Constitutional Concepts


Terms in this set (...)

Preamble to the Constitution
Introduction to the U.S. Constitution, establishing the goals and purposes of government
A written plan of government
Popular Sovereignty
means "people rule" or people are the source of govts. power
official changes made to the Constitution proposed by a 2/3 vote of Congress, 3/4 vote of states
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution
Separation of Powers
the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government
govt. power is divided between the national and state governments
Checks and Balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
Legislative Branch
the branch of government that makes the laws
Executive Branch
the branch of government that enforces, or carries out, laws
Judicial Branch
the branch of government that interprets laws
delegated powers
Powers specifically given to the federal government by the US Constitution, for example, the authority to coin money & declare war.
reserved powers
Powers given to the state government alone, such as issue driver's licenses
concurrent powers
powers shared by the national and state governments, such as collect income taxes
Limited Government
A principle of constitutional government; a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution.
elastic clause
Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which allows Congress to make ALL laws that are "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers of the Constitution.
USA Patriot Act (2001)
Strengthens the federal government's power to conduct surveillance, perform searches, and detain individuals in order to combat terrorism.
Judicial Review
The power of the Supreme Court to declare laws of Congress unconstitutional
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
1st Supreme Court case that established judicial review
John Locke
Enlightenment philosopher who argued that people have natural rights
Baron de Montesquieu
Enlightenment philosopher who believed government should have separation of powers
19th Amendment (1920)
Gave women the right to vote
Great Compromise
Compromise made at Constitutional Convention in which created a bi-cameral Congress: House of Representatives & Senate
18th Amendment
Prohibition of alcohol
21st Amendment
Amendment which ended the Prohibition of alcohol in the US, repealing the 18th amendment
22nd Amendment
Limits the president to two terms.
26th Amendment
Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
16th Amendment
Allows the federal government to collect income tax
Mayflower Compact, Virginia House of Burgesses & town meetings
examples of self-government in the 13 colonies
A form of government in which citizens choose their leaders by voting

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