Unit 2a: Constitution & Early Republic Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Unit 2a: Constitution & Early Republic Deck (58):

Republican Motherhood

The expectation that a woman's role in the 1700s was teaching their children about politics and being good citizens in the home, especially to the boys of the family.


Checks and Balances

system established by the Constitution that includes sharing power among the branches of government and prevents any one branch from becoming too powerful


Separation of Powers

separate powers given to the legislative branch, executive and judicial branch; each branch has their own power to make sure the other two do not abuse their power


Bill of Rights

first ten amendments in the Constitution that protect individual rights that were finally approved in 1791



to approve



to change, make changes to



additions to the Constitution; currently there are 27 Amendments in the Constitution; the Constitution was changed 27 times



official rejection of legislation (law or bill trying to be passed); this particular power is given to the office of the President (Executive branch)



system of government run by elected representatives



system of government where the citizens are allowed to vote for their representation


Articles of Confederation

a failed document that created an association of states but still allowed them to rule themselves and be independent


Ben Franklin

one of the authors of the Articles of Confederation, leading Patriot during the Revolution, representative from Pennsylvania


Daniel Shays

former Revolutionary War Captain; Massachusetts farmer who led an uprising against the government to protest taxes, debt and foreclosures of farms


Constitutional Convention

meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 where delegates wrote the Constitution


The Great Compromise

plan proposed by Roger Sherman of CT who combined both the NJ Plan and the VA Plan to have both an upper and lower house of government and find an agreement to establish government in the United States


Roger Sherman

introduced the Great Compromise, known as the Great Compromiser


New Jersey Plan

written by William Patterson suggesting each state have an equal vote in government; this plan was supported by smaller states


William Patterson

proposed the New Jersey Plan


Virginia Plan

written by James Madison; plan based on a state's population; took power away from the states and gave it to the central government; supported by big states who had large populations


James Madison

proposed the Virginia Plan; becomes the Father of the Constitution; leader of the Federalists


3/5th Compromise

an agreement in which three-fifths of a state's slave population could be counted towards representation in the lower house



name given to supporters of getting the Constitution approved in its original format



name given to supporters who was against the Constitution was originally written; wanted a Bill of Rights included to protect individual rights, feared a strong national government


Alexander Hamilton

first treasurer of the U.S.; stated that the first thing the US government must do is pay back all loans, proposes starting a bank, becomes leader of the Federalists


John Adams

ambassador to Great Britain; 1st Vice President of the U.S.; 2nd President of the U.S.


Thomas Jefferson

Father of the Declaration of Independence; 1st Secretary of State (dealt with representatives of other countries); leader of the Anti-Federalists


Marbury vs. Madison

court case which ruled that the Supreme Court has final say on legal matters; Supreme Court becomes the law of the land; establishes judicial review


Judicial Review

gives the Supreme Court the authority to review laws and claim whether they are constitutional or unconstitutional


Federal Government

the national or central government



the president's group of closest advisors


Secretary of State

member of the president's cabinet that deals with foreign affairs



a 2 house legislature (Congress)- includes an upper and a lower house


Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were established during the Revolutionary War by the Continental Congress. Due to fears of concentrated power, the Articles intentionally established a weak central government.


What two key provisions were part of the Land Ordinance of 1785, passed under the Articles of Confederation?

The Land Ordinance of 1785 (a) set a method for surveying and settling western territory, and (b) provided a section of land in each township be set aside for public education.


In Shays' Rebellion, a group of farmers led by Daniel Shays in Western Massachusetts shut down county courts. Why?

Shays and his followers shut down the county courts to prevent land seizures and imprisonment for debt. Debts were required to be repaid in hard currency, which was scarce.

Shays' Rebellion was a response to the economic depression and high taxes resulting from Revolutionary War debt, and highlighted the weakness of the government established by the Articles of Confederation.



Unicameral is a legislature with one chamber. The Articles of Confederation established a unicameral legislature.


What is a tariff?

A tariff is a tax imposed upon goods when they are either imported or exported. As an example, a country may charge a tax of 10% of the value of a table when that table is exported to a foreign country.


The Constitutional Convention was called in response to the Annapolis Convention. What was the Constitutional Convention's initial purpose?

The Constitutional Convention's initial purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation. A group of strong nationalists, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, convinced the Convention to draft an entirely new governing document.


The first act of the Constitutional Convention was to name George Washington to preside over their activities. Why?

Washington was universally respected throughout the 13 colonies. As the presiding officer, Washington would hold the Constitutional Convention together, and provide legitimacy to the Convention's activities.


To whom did the Constitutional Convention assign the task of drafting the Constitution?

James Madison

In preparing the section detailing the legislative branch, Madison suggested the Virginia Plan.


