Important Vocabulary Terms and Topics Directions: Circle terms or topics you remember and write a statement to show your understanding.
Articles of Confederation
Land Ordinance of 1785
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
Bill of Rights
United States Constitution
Separation of Powers
Checks and Balances
House of Representatives
Ch. 5, section 1
What is republicanism?
Republicanism, the idea that governments should be based on the consent of the
people, which meant different things to different Americans.
What did the various state constitutions have in common? How were they different?
Similarities: They limited the powers of government leaders. They guaranteed
specific rights for citizens, including freedom of speech, religion, and
the press. State constitutions emphasized liberty rather than equality and reflected a fear of centralized authority.
Differences: Only had a very limited democracy by modern standards.
Granting voting rights to only white males. Property ownership was a requirement for voting. Women were still denied to vote in certain states except New Jersey (allowed for a short period of time).
Why did most states choose a bicameral legislature?
To balance the power of the common people with that of the wealthy and well-educated class.
What is a confederation? What was the purpose of the Articles of Confederation?
Alliance of states permitting these states or nations to act together on matters of mutual concerns in which two levels of government share fundamental powers. To create a limited national government, to create a set of laws to govern the United States, and to leave most of the political power with the states.
What was the structure of the new government under the Article of Confederation?
A Congress who delegates were chosen by state legislatures, with no Presidents
(executive branch) or national court system (judicial branch).
Who made up the Congress? Why were executive powers assigned to committees made up of members of Congress?
The delegates from the states, chosen by the state legislatures. So that no one
person, such as a President, could have too much power.
Why did differences between the states cause problems of representation in the new government?
Problems of representation in the new government was people could not decide whether delegates to a new government should represent a state’s population or each state should send the same number of representatives.
How did the nation’s leaders settle the disagreement over the issue of representation?
To keep fairness among the states, the size of the small states (population had fewer citizens) would have equal representation to a large states (which had high numbers of citizens).Political power was equal regardless of size and a single state could stall the amendment process.
What powers did the government hold (strengths) and lack (weaknesses) under the articles of confederation?
National government had the power to declare war, make peace, and sign treaties (with at least two-thirds (9 of 13 states) of the states approval). It could borrow money, set standards for coins and for weights and measures, establish a postal service, and deal with Native American peoples.
It lacked the power to tax and each state had only one vote (regardless of population) which could result in laws being vetoed by a single state. Articles could be amended only if all states approved. Congress could not regulate interstate or foreign trade. The articles did not create an executive branch to enforce laws and had no national court system to interpret the meaning of laws or settle legal disputes. There was no national unity. There were 13 separate states that lacked national unity.
Explain the Land Ordinance of 1785. How did the Land Ordinance of 1785 provide for the orderly development of the Northwest Territory? How did it make land affordable?
Land Ordinance of 1785 established a plan for dispensing, or distributing, the public lands. By running a grid of lines north to south and east to west, federal surveyors divided the land into hundreds of townships, each six square miles. Once the land was surveyed it would be divided among families in small parcels. Each township was then subdivided in 36 “sections” of one square mile (640 acres) to be sold for at least one dollar per acre. This would allow for not only the rich to purchase land but poor families. 11. Explain the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. List the provisions for statehood.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided for dividing the land into three to five territories and established the requirements for the admission of new states. 1. Congress would appoint a territorial governor, secretary, and three judges. 2. When a territory had 5,000 voting residents, they could establish an elective assembly, it could write a constitution and elect their own government. 3. When the population reached 60,000, it could apply to be a state, provided the new state adopted a republican constitution.
What were plans for settling and governing the Northwest Territory under the Articles of Confederation?
The Land Ordinance of 1785 outline a system for distributing public lands, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided a government for the lands.
What were some of the political and economic problems the country encountered under the Articles of Confederation?
Political issues: National unity—each state functioned independently by pursuing its own interests rather than those of the nation as a whole. The population of states was not properly represented. Amending the articles—each state must agree to change the articles, one single state could stall the amending process, which resulted in changes in government being difficult to achieve. Economic problem: Huge debt— that congress has amassed during the revolutionary war ($190 million) in which the continental congress had to borrow from foreign countries. After the war, the continental money was worthless. Secondly, the country was not able to impose tax and regulate interstate or foreign trade.
What foreign-relation problems did the new country encounter?
The United States could not pay its debts to the British (war debt). The United States not able to compensate loyalists for property loss suffered during the American Revolution. As a result, Great Britain refused to evacuate their military forts on the Great Lakes. Spain presence on the borders of the United States posed another threat to westward expansion. Spain also closed its waters on the Mississippi.
Why were some states afraid of centralized authority and a strong national government?
The states felt that a centralized authority would diminish their own
independence. They may have remembered the failure to the English
Commonwealth under Cromwell. They also feared the kingly power if they
decided on a strong central government.
16. What were the causes and consequences of Shay’s Rebellion?
Shay’s Rebellion was a protest by farmers who faced problems from debts they owed to creditors. Daniel Shay’s protest of the Massachusetts taxes included 1,200 farmers attempting to raid arsenal resulted in 4 deaths by the state militia.
This rebellion made people talk about the need for a stronger national government. 17. Why do you think news of Shays’ rebellion made states decide to participate in the Philadelphia convention?
Shay’s rebellion made states decide to participate in the Philadelphia convention
because some states had already feared uprising in their state. Shay’s rebellion
problems. Questions for Review 1. What were the east-west boundaries of the United States as defined in the Treaty of
A. The Atlantic to the east and the Pacific to the west.
B. The Mississippi to the west and the Appalachians to the east.
C. The Atlantic to the east and the Mississippi River to the west.
D. The Atlantic to the east and the Ohio River to the west.
2. Republicanism is the idea that
A. governments should be based on the consent of the people.
B. a strong national government should hold supreme power.
C. government is necessary to force people to place the national good above their
D. none of the above.
3. Why did states fear a strong central government?
A. They wanted to repeal the Intolerable Acts and have more freedoms. B. They liked to have independence and little organization.
C. They did not want the government to return to times similar to under King
D. They wanted to express themselves together.
4. The ability to ____ was one power given to the government under both the Articles of
Confederation and the United States Constitution.
A. regulate trade C. coin money
B. protect copyrights D. impose taxes
5. The government set forth in the Constitution is a federal system because it
A. divides power between national and state governments.
B. gives the national government greater power than the state governments.
C. divides the federal government into three branches.
D. prevents any of the three branches of government from becoming too
6. Which of the following problems did Congress experience under the Articles of
A. Congress could not convince Thomas Jefferson to be a diplomat to France.
B. Congress could not tax the states and therefore had difficulty repaying its
C. Congress did not have the authority to deal with affairs relating to Native
D. Congress could not raise a military to defend itself at Yorktown.
7. What was the main problem with the system of representation by state (rather than
population) that was adopted by the Confederation?
A. States with small population had the same voting power as states with large
The population was so equal and the majority of the people were heard.
The states with small population wanted more voting power than states with larger population.
None of the above.
Chapter 5: Creating the Constitution (1787-1789)
Ch. 5, section 2
Why did the leaders call for the Constitutional Convention and what was their purpose?
Shays’ Rebellion revealed the weakness of the national government under the Articles of Confederation in its lack to stop states from rebelling. The Articles of Confederation were flawed and needed major changes. The delegates’ purpose was to make changes to the Articles of Confederation.
What was the role of George Washington in calling the constitutional convention?
George Washington’s role in calling the convention was to speak out against the
rebellion and call for a change of government. His leadership in the American
Revolution was very convincing to others in need of a strong support for a strong
Why was George Washington selected to be president of the convention?
George Washington was selected president of the convention because he became a great leader during the time of turmoil when the country had no official leader. His courage, dedication, bravery, and intelligence of the victory in the American Revolution.
Characterize the conflict between big states and small states.
Big states: wanted congress to be composed of two houses and delegates should be assigned according to population (favored representation of each state based on population). Small states: wanted a congress of one house because each state should be preserved and each state should have one vote (favored equal representation of each state).
Who was James Madison?
James Madison—the Father of our Constitution, Madison dedicated himself to
recording notes and speeches in the Philadelphia conventions. His political
leadership during the time of need allowed him to obtain the title. Madison also proposed the Virginia plan.
What plan for government was in the Virginia plan?
Madison’s Virginia plan—It divided power among the three branches
(Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) and proposed a bicameral, or two-house,
legislature, with membership based on each state’s population (meaning states
with larger population would have more seats than states with fewer residents.
Voters would elect members of the lower house, who would then elect members
of the upper house. This gave more power to states with large populations. The
legislature would have the power to veto state laws. A strong President would
head the Executive branch.
Who was William Patterson? What counterproposal measures were included in the New Jersey plan?
William Patterson’s New Jersey plan—proposed a unicameral or single-house legislature, in which each state had an equal representation (voice). This gained support of the small states and recognized states’ sovereignty. An executive committee would head the government, not a President.
Who was Roger Sherman?
Roger Sherman of Connecticut (a political leader, successful merchant who studied law and became politically involved in the convention; he also helped draft the Declaration of Independence) introduced the Great Compromise—which resolved the issue of state representation in the national legislature. It offered a two-house Congress to satisfy both small and big states.
What is another name for the Great Compromise? What parts of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan did the Great Compromise bring together?
Most state plans were named after the state the delegate represented so the Great Compromise was also called the “Connecticut Compromise”. It combined the New Jersey’s Plan’s proposal of equal representation for all states with the Virginia Plan’s proposal of a bicameral legislature by making the members of the Senate equal in number for each state and the members of the House of Representative dependent on population.
How did the Great Compromise settle the issue of political representation?
Great Compromise each state would have equal representation in the Senate,
or upper house. The size of the population of each state would determine its representation in the House of Representatives, or lower house. Voters of each state would chose members of the House. State legislatures (House Representatives) would choose members in the Senate.
Why was Sherman’s compromise a success?
Sherman’s plan pleased both those who favored government by the people and those who defended states rights insofar as it preserved the power of state legislatures (resolved issues with large and small states).
Why did Sherman’s Great Compromise fail to resolve conflict?
Sherman’s plan failed to resolve conflict because the population based on representation raised the question of whether slaves should be counted as people.
Explain the debate regarding the representation in Congress.
There was still the issue of slaves when it came to population. Most southern states raised the question on whether slaves should be counted as people toward population, in order to get more representatives from their state.
What was the three-fifths compromise?
Three-fifths (3/5) Compromise—called for 3/5 of a state's slaves could be counted as population within that state’s representing body. The increase in population resulted in additional seats in Congress and additional electoral votes. Northerners disagreed due to having less slaves resulting in less representation in the house. Southerners agreed due to having more slaves resulting in more representation in the house and more power in presidential elections.
In what two ways does the constitution divide power?
Federalism—Power should be divided between the state and national government. The national government is separated by the three branches of government. The Constitution divided the national government into these three branches called the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
Which powers were granted to the national government and to the state governments?
The national government has the power to control foreign affairs, provide national defense, regulate trade between states, and coin money. The state governments have the power to provide and supervise education, establish marriage laws, and regulate trade within the state.
In what ways did the delegates limit the authority of the federal government?
The new system of government was a form of federalism which divides the powers of government between the national government and state government. Powers granted to the national government by the constitution are known as delegated powers or enumerated powers. Powers kept by the states are called reserved powers. Both levels of government share such powers called concurrent powers such as the right to tax, to borrow money, to pay debt, and establish courts.
What new system of national government did the delegates agree upon at the Constitutional Convention of 1787?
The delegates agreed to adopt a system that divided power between the federal government and sate governments; the federal government would have three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The Legislative branch would be bicameral, with one house’s representation based on a state’s population and the other house’s representation equal for all states. A strong President would head the Executive branch and federal courts would make up the Judicial branch.
Explain the three branches of government.
Legislative branch makes laws and changes to existing laws based
on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (House of Representatives & Senate); Executive branch carry out/enforce laws (President, Vice President, and Cabinet); and Judicial branch studies--interpret/reviews laws (U.S. Supreme Court).
How does the system of checks and balances strengthen rather than weaken the government’s power?
The system preserves the power of government by ensuring that no branch becomes powerful enough to diminish the power of another branch. This maintained separation of power among the branches of the federal government is called checks and balances—provided to prevent one branch from dominating the others.
Why do you think the framers of the constitution distrusted the popular will of the people to elect the President?
The framers did not trust the uneducated masses to elect a President because many educated leaders felt the masses would not be informed of presidential duties to help benefit them in the long run.
What is the Electoral College? Who represents the Electoral College?
The leaders of the constitutional convention feared placing to much power in the hands of the people. The delegates came up with the Electoral College. This would be a group of delegates chosen by a state to vote for the president and vice president (would cast ballots for the candidates) at this time the Electoral College would at the Constitutional convention would select Senators and House of Representatives.
What difficulties might presidents encounter by winning the electoral vote but losing the popular vote?
The president would not have the support of the people behind him. He would not become a popular president; every move the president makes would be criticized. His legacy might be viewed by some as illegitimate. They may have a harder time finding support for their programs. The country would be divided on issues affecting the nation.
In what election year did this occur recently? Who were the candidates involved?
The 2000 Presidential election: George Bush and Al Gore. Al Gore won the popular vote by a margin of almost 540,000 votes. The Electoral College gave George Bush 271 electoral votes (one more than the needed 270 to win the presidency).
Chapter 5: Creating the Constitution (1781-1789)
Ch. 5, section 3
Who were the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists?
Federalists—supports of the Constitution because they favored a balance of power between the states and the national government. Anti-federalists—opposed having such a strong central government, thus against the Constitution.
What were the Anti-Federalists’ major arguments against the Constitution?
The Anti-Federalists feared that government would serve the interests of the privileged minority and ignore the rights of the majority. They also stated the Constitution did not protect the individual rights, would threaten people’s liberties, that a single government could not govern such a large country, and that there would be abuse of power by such a strong central government. Finally, they wanted the Bill of Rights to protect personal liberties of individual citizens.
What views did the Federalists hold toward the argument for the Constitution?
The Federalists stated a strong central government was needed to tackle the new
nation’s problems and insisted that the division of powers and the system of
checks and balances would protect Americans from the tyranny of
What did The Federalist argue?
It was a series of 85 essays that analyzed the Constitution and explained why ratification of the Constitution would be beneficial. It also argued that the division of powers and the system of checks and balances would protect Americans from tyrannical authority or a centralized authority.
What were the arguments made by the Anti-Federalists and Federalists over adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution?
Anti-Federalists stated the Constitution created a powerful national government,
making the Bill of Rights necessary to protect the people. Federalists stated the Constitution gave only limited powers to the national government and so it could not violate the rights of the states or people.
What role did James Madison play in the creation of the Bill of Rights?
James Madison, being a leading Federalist and framer of the constitution, used his experience and powers of persuasion to win support for the United States Constitution. He promised to ratify the Bill of Rights, if the states ratified the Constitution.
What role did the Bill of Rights play in ratification of the Constitution? In what year was the constitution ratified?
The Federalists pledged to add the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. This pledge would help them win the support of additional states they needed to ensure ratification. Before the Constitution could go into effect it had to be ratified by 2/3 of the states. Ratification—official approval—required the agreement of at least nine states of the thirteen states. The Constitution was ratified on September 17, 1789—the Bill of Rights added December 1791. Delaware was the first and New Hampshire was the ninth.
List the first ten amendments to the US Constitution.
The first 10 amendments: the Bill of Rights
I - Freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition.
II - Right to keep and bear arms.
III -Conditions for quarters of soldiers (protection from having to house
IV- Right of search and seizure regulated (protection from having home being
V - Provisions concerning prosecution (provides that certain steps be taken if
someone is charged with a crime).
VI - Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.
VII - Right to a trial by jury (civil lawsuits, court cases involving private rights).
VIII - Excessive bail/cruel punishment (right to fair punishment).
IX – Rights maintained by the people (to make sure rights not mentioned in
the Bill of Rights would also be protected).
X - Rights of the states under Constitution.
How did the Bill of Rights protect personal liberties?
The first eight amendments spell out the personal liberties the states had requested. (1st) Religious and Political freedoms, (2nd) Right to Bear Arms, (3rd) Freed from quartering soldiers, (4th) Freed against unreasonable searches and seizures, (5th) Rights of accused persons, (6th) Right to a speedy public trial, (7th) right to trial by jury, and (8th) limits on fines and punishments. The ninth and tenth amendments impose general limits on the powers of the federal government.
Why do you think the third amendment was added in the Bill of Rights?
The third amendment (freedom from quartering soldiers/troops) which prevented the government from housing troops in private homes during peacetime because this violated privacy of others also everyone was familiar with amendment #2 (right to bear arms).
How did Americans ratify the US Constitution, and what are its basic principles?
In each state, a specially elected convention debated ratification and determined whether to approve the Constitution. The approval of nine of the thirteen states was needed and obtained. The key principles of the Constitution are popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, federalism, checks and balances, and representative government. These principles and because the Constitution provides a process has enabled it to endure for more than 200 years.
Why do you think the delegates made amending the Constitution difficult?
So that amending the Constitution would be taken seriously and changescould not be made only to suit or favor a specific individual, group, or cause.
How many times has the U.S. Constitution been changed? What are these changes called?
The Constitution has been changed 27 times=27 amendments added.
Questions for Review
The first ten (10) amendments to the Constitution are known as what and were added for what purpose?
The Bill of Rights, added to define the branches of government under the Constitution.
The Preamble, added to protect the citizens from government abuses.
The Bill of Rights, added to protect the civil rights of citizens.
Article III, added to prevent the courts from overriding acts of Congress.
for executing/enforcing the laws; it consists of the President, Vice President, and
27. Judicial Branch—Article Three of the US Constitution, this branch is responsible
for interpreting the laws; it consists of the US Supreme Court (9 Justices—1 Chief
Justice and 8 Associate Justices).
28. Checks and Balances—a guiding principle in the US Constitution that are to ensure
no one branch can become too powerful; it is to monitor the actions and limit the
powers of the branches—two of the three branches have to agree.
29. Electoral College—a group of persons chosen from each state to indirectly elect the
President and Vice President of the United States; usually made up of members in
the House of Representatives and Senate.
30. House of Representatives—members of the Congress considered the lower house
elected by people of their state; based on population—number equals 435; must be
at least 25 yrs. old, serve 2 yr. terms; terms unlimited; also known as the “people
house”—vote for people.
31. Senate—members of the Congress considered the upper house elected by people of
their state; based on equality—number equals 2 per state (100); must be at least 30
yrs. old, serve 6 yr. terms, terms unlimited; has authority to put individual on trial,
“voice of public opinion”.
32. Impeachment—the official removal of a public official; accusation against a public
official of wrongdoing in office.
33. Supreme Court—members of the Judicial branch, which includes nine justices (1
Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices), they serve for a lifetime; appointed by the
President and confirmed/approved by Congress (Senate).
34. Judicial Review—the Supreme Court has the power to review acts of the federal
government and to cancel any acts that are unconstitutional, or violate a provision in
35. Amendments—changes to the US Constitution; total 27