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Politics of the United States
Unit 2 Study Guide: A New Nation
Terms in this set (43)
What type of national/federal government did the Articles of Confederation set up?
The Articles of Confederation created a confederation in the United States. A confederation is a government in which the state government, not national, have dominant power. The leaders of the new nation feared that a strong, centralized government would lead to tyrannical monarchy like the British government. One house legislature (makes laws.) Each state had 1 vote in the Congress. No executive branch. No judicial branch.
What couldn't Congress do under the Articles of Confederation?
Congress, had no power to tax. Congress could raise money only by asking the states for funds, In addition, Congress could not draft soldiers or regulate trade.
Why were the Articles of Confederation a failure?
Articles of Confederation failed, essentially, because of the lack of a strong central government.
9 out of 13 states had to approve a proposal to become law.
under the Articles had no power to tax, no ability to regulate interstate commerce, could not make money and structurally was set up so as to be difficult to amend
The Federal government could not form a military or protect the country from rebellion-like Shay's rebellion.
What were the 2 good things from the Articles of Confederation?
Land Ordinance of 1785, Northwest Ordinance.
What was the Land Ordinance of 1785?
System of land sales and settlement.
Public land was divided into townships 6miles by 6 miles. The townships were divided into 1 mile squares, sold for no less than $1 per acre. One section was set aside in each town to support schools. Showed that democracy depended on education.
What was the Northwest Ordinance of 1787?
SET UP A 3 STEP PROCESS FOR ADMITTING NEW STATES.
It set up a system for the land in the Northwest Territory, North of the Ohio River.
Congress appointed a governor, secretary, & 3 judges. When the territory had 5,000 free adult males, it could elect a legislature, 60,000 and it could ask to become a state.
5 states were added- Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin.
Shay's Rebellion-What was it and why was it significant?
Shays Rebellion was an uprising of the farmers in Massachusetts. There was a depression and farmers could not pay their state taxes. The state was taking/seizing the farmers' land. Angry farmers demanded the state to stop the farm sales. They wanted the state to issue more money so they could get loans.
Daniel Shays led an uprising of farmers. The state militia finally stopped the rebellion.
It was significant because it let to the revision of the Articles of Confederation at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Many felt that a stronger central government would protect against unrest like Shays Rebellion.
What was the purpose and what happened?
1787. Goal: Revise the Articles of Confederation. Delegates from 12/13 states arrived.
They formed a new Constitution with a stronger central government. It was debated and passed by 9/13 states.
It called for:
3 branches of government: judicial, executive, legislature.
legislature- debate over representaives- The Great Compromise.
The Great Compromise.
Virginia Plan proposed a legislature with the number of representatives based on population.
The NJ plan proposed a legislature with 2 representatives per state.
The Compromise a two house congress:
The House of Representatives would be based on population.
Senate would have 2 representatives per state.
The Great Compromise satisfied both the large states and the small states protecting both their rights. In all likelihood the colonies would have become two or more smaller nations and the United States would never have existed had the compromise not been reached.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments (change) to the Constitution.
Purpose: to protect Americans against unfair use of government powers.
freedom of speech, religion, press. Right to bear arms, government can't force citizen to quarter soldiers, unlawful search of homes...
Checks and balances/Separation of Powers
3 branches of government: executive, judicial, legislature.
No one branch can get too powerful.
Legislative branch: Makes the laws: Congress: Senate & House of Representative.
Executive Branch: President. Carries out the laws, commander-in chief of military, negotiates treaties, appoint Supreme Court justices, represents U.S. with other nations
Judicial Branch: Supreme court that interprets the laws.
Amendment and Amendment Process
a change in the words or meaning of a law or document (such as a constitution)
Congress must pass an Amendment with a 2/3 vote.
Then it goes to the states, the states must pass with a 3/4 vote.
Then it is passed/ratified.
Who had the majority of power in the Articles of Confederation vs. The Constitution?
Articles of Confederation: states the majority of power.
The Constitution: Balance of power/checks and balances between the 3 branches of government. The people have the power in representative government.
Structure of the Government- Articles of Confederation vs. The Constitution?
Articles of Confederation: No executive branch, no judicial branch. Had legislative branch but 9/13 states had to pass laws. Weak federal government. Couldn't collect taxes, or print or borrow money, couldn't form a military or stop rebellions.
The Constitution: 3 branches of government-
executive/president-carries out the laws, represents the U.S., commander in chief of military.
Judicial- Supreme Court. Interpret the laws.
Why was there debate over whether or not to ratify the Constitution?
Federalists vs. AntiFederalists. Federalists: Wanted a strong Federal government.
AntiFederalists; They thought the constitution weakened the state power and individual freedom.
Some wanted the Bill of Rights
Some didn't like the President being able to be elected over and over. Could be like a King.
Federalists, Who were they? What did they want?
