A constitution that consists of a full and authoritative set of rules written down in a single text.
The Bill of Rights
The collective name for the first ten amendments. Created to protects the individual rights of citizens against an over-powerful central government.
The fundemental rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, principally in the Bill of Rights, but also in subsequent amendments.
Seperation of Powers
Speration of powers is a theory of govenrment by witch political power is distributed between three branches of government - the Legislature, Judiciary and, the Exexcutive.
A principle that the size and scope of the federal government should be limited to that which is necessary only for the common good of the people.
State of the Union Adress
An annual speech made by the president - usually in late January - to a joint session of Congress meeting in the chamber of the House of Representatives, in which the president lays out their legislative agenda for the coming year.
A formal accusation of a federal official by a simple majoraty vite of the House of Representatives. It is part of a two stage procerss, the second stage is a trial by the Senate in which a 2/3rds majoraty vote is requiered for conviction. If convicted the official must remove themselfs from office.
Close cooperation between the two major parties. In the US system of government, where it is possible to have one party in the Executive and a different party in the Legislator, bipartisanship is thought to be crucial to politician success.
A term used to refer to the situation in which one party controlls the presidency and the other party controls Congress. In the 44 years since 1969 - 2012, 22 of them have seen divided government.
Checks and Balances
A system of government in which each branch - Legislative, Executive and, Judicial - excersize controll over the actions of other branches of government.
A Theory of government by which polititcal power is divided between a national government and state governments, each having their own area of substantive jurisdiction.
The principle bu which government and political power is vested not only in the federal government, but also in the state government.
Literally, the rights, powers and, duties of the governments. But it is used as a term to denote opposition to increasing the national government;s power at the expense of the states. States' rights advocates call for an interpretation of the Constitution that places limits on the implied powers of the federal government and gives expansive interpretation to the reserved powers of the states.