American Government Unit 1 Study Guide

Boston Tea Party
Organized by Boston patriots organized protest to the 1773 Tea Act. In December 1773, Samuel Adams warned Boston residents of the consequences of the Tea Act. Boston was boycotting the tea in protest of the Tea Act and would not let the ships bring the tea ashore. Finally, on the night of December 16, 1773, colonials disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard. They did so because they were afraid that Governor Hutchinson would secretly unload the tea because he owned a share in the cargo.
Declaration of Independence
Document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British monarch and declared their independence., this document was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It established the 13 colonies as independent states, free from rule by Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of this document.
Virginia Plan
Plan that was presented to the Constitutional Convention and proposed the creation of a bicameral legislature with representation in both houses proportional to population. The Virginia Plan favored the large states, which would have a much greater voice. In opposition, the small states proposed the New Jersey Plan. In the end, the two sides found common ground through the Connecticut Compromise. *introduced by Edmund Randolph
The New Jersey Plan
Plan that offered a unicameral Congress with each state having one vote. Congress would sit atop the governmental hierarchy with the most power, like taxing and regulating trade. The executive and judicial branches would be separate from Congress and would not be as powerful. Larger states did not like this plan either, and believed they should receive some acknowledgement of power based on their size. A huge debate erupted that eventually led to an important compromise. *introduced by William Paterson
Samuel Adams
He was appointed as a representative of the Continental Congress and even signed the Declaration of Independence. He became the Governor of Massachusetts after he quit working for the Continental Congress. Helped lead the revolt of the Stamp Act of 1765., Massachusetts Revolutionary leader and propagandist who organized opposition to British policies after 1764; radical member of Sons of Liberty, worried that violence of group would discredit it; proposed united plea for repeal of Townshend Duties and another pan-colonial congress; circulated his own exaggerated version of events around colonies, agitator and leader of the Sons of Liberty, who supported independence as soon as the British veered from salutary neglect; he was the primary leader of the Boston Tea Party and later a delegate to the Continental Congress.
First Continental Congress
September 1774, delegates from twelve colonies sent representatives to Philadelphia to discuss a response to the Intolerable Acts., The First Continental Congress convened on September 5, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves, voted for a boycott of British imports, and sent a petition to King George III, conceding to Parliament the power of regulation of commerce but stringently objecting to its arbitrary taxation and unfair judicial system., a convention and a consultative body that met for seven weeks, from September 5 to October 26, 1774, in Philadelphia; it was the American’s response to the Intolerable Acts; considered ways of redressing colonial grievances; all colonies except Georgia sent 55 distinguished men in all; John Adams persuaded his colleagues toward revolution; they wrote a Declaration of Rights and appeals to British American colonies, the king, and British people; created the Association which called for a complete boycott of English goods; the Association was the closet thing to a written constitution until the Constitution; as time wore on, the petitions were rejected; created a pathway to revolution
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Articles of Confederation
this document, the nation’s first constitution, was adopted by the second continental congress in 1781 during the revolution. the document was limited because states held most of the power, and congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage., 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., The document establishing a “league of friendship” among the American states in 1781. The government proved too weak to rule effectively and was replaced by the current Constitution.
Confederation
A political system in which a weak central government has limited authority, and the states have ultimate power. A league of independent states.
Thomas Jefferson
He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Although the Anti-Federalists failed to block the ratification of the Constitution, they did ensure that the Bill of Rights would be created to protect individuals from government interference and possible tyranny. Drafted by a group led by James Madison, consisted of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which guaranteed the civil rights of American citizens. A collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. While originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, most of their provisions have since been held to apply to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment. The amendments were introduced by James Madison to the 1st United States Congress as a series of legislative articles. They were adopted by the House of Representatives on August 21, 1789, formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress on September 25, 1789, and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791, through the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States. While twelve amendments were passed by Congress, only ten were originally passed by the states. Of the remaining two, one was adopted as the Twenty-seventh Amendment and the other technically remains pending before the states.
First Amendment
The constitutional amendment that establishes the four great liberties: freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, and of assembly.
