AP Gov Chapter 2 Vocab
and other important terms :)
Terms in this set (65)
A nation's basic law. It creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Constitutions can be either written or unwritten.
Declaration of Independence
The document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence.
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty and property. central to Locke's theories about government and was widely accepted among America's Founders.
consent of the governed
the idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people
the idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens.
Articles of Confederation
the first constitution of the United States, adopted by Congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781 (war was won in 83). Established a national legislature, the continental congress, but most authority rested with state legislatures.
a series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure repeatings
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the US government and the tasks these institutions perform. Replaced the articles
Parties or interest groups that madison saw as arising from the unequal distribution of property or wealth and attacked as having the potential to cause instability in government
New Jersey Plan
the proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of population
proposal at constitutional convention that called for representation of each state based on population
two houses- reps, which is population based and senate, where everyone has 2
writ of habeas corpus
a court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody
separation of powers
feature of constitution that requires each of the three branches to be relatively independent of the others so that one cannot control the others. power is shared.
checks and balances
features of the constitution that limit government's power by requiring that power be balanced among the different governmental institutions. institutions continually constrain one another's activities
a form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make laws
supporters of the US constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption
opponents of the american constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption
a collection of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the name "Publius" to defend the Constitution in detail
Bill of Rights
the first 10 amendments to the US constitution drafted in response to some the antifederalist concerns. these amendments such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech etc
Equal Rights Amendment
a constitutional amendment passed vy congress in 1972 stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex." the amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from 3/4 of the state legislatures
Marbury vs Madison
the 1803 case in which the supreme court asserted its right to determine the meaning of the us constitution. the decision established the court's power of judicial review over the acts of congress
the power of the courts to determine whether acts of congress and by implication the executive are in accord with the us constitution. establish by m v m
a political argument
one of the most influential philosophers ready by colonists, esp. his "The Second Treatise of Civil Government". Built his theories on natural rights and limited government power. two limits on gov. were very important to him- must provide standing laws so people know if they're doing something illegal and no government can take a man's property without his consent. citizens should have right to revolt, but only in extreme circumstances.
Parallels between Locke and the Declaration
natural rights, role of government (to protect those natural rights), equality, consent of the governed, limited government and the right to revolt
Sole purpose of government (according to Locke)?
to protect natural rights
Why didn't things blow up after the Revolutionary War?
the colonists weren't really horribly oppressed, so they just kind of went back to living like they did before the whole Seven Years' War debacle. no huge class conflicts or anything.
government of the articles of confederation
established a national legislature with one house- each state could have between 2 and 7 reps, but with one vote per state. all the states had to agree to enact it, so it wasn't official till 1781.
problems congress faced with the articles
state delegations didn't show up, few powers outside army and navy, not enough money for either though, no power to tax, so had to request from states, who didn't want to share, sold western lands for less than their worth, printed worthless money, disbanded the army, had no power to regulate commerce (led to less foreign trade and did not help the national economy at all). only good this is basically that they knew what not to do
state changes after the revolution
dramatic increase in democracy and liberty for white males, states adopted bills of rights, abolished religious qualifications for holding office, and liberalized voting requirements, more farmers in office (strengthened artisans and small farm owners- middle class). most of the power in legislature, who elected and gave governors little power, and could overrule court decisions
Economic Turmoil under the Articles
postwar depression leaves lots of farmers in debt. states took pity, passing policies to favor them. forced creditors to accept nearly worthless money for debts. economic elite not happy, especially once rebellions started because people taking the law into their own hands and violating property rights of other people
no one showed up, they called a meeting in Philly in May- Constitutional convention
Political Philosophy the members of the Philadelphia actually agreed on.
