certain rights people are born with, life, liberty, and property.
social contract theory
implied contract between government and citizens. For the good of society, people agree to give up certain freedoms and empower governments to maintain order.
natural rights that government cannot take away. Among these rights are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Declaration of Independence
The Continental Congress formally adopted this declaration on July 4, 1776.
Articles of Confederation
Finally ratified in 1781, this document failed because it did not give enough power,to the federal (national) government.
Daniel Shays' Rebellion
historical event proving the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation, due to the flaw that made it impossible for the government to provide for national defense, occured in1786. Massachusetts farmer and Revolutionary War veteran.
United States Constitution
In 1787, a delegation met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles o f Confederation. Soon after the convention began, however, the delegates decided to do away with the document altogether and write a new set of laws.
established a legislative branch with two houses. The House of Representatives, (elected directly by the people), number of seats per state based on population, and the Senate, (elected by state legislatures), where each state would have two senators, regardless of population. Together, the two houses would comprise Congress.
stated that each slave would count as "three-fifths of a person."
slave trade compromise
Under this agreement, Northerners and
delegates from the Upper South (Maryland and Virginia) who opposed the slave trade agreed to allow it to continue unregulated for twenty years, though, Congress could impose regulations.
rule of law
that the United States is a society governed by set laws, not the independent will of a monarch or small body of rulers.
the principle that even governments must obey a set of laws and respect the rights of citizens.
separation of powers
division of authority to govern between different branches of government.
checks and balances
allows each branch to check the powers of the other two.
means that power is divided between different levels ofgovernment. In the United States, the national and state governments share power.
the belief that the government is empowered by, and is subject to, the will of its people (John Locke's social contract theory).
Bill of Rights
passed in 1789, Consisting of the first ten amendments (additions) to the Constitution, its purpose is to protect citizens' rights and maintain limited government.
a group of people who
are bound by a common cause, usually against another group bound by an opposing cause.
faction favoring a strong central government, and
supported the Constitution. Leaders were Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison
Madison played a key role in
drafting the Constitution and devising its model of government. Referred to as the "Father of the Constitution."
More suspicious of the Constitution, fearing that it gave too much power to the central government.
Essays written to persuade New York's legislature to ratify the Constitution by easing fears that the document left the government susceptible to any one faction seizing too much power.
also known as Congress. Role is to make laws.
House of Representatives
where population determines how many representatives each state has. The greater a state's population, the more representatives that state has here.
Speaker of the House
someone usually from the majority party that presides over the House Representatives.
comprised of two senators from each state.
president pro tempore
This person'is usually the most senior member of the majority party and is the highest ranking member of the Senate.
powers of Congress
collect taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce with other nations, coin money, declare war, control armed forces, make necessary laws.
limitations of Congress
what is the inability to suspend Writ of Habeas Corpus. This is the right of an arrested person to go before a judge within a reasonable amount of time to determine if their incarceration is justified. what is the inability to suspend this right only in cases of rebellion, invasion, or to ensure public safety.
House/Senate majority leader
House/Senate minority leader
House/Senate majority and minority whip
branch of government that enforces the laws.
president of the United States
serves as the chief executive of the executive branch and the nation's head of state.
vice president of the United States
becomes president should the president die or become incapable of finishing his/her term.
a body of delegates that meets every four years solely to elect the president and the vice president.
powers and responsibilities of the president
To enforce and carry out laws, command chief military forces, negociate laws and make treaties, appoint supreme court justices,and appoint his Cabinet
consists of the heads of various federal departments. It serves as the president's official panel of advisors and representatives regarding certain issues.
overseen by the president's cabinet and consist of the executive branch of government.
government structure put in place to regulate certain areas.
branch consists of the federal court system, with the Supreme Court acting as the highest court in the land. Role is to make sure that laws are applied appropriately.
US Supreme Court
the highest court in the land.
