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introduction to the constitution


national legislature

house of representatives

lower house of the national legislature


upper house of the national legislature

checks and balances

provisions of the constitution that keep one branch of the government from controlling the other two branches

enumerated powers

powers specifically granted in the constitution

implied powers

powers not specifically stated in the constitution

elastic clause

clause in the constitution that allows congress to pass laws necessary to carry out its enumerated powers

chief executive

president of the United States

electoral college

electors chosen by the states to elect the president and vice president


order in which the office of president is filled if it becomes vacant before an election

state of the union address

message delivered by the president once a year

supreme court

highest federal court in the United States

judicial power

authority to decide cases involving disputes over the law or behavior of people

judicial review

authority to decide whether a law is constitutional


procedure for returning a person charged with a crime to the state where the crime was committed


officially approve the constitution or an amendment to it

bill of rights

first ten amendments

double jeopardy

being tried more than once for the same crime

due process of law

all the procedures for fair treatment must be carried out whenever a citizen is accused of a crime

reserved powers

powers no specifically granted to the federal government or denied to the states belong to the states and the people


right to vote

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