51 terms

Chapter 2

name given to those who were against the ratification of the Constitution
Bicameral legislature
A legislature divided into two houses. The U.S. Congress and every American state legislature except Nebraska's are this.
Check and balances
system by which each branch of goverment check or control the actions of the other branches
a political system in which a weak central government has limited authority, and the states have ultimate power.
electoral college
a group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
executive agreement
an agreement between the president and the heads of other nations
executive order
directive, rule, or regulation issued by a chief executive or subordinates, based upon constitutional or statutory authority and having the force of law
federal system
a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and a number of individual states
the name given to one who was in favor of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government.
Great Compromise
At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation in Congress on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state the same number of representatives. The convention compromised by creating the House and the Senate, and using both of the two separate plans as the method for electing members of each.
judicial review
the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
Madisonian model
A structure of government proposed by James Madison in which the powers of the government are separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
natural rights
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. The concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher John Locke's theories about government and was widely accepted among America's Founders.
formal approval
representative assembly
A legislature composed of individuals who represent the population.
separating of powers
The principle of dividing governmental powers among different branches of government
social contract
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rule
A group of people occupying a specific area and organized under one government; may be either a\ nation or a subunit of a nation
supremacy doctrine
a doctrine that asserts the priority of national law over state laws
unicameral legislature
A legislature with only one legislative chamber, as opposed to a bicameral (two-chamber) legislature, such as the U.S. Congress. Today, Nebraska is the only state in the Union with a unicameral legislature.
block grants
federal programs that provide funds to state and local governments for broad functional areas, such as criminal justice or mental-health programs
categorical grants
Federal grants to states or local governments that are for specific programs or projects.
commerce clause
The section of the Constitution in which Congress is given the power to regulate trade among the states and with foreign countries.
concurrent powers
powers shared by the state and federal governments
confederal system
A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.
cooperative federalism
A model of federalism in which the states and the national government cooperate in solving problems
the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states
dual federalism
A model of federalism in which the states and the national government each remain supreme within their own spheres. The doctrine looks on nation and state as coequal sovereign powers. Neither the state government nor the nation government should interfere in the other's sphere
elastic clause, or necessary and proper clause
the clause in article I, Section 8, that congress the power to do whatever is necessary to execute its specifically delegated powers
enumerated powers
Powers specifically given to Congress in the Constitution; including the power to collect taxes, coin money, regulate foreign and interstate commerce, and declare war.
federal mandate
A requirement the federal government imposes as a condition for receiving federal funds.
interstate compact
An agreement among two or more states. The Constitution requires that most such agreements be approved by Congress.
picket-fence federalism
A model of federalism in which specific programs and policies (depicted as vertical pickets in a picket fence) involve all levels of government - national, state, and local (depicted by the horizontal boards in a picket fence).
police power
power reserved to the government to regulate the health, safety, and morals of its citizens
supremacy clause
The constitutional provision that makes the Constitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting state and local laws.
unitary system
a government in which all key powers are given to the national or central government
community property
property acquired during marriage owned separately and equally by both spouses.
In the context of state government, constitutional provisions made inoperative by conflicting federal constitutional or statutory law
enabling act
Legislation that confers on appropriate officials the power to implement or enforce the law
the legal proceedings initiated by a creditor to repossess the collateral for loan that is in default
Freedmen's Bureau
The bureau of refugees, freedmen and abandoned lands, a federal bureau established in 1865 to aid refugees of the Civil war (including former slaves) and to administer confiscated property. Among other tasks, it sought to provide education to the former slaves. It was disbanded in 1872
general-law charter
a document authorizing the establishment of a city with a population of 5,000 or less whose structure and organization are prescribed and limited by a state law
home rule
the right of a local government to write a charter establishing any organizational structure or program that does not conflict with state law. The texas constitution reserves home rule for municipalities with populations of 5,000 or more.
house and senate journals
The official public records of the actions of the two chambers of the Texas legislature. The two journals are issued daily during sessions.
partisan election
An election between candidates who are nominated by their parties and whose party affiliation is designated on the ballot. In Texas, all state and county officials (including judges) are selected in this manner. Only municipal and some special district elections are nonpartisan in Texas.
plural executive
an executive branch with power divided among several independent officers and a weak chief executive
regular session
A legislative session scheduled by the constitution. Texas regular sessions are biennial (once every two years) rather than annual as in most states and in Congress.
special district
A local or regional government with responsibility for some single function such as administering schools, handling sewage, or managing airports.
special session
a legislative session called by the governor that addresses an agenda set by him or her and that lasts no longer than thirty days
statue-like details
Detailed state constitutional provisions characterized by the narrow scope found in statutory law.
statutory law
Law passed by legislatures and eventually compiled in law codes