What was the Virginia Plan?

The Virginia Plan, drafted by James Madison, called for a bicameral legislature with two branches. Each state would send legislators to each branch based upon the size of their population.


Describe the New Jersey Plan.

The New Jersey Plan called for a unicameral legislature where each state, regardless of population, had the same number of legislators.


How did the Constitutional Convention resolve the differences between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan?

The Convention adopted the Connecticut Plan, otherwise known as the Great Compromise.


Slavery proved a divisive issue during the Convention, with the South wanting slaves counted for purposes of population, and the North insisting that they not be counted. How was the issue resolved?

The Convention passed the Three Fifths Compromise. For purposes of representation in the House of Representatives, each slave counted as 3/5 of a person.

In addition, the Constitution banned the importation of slaves after 1808.


Many different proposals were put forth regarding the office of the President. What powers did the Convention eventually provide the President?

The Convention gave the President the power to:

1. Engage in foreign policy as the nation's representative
2. Have a four-year term limit (but could be re-elected to multiple terms)
3. Veto legislation passed by Congress


When would the newly drafted Constitution take effect?

The Constitution would only take effect when it was ratified by nine states. Each state called a separate convention to decide whether to accept the Constitution.


Those in favor of the new Constitution were known as _____.


The Federalists, led by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, thought that a strong central government was essential to the survival of the United States.


What did the Anti-Federalists believe?

The Anti-Federalists believed that a strong federal government would impinge upon the rights of the states and the people.

The Anti-Federalists, led by George Mason and John Hancock, appealed to the fear of a strong government stemming from the colonial period.


John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton wrote a series of 85 newspaper articles advocating for the Constitution. Collectively, what are these documents known as?

The Federalist Papers


The First Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. What did the Act accomplish?

The only court mentioned in the Constitution was the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 (a) placed five associate justices and one Chief Justice on the Court's bench, (b) established 13 District Courts -- one for each state, and (c) organized three Courts of Appeals as a layer between the District and Supreme Courts.


What was Alexander Hamilton's proposal to put the new nation on a firm financial footing?


1. The federal government would assume the individual states' Revolutionary War debt, and the debt would be paid off at face value
2. A high tariff on imported goods, to protect domestic manufacturers
3. A national bank, to protect the nation's credit at home and abroad


Many Anti-Federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson, opposed Hamilton's plan to create a strong central government. Why?

Jefferson and his supporters had two main objections to Hamilton's plan. First, they viewed Hamilton's plan with suspicion, because they were concerned that as the federal government gained power, the states would lose it. They also felt that it would benefit the rich and hurt poor farmers.


How did Washington react to the outbreak of war between the French and the British following the French Revolution?

Washington was concerned that the United States was too weak to become entangled in European affairs; and in 1793 he declared that the United States would stay strictly neutral. As such, the United States would support neither Britain nor France.


Did the vast majority of Americans oppose or support the French Revolution?

Support for the French Revolution was strong in the United States, although there was concern about the intense violence and mob attacks which accompanied it.

Thomas Jefferson and his allies proved to be the French Revolution's strongest supporters.


Why is the Whiskey Rebellion (1791) named after whiskey?

To raise funds for the new federal government (as well as to protect new American industry), Alexander Hamilton had wanted to establish a high tariff, but Congress established a lower one and raised the needed funds by taxing various domestic products, including whiskey.

Farmers in Western Pennsylvania, incensed at having to pay a tax on the whiskey they distilled from surplus corn, attacked the tax collectors.


How did Washington respond to the Whiskey Rebellion?

Washington adopted some 15,000 state militiamen into the federal army, which was placed under the command of Alexander Hamilton, who was still Secretary of the Treasury, and who now had to direct troops to suppress a rebellion against a tax to which he'd been opposed.

Even so, when Hamilton's troops arrived, the rebellion collapsed without bloodshed.


In 1796, Washington announced that he would retire after two terms, setting a precedent for future American Presidents. What did Washington warn against in his Farewell Address?

First, Washington warned Americans against forming political parties, a process which was already well underway. Throughout the country's early years, political parties were coalescing around the two leading figures of the day, Hamilton and Jefferson.

More importantly, Washington warned against involvement in European affairs and "permanent alliances" with European powers. Washington's advice has continued to guide American Presidents.


In the 1796 election, John Adams, a Federalist, was elected President, and Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, was elected Vice President. How did it come about that the President and Vice President were from different political parties?

The Constitution as written did not allow for political parties, and merely stated that the person who got the most electoral votes would be President, and that the person who got the second most electoral votes would be Vice President. Thomas Jefferson finished in second place, by three electoral votes.

The Twelfth Amendment, passed in 1804, allowed electors to cast two separate votes for President and Vice President.