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Politics of the United States
The Constitution of the United States
Terms in this set (14)
Describe the early government of the United States.
The early government of the United States had a limited national government, and stronger state constitutions.
-did not have a strong or unified national government.
-A set of laws was adopted in 1777 by the Continental Congress called the Articles of Confederation.
-These laws established a limited national government.
-The national government only had one branch. This branch was the legislature or congress.
-America did not have the three branches it has today. Each state was able to send as many representatives to the congress as it wanted to. Congress could declare war and borrow money, but it could not tax the people.
-Currently the legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch executes the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws.
-Congress performed the roles of both the legislative and executive branches under the Articles of Confederation.
-The primary forms of government in the early United States was state constitutions. Constitutions described parts of the government, their duties, and their powers
What were some reasons for opposition to the Articles of Confederation?
-Reasons for opposition to the Articles of Confederation had to do with a person's wealth and status, the inability of congress to act, and the prevention of chaos
-Educated wealthy men thought the Articles gave too much power to ordinary citizens who were less educated
-These men wanted to preserve order more than expand freedom in the United States
-Upper class citizens believed the new nation's economic problems were because the Articles gave the citizens too much power in the state legislatures.
-The nationalists wanted to strengthen the weak national government created by the Articles of Confederation.
-They pointed out that congress acted slow and the lack of national economic policies and court systems would lead to chaos.
-Many times lawmakers failed to attend sessions of congress, making congress unable to act.
-Americans mostly agreed that the United States should be a democracy, but specifically favored a republic.
-A democracy was a government run by the people while a republic was a government run by the people through elected representatives.
What were the causes and effects of shays' rebellion?
Shays' rebellion was a crisis in Massachusetts that supported the nationalist
-After the American Revolution, wealthy people who had loaned money to the states demanded it back.
-States were being pushed to have high taxes, especially impoverished states
-The people who supported these taxes were lawmakers and merchants in Eastern Massachusetts. Those who opposed them were farmers in the West.
-This tax reminded citizens of the British taxes that sparked the American Revolution.
-The state refused to take back the tax.
-Daniel Shays was a farmer and a war veteran facing being put in jail for his debts.
He led a rebellion in 1786 that spread through the local area. Citizens protested the taxes and with petitions and public meetings. Eventually the state gathered an army and quietened the rebellion.
-The rebellion showed the determination of the people to act against the government when they saw fit to do so. It also showed that inorder to avoid civil unrest the national government needed to be strengthened. A convention took place in Philadelphia in May 1787. Delegates from 12 states attended this time, far more than the Annapolis Convention. The rebellion had shown them that something needed to be done to decide the fate of the government.
What did the founding fathers hope to achieve as they assembled for the Constitutional Convention?
The Founding Fathers hoped to address the problems surrounding the Articles of Confederation and find a solution to those problems in the Constitutional Convention.
-The Convention came about because of an unsuccessful meeting in Annapolis, Maryland in 1786.
-During this meeting the delegates had failed to stir up support for addressing the problems of the Articles of Confederation, so this was made a goal to tackle in 1787.
-The founding fathers hoped that all of the states would come together to address this issue and fix the national government. The national government was weak and ununited because of the Articles of Confederation. The need for a solution was clear, but would take work to find. Many of the people attending were well educated, and this included a man named James Madison. He was very influential in the Convention.
-wanted to improve the condition of the national government
What issues divided the convention?
The constitutional Convention faced issues of division over state power and over whether they should amend the Articles of Confederation or start over.
-an issue that caused division in the Constitutional Convention was division between those who wanted to amend, meaning revise, the Articles of Confederation and those who wanted to completely abandon them.
-Most people agreed they needed a stronger national government however some people believed they did not need to scrap the old ways and start new.
-James Madison along with others who wanted a new government brought a plan with them called the Virginia Plan.
-This plan was submitted by Edmund Randoph of Virginia and it called for a two house national legislature.
-The number of state representatives would correspond to the state's population.
-meant that larger states would have more representatives and voting power than smaller states.
-The New Jersey plan was proposed by William Paterson and was in opposition to the Virginia Plan.
-This plan would ensure that more heavily populated states did not have more power than smaller states.
What did the convention do to reach a compromise?
Inorder to reach and agreement, the people taking part in the Constitutional Convention reached two compromises.
-a solution was introduced by Connecticut delegates Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman.
-It was called the Great compromise and created a legislative branch made up of two houses.
-This was similar to the Virginia plan because it too called for two houses.
-The houses were called the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate each state had the same number of representatives. In the House of Representatives each state's number of representatives depended on its population. -The issue over whether the enslaved people would be included in a state's population in a compromise. `It was called the Three-Fifths Compromise. Three-fifths of a state's slave population would be counted in the state's population when determining representation. Even though some people in the convention like James Madison were against slavery, these people were few and African Americans were not given the right to vote even though they were counted when determining representation.
