The USA's Constitution

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How did early presidents treat the constitution?
Honoured its terms but treated it with flexibility
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Give an example of an early president using the constitution flexibly
George Washington got tired of waiting for the Senate to ratify a treaty so he just sent it off for approval
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Who did the founding fathers want to limit?
Political parties
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What limits the powers of parties?
Elections
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Who encouraged the growth of political parties and how?
Washington surrounded himself with other federalists
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Who is the sole interpreter of the constitution?
Supreme Court
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What did the founding fathers fail to make clear?
Who would interpret the constitution
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How were judicial reviews created?
Through Marbury v Madison 1803
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Was there congressional approval of judicial reviews?
No
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What is a judicial review?
The right of the court to interpret the constitution and declare state and federal laws unconstitutional
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What was the first amendment?
The restriction of Congress from making laws about religion, it gave freedom of religion and freedom of speech
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What is the Supreme court argued to have done to the Bill of Rights?
Nationalized it
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Give an example of the abuse of the fifth amendment
Bankers used it in the inquiry into the financial crash
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What is 'pleading the fifth'?
Where people can choose not to testify in order to stop themselves from being incriminated
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What is a problem with the US constitution?
It fails to adapt to emergency situations
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Give an example of the Constitution clashing with emergency policy
The court clashed with FDR's New Deal in the Great Depression
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Did Congress have any power to levy taxes originally?
No
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What was the problem with the fact that the states were put in control of taxes?
It led to economic rivalry between states
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What did the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 do?
Called for a new constitution
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What did the original constitution not create?
An executive and a Supreme Court
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What are the goals of the Constitution?
Form a closer union between the states, establish justice, provide defence and ensure liberty
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Which part of the Constitution ensures separation of powers?
Article one section 6
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How did the constitution ensure that the three bodies needed to work together to achieve its goals?
The three branches are dependent on one another
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Give examples of government shutdown?
1995 over the budget, 2013 and 2011
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Who were the two major players in the 1995 shutdown?
Clinton and Gingrich
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When was the Bill of Rights passed?
1791
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How many amendments were made in the Bill of Rights?
Ten
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How many amendments have there been since the Bill of Rights?
Seventeen
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Since 1789 how many attempts at amending the constitution have there been?
10,000
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Who was an early leading member of the anti-federalists?
Thomas Jefferson
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Who led the federalists in the early days?
James Madison
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How should, according to anti-federalists, any doubts about where power should lie be resolved?
Through giving this disputed power to the states
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How should, according to federalists, any doubts about where power should lie be resolved?
To meet the needs of the states
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When did the Great Depression end?
1941
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Who introduced cooperative federalism?
FDR under his New Deal
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Throughout what period was Cooperative Federalism the type of federalism used?
1930-1970
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Who was argued to go too far with cooperative federalism and why?
LBJ and his Great Society program
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What was the type of federalism adopted after LBJ?
New Federalism
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What is another term for Cooperative Federalism?
Marble cake federalism
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What is the idea of Cooperative Federalism?
Federalism where the states and the federal government work together to solve common problems
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What was LBJ's Great Society program?
A program designed to eradicate poverty through direct aid to targeted groups from federal government, providing financial support for local government without state government and providing categorical grants instead of block grants
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Why did LBJ's Great Society program fail?
Many saw it as going too far in federalism and it was seen as socialist
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What acts did government introduce as a part of the Great Society program?
Medicare, The Equal Opportunity Act, Mass Transit Act and the Housing Development Act
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What is New Federalism?
The conservative backlash to the Great Society in the form of anti-federalist rule
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What were the three main objections to the Great Society program by new federalists?
Harmed rugged individualism, undermined state power and undermined the core principles of federalism
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When did Dual Federalism reign?
From the Founding Fathers to the early 20th century
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What is the idea of Dual Federalism?
The idea that national and state governments are equal and do not overlap, government does not stray from the constitution etc
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What did McCulloch v. Maryland 1819 do?
Gave Congress the authority to create a national bank
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Why did the New Deal come about?
The Great Depression meant that the states could not cope economically with combating the depression
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What do states often do to government?
Outspend them
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Give an example of the states outspending the government
In 1999 the government spent $640million on education and the states spent two billion
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What are states required to do in relation to their budgets that government does not have to do?
Balance their budget
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How many states have a bicameral legislature?
49
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Which is the only state with a unicameral chamber?
Nebraska
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What is Nebraska's legislature like?
Non-partisan, unicameral and candidates do not run as part of a party
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Give an example of someone being recalled
Gray Davis
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What did United States v. Lopez rule?
That it was the act making it illegal to be within 1,000 feet of a school with a gun was ruled as unconstitutional and thus overturned
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What amendments abolished slavery?
The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments
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How can an amendment be made to the constitution?
Through a two thirds majority in both houses then ratified by 3/4 of state legislatures
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When was District of Colombia v. Heller?
2008
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What did Colombia v. Heller rule?
That it was legal for an individual to carry a firearm for private use
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When was the declaration of independence?
1776
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When was the confederation of states created?
1781
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How had the states been ruled before the war of independence?
Under a unitary government from Britain
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What is a confederal form of government?
Where the states are governed by their individual states
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What did large population states originally want?
Representation in Congress to be equal to state population
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What did smaller states originally want?
Equal representation of the states
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What was the great compromise?
The compromise among the states that the HoR would be proportional to population and the senate would be equal in representation
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Give examples of loopholes of vague nature in the constitution
The general welfare clause and the necessary and proper cause
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What was the necessary and proper clause?
It stated that Congress has the power to make laws which are necessary to implement power
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How did government win the power to collect federal taxes?
The 16th amendment 1913
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Give examples of topics that are not stated in the constitution
Presidential primaries, congressional committees, cabinet, EXOP and judicial reviews
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Where was the constitution written?
Philadelphia
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Who said that 'the government is best which governs least'?
Thomas Jefferson
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What is separation of powers?
The theory that political power is distributed
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What is the idea of limited government?
The idea that the size and scope of government should be limited to only what is necessary
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Give an example of separation of powers working
Obama resigned as senator to become president, Biden resigned from senate to become VP and Clinton resigned as senator to become Secretary of State in the cabinet
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What are checks and balances?
A system of government in which each branch of government exercises control over the actions of other government bodies
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How can the legislature check the executive?
Refuse to pass a bill, overturn a veto, refuse to accept a supreme court nomination, control the budget, refuse to ratify treaties, declare war, investigation and impeachment ability
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How can the legislature check the judiciary?
Confirm appointments to SC, initiate constitutional amendments and impeachment of judges
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How can the executive check the legislature?
Recommend legislation to it, veto legislation etc
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How can the president check the judiciary?
Appoints the judiciary and can pardon people of decisions made by judges
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How can the judiciary check the legislature?
Judicial reviews
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How can the judiciary check the executive?
Judicial reviews
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What is decentralization?
The principle by which government power rests in the states and federal government
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What does the constitution allow for?
National unity
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Can the words federal or federalism be found in the constitution?
No
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What does the 10th amendment state?
That any powers not stated in the constitution should rest in the states
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What did GWB do before becoming president?
Governor of Texas
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What type of federalism did GWB use?
Cooperative federalism
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Why did GWB take such a federalist approach?
Iraq, 9/11, expansion of medicare, no child left behind and banking collapse
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Did Bush use any vetoes during his first term?
No
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What did GWB do to resolve the banking crisis?
Introduced a $700 billion bail out
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What has happened to the ratio of state to federal employees under Obama?
Highest ever since FDR's new deal
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In 2009 what percentage of state spending was from money from the government?
30%
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What fraction of the Economic Stimulus Package went to the states?
A third
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Give reasons fort the increased influx of federal money to the states?
Re-authorization of SCHIP, expansion of medicaid, higher education expenditure and race to the top program
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What did the race to the top program aim to do?
Increase education in the states
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In 2010 what percentage of Republicans felt that government was too federal?
74%
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Can each state have its own states and laws?
Yes
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How many elected offices were there in the US in 2012?
520,000
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What does the second amendment allow?
The right to bear arms
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What's the 8th amendment?
The freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
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What did the 18th amendment do?
Prohibited alcohol
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What did the 21st amendment do?
Repealed the 18th amendment
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What majority in the Senate is needed to propose an amendment to the constitution?
2/3
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How many amendments have failed at the ratification by the states stage?
Six
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What was the last amendment to fail in the ratification stage?
An amendment trying to enshrine equal rights for women
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How many states ratified the amendment to give women equal rights?
Only 35
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Why are constitutional amendments so rare?
Difficult process, vagueness of constitution, judicial reviews, and certain amendments will not stand the test of time
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What are constitutional rights?
Rights guaranteed by the states
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Which amendment gives the right to remain silent?
5th
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What amendment gave freedom from unreasonable searches?
4th
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What did Plessey v. Ferguson rule?
That segregation on public transport was constitutional
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What court ruling upheld the constitutionality of abortions?
Roe v. Wade
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Give an example of AA being declared unconstitutional
Gratz v. Bollinger
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Card 2

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Give an example of an early president using the constitution flexibly

Back

George Washington got tired of waiting for the Senate to ratify a treaty so he just sent it off for approval

Card 3

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Who did the founding fathers want to limit?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

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What limits the powers of parties?

Back

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Card 5

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Who encouraged the growth of political parties and how?

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