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Constitutional Foundations


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10th Amendment
The final part of the Bill of Rights that declares "the powers not delegated to the US by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people"
advice and consent
Power of the Constitution grants the US Senate to give its advice and consent to treaties and presidential appointment of federal judges, ambassadors, and cabinet members
amendment process
The means spelled out in Article V by which formal changes in, or addition to, the Constitution are made
A person opposed to the adoption of the Constitution because of its centralist tendancies and who attacked the Constitution's framers for failing to include a Bill of Rights
Articles of Confederation
The compact made among the 13 original states to form the basis of their government
bicameral legislature
A legislature made up of two parts. The US Congress is an example
Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. Listing of freedoms that a person enjoys and cannot be infringed on by the government
checks and balances
A major principle of the US governmental system whereby each branch of government exercised a limiting power on the actions of the others and in which powers are distributed among the three branches in a manner designed to prevent tyranny
A political system in which states or regional governments have ultimate authority except for those powers expressly delegated to a central government
delegates to ratifying conventions
Representatives from each of the 13 original states who attended their state conventions to ratify the Constitution. Delegates were chosen by special elections
The political party founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1792. It was dissolved in 1828
elastic clause
The final paragraph of Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power to choose whatever means are necessary to execute its specifically delegated powers
electoral college
The group of electors selected by the voters in each state and Washington DC
enumerated powers
Powers specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution.
A group in a legislature or party acting in pursuit of some special interest or position
A person who supported the adoption of the new Constitution and the creation of the federal union
Federalist #10
A Federalist Paper written by James Madison that discusses factions (or single interest groups) that seek to dominate political process
Federalist Papers
A group of 85 essays to persuade people in NY to adopt the Constitution, which had recently been drafted in Philly.
Great Comprimise, The
Compromise reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 between NJ and VA pland, creating a bicameral government with states represented equally in the Senate and by population in the House of Representatives
Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)
The first US Secretary of the Treasury. Established the National Bank and public credit system.
implied powers
Authority possessed by the national government by inference from those powers delegated to it in the Constitution
interstate commerce
The buying and selling of commodities, transportation and other commercial dealings across state lines
judicial review
Power of courts to judge legislative or executive acts unconstitutional. National and State courts hold this power
James Madison (1751-1836)
4 US President (1809-1817). Member of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention
Madisonian model
Espoused a system of checks and balances and harmony among different interests
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
First case to strike down an act of Congress unconstitutional.
Declaring something null or void.
The formal approval, as of a law or Constitutional amendment
seperation of powers
Principle that divides US government among 3 branches - devised to prevent and one branch from gaining too much power and to prevent the same agents from making, enforcing and interpreting the laws
Shay's Rebellion
An armed revolt by farmers in Massachusetts in 1786-87, seeking relief from debts and possible foreclosure of mortgages
A political community with a specific territory, organized government and internal and external sovereignty OR smaller subunits within a federal government system
super majorities
Defined voting blocks of greater than 51% needed to approve a proposal
supremacy clause
provision of the Constitution that makes the Constitution, federal government and federal laws superior to state and local laws that contradict them
unicameral legislature
A legislature made up of only one legislative body
writ of habeas corpus
Court order requiring a jailer to bring a person to a court and explain the charges on which he is being held. If sufficient cause for imprisonment is not produced, the prisoner must be released
writ of mandamus
An order issued by a court to compel performance of an act

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