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Enlightenment and Founding Document Terms

checks and balances a principle of the federal government, according to the U.S. Constitution, that allows each branch of government to limit the power of the other branches
consent of the governed an agreement made by the people to establish a government and abide by its laws
Enlightenment a period in European history when many educated people stressed the importance of learning and reasoning; education was considered the key to understanding and solving society’s problems
natural law laws passed by government to protect natural rights
natural rights the belief that individuals are born with basic rights that cannot be taken away by governments; life, liberty, and property
separation of powers the structure of the federal government, according to the U.S. Constitution, that sets up three branches with their own distinct powers and responsibilities
social contract an implied agreement among the people of an organized society that defines the rights, duties, and limitations of the governed and the government
Common Sense a pamphlet published by Thomas Paine in 1776 to convince the American colonists to support becoming independent from England
due process the right of people accused of crimes to have laws that treat them fairly, so that they cannot lose their life or freedom without having their legal rights protected
English Bill of Rights a government document that expanded the powers of the English Parliament and expanded the rights of the people, as well as further limited the rights of the king; written by the members of the English Parliament in 1689
limited government a government that has been limited in power by a constitution, or written agreement
Magna Carta a government document that limited the power of the king of England and protected the rights of the nobility; written by the English nobles in 1215
Mayflower Compact an agreement between individuals that created a government that would provide order and protect the rights of the colonists; written by a group of English Puritans in Massachusetts in 1620
Preamble the introduction to the U.S. Constitution
rights a set of things that people believe they should be free to do
Rule of Law Everyone must follow the law. No one is above the law
self-government popular or representative system where the people create and run their own government
Thomas Paine the colonial journalist who wrote Common Sense in 1776
Created by: shauna.noble