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Glossary of ABeka History 11 - Chapter 7 - Bold Terms

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bicameral legislature
a legislature composed of two houses
Articles of Confederation
a plan for union adopted by Congress in November 1777; had several weaknesses, but did accomplish a successful land policy for the Northwest Territory
confederacy
a voluntary union in which the central government is subordinate to the local governments and has only the powers they grant it
Northwest Territory
the area bound by the Ohio River, the Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes
Land Ordinance (1785)
provided for the entire Northwest Territory to be surveyed and divided into townships
Northwest Ordinance (1787)
provided for the gradual development of self-government in the Northwest Territory
Shays' Rebellion
incident in which Daniel Shays and an army of farmers and debtors forced several courts to close down in western Massachusetts in 1786 to prevent any further foreclosures
foreclosure
seizure of property for nonpayment of debts
"Critical Period"
the years 1781-1789, during which the Articles of Confederation served as the basis for America's national government
Constitutional Convention
a convention held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to revise the Articles; produced the Constitution of the United States
Independence Hall
Name for the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia; where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.
"Great Decision"
the decision of the Convention delegates to draft a new Constitution
Great Compromise
established a bicameral legislature to satisfy both the large and small states; often called the Connecticut Compromise
Virginia Plan
called for a bicameral legislature with representation based on state population and for the creation of executive and judicial departments; gave a number of specific powers to the national government
New Jersey Plan
called for a unicameral legislature with equal representation for all states and for the creation of executive and judicial branches; in essence, the governmental system would continue as it did under the Articles of Confederation, but the national government would have power to tax and regulate commerce
Connecticut Compromise
the Great Compromise; so-called because Connecticut delegates played an important role in the compromise
Three-fifths Compromise
determined that 3/5 of a state's slave population would be counted for both taxation and representation
tariffs
fees on imported goods
Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
granted Congress power to regulate commerce with certain limitations; it could not levy export tariffs; and it could not regulate the slave trade, at least until 1808
Federalists
those who wanted the new Constitution adopted
Anti-Federalists
those who opposed the Constitution
"The Federalist"
A series of 85 essays which gave sound arguments in favor of the Constitution; helped bring victory to the Federalists in New York
democratic republic
rule by the people with a written constitution to protect the basic rights of the minority from being infringed upon by the majority
elastic clause
necessary and proper clause; added to ensure that Congress should not be bound in any important matters by mere oversights or omissions in the Constitution
Bill of Rights
the first 10 amendments to the Constitution
checks and balances
a system devised to check the power of the various branches of the national government; protects citizens against tyranny
implied powers
powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution but implied therein
How large was a township and a section in the Land Ordinance.
Townships were six miles square; sections were one mile square.
What five states were included in the Northwest Territory?
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin
Who were the two most famous Americans to attend the Constitutional Convention?
George Washington and Benjamin Franklin
In what year did the Constitutional Convention take place?
1787
What document was called a "bundle of compromises"?
the U.S. Constitution
What was the last state to ratify the Constitution?
Rhode Island
What was the first state to ratify the Constitution?
Delaware
In what two states was the connection between church and state the closest?
Virginia and Massachusetts
How did independence lead to greater social equality in America?
Most of the Tories had belonged to the wealthy upper class; thus, when many Tories left the country during the war, the size and influence of the upper class diminished considerably, bringing Americans closer to social equality than ever before.
Why were the Articles of Confederation considered too weak to effectively govern the new United States? Did the Articles accomplish anything constructive? Explain.
Under the Articles, the central government lacked the authority needed to deal with the very serious problems that were being faced by the new nation. It was too difficult to get the necessary cooperation from the states when approving legislation; the central government had no executive or judicial branches to provide strong leadership and a just court system; and Congress lacked the power to tax and to perform other essential duties. In spite of the weakness of the Articles, the government was successful in establishing a sound land policy for the Northwest Territory; namely, the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
Explain the importance of the Great Decision.
The Great Decision was the bold decision of the Convention delegates to put aside the Articles and draft a brand new Constitution.
Explain the importance of the Great Compromise.
It reconciled the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan by having the national government consist of two houses -- an upper house with equal representation for each state, and a lower house with representation based on state population; this arrangement satisfied both the larger states and the smaller states, allowing the delegates to move on to other matters.
Explain the importance of the Connecticut Compromise.
The Connecticut Compromise is the same as the Great Compromise. It is called the Connecticut Compromise because of the role that Connecticut delegates played in negotiating it.
Why is the Constitution called a "bundle of compromises"?
The Constitution is called a "bundle of compromises" because nearly every provision of the Constitution was a compromise among various viewpoints. These compromises were possible because the delegates to the Constitutional Convention resolved to put aside local interests to produce a document that would be acceptable to people from all sections of the country for all time.
Compare the Federalists to the Anti-Federalists. Explain the positive and negative arguments of both groups. With which group would you agree the most? Why?
The Federalists supported the Constitution because they wanted a closer union of the states and saw the advantages of a stronger central government. They included merchants, bankers, manufacturers, lawyers, clergymen, and plantation owners, many of whom had fought in the War for Independence. Federalists realized that a strong national government could better protect the financial interests of the country. They had a vision of a prosperous and powerful United States of America.

The Anti-Federalists did not want to see the individual states lose any power. Many feared the proposed Constitution because it contained no "bill of rights" to protect the basic rights of individuals against a powerful national government. The Anti-Federalists did not oppose America's becoming a powerful nation, nor did they oppose union. This group also included some of the heroes of America's independence, as well as many small farmers and common laborers. Many Anti-Federalists realized that America needed some new form of government if she were going to survive the "Critical Period"; they simply did not think that the proposed Constitution was the best approach.
Why is America not considered a true democracy? How can a democracy fail? Why is a democratic republic a better form of government?
America is actually a democratic republic, with a written constitution to protect the basic rights of the minority from being infringed upon by the majority. In America's democratic republic, the people, through their chosen representatives, determine the course of a political action. In a true democracy, the majority literally rules. Such governments often end in revolution, bloodshed, and tyranny. The primary reason, though, for the failure of a democracy is usually the failure of the people to embrace a moral code based upon the Bible.
Why did the Founding Fathers include a system of checks and balances, as well as a Bill of Rights, in the new government?
They wanted to protect the citizens from the abuses of a tyrannical government. Checks and balances prevent any one branch of government from becoming too powerful, and the Bill of Rights guarantees the basic rights of American citizens.
Why did colonial legislatures feel the need to include established religion in their constitutions? How does a proper separation of church and state encourage political freedom and true Christianity?
Early Americans realized that the presence and practice of Christianity contributes to a civilized society and a peaceful, orderly life. With this in mind, some reasoned that civil authority should be used to enforce Christianity. A proper separation of church and state encourages political freedom by preventing any one church from controlling the government, and it promotes Christianity by allowing it to thrive naturally without any opposition or persecution from the state.
Why are the years 1781-1789 called the "Critical Period"?
Between 1781 and 1789, the United States was operating under the Articles of Confederation. The national government was weak and inefficient, and the nation seemed well on its way to political and economic ruin. But by the end of this critical decade, the Founding Fathers had joined efforts and, through the Constitutional Convention, and established a sound, stable national government under the Constitution.

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