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43 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Why were the colonies located in the New World well-situated to break with the monarchy?
There was a lot of distance between the New World and Great Britain. The distance limited Britain’s capacity to govern the colonies—a problem that gained painful significance during the Revolutionary War.
This was during the colonial era when Britain surrendered to Americans responsibility for managing their own domestic affairs, including taxation. Britain’s first concern was to control America’s foreign commerce, thereby guaranteeing itself a market for British manufactured goods and steady supply of cheap raw materials.
Home Rule
What events led to the dismantling of colonial home rule?
France’s defeat in 1763 ended its aspirations for extensive colonization of America. The Stamp Act was the main provision that tested home rule because the British were broke after the French and Indian War. Because they were broke, they started to tighten their control over the internal affairs of the colonies.
What was the colonial response to the dismantling of home rule?
Their response was “no taxation without representation.”
This law imposed a tax on all printed materials, including legal documents, licenses, insurance papers, and land titles, as well as a variety of consumer goods.
The Stamp Act
This plan would have created a national government. It called for an American army to provide for the colonies’ defense. A popularly elected national legislature with the power to levy taxes, and an executive appointed by the British king.
Franklin's Plan of the Union
Each colony sent in leading professionals, merchants and planters. They all formed the national leadership for the next decade. ____________ passed resolutions condemning British taxes and administrative decrees.
Continental Congresses
This is where the adoption of the Declaration of American Rights occurred, which essentially reasserted home rule, and endorsement of an agreement to ban all trade with Britain until it rescinded the despised taxes and regulations.
First Continental Congress
This is where the nation's leaders issued the nation’s first bonds and established a national currency. It also authorized George Washington to expand the shrinking MA militia into a full-fledged national army.
Second Continental Congress
A document that was drafted in order to put into words the colonies move towards independence from Great Britain. It was important because it was the colonies’ initial stance for freedom.
The Declaration of Independence
Thomas Paine published _______________, which moved the independence issue to center stage. 120,000 copies were sold in three months. He had a plainly stated, irresistible argument that only in the creation of an independent republic would the people find contentment.
Common Sense
What was our first written constitution?
The Articles of Confederation
What was the nature of the government The Articles of Confederation set up?
The government it set up was a highly decentralized system in which the national government derives limited authority from the states rather than directly from citizens. The states select officials of the national government and they have the authority to override the government’s decisions. There was no longer a Continental Congress; it was now a permanent Congress, in which each state received one vote. All of these votes would go into the eventual amending of the constitution.
What were the weaknesses of this first constitution?
The first constitution did not give the national government enough power so that by the time the war came around; there was no executive or legislative branch to control all of the things that were occurring within the war. The states had too much power. The constitution was designed to frustrate national powers which in the end severely hurt the entire country.
How did the shortcomings of government impact the Revolutionary War?
The government could not make timely decisions about things occurring in the war, and they also could not use their authority on the states because the states were unwilling to listen. These shortcomings of the national government hindered the war, and brought the states further apart.
What were some collective action problems that were visible during the war?
Contagious levels of free riding and the reluctance of some states to contribute their fair share for fear that the other states would hold back (a classic prisoner’s dilemma). Also, people were prepared to sacrifice for the war, but only if they could be confident that the other states would also do their part.
After the war ended, what types of domestic issues emerged? Why were these important?
The national debt was incredibly large. The trade situation in the states was really shaky which in turn also hurt the economy. The national government had no authority over the trade situation in the states, and only the states had a say in who was trading what internationally. Many farmers lost their land and other assets because of the economic depression. Markets were disrupted, credit became scarce and personal debt mounted.
Describe the events that led to the drafting of the Constitution.
Shays rebellion was a large part of it as well as the national debt and every shortcoming the national government showed during the war.
What was the Virginia Plan?
It was introduced by Madison and it proposed a two-chamber legislature with representation based on state population. The Lower chamber of legislature would be elected by the citizenry and the upper chamber, executive branch and courts would be elected by the lower house. Legislature can make any law and they can veto any state legislation. Also, the council of revision (composed of executive branch and the court) can veto legislation, but legislature can override by majority vote.
What was the New Jersey Plan?
The New Jersey Plan introduced a single house chamber. There would be equal representation for each state regardless of population. Also, the legislature would have the same power as under the Articles, with added authority to levy taxes and regulate commerce. They can also exercise supremacy clause over state legislation. Plural executive can be removed by legislature (on petition of a majority of states). The courts were appointed by the executive branch. The Supreme Court would hear appeals in a limited number of cases.
This stated that there would be a two-chamber legislature, with lower chamber (House of Representatives) representation based on population and upper chamber (Senate) representation equal for every state). The authority to levy taxes was reserved to the lower chamber.
