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Terms in this set (32)
a government of laws, not people, operating on the principle that governmental power must be limited and government officials should be restrained in their exercise of power over individuals
the legal structure of a political system, establishing governmental bodies, granting their powers, determining how their members are selected and prescribing the rules by which they make their decisions. Considered basic or fundamental, it cannot be changed by ordinary acts of governmental bodies.
Agreement among Pilgrim colonists to establish a government, setting the precedent of government by contract among the governed.
documents granted by the the English Monarch to individuals, companies, and groups of settlers in the new American colonies, authorizing a degree of self-government, setting the precedent of written contracts defining governmental power.
Declaration of Independence
The resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, that the American colonies are to be "free and Independent states." Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, it asserts natural law, inalienable rights, government by contact and the right of revolution.
Articles of Confederation
The original framework for the government of the United States, adopted in 1781 and superseded by the U.S. Constitution in 1789. It established a "firm league of friendship" among the states, rather than a government "of the people."
An armed revolt in 1786, led by a Revolutionary War Officer Daniel Shays, protesting the discontent of small farmers over debts and taxes, and raising concerns about the ability of the U.S. government under the articles of confederation to maintain internal order.
A 1786 meeting at Annapolis Maryland, to discuss interstate commerce which recommended a larger convention- the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Also known as the Age of Reason, a philosophical movement in eighteenth century Western thought based on a belief in reason and the capacities of individuals, a faith in a scientific approach to knowledge and a confidence in human progress.
The law that would govern humans in a state of nature before governments existed
the rights of all people derived from natural law and not bestowed by governments, including the rights to life, liberty, and property.
the idea the government originates from an implied contract among people who agree to obey laws in exchange for the protection of their natural rights
Government by representatives of the people rather than directly by the people themselves
belief that shared cultural, historical, linguistic, and social characteristics of a people justify the creation of a government encompassing all of them and that the resulting nation-state should be independent and legally equal to all other nation-states
A government in which power is concentrated in the legislature, which chooses from among its members a rime minister and cabinet.
A constitutional plan that merged elements of a Virginia plan and a New Jersey plan into the present arrangement of the U.S . Congress: one house in which each state has an equal number of votes (the senate) and one house in which states' votes are based on population (the House of Representatives)
A compromise in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 between pre- and slave states in which slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a person for both taxation and representation
Compulsory payments to the government
Tax imposed on imported products
unified trade area in which all goods and services can be sold or exchanged free from customs or tariffs
National Supremacy Clause
The clause in Article VI of the US Constitution declaring the Constitution and federal laws "the supreme law of the land" superior to state laws and constitutions and requiring state judges to be bound thereby
Proposed laws or constitutional amendments submitted to the voters for their direct approval or rejection found in state constitutions, but not in the U.S. Constitution
Separation of Powers
Constitutional divisions of powers among the three branches of the national government- legislative, executive, and judicial
Checks and Balances
Constitutional provisions giving each branch of the national government certain checks over the actions of other branches
Power of the U.S. Supreme Court and federal judiciary to declare laws of Congress and the states and actions of the president unconstitutional and therefore legally invalid.
Power of a legislature to approve or reject decisions made my other bodies. State legislators or state conentions must have the power to ratify constitutional amendments submitted by Congress. The U.S. Senate has the power to ratify treaties made by the president.
Supporters of the ratification of the Constitution, who later coalesced into a political party supporting John Adams for president in 1800.
Opponents of the ratification of the Constitution, who later coalesced into a political party supporting Thomas Jefferson for president in 1800.
Bill of Rights
Written guarantees of basic individual liberties; the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Powers specifically mentions in the Constitution as belonging to the national government
formal changes in a bill, law, or constitution.
Equal Rights Amendment
Proposed amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing that equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. Passed by Congress in 1972, the amendment failed to win ratification by three of the necessary three-fourths of the the states.
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