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AP Government Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
Terms in this set (68)
The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens.
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. The concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher John Locke's theories about government and was widely accepted among America's Founders.
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
A government in which the people rule by their own consent.
A group chosen to settle disputes between power in states. Led by Benjamin Franklin
Declaration of Independence
The document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence.
Articles of Confederation
The first constitution of the United States, adopted by Congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. The Articles established a national legislature, the Continental Congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatures. Very weak.
Introduction to the Constitution
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. It replaced the Articles of Confederation.
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
a system of democracy in which all members of a group or community participate collectively in making major decisions.
describes a political system where there is more than one center of power
A political system in which the privileged classes acquire the power to decide by a competition for the people's votes and have substantial freedom between elections to rule as they see fit.
supporters of the Constitution
people who opposed the Constitution
a government that acts for all the states within the country
powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states
A form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make laws.
Groups such as parties or interest groups, which according to James Madison arose from the unequal distribution of property or wealth and had the potential to cause instability in government.
A series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure proceedings.
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S. population.
New Jersey Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population.
A compromise that proposed two houses of Congress; one where a state's population would determine representation and another where all states were represented equally
Agreement that each slave counted as three-fifths of a person in determining representation in the House for representation and taxation purposes (negated by the 13th amendment)
The business of capturing, transporting, and selling people as slaves
ex post facto law
a law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed
bill of attainder
a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court
A unique American institution created by the Constitution, providing for the selection of the president by electors chosen by the state parties.
the way in which changes are added to the Constitution, 2/3 vote in congress, 3/4 of states
Article V of the Constitution
whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments.
Article VI of the Constitution
States that the Constitution is the highest law of the land. Federal and state officers and judges must uphold the Constitution (Supremacy Clause).
Article VII of the Constitution
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same
the action of signing or giving formal consent to a treaty, contract, or agreement, making it officially valid.
Checks and Balances
Features of the Constitution that limit government's power by requiring that power be balanced among the different governmental institutions. These institutions continually constrain one another's activities.
tyranny of the majority
the suppression of minority opinions by those voted into power by the majority
seperation of powers
A feature of the Constitution that requires each of the three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—to be relatively independent of the others so that one cannot control the others. Power is shared among these three institutions.
Article IV of the Constitution
addresses relationship between the federal and state governments
Multiple policy access points
The political equivalent of an indictment in criminal law, prescribed by the Constitution. The House of Representatives may impeach the president by a majority vote for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Those powers that can be exercised by the National Government alone
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
Federal balance of power
distribution of power between a central government and its subnational governments.
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.
Layer Cake Federalism
federalism characterized by a national government exercising its power independently from state governments.
A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame for programs that work poorly.
Marble Cake Federalism
Conceives of federalism as a marble cake in which all levels of government are involved in a variety of issues and programs, rather than a layer cake, or dual federalism, with fixed divisions between layers or levels of government.
The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments.
A sum of money given by a certain organization, especially the government, for a certain reason or cause
something of value one cannot get without joining an organization
conditions of aid
terms set by the national government that states must meet if they are to receive certain federal funds
federal sharing of a fixed percentage of its revenue with the states
a requirement that a state undertake an activity or provide a service, in keeping with minimum national standards
Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes, or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions.
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services (infrastructures).
Powers of the federal government that specifically addressed in the Constitution; for Congress, including the powers listed in Article I, Section 8, for example, to coin money and regulate its value and impose states.
powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution
The powers of the national government in foreign affairs that the Supreme Court has declared do not depend on constitutional grants but rather grow out of the very existence of the national government.
the concept that states have the right to govern themselves independent of the federal government
Supreme Court of the United States
The highest court in the federal judiciary specifically created by the Constitution. It is composed of nine justices and has appellate jurisdiction over lower federal courts and the highest state courts. It also possesses a limited original jurisdiction.
a written law passed by a legislative body
McCulloch v. Maryland
Maryland was trying to tax the national bank and Supreme Court ruled that federal law was stronger than the state law
The clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) that gives Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations.
Necessary and Proper Clause (Elastic Clause)
The final paragraph of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the enumerated powers.
The clause in Article VI of the Constitution that makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws as long as the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
A clause in Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgments rendered by the courts of other states.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
The provision of the Constitution according citizens of each state the privileges of citizens of other states.
Topic = factions (interest groups); minority factions controlled by majority; majority faction controlled by greater size of USA + virtuous leaders
It is impossible to have a Large republic and have a stable government.
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