Marbury v. Madison
1803. case where Chief Justice John Marshall led the court in striking down part of Judiciary Act of 1789 thereby establishing the
court's authority ofjudicial review.
the judicial branch's power to declare acts of Congress and/or state legislatures "unconstitutional."
appointment of judges
what is the act wherein the President gives Justices' their position for life.
cases that come before the US Supreme Court
what are appeals from lower federal courts and from state supreme courts.
a proposal (idea for a new law) before it becomes a law.
If either house rejects the bill, or if the president refuses to sign it, this is called a:
consists of members of the particular house and will examine, debate, and perhaps even question outside individuals concerning bills under consideration.
a change to the Constitution that is added later.
powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. They are, however, implied based on enumerated powers.
powers explicitly granted by the Constitution.
states that the US Constitution shall be, "...the supreme"law ofthe land...." and take precedence over any state or local laws.
Bill of Rights
consists of the first ten amendments ·tions) to the United States Constitution.
means that the document (the law) is intended to guarantee the rights of all citizens, not simply a privileged few.
guarantees citizens' freedom of speech, freedom of the press,freedom to petition the government and freedom to assemble.
Due process prevents government abuse and ensures that citizens who are charged with a crime are not denied their rights during judicial proceedings.
clearly defines criminal proceedings by which a person may be arrested and charged with a crime.
defines US citizenship to include all races and proclaims that any citizen o f the US is automatically a citizen o f the state in which he/she resides.
conflict between individual liberties and public interest
the need to protect individual liberties and the need to protect public interest is considered:
responsibilities that every citizen should live up to as part of their civic duty.
citizens service on juries.
costs of serving on a jury
the time involved in fulfilling jury duty, spanning from a day to months on a single trial.
registering for military duty
what is another means through which citizens serve the public. Where male citizens must register with a
selective service (branch ofthe military).
costs of political participation
Voting, volunteering and serving all take time. Time that could be spent with family, earning money, or engaging in some leisure activity is sacrificed for the sake of participating in the political process.
being a well-informed citizen
that citizens need to remain aware of what is happening locally, nationally and around the world.
respecting the rights of others to their own opinions
others have the right to come to different opinions about the same issues. The key is to figure out how to champion one's views in a constructive manner, this involves:
organizations that promote political beliefs and sponsor candidates (people running for political office).
one of two primary parties that dominate our nation's politics.
one of two primary parties that dominate our nation's politics.
parties other than the Republicans and Democrats
those not affiliated with a party.
consists of delegates (representatives) from
each state and US territory that meet to nominate (choose) candidates for president and vice president in the upcoming general election.
the people who make up and are represented by the party.
generally democrats that tend to favor a more active government.
those whose beliefs fall somewhere in the middle, between liberal and conservative.
the banding together of different groups for the purpose of achieving political success.
elections that are held in November of an election year (usually even- numbered).
where voters choose between candidates within the same party.
run-off election caucus
election between the top vote getters (usually the top two).
an election that is called to determine if voters want to remove a sitting official from office before his/her elected term is up.
An example of this is whether or not to support a certain policy or changes in the law.
who chooses the winner in presidential elections.
candidates strategy for winning
positive versus negative campaigning
campaigns that try to appeal to mainstream voters by portraying the candidate as 'just plain folk" versus campaigns that take the form of name calling.
the place where voters go to cast their votes.
determines which candidates a person may vote for.
that area to which one has been assigned to vote.
ensures that only qualified citizens vote, and that they only vote once.
a list ofthe candidates to choose from.
unofficial polls taken reveal who they chose, prior to any votes being counted.
ratified 1870. Extended the right to vote to african-americans, following the abolition of slavery.
ratified 1920. Granted women the right to vote in nationwide elections (some states already allowed women to vote in local elections).
Protected the rights of minorities to vote by outlawing poll taxes (taxes one must pay before they can vote; they were often used as a means to keep african-americans and minorities from voting).
consists of one party (person, business, etc.) claiming that another party (person, business, etc.) has wronged them is some way.
involves the state or federal government accusing someone o f committing a crime.
usually Republicans that believe that less government is better.