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Chapter 2 Vocabulary


a human right based on nature or god

Articles of Confederation

A weak constitution that governed America during the Revolutionary War

Constitutional Convention

a meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 that produced a new Constitution

Shay's Rebellion

a 1787 rebellion in which ex-Revolutionary War soldiers attempted to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes

Virginia Plan

proposal to create a strong national government

New Jersey Plan

proposal to create a weak national government

Great Compromise

Plan to have a popularly elected House based on state population and a state-selected Senate, with two members for each state


a government in which elected representatives make the decisions

judicial review

the power of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional


government authority shared by national and local governments

Enumerated powers

powers given to the national government alone

Reserved powers

powers given to the state government alone

Concurrent powers

powers shared by the national and state governments

Checks and Balances

Authority shared by the three branches of government

Separation of Powers

Constitutional authority is shared by three different branches of government


a group with a distinct political interest


those who favor a stronger national government


those who favor a weaker national government


an alliance of factions

Bill of Rights

First ten amendments to the Constitution

Habeas Corpus

an order to produce an arrested person before a judge

Bill of Attainder

a law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime

Ex post facto law

a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed


A new provision in the constitution that has been ratified by the states

Line-item veto

an executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill passed by the legislator

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