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Articles of Confederation

first government of the United States, weak government but some pros were northwest ordinance, Revolutionary war victory. provided legal symbol of 13 states' union by giving the central government no coercive power over the states or their citizens. Government could not generate revenue, regulate trade, create national currency, draft soldiers

Northwest Ordinance

1787, territories of state were reorganized

Shay's Rebellion

six-months in which more than 1,000 armed farmers attacked a federal arsenal to protest the foreclosure of farms in Massachusetts...US saw necessity for a stronger central government

New Jersey Plan

Equal representation plan advocated at constitutional convention. favored small states

Virginia Plan

Proportional representation plan advocated by Edmund Randolph at constitutional convention

Constitutional Convention

meeting in Philadelphia in 1787, to address conflict created by Articles of Confederation..give central government more power

Great Compromise is also known as...

Connecticut Compromise

Great Compromise

solution that merged the Virginia and NJ plan: a bicameral legislature with a HOR based on population and a Senate with equal representation...presented by Roger Sherman from Connecticut

3/5 Compromise

slaves would count as 3/5 of a person when apportioning electoral votes...Northerners felt that slaves should not be counted for electoral votes, South disagreed


system of government under which the national government and state governments share which power is divided between a central authority and a number of regions with delimited self-governing authority

Dual Federalism

belief that state and national governments are separate and independent...view of federalism that considers the national and state governments equal, but independent partners, with distinct responsibilities


supported the creation of a strong national government, less power to states


opposed the creation of a strong national government, more power to states...argued that he constitution would threaten citizens' personal liberties and would make the president a king-tyrannical government like England

Federalist papers

series of newspaper articles written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay supporting the constitution..primary source of understanding the original intent of the Framers...persuade wisdom of a central government and autonomous political power retained by states

Federalist paper 10

written by James Madison, advocated for a large republic...dangers of democracy

Bill of Rights

to protect rights of individuals from government infringement...added immediately after ratification, opposition to the Constitution diminished because of this....interestingly enough, federalists opposed this b/c they feared it would explicitly be seen as the ONLY rights people had-Hamilton opposed, thought that states' (blank) were sufficient

Necessary and Proper Clause

allowed congress to make all laws that appear "necessary and proper" to implement its delegated powers...also called Elastic Clause

Judicial Review

principle established by Chief Justice John Marhsall in 1803 in the ruling of Marbury vs. Madison...legislative and executive action is subject to invalidation by the judiciary

Representative Democracy

the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to either autocracy or direct democracy

State powers

reserved powers

National powers

Delegated (enumerated, expressed)

Shared Powers


Examples of Delegated powers

Printing money, regulating interstate and international trade, making treating and conducting Foreign Policy, Declaring war

Examples of Reserved Powers

Issuing licenses, regulation of intrastate business(within the state), responsibility to pay for federal elections...conduct state elections, ratify amendments to the constitution, provide for health/safety of its citizens

Examples of Concurrent Powers

Collect taxes, build roads, operate courts of law, borrow money

Full faith and credit clause

states are required by the constitution to accept the court judgments, licenses, contracts and other civil acts of all other states

privileges and immunities clause

states may not refuse police protection or access to their courts to a U.S. citizen just because he lives in a different state


states must return fugitives to the states from which they have fled

supremacy clause

federal>state, conflicts between federal law and state law to be resolved in favor of federal law

Categorical grants

aid with strict provisions on how it may be spent, nationalists like these

Block Grants

aid where it is permitted for the state to experiment and use the money as they see fit, states' rightists like these

Crossover sanction

requires a state to do something before a grant will be awarded. ex. raise drinking age to 21 before federal highway money to build state roads is released

Separation of Powers

different but equally important tasks to three branches of government, prevents a person from serving in more than on branch of government at the same time

Checks and balances

constitutional safeguard to prevent any one branch of government from becoming dominant-requires branches to share power and cooperate with one another to accomplish anything of importance

Executive branch checks Leg/Jud

the president may veto a bill passed by both houses of congress, or pocket veto, and may initiate/recommend legislature. President is responsible for appointing Supreme Court Justices (to be approved by the senate)

Legislative branch checks Exec/Jud

congress can refuse to pass bills favored by president, can override a presidential veto by a 2/3 vote in both houses. HOR can impeach president, to be tried by Senate, Senate has power to approve/reject Supreme Court justices nominated by the president


official term for rejection of legislation


can be done by congress by passing hte same law that was veto-ed by the president with a 2/3 majority in both houses of congress..if successful, the legislation becomes law regardless of the president's position


official term for the addition of provisions to the constitution


official term- to approve

establishment clause

in the 1st amendment, forbidding congress from establishing a state religion. prevents the passage of any law that gives preference or forces belief in any one religion. paired with a clause that prohibits limiting the free expression of religion

Selective incorporation

process of incorporating some of the bill of rights protections to state law, certain guarantees expressed in the BOR become applicable to the states through the fourteenth amendment


group of advisors made up of the heads of various executive departments of the government


leads the executive branch in a state, duties to the state are similar to the president's duties to the nation

Pardons and Reprieves

governor may grant this to relieve a person of any punishment for crime or temporarily postpone punishments

criminal cases

individual is accused of a crime

civil cases

in which disputing parties can sue to receive compensation

line-item veto

power to veto individual parts of a bill...only given to governor, in terms of federal veto, 1996, constitutionality was challenged in the Supreme Court, Clinton vs. NYC, unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the president, gives to much power to president takes away from congress

Revenue sharing

distribution of a portion of federal tax revenues to state and municipal courts, scheme for balancing taxing and spending between tiers of government


an association of sovereign member states

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