AP US Government and Politics - Unit 1

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a new provision in the Constitution that has been ratified by the states
those who favor a weaker national government
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Articles of Confederation
A weak constitution that governed America during the Revolutionary War; was intended to put few restraints on local communities; it was a "firm league of friendship;" it was a confederation of the states; most of the power was in the hands of these state legislatures; there was no executive or judicial branch; Congress had no power to tax and no power to regulate commerce; it cold maintain an army/navy but did not have enough resources to do that adequately; each state got one vote; 9/13 needed for a law; 13/13 needed for an amendment; the "president" was just the presiding officer of the Congress and did not have executive power
bill of attainder
a law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution
checks and balances
a system that allows each branch of government to amend or veto acts of another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much power.
an alliance of groups
concurrent powers
powers shared by the national and state governments
Constitutional Convention
A meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 that produced a new constitution
Electoral College
The government body which casts the votes used to elect a president. It was designed to insulate the executive branch from direct popular control.
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enumerated powers
Powers given to the national government alone.
ex post facto law
A law that makes an act criminal although the act was legal when it was committed.
A group with a distinct political interest.
Government authority shared by national and local governments.
Those who favor a stronger national government
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Great Compromise
Plan to have a popular elected House based on state population and a state-selected Senate, with two members for each state.
habeas corpus
An order to produce an arrested person before a judge.
Importation Compromise
According to the Constitution, the importation of slaves could be banned twenty years after the document's ratification (1808). This was offered in exchange for keeping the institution of slavery legal in the nation.
judicial review
The power of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional
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line-item veto
An executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill passed by the legislature
New Jersey Plan
A plan unsuccessfully proposed at the Constitutional Convention, providing for a single legislative house with equal representation for each state.
A government in which elected representatives make the decisions.
reserved powers
Powers given to the state government alone.
separation of powers
The division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.
Shay's Rebellion
A 1787 rebellion in which ex-Revolutionary War soldiers attempted to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes; it showed the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation
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Three-Fifths Compromise
The plan to appease both slave and non-slave states by having three-fifths of the slave population count towards representation in the House
A human right based on nature or God
Virginia Plan
outlined a strong national government with three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The plan called for a legislature divided into two bodies (the Senate and the House) with proportional representation.
procedure whereby voters can remove an elected official from office
money given by the national government to the states
procedure enabling voters to reject a measure passed by the legislature
a decision by an administrative agency granting some other part permission to violate a law or rule that would otherwise apply to it
categorical grants
federal grants for specific purposes, such as building an airport
conditions of aid
terms set by the national government that states must meet if they are to receive certain federal funds
dual federalism
doctrine holding that the national government is supreme in its sphere, the states are supreme in theirs, and the two spheres should be kept separate
government authority shared by national and local governments
process that permits voters to put legislative measures directly on the ballot
terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal grants
"necessary and proper" clause
section of the Constitution allowing Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to its duties, and which has permitted Congress to exercise powers not specifically given to it (enumerated) by the Constitution
the doctrine that a state can declare null and void a federal law that, in the state's opinion, violates the Constitution
police power
state power to enact laws promoting health, safety, and morals
Declaration of Independence
the document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain; included the concept of a social contract and the concept of popular sovereignty; it set up the idea that all men are created equal
social contract
concept in the Declaration of Independence; citizens agree to sacrifice some rights or control in exchange for stability and protection; people give rulers the power to rule; the rulers in turn protect their inalienable rights; failure to do so lets the people to replace the government
The Constitution
the preamble is the introduction; ""We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Article 1: the legislative branch Section 8 = powers granted; revenue bills begin in the House; the House responds fast to the will of the people; the Senate is a cooling saucer where things are slower Section 9: powers denied Article 2: the executive branch Article 3: the judicial branch Article 4: the states (the ones after this are less important) Article 5: amendment Article 6: debts, supremacy, oaths Article 7: ratifcation
Brutus 1
all of the anti-federalist arguments in one document; it warned of the disaster that would result from a powerful national government; if the states cannot tax trade, they would lose their power and money; a large federal government like this has never worked in history; questioned why the Framers of the Constitution are so insightful and smart to find their solution to government
Federalist 10
written by James Madison; the most famous of the Federalist Papers; factions will form inevitably, but they will be small and contained; the rights of the minority will not be taken away from the majority
Federalist 51
if men were angels, government would be unnecessary; they are not, so it is needed; government needs separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism
McCulloch v. Maryland
in 1819, Jame McCulloch, the guy in charge of the Baltimore branch of the Bank of the US, refused to pay a tax by the state of Maryland; the Court ruled that Congress had the ability to charter a bank ("necessary and proper" clause); it also ruled that a federal bank could not be taxed by a state ("supremacy clause"); a state could not challenge the federal government's powers and potentially destroy them
United States v. Lopez
the federal government tried to use the commerce clause to ban the carrying of firearms in a school zone; the federal government said that students were trying to gain skills to use in a job and thus engaging in commercial activity; the Supreme Court found this to be too much of a stretch; this restricted federal power and gave some power back to the states
unitary system
national government has final authority over all government activities, as opposed to federalism
confederal system
most power resides with subnational governments, as opposed to federalism
the process by which issues are settled and decision are made in a governing a country
a system where citizens participate in the political process on a firsthand basis (direct/participatory) or through the selection of representatives (representative)
limited government
the US is one of these; power must be granted by a founding document, rather than assumed by the government's own will
natural rights
rights that every person has, simply by virtue of being born a free-thinking, independent human; these are inalienable
popular soverignhty
the notion that a country's decisions should, at least in part, be determined in accordance with the opinions of its citizens
judicial review
the judicial branch can check the other two branches through this process that allows the court to determine what is and is not constitutional; it is widely believed to be implied in the US Constitution