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Politics of the United States
Chapter 2: Founding & the Constitution
Terms in this set (65)
Articles of Confederation
America's first written constitution; served as the basis for America's national government until 1789
A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT IN WHICH STATES RETAIN SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY EXCEPT FOR THE POWERS EXPRESSLY DELEGATED TO THE NATIONAL GOV'T
A framework for the Constitution, introduced by Edmund Randolph, which called for representation in the national legislature based on the population of each state
New Jersey Plan
a framework for the Constitution, introduced by William Paterson, that called for equal state representation in the national legislature regardless of population
the agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that stipulated that for purposes of the apportionment of congressional seats, every slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person
Checks and Balances
mechanisms through which each branch of government is able to participate in and influence the activities of other branches; major examples include the presidential veto power over congressional legislation, the power of the Senate to approve presidential appointments, and judicial review of congressional enactments
the presidential electors from each state who meet after the popular election to cast ballots for president and vice president
Bill of Rights
the first 20 amendments to the US Constitution, ratified in 1791; they ensure certain rights and liberties to the people
Separation of powers
the division of governmental power among several institutions that must cooperate in decision making
a system of government in which power is divided. by a constitution, between a central government and regional governments
specific powers granted by the Constitution to Congress (Article 1, Section 8) and to the President (Article II)
Necessary and Proper clause also know as Elastic Clause
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution (also known as the necessary and proper clause), which enumerates the powers of Congress and provides Congress with the authority to make all laws "necessary and proper" to carry them out
having legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses; distinguished from unicmaeral
Lower house: representation decided by state's population. Proportional representation. People's house.
Upper house: each state represented equally 2 seats
the power of the courts to review and, if necessary, declare actions of the legislative and executive branches invalid or unconstitutional
Marbury v. Madison
The Supreme Court asserted this power in this case
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
Constitution supporters, they argued that the government of the Constitution would correct the defects of the Articles, and the power to forge a secure and prosperous national government
Favored a weak central government, who campaigned against the ratification of the Constitution in favor of strong and independent state governments
a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay supporting ratification of the Constitution
oppressive government that employs cruel and unjust use of power and authority
a principle of constitutional government; a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution
a change added to a bill, law, or constitution
In their fight against British taxes such as the Stamp act and the Sugar Act of 1764, New England Merchants allied with which of the following groups?
artisans, southern planters, and laborers
How did the British attempt to raise revenue in the North American colonies?
taxes on commerce
The first governing document in the United States was?
The Articles of Confederation
Where was the execution of laws conducted under the Articles of Confederation?
Which of the following was not a reason that the Articles of Confederation seemed inadequate?
the power of radical forces in Congress
Which event led directly to the Constitutional Convention by providing evidence that the government created under the Articles of Confederation was unable to act decisively in times of national crisis?
The draft constituion that was introduced at the start of the the Constitutional Convention was authored by?
Which state proposal embodied a principle of representing states in the Congress according to their size and wealth?
The agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention that determined that every slave would be counted as a fraction of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation in the House of Representatives was called the?
What mechanism was instituted in the Congress to guard against "excessive democracy"?
all of these, bicameralism, staggered terms in office, checks and balances, selection of senators by state legislatures
Which of the following best describes the Supreme Court as understood by the Founders?
A supreme cout of the nation and its states
Theorist such as Montesquieu referred to the principle of giving each branch of government a distinctly different constituency as?
Which of the following were the Antifederalists most concerned with?
the potential for tyranny in the central government
Which of the following best describes the process of amending the Constitution?
It is difficult and has rarely been used successfully to address specific public problems.
Importance of Constitutions
"Every word of the Constitution decides a question between liberty and power."-James Madison 1792
Purposes of Constitutions
Legitimacy-condition of acceptance; if we write it down, it is a valid government
Organizing Government-clarifies major roles of officials and how they are selected, and branches of government (checks and balances)
Providing power-which entitygets what function and areas of responsibility
Limiting Power-guarantees against government action towards its citizens (Bill of Rights, etc...)
Reasons why Articles of Confederation was not strong enough-
Britian taxing more (taxation without representation)
Not strong enough
Favored small states
No taxing authority
No federal judiciary
Did include Congressional term limits
Each state has one vote
Shay's Rebellion, Debt, and Taxes
Farmers facing debt and depressed economy post-war
No consistent money supply
Enormous war debt
Mobs of distressed farmers attacked local taxing authorities
Wanted: paper money, crops as money, tax relief, moratorium of debt, no prison for debtors
1st part of Constitution provided common defense, Introduction of the Constitution; We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our prosperity. Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Congress calls National Convention to "revise" the Articles of Confederation
Simple Principles about Government: derives power from the consent of the people, society must be protected from the tyranny of majority, Checks and balances of power are essential, Stronger central government but beware of potential for abuse
Father of Constitution
Federalist Papers #10 discusses republic vs. democracy and how to deal with factions
#51 discusses checks and balances
was an important voice, learned/respected, but he was in France
Why are states soverign?
They were already established
Federalism: National Government
is supreme, can tax, regulate commerce, fund military, declare war, make laws binding on all citizens, coin money, make international treaties
are sovereign within their own sphere, which is defined by Constitution.
States can not?
declare war, negotiate treaties, issue money, levy tariffs.
Federalism: American Style
both federal and states are completely sovereign in their own rights, equal representation of population
Slave Trade Compromise
US would ban slave importation in 1808 but would levy a $10/head tax until then.
No rights were seriously discussed. "The tender bresast of ladies were not formed for political convulsion." -Thomas Jefferson
Examples of Checks and Balances
Staggered terms in Congress, Direct election of house, states elected senate.
Executive veto, but legislature could override veto with 2/3 vote, executive could negotiate treaty, Senate had to approve, Presidential "Ste of the Union" and could recommend legisiation, Congress declares war, but President is Commander in chief and controls military, Electoral College, Impeachment and Removal, Judical Review
public too frenzied to directly elect. They will choose "smarter people," who will then elect the president on their behalf.
The Federalist Papers
#78 Hamilton discusses the Judiciary
Amending the Constitution
purposed in both houses- 2/3 votes in each house and each of the state legislatures
Separation of Powers
Legislative, Executive, Judicial
powers not specifically granted by the Constitution to the federal government were reserved to the states or to the people.
Powers of the Legislative
passes federal laws, controls federal appropriations, approves treaties and presidential appointments, regulates interstate commerce, establishes lower court system
Power of Executive
enforces laws, Commander in chief of armed forces, makes foreign treaties, proposes laws, appoints Supreme Court justices and federal court judges, pardons those convicted in federal court
Power of Judical
reviews lower court decisions, decides constitutionality of laws, decides cases involving disputes between states
property owners, creditors, merchants-believes that elites were most fit to govern; feared "excessive democracy", favored strong national government; believed in "filtration" so that only elites would obtain governmental power, Leaders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Washington
smaller farmers, frontiersmen, debtors, shopkeepers, some state government officials. believed that government should be closer to the people; feared concentration of powers in hands of the elites. Favored retentions of power by state governments and protection of individual rights. Leaders: Patrick Henry, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, George Clinton
Four Ways Constitution can be amended
National level: passage in house and senate, each by 2/3 votes, passage in a national convention called by Congress in response to petitions by 2/3s of the states (34 states) Never used
State level: acceptance by majority vote in the legislatures of 3/4 of states (38); acceptance by conventions called for the purpose, in 3/4 of the states (38)
How many Amendments?
Purpose of first 10 Amendments
provides clear limitations on the powers of national government.
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
United States Government: Our Democracy
Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy
Magruder's American Government (Texas)
Daniel M. Shea
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