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AP Government Constitutional Underpinnings
Terms in this set (68)
During the debate over the ratification of the US Constitution they argued that the Constitution would erode fundamental liberties and weaken the states.
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
A government that concentrates political power in an authority not responsible to the people
Bill of Rights
Although the Anti-Federalists failed to block the ratification of the Constitution, they did ensure that the Bill of Rights would be created to protect individuals from government interference and possible tyranny. The Bill of Rights, drafted by a group led by James Madison, consisted of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which guaranteed the civil rights of American citizens.
consent of the governed
Agreement by citizens to obey the laws and the government they create. Consent is the foundation of government's legitimacy.
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
A form of government in which citizens rule directly and not through representatives
An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution
A Book written in 1913 by Charles Beard. He believed that the founders created the constitution to benefit their economic interest.
A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
A group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
A series of 85 essays written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay (using the name "publius") published in NY newspapers and used to convince readers to adopt the new constitution
An essay composed by James Madison which argues that liberty is safest in a large republic because many interests (factions) exist. Such diversity makes tyranny by the majority more difficult since ruling coalitions will always be unstable.
A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.
formal amendment process
Article V; the (very difficult) process of adding or deleting words to the constitution (27 times since 1788); propose by 2/3 vote of Congress or Constitutional Convention (never used); ratify by 3/4 vote of state legislators or state convention (only used once)
The Great Compromise
2 houses, House of Representatives would be based on population, the senate would have 2 representatives from each state
informal amendment process
Changing the meaning of the Constitution without a formal amendment (ex. Supreme Court opinions, laws, custom)
Review by a court of law of actions of a government official or entity or of some other legally appointed person or body or the review by an appellate court of the decision of a trial court
Marbury v. Madison
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review
17th century English philosopher who opposed the Divine Right of Kings and who asserted that people have a natural right to life, liberty, and property; consent of the governed
A political theory holding that in a democracy, the government ought to do what the majority of the people want.
Jefferson used Natural Rights in the declaration of Independence and he gave his appeal universality by invoking "natural rights" not just British rights...Life, Liberty, Property or pursuit of happiness
New Jersey Plan
A framework for the Constitution proposed by a group of small states; its key points were a one-house legislature with one vote for each state, the establishment of the acts of Congress as the "supreme law" of the land, and a supreme judiciary with limited power.
A theory of government that holds that open, multiple, and competing groups can check the asserted power by any one group.
Formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
A form of government in which citizens choose their leaders by voting
Second Treatise of Government
Written by Locke, Government created to protect life, liberty, and property.
Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out.
A voluntary agreement among individuals to secure their rights and welfare by creating a government and abiding by its rules.
state of nature
The basis of natural rights philosophy; a state of nature is the condition of people living in a situation without man-made government, rules, or laws.
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)
"Large state" proposal for the new constitution, calling for proportional representation in both houses of a bicameral Congress. The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services; example of devolution
Federal grants for specific purposes, such as building an airport
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.
Powers held jointly by the national and state governments.
A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.
Cooperation among federal, state, & local governments; "marble cake" federalism
Block grants become more restricted by rules due to conditions added later by Congress; the tendency for grants to acquire mandates where none had existed previously
Powers specifically given to the federal government by the US Constitution, for example, the authority to print money.
The effort to slow the growth of the federal government by returning many functions to the states.
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies. Also called "layer cake federalism."
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.
Allows the govt to take property for public use but also requires the govt to provide just compensation for that property
A legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the officials of one state to officials of the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed.
government systems that divide the powers between the national government and state or provincial governments
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
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.
full faith and credit clause
Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state
Gibbons v. Ogden
This case involved New York trying to grant a monopoly on waterborne trade between New York and New Jersey. Judge Marshal, of the Supreme Court, sternly reminded the state of New York that the Constitution gives Congress alone the control of interstate commerce. Marshal's decision, in 1824, was a major blow on states' rights.
a giving of federal funds to a state or local government to subsidize a public project
Kelo v. New London
eminent domain case; local govt may force the sale of private property and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public
Belief that the government can do anything that the Constitution does not prohibit but does imply
An official order or commission to do something; may be funded or unfunded
McCulloch v. Maryland
- An important decision of the Supreme Court in 1819 that established the key concepts of implied powers, broad construction of the Constitution, and supremacy of the national government
Constitutional doctrine that whenever conflict occurs between the constitutionally authorized actions of the national government and those of a state or local government, the actions of the federal government prevail.
necessary and proper clause
Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government
The doctrine that a state can declare null and void a federal law that, in the state's opinion, violates the Constitution.
A form of federalism in which Congress imposes legislation on states and localities, requiring them to meet national standards
Powers not specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people; powers reserved for the states
A law providing for the distribution of a fixed amount or share of federal tax revenues to the states for spending on almost any government purpose.
an agreement among two or more states . congress must approve most such agreements
A judicial philosophy that looks to the "letter of the law" when interpreting the Constitution or a particular statute; exactly as it is written
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
Amendment stating that the powers not delegated to the federal gov. are reserved to the states
Actions imposed by the federal or state government on lower levels of government which are not accompanied by the money needed to fund the action required.
A way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. Most national governments today are unitary governments.
United States v. Lopez
1995 - The Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the power to prohibit mere possession of a gun near a school, because gun possession by itself is not an economic activity that affects interstate commerce even indirectly.
Recommended textbook explanations
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