US Government Unit 1 Study Guide

What are the 3 Powers of Government?
Legislative: Power to make laws
Executive: Power to enforce laws
Judicial: Power to interpret laws (determine meaning of law…did someone break the law? Does this go with the constitution?
What is the trade -off that citizens make under a government based on a social contract?
We made the constitution.
What was it about their experience under the British government that made the colonists want a confederate government?
The British government had too much power and abused it. They were too controlling and unfair.
Why, specifically, did the Articles of Confederation fail?
a. No Money
b. No power over the states or their citizens
c. Unenforceable trade agreements
d. Unfair competition between the states
e. States lacked teamwork
f. State governments were not protecting people’s rights.
What issue divided the delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
Representation, Slavery, Power of government to control trade
What did the Virginia Plan specifically call for?
Representation based on size and population, stronger national government
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What did the New Jersey Plan specifically call for?
Representation based on everyone being equal(one vote per state) and one house of congress
How did the Connecticut Compromise (aka the “Great Compromise”) resolve the differences between the Virginia and New Jersey Plan?
2 house congress (one house based on population and other senate based on equal representation)
Why did the colonists create their own governments here when they first arrived from England?
The conditions were different and England was too far away
What were the main ideas of the Declaration of Independence? What was its purpose?
To “break-up” with England, to explain why we need this freedom, and how things should be.
How was the government set up under the Articles of Confederation? Be specific.
-A group of independent states that work together occasionally
-Each state would be like its own country
-They would work together for things like defense, some international trade
What are the 6 purposes of American Government(What do they mean)?
-“…form a more perfect union…”: To improve upon the weaknesses of past governments.
-“…establish justice…”: Make fair laws and enforce them.
-“…insure domestic tranquility…”: Keep peace.
-“…provide for the common defense…”: Protect the people from foreign invasion.
-“…promote the general welfare…”: To allow every citizen to benefit from what the government could provide.
-“…secure the blessings of liberty…”: Protect individual rights.
What is the Force Theory?
One person or group gains control by force, makes others submit their rule.
What is the Divine Right Theory?
God created the state and picked a person (King) to rule.
What is the Evolutionary Theory?
The natural development of government out of early family units.
What is the Social Contract Theory?
The people give up some of their natural rights in exchange for the government to protect their rights.
How much power does the government have?(limited vs. unlimited)
Limited Government: Where the government’s power is limited by something like a constitution.
Constitutional Government: A form of government where the government’s power is limited by a constitution that is written and consented to by the people.
Unlimited Government: Where the government has most or all the power.
Who has the power? (ruled by one vs. ruled by many)
Democracy: Where the people have the power.
Direct: People directly vote for
Indirect: We vote for people who will vote
for stuff for us(ex. Republic)
Dictatorship: Where either one person or a small group of people have unlimited power; uses force to keep control.
Oligarchy: Ruled by small group.
Autocracy: Ruled by one.
How is the power distributed geographically? Politically? (centralized vs. diffused)
Unitary Government: One main place has
all the power. (like D.C. has all the power
no state government)
Confederation Government: Power is
divided up equally. (states share power,
no D.C.)
Federation Government: States do have
power, but there is one main power. (our
U.S. Gov.)
What is a “political state” and what are the different theories of how one is formed?
Political scientists refer to anything with…
Population, defined geographic territory, government (an institution with the power to make, enforce, interpret rules), sovereignty (the source of government power; ability to make rules for itself)
….as a political state. Force Theory, Divine Right Theory, Evolutionary Theory, and Social Contract Theory
What does it mean to have “sovereignty”? What is “popular sovereignty”?
Sovereignty: The authority to rule (power)
Popular Sovereignty: The power of the people.
Who or what is sovereign in a dictatorship? In a democracy?
Dictatorship: Leader
Democracy: The people
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Dictatorship?
Advantages: Efficient, quick to act, stable, simple.
Disadvantages: Serves interests of dictator, not people; threat to rights, lack of freedom.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Unitary Government?
Advantages: Orderly, faster national unity, best for small territories.
Disadvantages: Difficult to work over large area.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Federal Government?
Advantages: People retain sovereignty, “best of both worlds”.
Disadvantages: Inefficient, confusing to the people.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Confederate Government?
Advantages: Governments are closer to/more responsive.
Disadvantages: Lack of national unity, little cooperation.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Presidential Government?
Advantages: Separate power, limits the powers of government, gives the people more control over each branch.
Disadvantages: Inefficient, prolonged conflict between branches, gridlock.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Parliamentary Government?
Advantages: More efficient, faster to act.
Disadvantages: No checks and balances between powers.
What is the benefit of having a social contract? Why would we make this trade-off?
In a contract, you give up something to receive something else.
Give up to a government our power to make, enforce, and interpret laws.
Government pledges to use that power to protect our rights.
How did the British Constitution influence the colonists? What ideas did we take about government from it? (Hint: three things)
a. Government based on contract/rule of law
b. Right of Englishmen
c. Representative Government
How did the Magna Carta, Petition of Rights, and English Bill of Rights affect the colonists?
Magna Carta: Main ideas-
– Government is limited-the king can’t do whatever he wants
-Rules of law-the laws “rule”, EVERYONE has to follow the law
-Due process-the government can’t take action against people without following rules/procedures
-Government is based on a contract(Government must protect people’s right, if not a new government is created)

Petition of Right:
-Taxed could only be raised by Parliament/the people’s consent
-Guarantee of the people’s rights(Right to privacy, life, liberty, government can’t violate these)

Habeas Corpus: (to have the body”)
-Importance: Limits government power

English Bill of Rights:
-These documents and the principles they established make up what is understood to be the British Constitution
-Gave most power of government to Parliament
-Specific list of rights written to guarantee protection of people’s rights
-ex. Trial by jury, no cruel/unusual punishment, can petition(complain) the government
-Soon after free worship and press added

What is the proof that the US believes in and has a social contract with its government?
Without common rules or enforcement by the government, everyone’s natural rights will be insecure… life would be terrible!