Chapter 2: Constitutional Democracy: Promoting Liberty and Self Government

  1. a government that is subject to strict limits on its lawful uses of power and , hence , on its ability to deprive people of their liberty.
    Limited Government
  2. the principle that the people are the ultimate source and should have a voice in their governing. (In practice, self-government has come to mean a government based on majority rule.)
    Self Government
  3. a voluntary agreement by individuals to form a government, which is then obliged to act within the confines of the agreement.
    Social Contract
  4. those rights that persons theoretically possessed in the state of nature, prior to the formation of governments. These rights, including those of, life, liberty, and property, are considered inherent and, as such, are inalienable. Since government is established by people, government has the responsibility to preserve these rights.
    Inalienable (Natural) Rights
  5. the fundamental law that defines how a government will legitimately operate.
  6. a constitutional proposal for a strong Congress with two chambers, both of which would be based on numerical representation, thus granting more power to the larger states.
    Virginia (Large State) Plan
  7. a constitutional proposal for a strengthened Congress but one in which each state would have a single vote, thus granting the small states the smae legislative power as a large state.
    New Jersey (Small State) Plan
  8. the agreement at the constitutional convention to create a two0chamber Congress with the House apportioned by population and the Senate apportioned equally by state.
    Great Compromise
  9. a compromise worked out at the 1787 convention between northern states and southern states. Each slave was to be counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of federal taxation and congreeional apportionment (number of seats in the House of Representative.)
    Three-Fifths Compromise
  10. a term used to describe opponents of the Constitution during the debate over ratification.
    Anti - Federalists
  11. a term used to discribe proponents of the Constitution during the debate over ratification.
  12. the principle that individuals should be free to act and think as they chose, provided they do not infringe unreasonably on the freedon and well-being of others.
  13. the method of limiting the U.S. governmenr by confining its scope of authority to those powers expressly granted in the Constitution.
    Grants of Power
  14. a constitutional means of limiting government by listing those powers that government is expressly prohibited from using.
    Denials of Power
  15. the division of the powers of government among seperate institutions or branches.
    Seperation of Powers
  16. the principle that as a way to limit government, its powers should be divided amoung seperate branches, each of which also shares in the power of the others as a means of checking and balancing them. The result is that no one branch can exercise power decisivly without the support or acquiescence of the others.
    Separated Institutions Sharing Power
  17. the elaborate system of divided spheres of authority provided by the U.S. Constitution as a means of controlling the powers of government. The seperation of powers amoung the branches of the national government. ferderalism, and the different methods of selecting national officers are all oart of this system.
    Checks and Balances
  18. the first ten amendments to the Constitution. They include rights such as freedom of speech and religion.
    Bill of Rights
  19. the power of courts to decide whether a governmental institution has acted within its constitutional powers and, if not, to declare its action null and void.
    Judicial Review
  20. the potential of a majority to monopolize power for its own gain to the detriment of minority rights and intrests.
    Tyranny of the Majority
  21. a form of government in which the power of the majority is unlimited, whether exercised directly or through a representative body.
    Democracy (According to the Framers)
  22. a form of government in which the people's representatives decide policy through institutions structured in ways that foster deliberation, slow the progress of decision making, and operate within restraints that protect individual liberty. To the framers, the constitution's seperation of powers and other limits on power were defining features of a republican form of government, as opposed to a democratic form, which places no limits on the majority.
  23. elected representatives whose obligation is to act in accordance with their own consciences as to what policies are in the best interests of the public.
  24. an unoffical term that refers to the elctors who cast the states' electoral votes.
    Electoral College
  25. the method of voting used to chose the U.S. president. Each state has the same number of electoral votes as it has members in Congree (House and Senate combined). By tradition, electoral voting is tied to a state's popular voting. The candidate with the most popular votes in the state (or in a few states, the most votes in a congreeional district) receives its electoral votes.
    Electoral Votes
  26. elected representatives whose obligation is to act in accordance with the expressed wishes of the people they represent.
  27. a form of election in which voters choose a party's nominees for public office. In most states, eligibility to vote in a party's primary election is limited to voters who are registered member of the party.
    Primary Election
  28. a government that is constitutional in its provisions for minorty rights and rule by law; democratic in its provisions for majority influence through elections; and a republic in its mix of deliberative institutions, which check and balance each other.
    Constitutional Democratic Republic
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Chapter 2: Constitutional Democracy: Promoting Liberty and Self Government
Political Science Chapter 2