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Declaration of Independence

break from England, proposed new gov in which all men are created equal, all men have rights and government's are subject to the will of the people

Articles of Confederation

1st Constitution, weaknesses caused a new Constitution to be written


Articles of Confederation declared the federal gov to have no power over commerce b/w states


Articles of Confederation declared the federal gov to have no power over commerce w/in states


basic law that sets forth form of gov and powers


Articles of Confederation thrown out, Constitution is written


Constitution is ratified


First national elections


Bill of Rights added to Constitution


Introduction to the Constitution, tells goals of founding fathers, it is still a work in progress

Commander In-Chief

President, Commander of all Military, declared in Preamble


7 Articles in the Constitution, 2nd part of the Constitution

Article 1

Created Legislative Branch and declared powers

Article 2

Created Executive Branch and declared powers

Article 3

Created Judicial Branch and declared powers

Article 4

Relationships b/w states-states and states-federal gov

Article 5

Amendment Process (how Constitution can be changed)

Article 6

General Provisions (didn't fit in 1-5), Constitution and federal gov and supreme law of the land, all state and federal officers are bound by oath to follow the Constitution

Article 7

How the Constitution was to be ratified (9 out of 13 states approval)


3rd part of Constitution


4th part of Constitution


5th part of Constitution

Amendment Process

how the Constitution can be changed

14th Amendment

Due Process Amendment, everyone is guaranteed protection underneath the law

26th Amendment

limited to minimum voting age to 18

Bill of Rights

guaranteed human beings basic, human rights, first 10 Amendments to the Constitution

Popular Sovereignty

all power of the gov comes from the people, distributed through the Constitution

Unwritten Constitution

all customs or practices that have become a part of our system

Federal Principle

national and state power are equal, but if conflict arises, federal gov wins

Strict Constructionists

gov can't do anything that isn't specifically stated in the Constitution (ex. Madison)

Loose Constructionists

interpret or read b/w the lines of the Constitution (ex. Hamilton)

E Pluribus Unum

One out of many, Latin, motto of the US (united)

Delegated-Expressed-Enumerated Powers

powers given specifically to the federal gov

Article 1 Section 8

Delegated-Expressed-Enumerated powers given specifically to the federal gov,
1. Declare War
2. Govern Territories
3. Govern District of Columbia
4. Punish Piracy
5. Borrow Money

Implied Powers

gov has the power to do whatever they want to carry out the powers they were specifically given

Elastic Clause

gov has the power to do whatever they want to carry out the powers they were specifically given

Necessary of Proper Clause

gov has the power to do whatever they want to carry out the powers they were specifically given

Reserved-Retained-Residual Powers

powers given specifically to the state gov, 10th Amendment
(ex. edu, traffic laws, marriage)

Concurrent Powers

powers that both the federal gov and state gov have (ex. power to tax)

Checks and Balances

each of the 3 branches can check actions by the other 2

Separation of Powers

founding father didn't want one person to take power, created 3 branches of gov, each w/ own specific duties (also established checks and balances)

Writ of Habeas Corpus

right to know why you have been arrested

Ex Post Facto Law

can't be charged for something that wasn't illegal at the time

Bill of Attainder

can't pass a law that prevents the right to a regular, fair trial

Inherent Powers

powers given to the federal gov that apply to foreign affairs

Full Faith and Credit Clause

Article 4, Section 8, each state honors each others laws


the civil right to vote in a democracy


law passed by a legislative body

Judicial Review

power of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional

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