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Articles of Confederation
- The United States' first constitution.
- The government formed by this lasted from 1781 (the year before the Revolutionary War) to 1789.
- It proved inadequate because it did not have the power to collect taxes from the states, nor could it regulate foreign trade to generate revenue from import/export tariffs.
- A 6-month rebellion in which more than 1,000 armed farmers attacked a federal arsenal to protest the foreclosure of farms in west Massachusetts.
- This event exposed the weakness of the Articles of Confederation.
New Jersey Plan
A plan at the Constitutional Convention where each state would be represented equally in government, not based on population.
A plan at the Constitutional Convention that had a strong government with each state represented proportionally to its population, thus, giving large states an advantage over small states.
Great (Connecticut) Compromise
- A settlement reached at the Constitutional Convention between small and large states.
- It called for 2 legislative houses: one based on state population (the House of Representatives) and one where each state receives equal representation (the Senate).
- An agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention between North and South states.
- Three-fifths (3/5) of a state's slave population would be counted toward both congressional apportionment and taxation.
- A system under which the national government and local governments share powers.
- Examples: US, Canada, Switzerland, and Australia.
- A form of U.S. federalism during the nation's early history when the federal and state governments remained separate and independent.
- What little contact Americans had with government occured at the state level, as the national government concerned itself primarily with international trade, construction of roads, harbors, and raiways, and the distribution of public land in the West.
- People who opposed the creation of a strong national government, arguing that a constitution would threaten citizens' personal liberties and effectively make the president a king.
- They recommended the addition of a Bill of Rights.
The Federalist Papers
- A series of essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay to defend the Constitution and persuade Americans that it should be ratified.
- These documents presented the concerns and issues the framers faced as they created a blueprint for the new government.
The Bill of Rights
- The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
- It guarantees personal liberties and limits the power of government.
The power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and executive actions unconstitutional.
A form of government under which citizens vote for delegates who in turn represent citizens' interests within the government.
Constitutional powers granted solely to the federal government.
- Constitutional powers that belong solely to the states.
- According to the 10th Amendment, these powers include any that the Constitution does not either specifically grant the national government nor deny the state governments.
Constitutional powers shared by the federal and state governments.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
A section of the Constitution that requires states to honor one another's licenses, marriages, and other acts of state courts.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
A section of the Constitution stating that a state may not refuse police protection or access to its courts to a US citizen because (s)he lives in a different state.
The process by which governments return fugitives to the jurisdiction from which they have fled.
- A section of the Constitution that requires conflicts between federal and state law to be resolved in favor of federal law.
- State Constitutions and laws that violate the US Constitution, federal laws, or international treaties can be invalidated throught this.
- Federal aid given to states with strings attached.
- To receive this money, the states must agree to adhere to federally mandated guidelines for spending it.
- Federal money given to states with only general guidelines for its use.
- The states have the authority to decide how the money will be spent.
Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances
The system that prevents any branch of government from becoming too powerful by dividing important tasks among the three branches.
- The power held by chief executives (the president, governor, etc.) to reject acts of the legislature.
- These can be overridden by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of both houses of Congress.
- The Constitutional power of Congress to supersede a president's veto by a two-third (2/3) majority in both houses.
- Such a vote is difficult to achieve, however, so these are fairly rare.
- An addition to the Constitution.
- They require approval by two-third (2/3) of both houses of Congress and three-fourths (3/4) of the states.
A section of the Constitution that prohibits the government from designating one faith as the official religion of the U.S.
The process by which the Supreme Court has selectively applied the 14th Amendment to State law.
The president's group of advisors made up of the heads of various executive departments of the government.
The leader of state executive branched whose duties are similar to the president's duties to the nation.
- A power held by some chief executives (the president, governor, etc.) to excise some portions of a spending bill without rejecting the entire bill.
- The purpose of this power is to allow some executives to eliminate frivolous appropriations.
- The president's claim to this power was denied by the Supreme Court.
Pardons and Reprieves
- The cancellation of criminal punishment.
- Presidents and governors have the power to grant these to those awaiting trial and to those convicted of crimes.
- Consisting of 2 legislative houses.
- The U.S. has one of these.
- Its 2 houses are the House of Representatives and the Senate.
An accomplishment of the Articles of Confederation, creating methods by which new states would enter the Union.
- A system in which many decisions are made by an external member-state legislation.
- Decisions on day-to-day matter are not taken by simple majority but by special majorities, consensus, or unanimity.
- Changes to the Constitution require unanimity.