The U.S. Constitution

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27 Terms

1

constitution

a written plan for government

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2

confederation

a group of individuals or state governments that make decisions together

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3

articles

main parts of the Constitution

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4

amendment

any change made to the Constitution

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5

ratify

to confirm a decision (make an amendment to the Constitution official)

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6

Checks and Balances

The system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other two branches.

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7

Discrimination

to treat a person or group unfairly

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8

Diverse

a group of people or things with obvious differences among them

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9

Domestic

relating to issues within a country

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10

Executive Branch

The part of government that carries out or enforces the law.

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11

Federalism

The Constitutional system that shares power between the national and state government.

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12

Interest Groups

an organization that actively promotes the view of some part of the public on specific issues in order to influence government policy.

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13

Interstate Commerce

trade and other business dealings between two or more states

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14

Judicial Branch

The part of government, consisting of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, that interprets the laws and applies the law in specific court cases.

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15

Judicial Review

the power of the Supreme Court and other federal courts to decide whether laws and acts made by legislative and executive branches are unconstitutional

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16

Legislative Branch

The law making part of government, called the legislature. To legislate is to make a law.

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17

Majority Rule

a basic principle of democracy that says laws are passed by majority vote and elections are decided by a majority of the voters.

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18

Popular Sovereignty

the idea that the government's authority comes from the people

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19

Republic

a country governed by elected representatives.

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20

Rule of Law

the idea that the law applies to everyone, including officials in government. This idea ensures that no one is above the law.

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21

Limited Government

the idea that government can only do what the people allow it to do. The Constitution limits the power of government by reserving some power to the states and creating a system of checks and balances.

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22

bicameral

(of a legislative body) having two branches or chambers.

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23

Separation of Powers

The division of government powers into three branches of executive, legislative, and judicial powers

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24

Individual Rights

people have basic rights and freedoms that the government cannot interfere with or take away

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25

James Madison

Considered the "Father of the Constitution" because of his role in writing most of it.

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26

Federalists

A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.

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27

Anti-Federalists

Anti-Federalists rose up as the opponents of the Constitution during the period of ratification. They opposed the Constitution's powerful centralized government, arguing that the Constitution gave too much political, economic, and military control. They instead advocated a decentralized governmental structure that granted most power to the states

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