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Standard 5

U.S. Constitution

QuestionAnswer
Articles of Confederation Original governing document of U.S. Did not have executive branch (president), power to tax, regulate commerce, or establish a national currency. States had more power than national government and often came in conflict with one another.
Shays' Rebellion Led by Daniel Shays; group of farmers angry about debt troubles tried (unsuccessfully) to seize a federal arsenal in Massachusetts. This event convinced many that the Articles of Confederation needed to be revised.
Constitutional Convention Took place in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Originally intended to revise Articles of Confederation, ended up writing a new document (the Constitution). George Washington was elected president of the Convention.
Federalists Group of people who supported the Constitution & wanted a stronger national (federal) government
Anti-Federalists Opposed the Constitution; believed it was too powerful and would eliminate the power of the states; also thought it should describe the rights guaranteed to the states and to American citizens
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay Prominent Federalists; Authors of The Federalist Papers.
The Federalist Papers Series of essays which attempted to persuade Anti-Federalists to accept the Constitution
Bill of Rights Federalists promised to add a document to the Constitution guaranteeing states' rights and individuals' rights; helped to convince Anti-Federalists to accept the Constitution
Great Compromise Sought to accommodate the needs of both small and large states & give all equal representation in the legislature. Created 2 houses: House of Representatives (representation based on population) and Senate (equal representation for all states)
Three-Fifths Compromise Slave states wanted to count slaves as part of their population for the purpose of determining representation in the House; Free states thought this was unfair. They agreed that 3/5 of the slave population could count towards the states' population.
Slave trade The Constitution stated that the national government could not make any laws banning or restricting the slave trade for 20 years. Additionally, Northern states agreed to return runaway slaves to their owners.
Limited government Ensuring that the government would not become too powerful by placing limits on its power and separating its power into 3 different branches
Baron Charles de Montesquieu French Enlightenment thinker who inspired much of the Constitution; had the idea of separation of powers
Federalism The system where power is divided between state and national governments
Executive branch Headed by President; enforces laws
Legislative branch Congress, split into House of Representatives and Senate, makes laws
Judicial branch Headed by Supreme Court; interprets laws
Checks and balances The concept that each branch of government has the power to "check" actions of other branches. Example: President vetoes bill; Congress overrides veto; Supreme Court declares law unconstitutional
Bill of Rights First 10 amendments to the Constitution. Proposed by James Madison, approved by Congress, ratified by the states. Outlined specific individual rights and protections
10th Amendment Reserved any un-enumerated (unstated) rights/responsibilities of government to the states (i.e., national government can only perform the tasks expressly given to them by the Constitution)
Presidency of George Washington Established precedents which other presidents followed: - Cabinet of advisors - Foreign policy: non-intervention in European affairs - Trade with Britain - Tax liquor (to repay war debts) - Use of Militia to enforce the law
Whiskey Rebellion Occurred in Western Pennsylvania; grain farmers who made liquor from their excess crops were hit hard by the liquor tax & attacked federal tax collectors; Washington's militia forces put down the rebellion
Origin of political parties Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, had differing ideas on how the government should be run
Federalists Alexander Hamilton's political party; wanted to expand powers of government to stabilize nation & economy; supported a national bank
Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson's political party; believed government should limit its powers to those described by the Constitution
John Adams Defeated Thomas Jefferson in election of 1796 to become President (Jefferson was his Vice-President). Set many other precedents for the running of the country and office of president.
Alien and Sedition Acts Passed by Federalist Congress to support Adams; increased citizenship requirements & attempted to stop criticism of the government by limiting speech & press rights. Jefferson & Madison argued states could refuse to enforce federal laws they opposed
Created by: rbisacky