What qualities made the Constitution a long lasting document?
The United States Constitution is a lasting document because of its specificity and its flexibility.
-The Constitution was created during the Constitutional Convention, and has remained basically the same for over 200 years.
-its strengths help it endure
-it is specific enough that it prevents future generations from misinterpreting it
-However it is also flexible meaning it can adapt to social, economic, political, and technological changes.
-The fact that there are only 27 amendments to the Constitution is proof of this.
-The U.S. Constitution inspires many people in different parts of the world. Governments of other nations have been modeled after it. The people of the United States and others from around the world value what the constitution says. The Constitution has lasted as long as it has because of two factors, its specificity and its flexibility.
How does the structure of the government under the constitution divide power?
The United States Constitution divided power in two clear and distinct ways.
-The first was by creating federal and state powers. The federal system of government is a system in which power is shared among state and national authorities. -Concurrent powers are powers held by both the state and federal government. -Reserved powers are powers that are reserved for the state such as establishing an educational system. -Delegated powers are powers that belong to the federal government such as declaring war.- Constitution divided power in the separation of powers -created the three branches of government. -These three branches are the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Individual branches have their own area of authority but none of them have complete power. -The system of checks and balances is a system that gives each branch the ability to check the other branches in specific ways. -The president is the head of the executive branch and can veto acts of congress. -The congress which is in the legislative branch can overturn the president's veto if there is a two-third vote in each house. -The supreme court is in the judicial branch and interprets the law. -This system of checks and balances prevents the misuse of power by any of the three branches of government. -It also prevents tyranny.
How did the position of the Federalists differ from that of the anti-Federalists?
The position of the Federalists and the anti-Federalists were different in key ways.
-Nine of thirteen states were needed to ratify or approve the constitution. Two different views became clear.
-Federalist -favored the constitution -strong central government -even if there was problems in the Constitution it still needed to be approved -feared people more than gov -not isolated, needed strong laws/national gov -concerned with protecting commerce
Influential people -James Madison wrote to dismiss fears of U.S. gov under control of one faction, a group only concerned about itself.
Anti Federalist -opposed the constitution -it posed a threat to state governments -supported by isolated regions where pple didn't need strong National Gov -constitution=betrayal of American Revolution -president=king -feared gov more than people -needed state gov more
Why did the Federalists win approval of the Constitution?
Federalists had a few advantages over the anti Federalists, which was why the Federalists won approval of the Constitution. -federalist for the constitution anti fed against it -support from widespread feeling that Articles of Confederation had flaws. -were united by the Constitution, anti weren't -were well organized and kept in contact while the anti weren't coordinated on national level -had George Washinton's support -pple expected him to be the first president, and pple said the Constitution was made under the nation's greatest haro's leadership -All of these things led to state's favoring the Federalists and the Constitution over the anti-Federalists The Federalists won approval of the Constitution because of their advantages over the anti-Federalists
What were the arguments for and against the Bill of Rights?
There were many arguments for and against the Bill of Rights, which we now know as the first 10 amendments to the constitution. -the United States Constitution should include a declaration of rights, -citizens rights should be protected -make rights clear so they would not be considered unenumerated powers of gov-Bill of Rights needed to restrict the government Against -many Federalists or people for the constitution saw no need for amendments -unnecessary -Constitution said gov and people were same, people didn't need to protect rights from themselves -Alexander Hamilton, an influential Federalist leader, argued the Preamble of the Constitution said "the people surrender nothing" therefore the addition of a Bill of Rights was pointless.
Who were the new leaders selected by President Washington?
George Washington selected many new leaders after his inauguration.
-oath as part of the official swearing in ceremony.
-selected the cabinet, a group of federal leaders
-Edmund Randolph to be Attorney General, the legal advisor and chief law officer
-henry know to continue being secretary of war
-thomas Jefferson to head the department of state, he was involved with domestic affairs, the country's internal matters as opposed to foreign issues
-Alexander Hamilton to be Secretary of State
What challenges did Washington's government face?
George Washinton's government faced many problems. These came about during his first administration.
-administration -term of office -washington established precedents concerning how to govern, these are things that set an example for people to follow. -had many to set to answer questions like -how the nation would be governed and what is the cabinet's role. He had to establish how-congress and the president interact with one another -how to make gov both powerful and democratic
What details were involved in planning a capital city?
Many details were involved in the planning of the capital city.
Residence Act of 1790,
Said -10 square mile stretch of land on the Potomac River near mount Vernon -along Maryland Virginia border-Governed by federal authorities not by state authorities -city plan developed by Pierre-Charles L' Enfant -spacious, broad streets, European style pattern
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