First National Government

Articles of Confederation - The constitution
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Articles of Confederation
This document, the nation's first constitution, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1781 during the Revolution. The document was limited because states held most of the power, and Congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage.
ratification
formal approval
Northwest Ordinance
Enacted in 1787, it is considered one of the most significant achievements of the Articles of Confederation. It established a system for setting up governments in the western territories so they could eventually join the Union on an equal footing with the original 13 states
Virginia Plan
Virginia delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population
New Jersey Plan
New Jersey delegate William Paterson's plan of government, in which states got an equal number of representatives in Congress
Great Compromise
Compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature and representation based on population in the other house
Federalist
supporters of the constitution during the debate over its ratification; favored a strong national government
Antifederalist
Opposed to a strong central government; saw undemocratic tendencies in the Constitution and insisted on the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. Included Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry.
republicanism
A philosophy of limited government with elected representatives serving at the will of the people. The government is based on consent of the governed.
popular sovereignty
rule by the people
separation of powers
the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government
checks and balances
a system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
veto
the power or right to prohibit or reject a proposed or intended act (especially the power of a chief executive to reject a bill passed by the legislature)
judicial review
The power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
unconstitutional
not allowed under the Constitution
amendment
a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law
repeal
to cancel a law
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
executive agreement
A pact made by the president directly with the head of a foreign state; A binding international agreement with the force of law but which (unlike a treaty) does not require senate consent
political party
a group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, win elections, conduct government, and determine public policy
cabinet
persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers
faction
a group, usually a small part of a larger group, united around some cause; disagreement within an organization