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Politics of the United States
Government: Unit 2 Review Questions
Terms in this set (48)
What weakness of the Articles of Confederation made a lasting government impossible (Section 2.3)
- Confederation Congress lacked key powers - it could not raise taxes or regulate trade.
- Congress could not make states obey the laws it passed.
- 9 of 13 state delegations had to agree before Congress could act.
- Articles could only be changed with the consent of all 13 state legislatures
Describe the structure of government set up under the Articles of Confederation (section 2.3)
- Congress was the body made up of delegates chosen yearly by the states
- no judicial or executive branch
Explain why the weaknesses of the Articles led to a critical period for the country in the 1780s (section 2.3)
Many powers were missing from Congress. Congress couldn't...
-tax: it could only raise money by borrowing and asking the states for funds which resulted in debt unable to be pay back
-regulate trade between states
-change Articles without consent from all 13 state legislatures
- Without a stable central government, the states began to bicker and become suspicious of one another, sometimes creating violence.
Describe how a growing need for a stronger national government led to plans for a Constitutional Convention (section 2.3).
- Maryland and Virginia met to discuss commerce and navigation over the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay,
- it was so successful that the Virginia General Assembly called for a meeting of all the states to consider and regulate a plan for regulating commerce, ended up becoming the Constitutional Convention,
- but switched gears and resulted in the creation of an entirely new form of government
Articles of Confederation (section 2.3)
- articles that continued the structure and operation of government (single Congress) as established under the 2nd Continental Congress
- One delegate from each state managed government when Congress not assembled
- the agreement, effective in 1781, that established the 1st central government of the US
Ratification (section 2.3)
- formal validation of a proposed law.
- approve a law
Confederation (section 2.3)
- league of friendship among the 13 independent states
What compromises enabled the Framers to create the Constitution (section 2.4)?
- Connecticut Compromise
This compromise dealt with how to determine the representation of states in the national legislature.
- Three-Fifths Compromise
This compromise dealt with issues arising from slavery.
- Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
This compromise addressed northern and southern disagreements about foreign trade.
Identify the Framers of the Constitution and explain how they organized the Philadelphia Convention (section 2.4)
- Framers of the Constitution were group delegates who attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.
- Organization and Procedures.
- Delegates organized the proceedings at the Philadelphia convention by rule of secrecy and write a new constitution instead of revising the Articles of Confederation.
Compare and contrast the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan (Section 2.4)
-lower house elected by the people
-upper house chosen by the lower house from nominees submitted by state legislatures
-representatives chosen by state legislatures
-each state receives one vote
VA: Representation in each house is based on population and/or monetary contributions to the national government by the state
NJ: Representation in house would be equal among the states
VA: Single executive chosen by legislative branch, limited to one term only, could veto legislative acts, removed by Congress
NJ: Plural executive chosen by legislative branch, no veto powers, removal by states
VA: Judges chosen by legislative branch
NJ: Judges appointed for life by executive
Summarize the convention's major compromises and the effects of those decisions (section 2.4)
- Major Compromises:
- The Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise)
- 3/5ths Compromise
- Commerce and Slave trade compromise
Describe the delegates' reactions to the Constitution (section 2.4).
Constitution is completed.
1) Benjamin Franklin felt the constitution was:
b) none better could be framed
Framers (sec. 2.4)
- condoned slavery (accepted 3/5 compromise)
- Attended the Philadelphia Convention
Virginia Plan (sec. 2.4)
- plan offered at the Convention that called for a CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WITH 3 BRANCHES
- each state's representation in a BICAMERAL legislature based mainly on population
New Jersey Plan (sec. 2.4)
- called on government based on keeping the major features of Articles of Confederation (CENTRAL GOVERNMENT)
- a unicameral legislature with 1 vote for each state
- Congress strengthened by giving it the power to taxes and regulate trade
Connecticut Compromise (sec. 2.4)
- Suggested legislative branch have 2 parts: 1) House of Representatives, and 2) Senate
1) one with representation based on state population
2) one with equal representation for all states
Three-Fifths Compromise (sec. 2.4)
- Not knowing how to count the votes delegates reached a compromise of the three-fifths of the slave population would be counted when setting direct taxes on states
Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise (sec. 2.4)
- Congress could not ban the slave trade until 1808
- Gave Congress power to regulate both interstate commerce (trade between states and foreign commerce)
- Congress forbidden to impose export taxes
- an agreement forbidding Congress from taxing state exports or interfering with the slave trade for at least 20 years
What issues aroused the vigorous debate over the ratification of the Constitution? (Sec. 2.5)
The key issues debated included:
-How strong should the new central government be to avoid the problems faced under the Articles of Confederation?
Why didn't the Constitution have a Bill of Rights, and was one really necessary?
- Did Congress and the presidency have too much power?