The Great Compromise
____________ are safeguards against a too-powerful national government that were favored by one group of delegates to the Constitutional Convention (1787).
States rights
what role did the states' right play in the Federal Convention of 1787?
States’ rights advocates supported retaining those features of the Articles of Confederation that guarded state prerogatives, such as state participation in the selection of national officeholders and equal representation for each state regardless of population.
This clause states that congress has the authority to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government in the U.S.
Necessary and Proper Clause
Each of the three branches of government has some capacity to limit, or trump the power of the other two. The concentration of government power could be effectively limited by locating several functions of government in separate and independent institutions. These separate institutions actually share power rather than separating them.
Checks and Balances
Who is Montesquieu?
French philosopher who argued that concentration of government power could be effectively limited by locating several functions of government in separate and independent institutions. He was the main philosopher that inspired checks and balances.
A negative action which would allow the executive to perform a checking functions on the legislature.
A body of electors in each state, chosen by voters, who formally elect the president and vice president of the United States.
Electoral College
A clause in Article VI of the constitution declaring that national laws are the “supreme” law of the land and therefore take precedence over any laws adopted by states or localities.
Supremacy Clause
The authority of a court to declare legislative and executive acts unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
Judicial Review
The result of legislative vote trading. For example, legislators representing urban districts may vote for an agricultural bill provided that legislators from rural districts vote for a mass transit bill.
What efforts went into designing the judicial branch?
The president could appoint the Supreme Court justices and the Senate had confirmation powers. They left it to the Congress to decide whether the national government needed its own lower-level judiciary. The First Congress almost immediately formed a lower federal court system.
Why were states’ rights an issue for many of the delegates at the constitutional convention?
Foreign policy was definitely one of them. There was cutthroat competition between the states for foreign commerce so that Framers took the authority to trade and gave it to the National Government. Also, interstate commerce was changed to national government regulation instead of states’. Slavery was also a big issue.
Why did some advocate that states needed to surrender some of their autonomy to a central agency/government?
They advocated for this cause because they realized that this was necessary in order to undertake joint activities successfully. This would then prevent any state from free riding or otherwise violating their collective agreements.
How did the issue of slavery manifest itself in the Constitution?
The constitution apportioned each state seats in the House of Representatives based on population totals in which each slave would count as three-fifths of a citizen. They also wrote into the Constitution that until 1808, there was a ban on regulation of slaves. There was also a second slavery protection clause. This clause required northern states to return runaway slaves to their masters.
Why were women left out of the Constitution?
First, delegates at the Constitutional Convention were less concerned with individual rights than with making government more effective and establishing proper relations among the institutions they were creating. Second, the Constitution reads as though it was drafted to be as free of gender bias as eighteenth-century usage allowed. They often used persons and citizens instead of the term men. Third, women's political rights simply had not become an issue.
How is the Constitution amended
Amending the Articles of Confederation required unanimous consent of the states. First, they would propose an amendment. Amendments may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of congress or a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of two-thirds of the fifty states. Second, amendments must be ratified by either three-fourths of the fifty state legislatures or three fourths of special constitutional conventions called by the fifty states.
What were the roadblocks to the Constitution’s ratification?
There were many issues between farmers and northeastern merchants because of state legislatures printing cheap paper money. This paper money made it easier for farmers to pay off their debt. The merchants were being hurt and because of this they were opposing the ratification.
This group was led by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and supported ratification of the Constitution in 1787 and 1788.
This group was loosely organized group that opposed ratification of the Constitution, which the group believed would jeopardize individual freedom and states’ rights.
The Anti-Federalists
What were the Federalist Papers and why were they so critical to ratification of the Constitution?
The Federalist Papers consisted of 85 collected essays. Written by Alexander Hamilton. They kept all of these essays continuously showing up in print so that even when the anti-federalists tried to rebut their statements, there was no time because another federalist essay would show up in print. These papers strongly helped Americans understand their government and they help convey the genuine meaning of the constitution which helped move the country towards supporting ratification of the constitution.
Why are Federalist 10 and 51 so critical to our understanding of the Constitution?
Federalist 10 tackles the problem by both exploring the likelihood that tyranny by the majority would arise within a democracy and identifying a solution. It is a powerful, cogent argument grounded in logic. Federalist 51 deals with the delegation problem of keeping the citizenry’s agents honest. The solution lies in pitting politicians against one another through the mutual vetoes embedded in the constitution’s separation of powers and checks and balances.
These are the first ten amendments to the constitution. These are the ones that create and confer powers on the several branches of government of the amendments.
The Bill of Rights