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Equal Representation

each state should have the same number of representatives in Congress.

Federal System

A form of political organization in which governmental power is divided between a central government and territorial subdivisions.

Proportional representation

The electoral system in which the number of reps. of a state in the House of Representatives is based on the # of people who live in that state.

New Jersey Plan

New Jersey delegate William Paterson's plan of government, in which states got an equal number of representatives in Congress.

Virginia Plan

Many Delegates thought that the defects of the Articles were so serious it would be better to not use them as a starting point. (James Madison drafted the plan).

Connecticut Compromise (The Great Compromise)

Committee adopted a proposal previously suggested by Connecticut delegates Rodger Sherman and Oliver Ellswork. The House of Representatives would be elected by the people on the basis of proportional representation.


direct taxes would be assigned and divided among the states by population.

bills of attainder

An act of the legislature that inflicts punishment on an individual or group without a judicial trial.

ex-post facto laws

A law which punishes people for a crime that was not a crime when it was committed. Congress cannot pass these laws.

fugitive slave clause

Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which stated that slaves who escaped must be returned to their owners. It was later abolished in the Thirteenth Amendment.


to accuse government officials of misconduct in office.

necessary and proper clause

Constitutional clause that gives congress the power to make all laws "necessary and proper" for executing its powers.

separated powers

The division of the powers of government among the different branches. Separating powers is a primary strategy of promoting constitutional or limited government by ensuring that no one individual branch has excessive power that can be abused..

supremacy clause

Found in Article 6 Clause2. Makes the Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land. Forbids the states from using their reserved or concurrent powers to thwart national policies.


Disloyalty to the government.

enumerated powers

Powers specifically given to the national government in Article 1 Section 8.

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