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Study Guide for Test on the Constitution
Terms in this set (18)
Explain why the Articles of Confederation were weak and why they were purposely weak.
-No decisions were ever made because it required 9/13 congressional votes
-Congress limited in in what they could do - they could only declare war, conduct foreign affairs, make treaties
-Could not collect taxes - racked up major debt from the war, main source of revenue became tariffs. Congress didn't have rights to impose tariffs, states had to do it, couldn't pay debts from the war.
-Laws could not be passed because states would not enforce federal laws
-No executive leader
-PURPOSEFULLY made weak for fear of a strong central government, which wanted power to rest with the states and not a strong central government
Why was the constitution exceptional for its time?
-it gave an unusual amount of power to the people, because at the time, an elected congress, checks and balances, and separation of powers was very unusual
-instead the world was used to systems more like the monarchy of Britain
Explain why the framers of the Constitution were concerned about finding a balance between too little government and too much government.
they were afraid of excess tyranny from the government, like what happened in Britain, where they had just fled for, but they were also afraid of too much power in the people, especially in the poor masses, as the people who wrote the constitution were the rich ones
Name the Big Six Principles and explain
1) Limited Government - government has only those powers delegated to it by the people (only supposed to follow the Constitution)
2) Checks and Balances - separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power - ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups.
3) Separation of Powers - The division of government powers into coequal branches with a distinction between the roles of one to the roles of another.
4) Republicanism - Ideology of governing as a society or state as a republic where the head of state is a representative of the people who vote. - power is held by the people and they elect representatives
5) Federalism - A written constitution divides power between a central or national government and several regional governments.
6) Popular Sovereignty - The people are the source of any and all government power and the government can only exist with the consent of the governed - "power to the people"
What do the president and soldiers swear on oath to "preserve, protect, and defend"?
What is the supreme law in the land and what does this mean?
The Constitution is the supreme law in the land. This means the Constitution is the highest law that the US must follow. Laws cannot be made against the Constitution.
List three ways the Constitution shows that our government is a government of limited powers.
Federalism, Separation of Powers, and Checks and Balances
Explain the concept of federalism and give an example of a power that rests with the federal government, a power that rests with the state governments.
Federalism is the governmental authority that rests both in the national and state governments. Federal power: immigration control, State power: general sales tax
Explain the concept of separation of powers and name each of the three branches of government and explain the main function of each.
Division of government branches into coequal branch's with a distinction between each branch's roles. Separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power
- ENSURING THAT POLITICAL POWER IS NOT CONCENTRATED INTO ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE
Legislative - make laws - consist of Congress, senates, and House of Representatives
Executive - execute, carry out the laws, make sure laws are enforced. President, VP, Cabinet
Judicial - Interpret the laws, make sure the laws are in line with the constitution, supreme and federal courts.
List 5 of the 15 cabinets in the executive branch
Department of agriculture, justice, state, transportation, and energy
How many legislators are in the Senate and how long is their term?
100 senators, six years
How many legislators are in the House of Representatives and how long is their term?
435 representatives, two years
Name Washington State's two senators
Patti Murray, Maria Cantwell
How are federal and Supreme Court judges selected? In other words, who nominates them and who confirms them?
President nominates, senate approves
What are the first ten amendments to the Constitution? Be able to say the main idea of each.
1) Freedom of speech, religion, assembly, expression
2) Right to bear arms
3) Limits to the quartering of soldiers
4) Limits on searches and seizures
5) Right to due process, including protection against incriminating yourself, no double jeapordy
6) Right to legal counsel and a fair trial
7) The right to trial by jury in civil cases
8) No cruel and unusual punishment
9) Other rights are protected by the Constitution
10) Any powers that don't belong to the national government belong to the states
Explain how the electoral college works
Each state has as many electors as it has members in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives combined. 538 electors in total. Voters go to polls and vote for which president they would like. Voters who favor the Republican (or Democratic) candidate for president actually vote for the Republican (or Democratic) electors in their state. The winning party in a state receive all of the electoral votes.
Explain the concept of checks and balances and describe 1 check that each branch has on each of the other two branches.
Developed to ensure that no one branch of government is too powerful. Each branch checks the power of the other branches to make sure they are coequal.
Executive - legislative: Veto laws congress makes
Legislative - executive: Override presidential veto with 2/3 vote in each house
Legislative - judicial: impeach/ remove judges
Judicial - legislative: declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
Judicial - executive: declare executive actions unconstitutional
Executive - judicial: appoints Supreme court judges
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