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Key terms to study for the Chapter 8 quiz

Natural Rights

basic rights that governments should protect, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Unalienable Rights

Those rights that are a part of the human condition, they cannot be taken away or given away.

Consent of the governed

People are the source of the government's power, they give their consent by casting their vote.


European way of thinking that inspired the notion of natural rights

John Locke

Enlightenment philosopher who's ideas about natural rights and the social contract are reflected in the Declaration of Independence

Declaration Of Independence

The foundational document of the American view of government. It provides a set of philosophies of government, rather than a blueprint for government.

The Social Contract

Locke's ideas that governments exist to protect the natural rights of the people. Governments get their power to rule from the people, and If the government fails to protect the rights of the people they must alter or abolish that form of government.

Mayflower Compact

An agreement to work together in the colonies for the good of all.

House of Burgesses

A legislature in Virginia that had it's members directly elected by the citizens.

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The first state constitution in the United States

New England Town Meetings

A form of pure democracy practiced in the New England colonies. Allowed each citizen to have his voice heard on important decisions.

Weak Central government

What the Articles of Confederation made by design to prevent abuses by the central government

The Articles of Confederation

The 1st Constitution for the United States. It created a loose alliance of 13 nation-states

National Congress

A common feature of both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Law passed under the Articles of Confederation that provided a way for new states to enter into the union,provided for public education,and outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territory

Strong Executive and Court system

elements of government lacking under the Articles of Confederation

Legislative Branch

The law making branch of government, a common feature of both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

Executive Branch

The branch of government responsible for enforcing our nations laws, absent from the Articles of Confederation.

Judicial Branch

The branch of government responsible for interpreting our nations laws and establishing a uniform system of justice. Absent from the Articles of Confederation

Limited Government

The idea that all government should be limited by law.

Small States

The states with limited populations that demanded equal representation in Congress to the more populous states

Large States

The states with large populations that demanded representation in Congress based on the size of their population.

Federal System

An organized structure for a government that spreads power out between the national government and the states


Formal written changes to the Constitution

Judicial Interpretation

The Supreme Court can determine if laws are unconstitutional or not

The Federalist Papers

A series of essays published in New York Newspapers defending the Constitution as it was originally drafted. They were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.


The pen name used by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay when writing the Federalist Papers

Checks and Balances

The feature of the Constitution that allows each branch of the federal government the power to check or control the powers of the other two, so that no one branch becomes too powerful.


A legislature having two houses


A legislature having one house


The division of the power of government between the national government and the states

Reserved Powers

The powers that belong to the states.

Delegated Powers

The Powers that belong to the national government

Concurrent Powers

The powers that are shared by both the national governments and the states

The Great Compromise

Roger Sherman's proposal creating a bicameral legislature to solve the dispute over representation between the large states and the small states

3/5's Compromise

The compromise that allowed the southern states to count 3/5's of the slave population for representation in the House. It resolved the dispute between the North and the South over representation.

The Virginia Plan

Madison's plan for government with 3 branches, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The Legislative branch would be bicameral with representation based on a state's population

New Jersey Plan

William Patterson's plan for government. Similar in structure to the Virginia plan. The Legislative branch, however would be unicameral with equal representation for all states regardless of population


The idea that citizens elect fellow citizens to represent their interests and needs in government


Those who opposed ratifying the Constitution because it lacked a bill of rights, and it gave too much power to the national government


Supporters of the Constitution as it was originally drafted. They did not believe that the Constitution granted the National government any ability to violate the rights of citizens

Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the Constitution that protect the Civil Liberties of citizens of the United States

John Adams

Delegate to the Continental Congress from Massachusetts who was strongly in favor of declaring independence from England. He was one of the 5 members of the committee assigned to write the Declaration of Independence.

Ben Franklin

Delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania. He strongly favored declaring independence from England. He suggested that Richard Henry Lee of Virginia propose declaring independence to influence the southern colonies to support declaring independence. He was a member of the committee assigned to write the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson

Delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress, member of the committee assigned to write the Declaration of Independence. Primary author of the Declaration of Independence.

Robert Livingston

Delegate from New York to the Continental Congress, member of the committee assigned to write the Declaration of Independence.

Roger Sherman

Delegate from Connecticut to the Continental Congress, member of the committee assigned to write the Declaration of Independence.

John Hancock

President of the Continental Congress from Massachusetts. The first man to sign the Declaration of Independence. He signed his name in large bold letters so that King George could be sure to see who signed it.

John Dickinson

Delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania who opposed declaring independence from England. He refused to sign the Declaration of Independence, but remained loyal to the United States by serving in the Continental Army in defense of the nation.

Northwest Territory

the vast territory of land that included present-day Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin; was politically organized by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785.

The Land Ordinance of 1785

This ordinance required new townships to set aside a parcel of land for public education and stipulated that the sale of public lands would be used to pay off the national debt. The settlement of the Old Northwest would thus be orderly in contrast to relatively unorganized settlement in the South.


a set of basic principles that determines the powers and duties of a government


a form of government in which people elect representatives to create and enforce laws

Limited Government

a type of government in which its functions and powers are prescribed, limited, and restricted by law


the right to vote


a government tax on imports or exports

Interstate Commerce

trade between two or more states


Increased prices for goods and services combined with the reduced value of money


People who owe money


People who lend money


a long-term economic state characterized by high unemployment and low prices and low levels of trade and investment

Popular Sovereignty

The concept that political power rests with the people who can create, alter, and abolish government. People express themselves through voting and free participation in government


agreement between two or more sides in which each side gives up some of what it wants


A formal change to the Constitution

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