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American History // Historical Documents Vocab //
Terms in this set (22)
Someone who was against the ratification of the Constitution in 1787. Anti-federalists preferred a weak central government and
were in favor of states-rights. They were also concerned that the proposed constitution did not contain a Bill of Rights.
Articles of Confederation
America's first constitution which governed during the 1780s, providing for a weak central government and power remaining in the
hands of the states.
Checks and Balances
A system developed in the US Constitution in which each branch of the federal government has the power to check or limit the
actions of the other branches.
The document which outlines the structure of the federal government, incorporating the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
The reduction of central control by spreading out authority and responsibilities among a number of groups, such as local
Declaration of Independence
Adopted by the colonies in 1776, this document proclaimed colonial independence from Great Britain
A person or group that has authority in an organization.
Type of political system in which a union of states recognizes a central authority while retaining certain residual powers of
A form of government in which powers are divided between a central government and local units, so that both have a degree of
A series of essays written between 1787-88 by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, supporting the adoption of
the U.S. Constitution. The essays described the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation government, that people needed a
government to protect them from arbitrary rulers, and that the Constitution would provide a government that would support the
republican values fought for during the American Revolution.
The political party which emerged during the 1790s, led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. They favored a strong central
government, loose interpretation of the Constitution, encouraged commerce and manufacturing, and close ties with Britain.
Trade between two or more states.
The power of the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of laws prepared by the Legislative
and Executive branches of the U.S. government; established by the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.
Group of individuals having the power to make laws for a nation or state.
Enlightenment philosopher who wrote Two Treatises on Civil Government
The vote of people living in a territory who were responsible, before the Civil War, for deciding whether slavery would be
permitted in that territory; see the Compromise of 1850.
Approval, as in the ratification of the Constitution or of a treaty or agreement.
The war for independence from Britain waged by the 13 American colonies (1775-1783).
An armed uprising in Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787 led by Daniel Shays. The protesters attempted to prevent the courts from
seizing property from indebted farmers. The inability of the government to react led many to feel that the Articles of Confederation
needed to be changed.
The right or privilege of voting
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