Second Amendment
Part of the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution in 1791. The Amendment says “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Third Amendment
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Fourth Amendment
Protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures. No soldier, Gov agent, or police can search your home without a search warrant.
Fifth Amendment
the constitutional amendment designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and punishment without the due process of law.
Sixth Amendment
the constitutional amendment designed to protect individuals accused of crimes. It includes the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to a speedy and public trial.
Seventh Amendment
in suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the united states, than according to the rules of the common law.
Eighth Amendment
the constitutional amendment that forbids cruel and unusual punishment, although it does not define this phrase. Through the fourteenth amendment, this bill of rights provision applies to the states.
Ninth Amendment
Part of the Bill of Rights that reads “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Tenth Amendment
Amendment stating that the powers not delegated to the federal gov. are reserved to the states
Roe v. Wade
The 1973 Supreme Court decision holding that a state ban on all abortions was unconstitutional. The decision forbade state control over abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy, permitted states to limit abortions to protect the mother’s health in the second trimester, and permitted states to protect the fetus during the third trimester.
New Federalism
a policy in 1969, that turned over powers and responsibilities of some U.S. federal programs to state and local governments and reduced the role of national government in domestic affairs (states are closer to the people and problems)
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
the Supreme Court upheld the power of the national government and denied the right of a state to tax the federal bank using the Constitution’s supremacy clause. The Court’s broad interpretation of the necessary and proper clause paved the way for later rulings upholding expansive federal powers
Shay’s Rebellion
a rebellion by debtor farmers in western Massachusetts, led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays, against Boston creditors. it began in 1786 and lasted half a year, threatening the economic interests of the business elite and contributing to the demise of the Articles of Confederation.
Great Compromise
the agreement by which Congress would have two houses, the Senate (where each state gets equal representation-two senators) and the House of Representatives (where representation is based on population).
Federalists
Supporters of the Constitution that were led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. They firmly believed the national government should be strong. They didn’t want the Bill of Rights because they felt citizens’ rights were already well protected by the Constitution.
Gibbons v. Ogden
A landmark case decided in 1824 in which the Supreme Court interpreted very broadly the clause in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution giving Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, encompassing virtually every form of commercial activity.
Cooperative Federalism
A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame for programs that work poorly. Cooperation among federal, state, &local govts; “marble cake” federalism
Dual Federalism
Doctrine holding that the national government is supreme in its sphere, the states are supreme in theirs, and the two spheres should be kept separate.
categorical grant
Federal grants in which the recipient has little discretion over how the money is spent. The national government sets narrowly defined rules for use of funds and often requires the states or local governments to provide matching funds. These grants account for 90% of federal aid dollars. Examples include Head Start, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and the Interstate Highway System
block grants
These are broad state grants to states for prescribed activities—welfare, child care, education, social services, preventive health care, and health services—with only a few strings attached. States have greater flexibility in deciding how to spend block grant dollars, but when the federal funds for any fiscal year are gone, there are no more matching federal dollars.
Civil Rights
right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equality
Civil Liberties
the freedoms we have to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair treatment
symbolic speech
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the first amendment.
due process rights
Guarantees by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution establishing legal procedures that recognize the protection of an individual’s life, liberty, and property.
Eleventh Amendment
a citizen of one state cannot sue another state
Twelfth Amendment
Beginning in 1804, electors would vote separately for President and Vice President
Thirteenth Amendment
the constitutional amendment ratified after the Civil War that forbade slavery and involuntary servitude.
Fourteenth Amendment
made “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” citizens of the country
Fifteenth Amendment
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
This act made racial, religious, and sex discrimination by employers illegal and gave the government the power to enforce all laws governing civil rights, including desegregation of schools and public places.
Plessy v. Furguson
Court case in which the Supreme Court declared that segregation–as long as it was “seperate but equal”–was constitutional. It ruled that seperate but equal facilities did not violate the 14th ammendment
Brown v. Board of Education
1954 – The Supreme Court overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, declared that racially segregated facilities are inherently unequal and ordered all public schools desegregated. Ended all “legal segregation”
Branches of Government
The three sections include the legislative (makes laws), executive (enforces laws), and judicial (interprets laws); found in federal and state governments., Legislative, Executive, Judicial