1. human nature (government should be limited, but it should control the natural self-interest of people) 2. political conflict (the distribution of wealth is the (main) source of political conflict. factions happen. majority wants wealth of minority, minority wants its own gains from gov. factions=tyranny, instability and violence, so founders check their effects) 3. objects of government (a lot though #1 was to protect right to acquire and hold wealth, but also security, domestic tranquility and promotion of general welfare) 4. nature of government (power v power, so no one has too much power. (Montesquieu and branches with checks and balances))
Economic powers of congress
levy taxes, pay debts, borrow money, coin money and regulate value, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, establish uniform bankruptcy laws, punish piracy, punish counterfeiting, create standard weights and measures, protect copyrights and patents
Economic Prohibitions on the states
can't pass laws impairing contractual obligations, can't coin money, can't require payment of debts in paper money, cannot tax imports or exports from abroad/ other states, can't free runaway slaves from other states
Other Key economic provisions
new government assumes debt collected under articles, constitution guarantees a republic, states must respect civil court judgements and contracts made in other states
Freedom of speech, press assembly, petition and religion
right to bear arms
no forced quartering of troops in homes during peacetime
no unreasonable search and seizure
Grad jury indictment for prosecution of serious crime, no second prosecution for same offense, no compulsion to testify against oneself, no loss of life, liberty or property without due process of law, no taking of private property for public use without just compensation
right to a public and speedy trial by impartial jury, right to know charges, right to legal counsel, right to compel attendance of favorable witnesses, right to cross examination
right to jury trial in civil suit where the value of controversy exceeds $20
no excessive bail/fines, no cruel and unusual punishment
unlisted rights are not ned. denied
Any power that is not listed as the nation's is the states'/people's
the constitution on slavery
the convention was obviously divided, so they decided that congress had the right to end the import of slaves, but not slavery itself. and 3/5 compromise.
constitution on voting equality
if you can vote in your state, you can vote in a national election- state governments decide who can and can't vote
Problems that the writers of the constitution needed to address
states had erected tariffs against products from other states, paper money was virtually worthless in some states, but the governments (which were controlled by debtor classes) forced the money on creditors anyway, and congress could get no moneys because the economy was in a recession
Protections the constitution gives about personal freedom
prohibits suspension of writ of habeas corpus, prohibits bills of attainder (punish w/out trial), prohibits passing of ex post facto laws, prohibits having religious qualifications for office in the national government, delineates exactly how to convict someone of treason (must levy war against US, or adhere to and aid enemies in war. conviction requires confession in open court/ testimony of two witnesses to the same obvious act), right to trial by jury in criminal cases
to prevent the possibility of a tyranny of the majority, madison proposes
place as much of the government as possible beyond direct control of the majority, separate the powers of different institutions, construct a system of checks and balances
limiting majority control via the madisonian system
only the house could be directly voted on by the population. president was elected by the electoral college, the senate by the state legislatures, judges by the president and the senate. judges have lifetime tenure and senate, six. both houses have to agree for laws.
three branches, each with separate elements of power, none with absolute, and none able to override the other
creating checks and balances
president can veto congress, congress must approve presidential nominations and runs the moneys. in marbury v madison, courts decided they could deem actions of either branch unconstitutional,
establishing a federal system
divided power of government btwn nation and individual states. most government activity occurred in states at time- assumed this would be another check
the madisonian system in regards to change
those who oppose change need to find one thing wrong, those who want it must win every battle along the way; designed to encourage moderation and compromise and to slow change
objections to the constitution by the anti federalists
new constitution was class based, to ensure that a particular economic elite controlled the public policies of national government. they worried that new gov would erode fundamental liberties. so the federalists promised a list of freedoms.also worried that it would decrease state power (it did), not everyone wanted a more sound economy (creditors opposed paper money -> inflation, loan payments decrease in value
antifederalist backgrounds and government preferred
small farmers, shopkeepers, laborers; strong stat, weak national, direct election of officials, shorter terms, rule by common man and more protection for individual liberties
federalist background and gov preferred
large landowners, wealthy merchants, professional, weaker state, stronger national, indirect election, longer terms, government by the elite, expected few violations of liberties
who approved the constitution?
delaware first, six months later, new hampshire. new york and virginia voted to join, and north carolina and rhode island said they would if they got a bill of rights. the federalists knew that state legislators would not approve it b/c they would lose power, so each state had a ratification convention
formal amending process
2/3 of congress or a national convention called by congress at the request of 2/3 of the states (never been done) and ratified by 3/4 of state legislatures (all but one) or 3/4 of state conventions (21st b/c the legislatures would have been conservative and said no)
Informal constitutional change
judicial interpretation (basically what they say the constitution says is law), changing political practice (for example- the electoral college doesn't really vote as people anymore, they take and average our votes), Tech (more ways to reach people and more weapons that increase scope of commander in chief role), and increasing demands on policy makers (the whole war on terror thing has given the president a lot of powers, plus the fact that we are global superpower compared to years ago when we were like the new kid on the playground)
15- no race discrimination
17- direct election of senators
19- no sex discrimination
23- washington dc can vote
24- no poll tax
26- 18 and above can vote
when can the judiciary act on laws?
if a law is passed, but not enforced, it will stay, even if it is not constitutional. as soon as it's enforced, the "victim"/ prosecutor can take the state/ nation to court
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