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the document establishing the structure, functions, and limitations of the U.S. Constitution

federal system

plan of government created in the U.S. Constitution; power is divided between national and state gov't; independent states are bound into one

separation of powers

a way of dividing power among three branches; members of all branches (primarily) are selected and responsible for each branch

checks and balances

a government structure that gives each of the three branches of government some degree of oversight and control over the actions of others


seventeen specific powers granted to the Congress; included: taxation, coinage, regulation of commerce, authority of defense

necessary and proper clause

final paragraph of Article 1, section 8: giving congress authority to pass all laws necessary and proper to carry out enumerated powers (also known as the elastic clause)

supremacy clause

Article VI: mandating that NATIONAL LAW is supreme to all laws passed by the STATES or any other subdivision of the government


a power derived from an enumerated power and the necessary and proper clause. These powers are not stated specifically but are considered reasonably implied through the exercise of delegated powers

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