43 terms

Unit 1: Constitutional Underpinnings


Terms in this set (...)

10th Amendment
Amendment to the Constitution which embodies the principle of federalism. It reserves for the states, powers not granted or prohibited to the federal government.
Opponents of the American Constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption. They argued that the Constitution was a class-based document, that it would erode fundamental liberties, and that it would weaken the power of the states.
Articles of Confederation
The first constitution of the United States, adopted by Congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. The Articles established a national legislature, the Continental Congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatures.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, drafted in response to some of the Anti-Federalist concerns. These amendments define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press and offer protections against arbitrary searches by the police and being held without talking to a lawyer.
Block Grant
Money granted by the federal government to the states for a broad purpose (e.g. transportation) rather than for a narrow purpose (e.g. school busing).
Categorical Grant
Money granted by the federal government to the states for a narrow purpose (e.g. school lunch program) rather than for a broad purpose.
Checks and Balances
System in which each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches, e.g. presidential veto of a congressional law.
Commerce Clause
Gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states, with foreign nations, and among Indian tribes. Granted trough Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution.
Concurrent Powers
Power shared by the national and state governments.
System in which sovereign states are only loosely tied to a central government, e.g., the United States under the Articles of Confederation.
Connecticut Compromise
The compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that established two houses of Congress: the House of Representatives, in which representation is based on a state's share of the U.S. population, and the Senate, in which each state has two representatives.
A nation's basic law. It creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens.
Cooperative Federalism
System in which both federal and state governments cooperate in solving problems.
A system of government that gives power to the people, whether directly or through their elected representatives.
Dual Federalism
System in which the national and state governments are coequal, with each being dominant within its respective sphere.
Enumerated Powers (Expressed Powers)
Those that are specifically granted to Congress in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, e.g. the power to tax. Also known as expressed powers.
Constitutional sharing of power between a central government and state governments. Different kinds of federalism are dual federalism, cooperative federalism, and new federalism.
Federalist Papers
Group of 85 essays written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay for the purpose of persuading the people of New York to adopt the Constitution.
Supporters of the U.S. Constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption.
Fiscal Federalism
The patterns of spending, taxing, and grants between governmental units in a federal system.
Formal Amendment
A change in the actual working of the Constitution. Proposed by Congress or national convention, and ratified by the states.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Article IV, section 1 of the Constitution requiring states to legally recognize the official acts of other states. e.g. marriage, divorce, or adoption laws.
The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society.
Implied Power
Power derived from the expressed (enumerated powers) and the necessary and proper clause. These are governmental powers not specifically stated, but reasonably implied to carry out the duties of the federal government.
Informal Amendment
a change in the meaning, but not the working, of the Constitution, e.g., through a court decision such as Brown v. Board.
Inherent Powers
Foreign policy powers (e.g. acquiring territory) held by the national government by virtue of its being a national government.
Judicial Review
Power of the courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws and government actions. Established by Marbury b. Madison, 1803.
Limited Government
The idea that certain things are out of bounds for government because of the natural right of citizens. Limited government was central to and it contrasted sharply with the prevailing view of the divine rights of monarchs.
Requirements imposed by the national government upon the states. Some are unfunded mandates, i.e., they are imposed by the national government, but lack funding.
Marbury v. Madison
1803, established the power of judicial review.
McCulloch v Maryland
1819, established principle of national supremacy and validity of implied powers.
Natural Rights
Rights derived from natural law (God-given) that all people have and which cannot be taken away. The Jeffersonian statement in the Declaration (as influenced by John Locke), that "all men are created equal" is a cornerstone of American belief.
Necessary and Proper Clause (Elastic Clause)
States that Congress can exercise those powers that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out the enumerated powers, e.g. establishment of the first Bank of the United States.
New Jersey Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population.
According to Lasswell, "who gets what, when, and how?" Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Article IV, section 2 of the Constitution requiring that out of state citizens have the same FUNDAMENTAL rights and privileges as local residents.
Public Policy
Public policy is a course of action adopted and pursued by a government. A course of action produced as a response to a perceived problem, formulated by a specific political process, and adopted, implemented, and enforced by a public agency.
A form of democracy in which power is vested in representatives by means of popular, competitive elections.
Separation of Powers
Principle in which the powers of government are separated among three branches: legislative, executive, judicial.
Shays' Rebellion
1786 revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and foreclosure that was a factor in the calling of the Constitutional Convention.
Supremacy Clause
That portion of Article VI of the Constitution that mandates that national law is supreme to all other laws passed by the states or by other subdivisions of government.
Virginia Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S. population.
Unitary Government
A way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. Most governments today, including those of Great Britain and Japan are unitary governments.