Chapter 2 - The Constitution Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 2 - The Constitution Deck (17):

Rule of law

A system in which all people in a society, including governing officials, are subject to legal codes that are applied without bias by independent courts


Articles of Confederation

The constitution drafted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777 and ratified by the states in 1781. It set up a weak central government consisting of a congress with limited legislative power and virtually no authority over the execution of its laws


Virginia Plan

A plan proposed at the Constitutional Convention by Edmund Randolph of Virginia, which outlined a stronger national government, with an independent executive and a bicameral legislature whose membership in both houses would be apportioned according to state population


New Jersey Plan

A plan proposed at the Constitutional Convention by William Paterson of New Jersey to amend, rather than replace, the standing Articles of Confederation. The plan called for a unicameral legislature with equal representation among the states, along with a plural (multi person) executive appointed by the legislature


Connecticut Compromise

An agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention that there would be a bicameral legislature, with an upper
house (the Senate) composed of equal representation from each state and a lower house (the House of Representatives) composed of representation from each state in proportion to its population


Electoral college

The electors appointed by each state to vote for the president


Bicameral legislature

A legislature consisting of two chambers or houses


Expressed powers

(enumerated powers) Those powers specifically described in the Constitution


Elastic clause (necessary and proper clause)

The provision in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution that states that Congress can make whatever laws are “necessary and proper” in order to provide the means to carry out its enumerated powers


Separation of powers

An arrangement in which specific governmental powers are divided among distinct branches of government; typically, this means having an executive who is chosen independently of the legislature, and thus executive power and legislative power are separated


Checks and balances

An arrangement in which no one branch of government can conduct its core business without the approval, tacit or expressed, of the other branches


Supremacy clause

The section of Article VI of the Constitution that states that the Constitution and the subsequent laws of the United States are to be the “supreme law of the land,” meaning that they supersede any state and local laws


Reserved powers

Those powers not granted to the national government by the Constitution, and therefore reserved to the states



Those who favored adopting the Constitution as written because they believed that a strong national government was needed to solve the collective dilemmas facing the states



Those who opposed adopting the Constitution
as written because they feared that it created an overly
strong national government


Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, which enumerate a set of liberties not to be violated by the government and a set of rights to be protected by the government


Commerce clause

An enumerated power listed in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution that grants Congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes