America: Constitution (1)

  • Created by: AshyBoy
  • Created on: 02-10-18 20:43
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What events led to the 'Articles of the Confederation' and the 'Confederacy'?
War of Independence (1775-83) - Friendship between the 13 colonies
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Who were the Federalists and what did they argue for?
They wanted a federal government with the ability to raise money through taxes and the power to issue bonds and assume the national debt - Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Jay, John Marshall, Rufus King, Timothy Pickering and George Washington
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Who were the Republicans and what did they argue for?
They argued for more power to the states - Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams
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What dispute led to the 'Connecticut Compromise'?
Because some states had more people than others then they would have less power than people in smaller states if there was only one vote per state but others argued that this was the most fair method of voting.
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What was the 'Connecticut Compromise'?
There would be 2 houses of Congress; Senate and House of Representatives. Each state would have two senators (To prevent 49-51 misrepresentation) but depending on the population of the state there would be differing amounts of state legislatures
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What does codification mean?
To establish something into law
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What does entrenchment mean?
To make a certain principle impossible / difficult to remove.
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For what reasons were the 'Articles of the Confederation' replaced by the new Constitution?
Congress needed 9/13 states to pass law - All 13 states needed to amend law - Government couldn't collect taxes - No common currency - Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts (1786) showed how powerless the central government was because of lack of funding
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How many constitutional amendments ratified in 1790-91 and what were these called?
10 - Bill of Rights
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How many amendments ratified from 1792 - present?
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How many constitutional amendments passed by two thirds majority in both houses of Congress
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How many of these were denied by the states?
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How many constitutional amendments ratified by the state legislatures or state constitutional conventions?
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Why did the Founding Fathers or 'Framers' make this process so difficult?
Because they knew the corrupting nature of power and wanted the constitution to be used for the good of the people and not to be made political.
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What is the 16th amendment?
1913 - It allows the federal government to collect direct income tax from all Americans and the state to collect other indirect taxes opposed to the state collecting all taxes and just gifting the government money.
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What is the 17th amendment?
1913 - State senators are elected by the people of the state as instead of the state legislatures (Framers didn't were suspicious of democracy and didn't want 'democratic despotism' or a 'dictatorship of the masses'
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What is the 19th amendment?
1920 - Equal voting rights for men and women
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What is the 22nd amendment?
1951 - Sets the maximum amount of terms a president can sit (2 terms or 8 years) (Harry Truman)
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What is the 25th amendment?
1967 - The vice president becomes the president if the president is compromised.
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What is the 27th amendment?
1992 - Prohibition of pay increase or decrease of senators until the start of the next set of terms of office for representatives.
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What is the Equal Rights 'amendment'?
It was originally proposed in 1923 but not yet ratified. It would guarantee equal rights and stop discrimination. (35 states / 3 shy of ratification). Currently discrimination laws are federal and state which makes them statute law not constitutional
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What are some examples of failed amendments?
Gay marriage (values change), Flag desecration, Right to vote
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What is evidence is there that the constitutional amendment process works?
Difficult to change to prevent courruption - Its ensures the power of the states and the power of the government - Prevents the centralisiation of power via division of powers - Prevents knee jerk reactions being voted into constitution
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What evidence is there that the constitutional amendment process doesn't work?
Difficult to amend outdated amendments (e.g. 2nd amendment?) - Gives supreme court too much power - Difficult to introduce new ideas (ERA) - Undemocratic e.g. 13 states can block it and a super majority needed to pass congress.
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What are the two stages of a constitutional amendment?
Proposal - Ratification
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What are the potential phase one routes of ratification?
2/3 of Congress (2/3 in BOTH houses) - Meeting of all state delegates
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What are the potential phase two routes of ratification?
3/4 of the state legislatures must ratify - 3/4 of ratifying conventions in the states (state legislatures not included in this)
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When was the one time that the state delegates met?
21st amendment = To repeal the 18th amendment on alcohol prohibition
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What is Federalism?
A mixed form of government combining general government and regional governments within one political system
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What is the separation of powers?
The three branches of the US government of: Legislative, Executive and Judiciary all have different powers over different things but they require cooperation from the other branches to provide effective services
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What are checks and balances?
Because of the nature of how the three branches are set up there are counter balances set up to prevent one single party/interest group from controlling a branch. Effectively prevents centralised power through voting democracy and super majorities.
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What is Limited Government?
A government whose powers are pre-defined by a set of limits that are established by a constitution or other authority.
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How does the Executive limit the Legislative?
Vetoing of Bills
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Clinton 26, Bush 12, Obama: Allow victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia 23/0/18
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How else?
Appointment of Judges
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Judges intepret Congress-passed legislation. Trump - Neil Gorsuch to sit vacant Supreme Court seat but Congress filibustered it so the Republicans evoked the 'nuclear option' and changed the rules that then prevented Congress from filibustering.
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How does the Legislative limit the Executive?
Amending of bills
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In 2010 Congress passed the Obamacare Health Care Reform bill but amended it significantly.
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How else?
Congress has the 'Power of the Purse'
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Since 1793 there have been 7 'government shutdowns' due to the HoR refusing to pass a federal budget. Obama - 2013 shutdown due to Republicans wanting to defund Obamacare.
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How else?
Declaration of War
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Congress passed the War Powers Acts (1973) - Curbs the powers of the president as 'commander in chief'. If the presdient wants to send troops abroad then he has to get a formal declaration of war by Congress. Clinton 1999 Kosovo bombing violated this
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How else?
Ratifying Treaties
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Congress rejected the: Treaty of Versilles (1920) - Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
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How else?
Presidential cabinet appointments
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Bush - Nomination of John Tower for Defence rejected / Trump - Betsy De Vois for Education (50-50) (VP voted yes so it passed)
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How else?
Judicial appointments
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29 rejected judges / Reagan - 1987 senate rejected Robert Bork / Obama - Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings on Obama's nominee Merrick Garland
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How else?
Congressional committee's
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Ford Kavanaugh / 1987 Iran Contra / 1973 Watergate / 2016 Russian interference in election
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How else?
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Clinton - perjury and obstruction of justice (Not successful) / Johnson escaped impeachment by one vote and Nixon resigned before he was impeached.
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How does the Legislature limit the Judiciary?
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Between 1986-89 congress removed 3 federal judges and in 2010 the Senate impeached federal judge Thomas Porteous for corruption.
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How else?
Constitutional amendments
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In 1896 the US Supreme Court in ******* v Farmers Loan and Trust Co stated that federal income tax was a tax on property and therefore unconstitutional. The unpopular decision led to Congress proposing a constitutional amendment to amend this in 1913
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How does the Judiciary limit the Legislature?
Judicial Review
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The Supreme Court can rule a bill passed by Congress and unconstitutional. 1998 - Line Item Veto. As of 2016 180 Acts of the US Congress have been deemed unconstitutional.
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How does the Judiciary limit the Executive?
Judicial Review
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In United States v Richard Nixon (1974) the US Supreme Court ordered Nixon to hand over the tapes of White House conversations
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In 2006 in Hamdan v Rumsfeld (2006) it was decided that the use of miliary commissions by Bush to try suspected members of Al Qaeda was unconstitutional
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2017 US Supreme Court of Appeals decided that some sections of Trump Travel Ban were unconstitutional.
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What is Bipartisanship?
The agreement of two parties who usually disagree to get something done for the good of the people.
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What is evidence of bipartisanship?
The Hatch Kennedy Act - Made by Ted Kennedy (Democrat) and Orrin Hatch (Republican) to create a program under a democrat president. It provided funds to states for health insurance to families with children not covered by medicaid under LBJ.
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What else?
The Trump / 2016 Russian interference committee - Made to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Republicans and Democrats are a part of this committee.
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What is the 9th Amendment?
The government cant ***** people of their constitutional rights. (Basically means that if one bill of rights is to be removed then they all lose protection. Effectively making it double hard to revoke any of the Bill of Rights' Amendments.
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What is the 9th Amendment?
The government cant ***** people of their constitutional rights. (Basically means that if one bill of rights is to be removed then they all lose protection. Effectively making it double hard to revoke any of the Bill of Rights' Amed
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What is Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3 *(Commerce Clause)?
It gives Congress the ability to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
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How does this strengthen the Federal government?
The judiciary decides what 'regulating commerce' means and they are appointed by the executive/legislative so their is some degree of bias.
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What is Article 1 Section 8 Clause 18 *(Necessary and Proper Clause) *(Elastic Clause)?
It gives Congress the power to make any necessary laws.
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How does this strengthen the Federal government
It gives Congress all the power to make any law it wants which centralises power away from the states.
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What is New Federalism?
Since the Great Depression and Wall Street crash the shift of power has gone to the federal government due to the economic dependency of the states. Between 1969-2001 the presidents were focused on giving power back to the states.
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What defined the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford '69-'74?
General Review Sharing
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What is General Review Sharing?
Saw the introduction of 'block grants' which allowed the states to spend greater proportions of federal grants as they saw fit
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What did Jimmy Carter do to further this policy '77-'81?
He continued Review Sharing - Cut the amount of federal grants given to the states, meaning that they would be forced to become self sufficient and rely on the federal government less which in turn makes then more independent.
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What did Ronald Reagan do to further this policy '81-'89?
Sharp cuts in state funding in particular in welfare - Attempted to get states to take full control over welfare programmes in return for the federal government taking over others AKA Swap. These increased costs led to a rejection of these policies.
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What did Bill Clinton do to further this policy?
The states built up surplus funds under Clinton during the economic boom - Funds used to fund local programmes e.g. Wisconsin extended choice school using vouchers.
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What are examples of some other areas where the state-government relationship has changed in these years?
Anti-Terrorism-USA Patriotism Act 2001, Gay Marriage-US v Windsor, Voting Rights-Shelby v Holder 2013, Medicaid-NF v Sibelius 2012, Gun Control-Maryland Firearm Safety Act 2013 & Obama executive action on gun regulation 2016
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What else?
Cannabis-Legal in 9 states despite Controlled Substances Act of 1970, Education-No Child Left Behind 2001 & Race to the Top 2009, Health- Affordable Care Act 2010 (Forced Healthcare on states), Response to crises-Hurricane Katrina 2003
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What are the reasons that power gradually shifted to the federal government?
More states & Population = More Organisation; Industrialisation; Great Depression; Connectivity via technology; Foreign policy (WW2), Supreme court interpretations, Constitution limits on states e.g. 14th and 16th amendment (Income tax)
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What is the 14th amendment?
It says that no state can deprive anyone of their rights without 'due process' nor deny anyone of the protection of the law. Used in abortion, gay marriage, segregated schools
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What is an Unfunded Mandate?
Due to the federal deficit the gov could no longer fund the states in the form of bloc grants so instead the states were told to meet mandates without the funding of the federal government which contributed to their independence and self sufficiency.
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What are the legal consequences of federalism?
Alot of variety in law e.g. Driving, marriage, consent ages, death penalty, drugs. Leads to confusion and complication. Federal and state courts.
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What are the policy consequences of federalism?
The states can act as policy laboratories testing to see what works. New solutions to old problems. e.g. healthcare, affirmative action and environmental policies.
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What are the election consequences of federalism?
Elections are state based and run udner state law. Each state tests different voting ideas; Arizona - Online voting, Washington State and Oregon only have postal voting.
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What are the political party consequences of federalism?
Political parties in states are separate from the national party due to the decentralisation of them. E.g. Texas democrats are more conservative than Massachusetts democrats and Vermont Republicans are more liberal than South Carolina Republicans.
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What are the economic consequences of federalism?
There are huge federal grants going to the states also the complexity of the tax system leads to inefficiency.
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What are the regional consequences of federalism?
Some state regions have their own distinct culture and accent as well as racial, religious and ideological differences.
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What is the argument that federalism works nowadays?
Permits diversity; creates local access to the fed gov, creates a double security for individual rights, Policy laboratories, well suited to a geographically large nation.
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What is the argument that federalism does not work nowadays?
It can breed racial and economic inequalities; can frustrate the 'national will', makes problem solving more problematic, it can become a source of conflict between the gov and the states, it is costly to run and resistant to change.
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What is the evidence that the limits on federal power are present ?
Protection of Individual Rights - Bill of Rights, 9th and 14th amendments, Tinker v Des Moines 1969 (Free Speech). Abortion, Civil Rights, Gay marriage.
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What is the evidence that the limits on federal power are not present ?
Lack of representation of the people - Hard to change the law, Shelby ruling 2013, contradiction of some rights, lack of banking reform post 2008 shows corruption, $20 million spent on firewood by the US military in Afghanistan.
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What is the evidence that the limits on federal power are present ?
States Independence - 10th amendment, 3/4 of states needed to make amendment, separation of powers, short terms of representatives (2 years) ensures they work for the people and the states, US v Lopez 1995 (Guns on school zones & commerce clause)
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What is the evidence that the limits on federal power are not present ?
Restrictions on states - A8S8C3, A8S8C18, 16th amendment (Income tax), Federal mandates after Roosevelt's "New Deal" e.g. Affordable Care Act (2010) forced states to set up health exchanges where they could set up insurance.
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In what way can the constitution be seen as democratic?
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With the separation of powers and the sensitive two year terms of the representatives it is ensured that the good of the people is put first. The US has more elections that any country. President, VP, Senators, representatives, gWovernors etc.
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What do some liberals argue about the difficulty of changing laws in the US?
They say that because it is so hard only large groups and lobbyists can make real change so in that sense the people have no real control.
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What are the strengths of the US constitution?
Frequent Elections & Separation of powers; Checks and balances to ensure branches work together; independent supreme court and constitution means protection of civil rights; amendment process prevents corruption and knee jerk reactions.
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What are the weaknesses of the US constitution?
Electoral college can produce a government that is not representative of the people; policy making is very difficult; High partisanship; too powerful supreme court; prevents progressive change in modern times and in times of government crisis.
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What is the argument that the states have no control?
Federalism has eroded in recent times to where the federal government can force policies on the states e.g. Clean Air Act 1970 and Affordable Care Act 2010.
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What is the argument that the states still have control?
Others believe the states have huge policy control as ensured by the constitution e.g.consent, driving, marriage, voting and Marijuana laws (Legal is California but in Idaho it is illegal and can land you with fines up to $1000 and one year in prison
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How much of the states funding comes from the federal government?
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How much money did Obama provide the states in his Race to the Top Programme?
$4.3 billion in state grants
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What did Trump do to the states to further his anti-green policy and how can this be seen to increase federal power?
Trumps promise to cut the EPA's funding by 1/3 and removing the enviromental mandates on the states can be seen to increase state power but actually the states need the funding that comes with this because they want to keep the Paris Deal (2017)
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What events led to the 'Articles of the Confederation' and the 'Confederacy'?


War of Independence (1775-83) - Friendship between the 13 colonies

Card 3


Who were the Federalists and what did they argue for?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Who were the Republicans and what did they argue for?


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Card 5


What dispute led to the 'Connecticut Compromise'?


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