Supporters of the New Constitution who wanted a strong federal/central/national government. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay.
A series of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution
Antifederalists. Who were they? What did they want?
Opponents of the ratification of the Constitution. George Mason, Patrick Henry. Constitution weakened the States, Wanted a Bill of Rights. Was he a President or King?
George Washington's Farewell Address
Wanted to leave public life in 1796
Warned do not form permanent alliances with foreign countries, do not borrow money; pay off any debt asap. And work out political affairs
Good things we did as a country were have equal power in the national gov.
remain neutral in foreign affairs
keep unity between states.
The Address exemplified unity.
In a federalist government, the power is divided between the national government and other governmental units. In the U.S., this means the power is divided between our federal government and our state and local governments.
The United States Constitution sets up our current federal government and replaced the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution recognizes the federal government as the highest governmental power, though it also acknowledges that the American people are subject to several different powers.
Judge James Wilson developed the 3/5 compromise
The North didn't want slaves to count for population purposes so the south wouldn't have more power in house of reps. They also wanted slaves to be taxed
The South wanted slaves to count for population purposes so they would have more power in house of reps and not to have taxes on slaves.
The solution was three out of every five slaves would count for taxes/population.
Alien and Sedition Acts
Four laws of Congress that restricted the rights of groups of people. The Naturalization Act increased from 5 to 14 the number of years a non-American had to be living in America before he or she could become an American citizen. The Alien Act allowed the President to force non-Americans he thought dangerous to leave the country. The Alien Deportation Act allowed for the arrest and deportation of any non-American during wartime. The Sedition Act made it a crime to do "any false, scandalous and malicious writing." This resulted in the jailing of 25 newspaper editors, most of them Democratic-Republicans. This was during the presidency of John Adams, a Federalist. The response to these acts was marked. Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions opposing these acts.
Father of the Constitution
James Madison is generally regarded as the father of the United States Constitution. No other delegate was better prepared for the Federal Convention of 1787, and no one contributed more than Madison to shaping the ideas and contours of the document or to explaining its meaning.
Supreme Court (Powers)
The Court is the ultimate decision in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. The Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.
Deals with cases involving the Constitution federal laws,treaties and disputes between states, hears appeals of decisions by the Court of Appeals.
To interpret and ensure proper application of the laws written by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch.
Has nine justices, led by a chief justice.
The first political parties
The first two parties were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. The Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, were for a strong national government and public support for the economy, while the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, were for small government, with little interference from the government.
Ordinance of Religious Freedom
The Virginia legislature passes Jefferson's Ordinance of Religious Freedom guaranteeing that no man may be forced to attend or support any church or be discriminated against because of his religious preference. This will later serve as the model for the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
was a diplomatic incident between French and United States diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. U.S. and French negotiators restored peace with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine.
Federalists vs. Antifederalists
• Supported Constitution
• Desired strong central government
• Liked balance of powers in Constitution
• Made speeches and pamphlets advocating change in government
• Opposed Constitution
• Feared central government would be too powerful
• Concerned about lack of guarantee of individual rights
• George Mason became Antifederalist over rights issue
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
Written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, they declared that states could nullify federal laws that the states considered unconstitutional.
Makes the laws
Article II of the Constitution lists powers of executive branch, which enforces laws passed by Congress.
Head of the executive branch is the president.
President and vice president elected every four years.
Vice president becomes president if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office.
House of Representatives can impeach, or vote to charge president with serious crimes; Senate tries impeachment cases; Congress can remove president from office if found guilty.
Judicial branch—system of federal courts headed by U.S. Supreme Court.
Article III of the Constitution outlines courts' duties.
Federal courts can strike down a state or federal law if the court finds law unconstitutional.
Federal court judges are appointed by the president for life.
The lower federal courts are divided into 94 districts.
The Courts of Appeals review cases from the lower courts.
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
A certain number of electors from each state proportional to and seemingly representative of that state's population. each elector chooses a candidate believing they are representing their constituency's choice. The candidate who receives a higher proportion of electoral votes within a state receives all the electoral votes for that state.
way of interpreting the Constitution that allows the federal government to take only those actions the Constitution specifically says it can take
belief that the government can do anything that the constitution does not prohibit
Criminal Proceedings; Due Process; Eminent Domain; Double Jeopardy; Protection from Self incrimination
Right to a speedy, public trial by jury
Right to know charges and hear witnesses
Right to impel witnesses to appear
Right to an attorney
Right of trial by jury in civil cases—cases where harm has occurred but not necessarily the breaking of the law
Allows for bail, a set amount of money that defendants promise to pay the court if they fail to appear at the proper time
Bans "cruel and unusual punishments"
prevents the military from forcing citizens to house soldiers
provide guidelines for protecting the rights of the accused.
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
United States Government: Our Democracy
United States Government: Our Democracy
Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy
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