45 terms

Constitution Unit Vocabulary


Terms in this set (...)

A government in which the people elect representatives to govern, A philosophy of limited government with elected representatives serving at the will of the people. The government is based on consent of the governed.
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution/government of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
Land Ordinance of 1785
A law that divided much of the United States into a system of townships to facilitate the sale of land to settlers.
Northwest Territory
Land that formed the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota
Northwest Ordinance
It is considered one of the most significant achievements of the Articles of Confederation. It established a system for setting up governments in the western territories so they could eventually join the Union on an equal footing with the original 13 states
Constitutional Convention
Meeting in Philadelphia called to change the Articles of Confederation
James Madison
"Father of the Constitution". His proposals for an effective government became the Virginia Plan, which was the basis for the Constitution. He was responsible for drafting most of the language of the Constitution.
Virginia Plan
The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.
New Jersey Plan
Plan that called for each state to have equal representation in the legislature
Great Compromise
Called for a two-house legislature with representation based on population in one house and equal representation in the other house
Three-Fifths Compromise
Called for counting three-fifths of the slave population for representation and taxation
A system of government in which power is shared amount the federal government and the states
People who supported ratification of the Constitution
People who opposed ratification of the constitution
The Federalist Papers
Essays that explained and defended the Constitution
George Mason
Influential Virginian who opposed ratification of the Constitution
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
Formal changes to the Constitution
People given power to act for others; representatives to a convention
a constitutional right to reject a decision or proposal made by a law-making body.
not in accordance with a political constitution, especially the US Constitution, or with procedural rules.
Supreme Court
the highest judicial court in the country or state
Shays Rebellion
Shays Rebellion this conflict in Massachusetts caused many to criticize the Articles of Confederation and admit the weak central government was not working; uprising led by Daniel Shays in an effort to prevent courts from foreclosing on the farms of those who could not pay the taxes
Self Government
government of a country by its own people, especially after having been a colony.
Separation of Powers
Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law
Roger Sherman
He helped draft the Great Compromise that determined how states would be represented in Congress
Sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.
a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
A preliminary or preparatory statement; an introduction.
Popular Sovereignty
Basic concept of the Constitution; the idea that political authority belongs to the voting people.
Limited Government
A principle of constitutional government; a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution.
Legislative Branch
Branch of Gov't charged with creation of new laws.
Judicial Branch
Government department that interprets laws
Executive Branch
Branch of government that enforces the laws
James Madison
"Father of the Constitution". His proposals for an effective government became the Virginia Plan, which was the basis for the Constitution. He was responsible for drafting most of the language of the Constitution.
individual rights
basic liberties and rights of all citizens are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights
A formal accusation of misconduct in office against a public official
George Washington
was persuaded to attend the Constitutional Convention and subsequently was unanimously elected its president.
George Mason
leader of anti federalists that agreed that the Articles Of Confederation wasn't strong enough,A strong supporter of the Bill of Rights, refused to sign the Constitution in 1787
Electoral College
the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they are elected by "electors" who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis.
Civic Virtue
Citizens should try to be active, loyal, supportive members of the community. Those with civic virtue take a more active role in improving the community and the experiences of others.
checks and balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
Charles Pinckney
South Carolina representative at the Constitutional Convention, he was a strong promoter of Federalism and helped persuade ratification of the Constitution in South Carolina.
- delegates came to Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead finally approved a new Constitution of the United States.