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Flashcards in Chapter 2 Vocab Deck (31):

A term used to describe opponents of the Constitution during the debate over ratification



The first ten amendments to the Constitution. They include rights such as freedom of speech and religion and due process protections (such as the right to a jury trial) for persons accused of crimes.

Bill of Rights


The elaborate system of divided spheres of authority provided by the US Constitution as a means of controlling the power of government. The separation of powers among the branches of the national government, federalism, and the different methods of selecting national officers are all part of this system.

Checks and balances


The fundamental law that defines how a government will legitimately operate



A government that is constitutional in its provisions for minority rights and rule by law; democratic in its provisions for majority influence through elections; and a republic in its mix of deliberative institutions, which check and balance each other

Constitutional democratic republic


Elected representatives whose obligation is to act in accordance with the expressed wishes of the people they represent



A form of government in which the power of the majority is unlimited, whether exercised directly or through a representative body

Democracy (according to the framers)


A constitutional means of limiting government action by listing those powers that the government is expressly prohibited from using

Denials of power


An unofficial term that refers to the electors who cast the states' electoral votes

Electoral College


The method of voting used to choose the US president.

electoral votes


Each state has the same number of electoral votes as it has ? By tradition, electoral voting is tied to a state's ?
The candidate with the most popular votes in a state (or, in a few states, the most votes in a congressional district) receives its electoral votes

Members in Congress= House and Senate combined
Popular votes


A government system in which authority is divided between two sovereign levels of government: national and regional



A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during the debate over ratification



The method of limiting the US government by confining its scope of authority to those powers expressly granted in the Constitution

Grants of power


The agreement of the constitutional convention to create a two-chamber Congress with the House apportioned by population and the Senate apportioned equally to the state

Great Compromise


Those rights that persons theoretically possessed in the state of nature, prior to the formation of governments. These rights, including those of life, liberty, and property, are considered inherent and as such are ____. Since government is established by people, government has the responsibility to preserve these rights

Inalienable (natural) rights


The power of courts to decide whether a governmental institution has acted within its constitutional powers and, if not, to declare its action nu and void

Judicial review


The principle that individual should be free to act and think as they choose, provided they do not infringe unreasonably on the rights and freedoms of others



A government that is subject to strict limits on it's lawful uses power and, hence, on its ability to deprive people of their liberty

Limited government


A constitutional proposal for a strengthened Congress but one in which each state would have a single vote, thus granting a small state the same legislative power as a larger state

New Jersey (small-state) Plan


A form of election in which voters choose a party's nominees for public office. In most states, eligibility to vote in a primary election is limited to voters who designated themselves as party members when they registered to vote.

Primary election (direct primary)


A government in which the people govern through the selection of their representatives

Representative government


A form of government in which the People's representatives to decide policy through institutions structured in ways that foster deliberation, slow the progress of decision-making, and operate within the restraints that protect individual liberty. To the framers, the Constitution's separation of powers and other limits on power were defining features of this form of government, as opposed to a democratic form, which places no limits to the majority



The principle that, as a way to limit government, is powers should be divided among separate branches, each of which also shares in the power of the others as a means of checking and balancing them. The result is that no one branch can exercise power decisively without the support or acquiescence of the others

Separated institutions sharing power


The division of the powers of government among separate institutions among separate institutions or branches

Separation of powers


A voluntary agreement by individuals to form
a government that is then obligated to work within the confines of that agreement

Social contract


A compromise worked out at the 1787 convention between northern states and southern states. Each slave was to be counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of federal taxation and congressional appointment

Three- fifths compromise


Number of seats in the House of Representatives

Congressional appointment


Elected representatives who's obligation is to act in accordance with their own consciences as to what policies are in the best interests of the public



The potential of a majority to monopolize power for its own gain and to the detriment of minority rights and interests

Tyranny of the majority


A constitutional proposal for a strong Congress with two chambers, both of which would be based on numerical representation, thus granting more power to the larger states

Virginia (large-state) plan