34 terms

American Government & Politics Today chapter 2

Vocabulary and important terms or cases from the American Government & Politics Today

Terms in this set (...)

group who wished to break with the Church of England, coming over to the New World, landing at Plymouth
Mayflower Compact
political statement in which the signers agreed to create and submit to the authority of government, proved determination of English immigrants to live under the rule of law, based on consent of the people
Second Continental Congress
met to establish an army, create a Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation
A political system in which states or regional government retain ultimate authority except for those powers they expressly delegate to a central government.
a group of people occupying a specific area and organized under one government; may be either a nation or a subunit of a nation
Articles of Confederation
a weak central government that included a unicameral assembly of single vote states' ambassadors (Congress) and a presiding officer. It settled claims to western lands but were unable to demand revenues from the states or protect the people from armed rebellion.
Shay's Rebellion
rebellion when armed farmers seized county courthouses and showed that the government was unable to protect the citizenry from armed rebellion or provide adequately for the public welfare
Bicameral Legislature
a legislature made up of two parts, called chambers. Examples include the US Congress, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate
Supremacy Doctrine
a doctrine that asserts the priority of national law over state laws. This principle is rooted in Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that the Constitution, the laws passed by the national government under its constitutional powers, and all treaties constitute the supreme law of the land
Great Compromise
the compromise between the New Jersey and Virginia plans that created one chamber of the Congress based on population and one chamber representing each state equally
Three-Fifths compromise
settled the issue of how to deal with slaves in the representational scheme;
Separation of powers
the principle of dividing governmental powers among different branches of government
Madisonian model
a structure of government in which the powers of the government are separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial
Checks and balances
a major principle of the American system of government whereby each branch of the government can check the actions of the others
Electoral college
a group of persons called electors selected by the voters in each state and the District of Columbia; this group officially elects the president and vice president of the US. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of each state's representatives in both chamber of Congress. The Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution grants DC as many electors as the state with the smallest population
the name given to one who was in favor of the adoption of the US Constitution and the creation of a federal union with a strong central government
an individual who opposed the ratification of the new Constitution in 1787. They were opposed to a strong central government
The Federalist Papers
a series of 85 essays written by Jay, Madison, and Hamilton in defense of the Constitution and of a republican form of government
National Convention Provision
a provision in the Constitution that a national convention requested by the legislatures of 2/3rds of states can propose a constitutional amendment
Executive agreement
an international agreement between chiefs of state that does not require legislative approval
Judicial review
the power of the Supreme Court and other courts to declare unconstitutional federal or state laws and other acts of government
Marbury v. Madison
allocated the power of judicial review to the Supreme Court
natural rights
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. 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.
social contract
a voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
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.
First Representative Assembly. Important because set the precedent in government that would be observed in later colonial adventures.
Mayflower Compact
First Social Contract. Important because: 1) it depended on the consent of the affected individuals, 2) it served as a prototype for similar compacts in American History.
1st Step to alter the Constitution
- 2/3 of both houses of Congress propose an amendment or
-2/3 of state legislatures ask Congress to call a convention (never used)
2nd Step to alter the Constitution
- 3/4 of state legislature approval or
- special convention called in the states with a positive vote by 3/4 of the states.
Informal Methods to alter Constitution
- Presidential Actions
- Judicial Review
- Congressional Legislation
Universal Truths
All men are created equal. All men have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Based on Locke's natural rights theory.
Declaration of Independence
the document recording the proclamation of the Second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain