British writer of the Enlightenment whose ideas of natural rights/social contract theory were used in the Declaration of Independence.
The ideas of the Declaration of Independence are based upon the ideas of the European...
"WE the PEOPLE"
Opening lines of the Preamble to the Constitution that shows that the people are the source of power (sovereignty).
HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES
In the original Constitution the only part of the national government that was directly elected by the people.
Term for the counting of the U.S. population - this is done in order to know the population of each state for the purpose of determining the number of representatives each state has in the House.
SEPARATION of POWERS
Idea that within our national government there are three branches each with a different main responsibility.
CHECKS and BALANCES
Idea that each branch of the national government has the power to limit the power of the other branches. Key examples: President veto of law passed by Congress, Senate must approve treaties negotiated by President, and Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional.
Method of electing the President that was included because the founding fathers did not trust the people to elect directly the President.
In the 2000 Presidential election George W. Bush won the election because he received a majority of the electoral vote, but he did not win this.
A formal change or addition to the Constitution - this process was included so that the Constitution could be flexible and be adapted as times change.
Also known as the "necessary and proper" clause this allows Congress to stretch its powers and make laws in areas not specifically stated in the Constitution. Most often used with the interstaate commerce clause.
Practices involving the way the U.S. government operates that are not actually in the Constitution but are followed because of custom and tradition.
The Presidential Cabinet is an example of this concept.
The formation of political parties or anything having to do with political parties such as the national nominating convention are examples of this concept.
LOBBYISTS or SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
These groups try to influence laws being made and/or who gets elected and are criticized because they have too much influence on American politics.
President Jefferson hesitated to buy the Louisiana Territory because he held this interpretation of the Constitution.
BROWN v. BOARD of EDUCATION
The decision in this case overturned the "separate but equal" doctrine and said that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
The decision in Brown v. Board of Education was based on the equal protection clause of this amendment.
Chief Justice during the early 1800's who used a loose interpretation to expand the power of the federal government.
MARBURY v. MADISON
Supreme Court case in which the court established for itself the power of judicial review.
Power of the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional.
Chief Justice during the 1950's and 1960's who used a loose interpretation to expand rights for both African-Americans and those accused of crimes.
MIRANDA v. ARIZONA
Supreme Court case that stated that the police must read your rights to you.
GIDEON v. WAINWRIGHT
Supreme Court case that established the principle that you have the right to an attorney even if you are too poor to afford one.
This clause in the 1st amendment is the basis of the idea of separation of church and state.
ENGLE v. VITALE
Supreme Court case that ruled that prayer in public school violated the principle of separation of church and state.