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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Key Terms - AP Government

Constitution A nation’s basic law. It creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government, and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Constitutions can be either written or unwritten.
Declaration of Independence The document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence.
natural rights Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. The concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher John Locke’s theories about government
consent of the governed According to John Locke, the required basis for government. The Declaration of Independence reflects Locke’s view that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed.
limited government The idea that certain things are out of bounds for government because of the natural rights of citizens. Limited government was central to John Locke’s philosophy, and it contrasted sharply with the of the divine right of the monarchs
articles of confederations The first constitution of the United States, adopted by Congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781. The Articles established a national legislature, the Continental Congress, but most authority rested with the state legislatures.
Shay's Rebellion A series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by revolutionary war Captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure proceedings.
U.S. Constitution The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. It replaced the Articles of Confederation. See also constitution and unwritten constitution.
factions Interest groups arising from the unequal distribution of property or wealth. Today’s parties or interest groups are what Madison had in mind when he warned of the instability in government caused by f
New Jersey Plan The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state’s population. Compare Virginia Plan and Connecticut Compromise.
Virginia Plan The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state’s share of the U.S. population. Compare Connecticut Compromise and New Jersey Plan.
Connecticut Compromise The compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that established two houses of Congress: the House of Representatives, in which representation is based on a state’s share of the U.S. population, and the Senate, in which each state has two reps
writ of habeas corpus A court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody.
separation of powers An important part of the Madisonian model that requires each of the three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—to be relatively independent of the others so that one cannot control the others.
checks and balances An important part of the Madisonian model designed to limit government’s power by requiring that power be balanced among the different governmental institutions. These institutions continually check one another’s activities.
republic A form of government that derives its power, directly or indirectly, from the people. Those chosen to govern are accountable to those whom they govern.
Federalist Supporters of the U.S. Constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption. See also Anti-Federalists and Federalist Papers.
Anti-Federalist Opponents of the American Constitution at the time when the states were contemplating its adoption. They argued that the Constitution was a class-based document, that it would erode fundamental liberties, and that it would weaken the power of the states.
Federalist Papers A collection of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under the name “Publius” to defend the Constitution in detail. Collectively, these papers are second only to the U.S. Constitution in characterizing the framers’ intent
Bill of Rights The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, drafted in response to some of the Anti-Federalist concerns. These amendments define such basic liberties as freedom of religion, speech, and press
Equal Rights Amendment A constitutional amendment passed by Congress in 1978 and sent to the state legislatures for ratification, stating that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex
Marbury v. Madison The 1803 case in which Chief Justice John Marshall and his associates first asserted the right of the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the Court’s power of judicial review over acts of Congress
judicial review The power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress, and by implication the executive, are in accord with the U.S. Constitution. Judicial review was established by John Marshall and his associates in Marbury v. Madison.
Created by: twakalos