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Politics of the United States
Chapter 1 Key Terms
Terms in this set (53)
The Declaration of Independence
Formal statement written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 declaring the freedom of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain.
The principle that a government derives its power from the consent of the people, primarily through their elected representatives.
A key constitutional principle that calls for the division or separation of power across local, state, and national levels of government.
Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, which were added in 1789; protected rights include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
A form of government in which the power to govern comes not directly from the citizens but rather through representation by elected officials.
A model of democracy that emphasizes broad citizen participation in government and politics.
A model of democracy that emphasizes the need for different organized groups to compete against each other in order to influence policy.
Essay in which James Madison argues that the power of factions is best controlled through a republican form of government.
Groups of like-minded people who try to influence the government and public policy.
A model of democracy that emphasizes limited participation in politics and civil society.
A form of democracy in which the citizens are able to decide on policy and governmental action directly.
Articles of Confederation
The first governing document that attempted to establish a national government. The Articles called for the individual states to maintain supreme power over a national government with restricted governing authority. A form of government in which states hold power over a limited national government.
A form of government in which states hold power over a limited national government.
A one-house (or chamber) legislative body.
An armed revolt that lasted for six months in January 1787; more than a thousand armed soldiers, led by Daniel Shays, seized an arsenal in Massachusetts to protest high taxes and the loss of their farms due to debt.
An assembly that convened in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation but that ultimately proposed an entirely new framework for the federal government.
Ratified in 1788, the Constitution established a federal form of government that distributed powers between a strong central government and the individual states.
A proposal made by Constitutional Convention delegates from large states, favoring congressional representation based on population size.
A legislative body that consists of two houses, or chambers; the U.S. Congress consists of both the House of Representatives and Senate.
New Jersey Plan
A proposal made by the Constitutional Convention delegates from small states, favoring a Congress with equal representation among all the states.
Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise)
An agreement by the framers that the House of Representatives would be the larger house of Congress and include members that were directly elected by the citizens to serve two-year terms and that the Senate would be the smaller house of Congress and include members who were appointed by state legislatures for six-year terms.
A decision made during the Constitutional Convention to count each slave as three-fifths of a person in a state's population for the purposes of determining the number of House of Representatives members and the distribution of taxes.
A system for electing the president in which each state is provided a certain number of electoral votes equal to the number of its representatives plus the number of its senators.
Favored a strong central government that could manage the nation's debt, foreign policy, and other political affairs.
Opposed the development of a strong central government, preferring instead for power to remain in the hands of state and local governments.
A document that sets forth the Anti-Federalist concern and fear that the central government would gain too much power, violating the individual rights and liberties of the citizens.
The Federalist Papers
A set of essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay that contains arguments in favor of a strong national government.
An official authorization of a constitutional amendment, treaty, or other piece of legislation.
Official legal orders for the states to comply with federal laws.
separation of powers
The division of government power across the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
checks and balances
A system in which each branch of government has some power over the others in order to limit the abuse or accumulation of power by one branch.
Essay written by James Madison to address concerns raised by the Anti-Federalists, who feared that the national government would grow too powerful. Promoted the ratification of the Constitution; argued that the federal system and the separation of powers would prevent any one part of the government from becoming too powerful.
Branch of government that makes laws, regulates interstate and foreign commerce, controls taxation, creates spending policies, and oversees the other branches of government.
Branch of government that carries out and enforces the laws. It consists of the president, vice president, Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees.
Branch of government, consisting of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judicial system, that provides judicial interpretation and review of laws.
Powers that are expressly written in the Constitution
Powers supported by the Constitution that are not expressly stated in it.
Elastic Clause (Necessary and Proper Clause)
A statement in Article I of the Constitution giving Congress the implied power to expand the scope of its enumerated powers.
Powers that do not rely on specific clauses of the Constitution; usually these powers are in the area of foreign affairs and grow out of the very existence of the national government (e.g., the power to recognize foreign states).
Powers that are neither delegated to the federal government nor denied to the states. These powers are not expressly listed in the Constitution but are rather guaranteed to the states by the Tenth Amendment.
Powers that are those held by both the federal and state governments.
Also known as restricted powers, these are powers that are denied to the federal government, the state governments, or both.
Gives state governments any powers that are neither delegated to the federal government nor denied to the states by the Constitution.
Found in Article VI of the Constitution, this clause states that the Constitution and the laws and treaties made through it are "the supreme Law of the Land."
A concept of federalism in which national and state governments are seen as distinct entities providing separate services, thereby limiting the power of the national government.
A concept of federal and state governmental units working together equally to make policy and to provide goods and services to citizens.
The distribution of tax dollars or other revenue from one level of government to another, such as from the federal government to a state government.
A concept of federalism in which funding is appropriated by the federal government to the states with specific conditions attached.
Money from the federal government that comes with rules and restrictions on how it is used; the money must be used for a very specific purpose, such as improving public transportation.
Federal money given to states to achieve a general policy goal; states are given discretion on how to specifically allocate the money.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819
Landmark Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of implied legislative powers by holding that the necessary and proper clause authorizes Congress to create a national bank; also established the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution and federal laws over state laws.
Found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution; gives Congress power to regulate international and interstate trade and commerce.
United States v. Lopez (1995)
The Supreme Court ruled that the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 was unconstitutional because Congress had exceeded its authority under the commerce clause.
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Magruder's American Government (Florida Student Edition)
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Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy
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