
(d) requiring radiation of the food without telling consumers.
(e) allowing Chinese imports even if tainted.
23. On Tuesday, John McCain won the Republican primary in New Hampshire, and Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary there. What did they really win?
(b) They won some delegates to their political parties’ national conventions, and status as frontrunners for future primaries in other states.
(c) They are now the nominees for their political parties for president.
(d) They won the right for one to serve as president, and the other to be the vice-president.
(e) They won votes that are added to votes in future primaries, with the biggest vote-getter becoming president.
24. The President has almost complete control over:
(a) spending by government
(b) legal decisions
(d) law and order
(e) dealings and negotiations with foreign nations: foreign policy
25. Why is it important to get involved in a major political party?
(a) it isn’t important.
(b) because politics is like a team sport, and elections are usually won by major political parties
(c) because independent candidates cannot get on any ballots
(d) because voters are not allowed to vote for anyone except nominees of political parties
(e) because meetings of political parties are always exciting
26. All of the following are interest groups EXCEPT:
(a) National Right to Life
(b) National Rifle Association (NRA)
(e) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
27. A journalist "shield law" does which of the following:
(a) requires journalists to conceal their sources.
(b) allows journalists to keep the identities of their sources secret.
(c) is the law of the land giving journalists an absolute privilege in nearly every state.
(d) is meaningless because any prosecutor can throw any journalist in jail anyway.
(e) protects journalist against terrorism.
28. Which of the following is the best predictor of how people will vote?
(a) how much money they make.
(b) whether they are male or female.
(c) how often they worship God.
(d) what their race or ethnicity is.
(e) what their gender is.
29. Early polling data are often unreliable because:
(a) Polls are always useless.
(b) The views of voters change as Election Day approaches.
(c) Most people lie to pollsters.
(d) It is impossible estimate public opinion with a poll.
(e) Early polling data are always reliable.
30. Which of the following is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution?
(a) right to trial by jury.
(b) right to medical care.
(c) right to be free from discrimination.
(d) right to be treated fairly.
(e) right to pursuit of happiness.
31. If you wanted to run for President, you would want to do all of the following things EXCEPT:
(a) double-check that you are a naturally born American citizen.
(b) try to obtain the nomination by a major political party.
(c) hold a lower political office first, such as governor of a state.
(d) serve in the military if possible, because the President is Commander-in-Chief.
(e) always speak the truth, even if it offends many voters.
32. One of the most reliable political polls is the approval rating of the President. Why?
(a) it is simple and bias is almost impossible
(b) people usually approve of their president by a wide margin
(c) everyone knows who the president is
(d) everyone likes to be polled
(e) all polls are accurate
33. What might the Republican Party cite to stop a disliked candidate from running as a Republican?
(a) freedom of association
(b) freedom of press
(c) freedom from searches and seizures
(d) freedom of religion
(e) right to a jury trial
34. Which of the following are true about federal courts?
I. The Supreme Court usually won't hear a case unless four Justices want to.
II. Except for big lawsuits between citizens of different states, a plaintiff must usually cite violation of a federal law to gain access to federal court.
III. The Chief Justice of the United States always decides who writes the opinion for the Court.
(a) I, II and III.
(b) I and II.
(c) I and III.
(d) II and III.
(e) I only.
Questions 35 and 36 are based on Lopez v. United States (1995), in which the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. That law had made it a federal offense "for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone."
35. Suppose you were the attorney for the United States arguing in favor of the constitutionality of the federal law. Which clause in the Constitution would help you most?
(a) Full Faith and Credit Clause.
(b) Commerce Clause.
(c) First Amendment.
(d) Fourth Amendment.
(e) Treaty Clause.
36. Suppose you were the attorney for Mr. Lopez. Which principle or doctrine would help you most in arguing that the federal law is invalid?
(b) Supremacy Clause.
(c) Full Faith and Credit Clause.
(d) Fourteenth Amendment.
(e) Commerce Clause.
37. The longest-serving Supreme Court Justice in history, William O. Douglas, once said, "I don't follow precedents, I make ’em." What is that an example of?
(a) conservative principles.
(b) strict constructionism.
(c) judicial restraint.
(d) separation of powers.
(e) judicial activism.
Questions 38 and 39 are based on how a new federal law is enacted:
38. A new statute is typically prepared and revised by whom?
(a) the President.
(b) the Supreme Court.
(c) the Speaker of the House.
(d) a committee in Congress.
(e) all members of Congress in a discussion on the floor of the House of Representatives.
39. When the President vetoes new legislation, which options are left for trying to pass it?
(a) try to get the President to rescind or withdraw his veto.
(b) try to override the veto with 2/3rds vote in both houses of Congress.
(c) sue in federal court to invalidate the President’s veto.
(d) try to override the veto with 3/5ths vote in both houses of Congress.
(e) give up, as nothing more can be done to pass that law.
40. Each of the following are departments in the Executive Branch EXCEPT:
(a) Department of Education.
(b) Department of Defense.
(c) Department of State.
(d) Department of the Treasury.
(e) Department of Homeschooling.
41. How many votes are required for a successful filibuster in the U.S. Senate?
42. Which job is performed by the Attorney General of the United States?
(a) He is the top ranking military officer in the Department of Justice.
(b) He enforces the laws by managing the Department of Justice.
(c) He is the personal attorney for the President.
(d) He is the attorney for the Supreme Court Justices.
(e) He gives legal advice to Congress.
43. How might you best phrase a preliminary question in a poll about the death penalty to (falsely) increase the number of people opposed to it?
(a) “Do you think the worst terrorists should receive the death penalty?”
(b) “Do you think someone who kills many people should receive the death penalty?”
(c) “Do you think an innocent man should receive the death penalty?”
(d) “Do you think that our Founding Fathers were wrong to support the death penalty?”
(e) “Do you think the death penalty should never be allowed, no matter how serious the crime?”
44. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to which branch of government?
45. The minimum age for drinking alcohol is 21 in all 50 states because of political efforts of _____________:
(a) the President
(b) an interest group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(c) the Supreme Court
(d) State Courts
46. The “peace dividend” was expected as the result of which of the following?
(a) the peace treaty that ended the Korean War.
(b) the intervention of the United States in World War II.
(c) the war on terror.
(d) the end of the Cold War.
(e) the end of the Iraq War.
47. The Equal Rights Amendment:
(a) was added to the Constitution in the late 1970s.
(b) ensures that all submarines are coed, with men and women.
(c) was defeated because men and women are already treated exactly identically.
(d) was defeated because many Americans (i) oppose treating men and women identically in the military, (ii) oppose same-sex marriage, and (iii) oppose taxpayer-funded abortion.
(e) was ratified after it was revised to exclude the military issues.
48. The main defect in the Lemon Test is that:
(a) it infringes on commercial speech.
(b) it is so broad that it can be easily manipulated against religion.
(c) it is too favorable to religion.
(d) it is not powerful enough.
(e) it has had no effect.
49. “Incorporation doctrine” means which of the following:
(a) You have to incorporate a company before you can do business.
(b) Article III is incorporated into the Bill of Rights.
(c) Federal government is incorporated into state government.
(d) The Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Bill of Rights to apply against the states.
(e) State laws are incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment to apply against Congress.
50. The “legislative veto” gave Congress the power to veto or invalidate an action taken by the President, such as a decision to deport an illegal alien. The legislative veto was in nearly 200 federal statutes until it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in INS v. Chadha (1983). Which doctrine do you think the U.S. Supreme Court used to invalidate it?
(a) checks and balances.
(c) separation of powers.
(d) divine intervention.
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