Identify the opposing sides in the fight for ratification and describe the major arguments for and against the proposed Constitution. (Sec. 2.5)
Federalists: favored ratification of the Constitution
Anti-Federalists: opposed ratification of the Constitution
Describe the inauguration of the new government of the United States of America (sec. 2.5)
- took place in New York City in Federal Hall on March 4, 1789,
- people weren't inaugurated until April 6 because it lacked the majority and couldn't count electoral votes
- George Washington- President
- John Adams- Vice President
How does a system of checks and balances guard against the concentration of power into one department? (sec. 2.5)
In this system the government was to be divided into three branches of government, each branch having particular powers.
Federalist (sec. 2.5)
- favored the constitution
- supported federalism
Anti-Federalist (sec. 2.5)
- opposed new Constitution
Faction (sec. 2.5)
- a small, organized, dissenting group within a larger one, especially in politics.
- groups of people for or against the Constitution
Republic (sec. 2.5)
- a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives,
- State that has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
What are the 6 main principles on which the Constitution is based? (Sec. 3.1)
1.) Popular Sovereignty
3.) Separation of Powers
4.) Checks and Balances
5.) Judicial Review
6.) Limited Government
Understand the basic outline of the Constitution. (sec. 3.1)
- Preamble - First part of the Constitution states why constitution was written ( lists six goals for the national government)
- Articles - Second part of the Constitution defines 7 divisions (the three branches of government)
- Amendments - Third part of the Constitution is responsive to the needs of a changing nation (Changes to the Constitution)
Understand the basic principles of the Constitution (sec. 3.1)
) Popular Sovereignty
2) Limited Government
3) Separation of Powers
4) Checks and Balances
6) Judicial Review
Be able to explain the 6 principles of the Constitution by using examples from the text. (sec. 3.1)
1) Popular Soverinty (- Rule by the people
- Consent of the governed
- Authority for government flows from the people
2) Federalism (Federal System) - Basic structure of American Government
- Power is divided between national and state governments
3) Separation of Powers - Each branch (executive, legislative, judicial) has duties/responsibilities
- Prevent any branch from having too much power
4) Checks and Balances - Each branch exercises some control over the others.
- Created a system of shared powers
5) Judicial Review - Power of the courts to say that laws and of local, state, or national governments are invalid because they conflict with the principles of the Constitution
6) Limited Government - Constitution limits the actions Govt. specifically listing powers it does and doesn't have.
Constitution (sec. 3.1)
- a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.
Popular sovereignty (sec. 3.1)
- consent of the governed;
- authority of government flows from people
Limited government (sec. 3.1)
- government must obey by law ( all powerful)
Rule of law (sec. 3.1)
- legal principle that law should govern a nation
Separation of powers (sec. 3.1)
- the three distinct and independent branches of the government
Checks and balances (sec. 3.1)
- each branch of govt exercises some control over the other
Veto (sec. 3.1)
- President can check Congress by rejecting its legislation
Judicial Review (sec. 3.1)
- power of the courts to declare laws & actions of the local, state, & national governments invalid if they violate the Constitution
Unconstitutional (sec. 3.1)
- not abiding by the rules of the Constitutuion
Federalism (sec. 3.1)
- power is divided between national and state governments
Marbury v. Madison (sec. 3.1)
- 1803 case that established precedent for federal courts to rule on the actions of the government
How has the Constitution been amended through the formal amendment process? (sec. 3.2)
- the majority of amendments have been proposed by a 2/3 vote of congress and ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures
Identify the four different ways by which the Constitution may be formally changed (sec. 3.2)
- Method 1 Proposed by 2/3 vote in both houses; Ratified by 3/4 of State Legislatures
- Method 2 Proposed by 2/3 vote in both houses; Ratified by 3/4 State Conventions
- Method 3 Proposed by national convention when called by 2/3 of states; ratified by 3/4 State legislature
- Method 4 Proposed by national convention when called by 2/3 of states; ratified by 3/4 State Convention
Explain how the formal amendment process illustrates the principles of federalism and popular sovereignty (sec. 3.2)
- Approval process reinforces federalism and indirectly sovereignty.
- Sometimes criticized as being representative and not direct.
- State legislature must act first
Be able to list the first 10 amendments of the Constitution (sec. 3.2)
1st Amendment Freedom of speech, press, petition, press, & assembly.
2nd Amendment Right to bear arms.
3rd Amendment No quartering of troops.
4th Amendment No illegal search and seizure.
5th Amendment Right to due process, grand jury, no double jeopardy, no self-incrimination, & eminent domain.
6th Amendment Guarantees a speedy, public, impartial trial by jury.
7th Amendment Right to a trial by jury in a civil case over $20
8th Amendment No cruel and unusual punishment.
9th Amendment Unenumerated rights not necessarily written out in the Constitution.
10th Amendment Rights reserved to the states.
Amendment (sec. 3.2)
- changes to the constitution
Formal amendment (sec. 3.2)
- formal changes to the Constitution
Bill of rights (sec. 3.2)
- amendments to the Constitution
- states ratified 10 amendments became bill of rights
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
Magruder's American Government (Texas)
Daniel M. Shea
United States Government: Principles in Practice (Florida)
Luis Ricardo Fraga
TEKS United States Government
Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy
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