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Unit 1- Constitution

AP Government: Constitutional Underpinnings

Key TermsDefinition
Bicameral Legislature Two-house Legislature
Block Grant Money granted by the federal government to the states for a broad purpose.
Categorical Grant Money granted by the federal government to the states for a narrow purpose.
Centralists Those who favor greater national authority rather than state authority.
Checks and Balances Each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches.
Commerce Clause Gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states, foreign nations, and among Indian tribes.
Concurrent Powers Those held by both Congress and the states.
Confederation System in which sovereign states are only loosely tied to a central government.
Decentalists Those who favor greater state authority rather than national authority.
Direct Democracy System in which the people rule themselves.
Elastic Clause Congress can exercise those powers that are “necessary and proper” for carrying out the enumerated powers.
Enumerated Powers That are specifically granted to Congress in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution. Also known as expressed powers.
Federalism Constitutional sharing of power between a central government and state governments.
Dual Federalism System in which the national government and state governments are coequal, with each being dominant within its respective sphere.
Copperative Federalism System in which both federal government and state governments cooperate in solving problems.
New Federalism System in which the national government restores greater authority back to the states.
Federalist Papers Group of 85 essays written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay for the purpose of persuading the people of New York to adopt the Constitution.
Formal Amendment A change in the actual wording of the Constitution.
Implied Powers Those that are “necessary and proper” to carry out Congress’ enumerated powers, and are granted to Congress through the elastic clause.
Indirect Democracy System in which the people are rule by their representatives. Also known as representative democracy, or republic.
Inherent Powers Foreign policy powers held by the national government by virtue of its being a national government.
Informal Amendment A change in the meaning, but not the wording, of the Constitution, most likely through a court decision.
Judicial Review Power of the courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws and government actions. Established by Marbury v. Madison, 1803.
Mandates Requirements imposed by the national government upon the states. Some are unfunded mandates, i.e., they are imposed by the national government, but lack funding.
Marbury vs. Madison 1803: Established the power of judicial review.
McCulloch vs. Maryland 1819: Established principle of national supremacy and validity of implied powers.
Police Powers Powers of the states to protect the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the public.
Popular Sovereignty Principle in which ultimate political authority rests with the people.
Reserved Powers Powers held by the states through the 10th Amendment. Any power not granted to the US government is “reserved” for the states.
Separation of Powers Principle in which the powers of government are separated among three branches: legislative, executive, judicial.
Shay's Rebellion 1786 revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and foreclosure that was a factor in the calling of the Constitutional Convention.
Supermajority A majority greater than a simple majority of one over half.
Unicameral Legislature One-house Legislature
Created by: mrcoia



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