Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy

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Social contract

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58 Terms

1

Social contract

Some freedoms sacrificed (respecting government) in exchange for government protection

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2

Natural rights

Described by John Locke; life, liberty, and property; must be protected by the government

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3

Republicanism

Supports individualism and natural rights, popular sovereignty, encourages civic participation

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4

Representative democracy

Elected officials representing a group of people

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5

Popular sovereignty

The idea that government power derives from the consent of the governed

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6

Participatory democracy

Broad participation in politics/society by people at various statuses

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7

Pluralist democracy

Group-based activism by citizens with common interests who seek the same goals

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8

Elite democracy

Power to the educated/wealthy, discourages participation by the majority of people

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9

The Declaration of Independence (1776)

A formal declaration of war between America and Great Britain written by Thomas Jefferson, including a list of grievances

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10

Articles of Confederation (1777)

Outlined the first US government, predecessor to the Constitution

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11

Accomplishments of the Articles of Confederatoin

created federalismended the Revolutionary War on favorable terms for the United Statesestablished the Northwest Ordinance

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12

Federalism

The way in which federal and state/regional governments interact and share power

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13

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

Could not impose taxesNo national militaryNo national currencyNo Supreme CourtNo executive branchNo control over taxes imposed between states and could not control interstate tradeNeeded unanimous votes to amend it and 9 states to approve legislation before it was passed

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14

The Constitutional Convention (1787)

A meeting of the framers in Philadelphia during which the government’s structure was debated and decided

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15

Unicameral legislature

Legislature with one house

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16

Bicameral legislature

Legislature with two houses

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17

Virginia Plan

Bicameral legislature based on population size; supported by larger states

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18

New Jersey Plan

Unicameral legislature with one vote per state; supported by smaller states

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19

The Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise)

Created a bicameral legislature with a House of Representatives (based on population) and Senate (equal representation)

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20

Three-Fifths Compromise

Enslaved people would be counted as 3/5 of a person when deciding seats in the House of Representatives

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21

Federalists

Supporters of the Constitution; advocated for a strong central government

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22

Anti-Federalists

Opponents of the Constitution; preferred smaller state governments

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23

The Federalist Papers

Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay; a collection of articles supporting the Constitution

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24

The Bill of Rights (1791)

Written by James Madison and supported by Anti-Federalists; the first 10 amendments of the Constitution which protects the rights of citizens from the government

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25

Electoral College

Composed of elected officials from each state based on population (each given 2 votes + 1 vote per member of House of Representatives) with a total of 538 electors

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26

Brutus No. 1

Argued that the national government had too much power, an army could prevent liberty, and representatives may not truly be representative of the people

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27

Federalist No. 10 (Madison)

Addresses dangers of factions + how to protect minority interest groups in a nation ruled by majority, argues that a large republic keeps any single faction from taking control

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28

Federalist No. 51 (Madison)

Argued that separation of powers would make the government efficient, dividing responsibilities and tasks

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29

Federalist No. 70 (Hamilton)

Argued that the executive branch should only have one member: the president, proposed term limits as another way to limit the president’s power

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30

Federalist No. 78 (Hamilton)

Addressed concerns about the power of the judicial branch, argued that the judicial branch would have the least amount of power under the Constitution but would also have the power of judicial review

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31

Article I

Described the legislative branch

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32

Article II

Described the executive branch

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33

Executive order

Same effect as law, bypasses Congress in policy-making, not mentioned in the Constitution but used as part of the enforcement duties

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34

Executive agreement

Similar to treaties between country leaders, bypass ratification power of the Senate

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35

Article III

Described the judicial branch

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36

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

Supreme Court increased its own power by giving itself the power to overturn laws passed by legislature (judicial review)

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37

Judicial review

The power of the Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by legislature which are unconstitutional

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38

Necessary and proper clause (Article I, Section 8)

Aka the elastic clause; allows Congress to make any legislation that seems “necessary and proper” to carry through its powers

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39

Supremacy clause

Supremacy of Constitution and federal laws over state laws

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40

Confederation

A system in which decisions are made by an external member-state legislation; decisions on daily issues are taken by special majorities, consensus, or unanimity

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41

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Court ruled that states could not tax national bank because of the supremacy clause (issues between state and federal laws should be ruled in favor of federal) and necessary and proper clause (banks were necessary to implement federal powers)

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42

United States v. Lopez (1995)

Held that the Gun-Free School Zones Act was unconstitutional because the commerce clause didn't allow regulation of carrying guns

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43

Delegated/enumerated powers

Powers that belong to the national government

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44

Reserved powers

Powers that belong to the states

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45

10th Amendment

Any power not given to the national government nor denied to the states in the Constitution belongs to the states

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46

Concurrent powers

Powers shared by federal and state government

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47

Federal government programs

Paid for by federal government through grants-in-aid, mostly administered by states

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48

Categorical grants

Aid with strict rules from the federal government about how it should be used

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49

Block grants

Aid that lets the state use the money how it wants

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50

Separation of powers

Assigns different tasks to each branch of government Legislative makes lawsExecutive enforces lawsJudicial interprets laws

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51

Checks and balances

Each branch checks the other; designed to prevent any branch of government from becoming dominant, requires different branches to work together and share power

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52

Veto

The power of the president to reject laws

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53

Amendment

The addition of a provision to the Constitution

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54

Ratifying convention

Delegates elected to vote on an amendment

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55

Main amendment process

Proposed amendment approved by 2/3 of both houses3/4 of state legislatures must ratify the amendment

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56

21st Amendment

Ended prohibition, used a ratifying convention

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57

Gubernatorial veto

A governor’s veto

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58

Line-item veto

The power to reject specific parts of a bill; denied to presidents by Supreme Court

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