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A form of government in which power is distributed to and shared by different political levels, as between states and the central government.

Reserved Powers

The powers that remain with the states after other powers were delegated to the national government by the Constitution.

Due Process of Law

A Constitutional guarantee that persons under legal investigation receive fair treatment from government officials.

James Madison

He drafted the plan to replace the Articles of Confederation with a new federal system.

Elastic Clause

This phrase in the Constitution gives Congress the power to pass laws that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out Congress's other specific powers.

Annapolis Conference

This meeting was called by Alexander Hamilton and others to talk about the lowering of taxes and tariffs to increase trade between the states.

Virginia Plan

This plan called for the establishment of a national government with a bicameral legislature whose members would be proportional to population.

Original Jurisdiction

The authority of a court to be the first to hear a case and conduct a trial.

James Wilson

He thought up the idea of the Constitution's Executive Branch and the idea of the Electoral College electing the President.

Strict Construction

The belief that the national government can exercise only those powers that are clearly and specifically stated by the U. S. Constitution.


Supporters of the ratification of the Constitution and the shift of power from local and state governments to the central government.

Implied Powers

The power of the U. S. government that derives from the so-called "elastic clause" of the U. S. Constitution.

Habeas Corpus

An order requiring that a detained or jailed person be brought before a court at a stated time and place to decide whether the person's detention is proper and lawful.

New Jersey Plan

This plan enlarged the powers of Congress to include the right to levy taxes and regulate commerce. It defined Congressional laws and treaties as the "supreme law of the land", and called for separate executive and judicial branches.

Loose Construction

A broad interpretation of the U. S. Constitution expanding the implied powers of Congress.

Delegated Powers

The power granted to the U. S. government that the Constitution mentions directly and explicitly.

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