Ch 9: AP US Government and Politics: The Legislative Branch

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons that will teach you about the legislative branch and how it works within the U.S. government. The quizzes that follow each lesson are intended to help you gauge your understanding of the materials.

AP U.S. Government and Politics: The Legislative Branch - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

The legislative branch of government is the focus of these video lessons. An experienced instructor will guide you through the legislative process whereby a bill becomes a law. This chapter covers reapportionment; a process that changes the way in which seats in the House of Representatives are allocated to a specific state, based on changes in population (the number of Senators per state is fixed at two). Redistricting is another concept essential to understanding the legislative branch - in this process, the lines of congressional districts are redrawn, which can effectively sideline political opposition. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • The purpose of legislative bodies
  • How Congress works
  • How Congress has evolved since its establishment
  • The legislative process
  • Types of legislative tools

Video Objective
The Powers & Functions of Legislatures Define legislature; explain the purpose and authority of various legislatures.
What is Congress? - Definition, Powers & Structure Define the American bicameral legislature. Explain the organization and purpose of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Describe the committee system and party leadership structure.
Reapportionment & Redistricting for Congressional Constituencies: Definition & Process Explain the process of reapportionment and redistricting according to the requirements of the Constitution.
The Electoral Evolution of the Congress: History & Timeline Describe how Congress has changed since its inception with regard to power, procedure and function.
How a Bill Becomes a Law: Formal Process Explain the Congressional process by which a bill becomes a law.
Measurements of Congress' Effectiveness: Responsibilities & Achievements Discuss representatives' and senators' responsibilities to their constituents; describe how Congressional member effectiveness is assessed.
Legislative Tactics Discuss the ways in which legislators work to achieve their goals; describe caucuses, the committee system, filibuster, cloture, pork barrel legislation, riders, lobbying and legislative veto.

17 Lessons in Chapter 9: AP US Government and Politics: The Legislative Branch
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Powers & Functions of Legislatures

1. The Powers & Functions of Legislatures

The following lesson will describe the common structure of most legislatures, as well as discuss their main powers and functions. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

What is Congress? - Definition, Powers & Structure

2. What is Congress? - Definition, Powers & Structure

In this lesson, we will review what the United States Congress is. We will take a closer look at the makeup of Congress, what its powers are and what it represents.

The Electoral Evolution of the Congress: History & Timeline

3. The Electoral Evolution of the Congress: History & Timeline

In this lesson, we will learn about the electoral evolution of the Congress. We will take a closer look at the history behind Congress and the historical evolution of power, procedure and function.

How a Bill Becomes a Law: Formal Process

4. How a Bill Becomes a Law: Formal Process

In this lesson, we will review the process of how a bill becomes a law. We will take a closer look at what steps have to be taken, how a bill is changed and how it is signed into law.

Measurements of Congress' Effectiveness: Responsibilities & Achievements

5. Measurements of Congress' Effectiveness: Responsibilities & Achievements

In this lesson, we will learn about the responsibilities that members of Congress have to their constituents and the ways in which their effectiveness overall is evaluated.

Legislative Tactics: From Caucuses to Vetoes

6. Legislative Tactics: From Caucuses to Vetoes

In this lesson, we will learn about several different types of legislative tactics. We will look at what these tactics are and how effective they can be.

Expressed Powers: Definition & Examples

7. Expressed Powers: Definition & Examples

In this lesson, we'll be looking at the expressed powers of the United States Congress. Learn what these powers are and examples of them, and then you'll be able to test your knowledge of them with a quiz.

Implied Powers of Congress: Definition & Examples

8. Implied Powers of Congress: Definition & Examples

Congress' powers are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, but what about the powers that aren't listed? The implied powers of Congress might be more important than its expressed powers, but they're harder to nail down and identify. In this lesson, we'll figure that out.

Delegated Powers: Definition & Examples

9. Delegated Powers: Definition & Examples

How do we know what the government can - and can't - do? The delegated powers of the federal government are those specifically described and assigned in the U.S. Constitution.

Reserved Powers: Definition & Examples

10. Reserved Powers: Definition & Examples

In a federal system with two levels of government, how do we know who can practice what sort of power? The reserved powers clause of the U.S. Constitution provides a handy mechanism for sorting out who can do what in a republic like America.

The Bureaucracy and Congress: Sources of Power & Influence

11. The Bureaucracy and Congress: Sources of Power & Influence

In this lesson, we will examine the relationship between the bureaucracy and Congress. We will focus especially on congressional powers to create, enable, and review the bureaucracy, as well as on the Iron Triangle and issue networks.

Filibuster: Definition, History, Rules & Examples

12. Filibuster: Definition, History, Rules & Examples

The filibuster is one of the main traditions of the United States Senate. In this lesson, we'll consider the rules behind filibusters, as well as some examples and arguments proponents and opponents of the filibuster usually make.

Simple Majority: Definition, System & Rule

13. Simple Majority: Definition, System & Rule

In this lesson, we will learn about a simple majority. This concept will be defined in the context of the United States and compared to the concept of a supermajority.

'Necessary & Proper' and Interstate Commerce Clauses

14. 'Necessary & Proper' and Interstate Commerce Clauses

The United States Constitution includes several important provisions that empower the United States Congress to make particular laws. This lesson explores the necessary and proper clause and the commerce clause.

The War Powers Act of 1973: Definition & Summary

15. The War Powers Act of 1973: Definition & Summary

Who makes decisions about going to war - Congress, the President or both? The War Powers Resolution of 1973 was an attempt to clear up the question, but it only succeeded in making a gray area even more ambiguous. Learn about this chapter in history and the events that led up to it.

The Advice & Consent Clause in the U.S. Senate

16. The Advice & Consent Clause in the U.S. Senate

This lesson discusses the advice and consent clause of the Constitution, which includes both the power to make treaties with other nations and to appoint certain public officials with the approval of the Senate.

Impeachment: Definition, Process & Requirements

17. Impeachment: Definition, Process & Requirements

The following lesson will cover impeachment, or the process by which the president, vice president or other civil officer can be removed from office. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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