Who/What Branch/Level Constitutional Issue(s)

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Historical Examples of Government Action



Constitutional Issue(s)


Articles of Confederation


Federalism & States’ Rights

Weak central government left most power in the hands of the states. This made it ineffective. The central gov. couldn’t even tax. This is why it had to be replaced by the Constitution.

George Washington



Unwritten Constitution


Foreign Policy

Washington set several precedents including the 2 term limit, the use of the military to put down an internal rebellion, isolationism/neutrality, etc.

John Marshall


Judicial Review


Elastic Clause

Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial review, which gave the Supreme Court the power to rule laws or executive actions unconstitutional.

McCulloch v. Maryland allowed the use of the elastic clause “necessary & proper” to create a national bank.

Alexander Hamilton

(Sec. of Treasury)

National vs. States

Loose Constructionism vs. Strict Constructionism

Loose Constructionists like Hamilton believed the federal government should have broad powers such as the power to create a national bank. These powers came from the elastic clause. Strict constructionists like Jefferson want to see most power reserved for the states.





States’ Rights

MO Compromise of 1820

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Compromise of 1850

Andrew Jackson vs. Supreme Court

Executive vs. Judicial


Checks & Balances

Worcestor v. Georgia & Cherokee Nation v. Georgia... The Supreme Court made a ruling & President Jackson refused to enforce it.

Dred Scott v. Sanford


Slavery, property

Slaves considered property, not people. Blacks not citizens, could not sue in the courts. Basically said the MO Compromise was unconstitutional.

Abraham Lincoln

National Government vs. States

Slavery, Federalism, states’ rights


Lincoln did not believe states had the right to secede from the Union. He used force to put down the rebellion of the southern states.

Radical Republicans vs. Andrew Johnson

Legislative Branch vs. Executive Branch

Checks & Balances


Johnson’s vetoes:

Reconstruction Acts:


Tilden v. Hayes

Legislative and Executive Branches

Selection of President in Ties

Compromise of 1877


Woodrow Wilson vs. Congress

Executive vs. States

Foreign Policy: isolationism

Ratification of Treaty of Versailles






National vs. States



Checks on Judicial Branch

Schecter Poultry Corp. v. U.S.


Court Packing:

Wilson, FDR, Nixon,



Executive/Legislative &. Judicial


Civil Liberties vs. National Security

Schenk v. U.S.

Korematsu v. U.S.

NY Times v. U.S.

Warren Court




Rights of the Accused

Gideon v. Wainwright

Miranda v. Arizona

Mapp v. Ohio

Eisenhower, Kennedy & LBJ

National vs. States

14th Amendment vs. states’ rights


Enforcement of Brown v. BOED:


Civil Rights Act of 1964:

Voting Rights Act of 1965


Legislative vs. Executive

Powers of President

Nixon v. U.S.


War Powers Act

Ronald Reagan

National & States


New Federalism... the federal gov. should be smaller and more power should be returned to the states.

Bill Clinton

Legislative vs. Executive

Powers of President




George W. Bush

vs. Al Gore

Executive & Judicial

Selection of President


Bush v. Gore




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