Short Answer questions
Explain the significance of the following terms/ideas/laws etc.
1. The Articles of Confederation
Created after the independence.
Desiring full independence while keeping an alliance.
Made a national identity but still independent states.
Although it created a national Gov. it was weak leading to rebellions such as Shay’s
Shays rebellion was an example of a needed central system.
A small system was created to avoid rebellion.
No president, each state was its own sovereignty.
All colonies had to agree to CHANGE it.
It had no MILITARY or TAX power.
2. The 14th Amendment
A Reconstructionist amendment, which includes a Citizenship clause, Due process clause
and equal protection clause.
Overrules the Dread Scott vs. Sanford court decision. (a decision that ppl brought and
held as slaves were not protected under the constitution)
3. The mode of selection/election for Senators
Plurality vote by the state, 2 senators per state.
Same time as H of R but longer term.
A small or large group going against the popular demands. Most of the time they have
an interest, which takes away the rights of the masses. Business may manipulate
governments to pursue their interests even if it takes away rights and freedom from
citizens. They often form within a political party.
The meaning of republicanism depends on the context that it is written about. In the
American experience republicanism is similar to that of Plato. A Republic in which its
citizens are the ones ruling.
Drives away from the elitist, monarchical view old English government.
Not entirely the same as the Republican Party.
It basis on getting away from a central government.
Original thoughts around the beginning of the constitution.
The constitution destroyed this idea since it created a central government which
eventually become every powerful. The refoundings were largely republican. Jerfferson’s refounding 1800: Decentralizing,
No central bank, and democratic and state legislative supremacy. Jackson’s refounding
1828: Democratic as well, concentrated in ppl being able to elect themselves. A
president for the people.
6. The commerce clause
A clause that givers the central government the power to regulate commercial activities
with other nations, within states and with Indian tribes.
This clause has been manipulated to extend the powers of the central government and
its agenda. EG. Lopez vs. US, a case where a student brings a gun to school and there is
no law to apprehend the kid since there is no law in Texas that prohibits it. The Supreme
Court ruled that this would affect commerce in that students, tourism and trade would
be affected. Another example is the supremacy of the government over the state in the
Maryland vs. McCulloch where Maryland imposed a tax, which was over its jurisdiction.
It was thrown because it affected tax and inter-state commerce.
New deal is largely based on commerce clause.
7. The state action doctrine
The constitution applying to the extend of the power used by the Gov. vs. individual
rather than individual vs. individual.
Private discrimination was not something actionable under the constitution.
8. Political machines
The idea of patronage.
Parties being able to hand out positions
Positions based on favours and things done for constituencies.
EG. In New York the Democrats created Jobs for new immigrant in order to receive
support for their political agendas. Even when businesses received certain jobs or
contracts, they were required to “kick back” to the party treasury.
9. The Social Security Act of 1935
The beginning of the Welfare State.
The SSA was intended to provide assistance to Old Age, Unemployed, and single parents
Funded thought deducted payroll taxes
FDR called it “American right to economic differences”
10. Marble-cake federalism.
Federalism is a political term in which its understood that governments are
constitutionally divided between a central Gov. and its constituent political units, States.
Marble Cake federalism is understood to be federalism where the lines that devid
governments are somewhat blurred.
Governments cooperate with each other.
Cooperative Federalism (fed aid for Universities and road building)
Strings attached federalism (coercive) Aid dependant on strings attached.11. Unfunded mandates
Started in the 70’s came out of Cooperative federalism.
Federal Gov. mandating changes mostly on social aspects (environment, health &
Detailed timelines for meeting objectives with no funding.
12. Dual federalism
AKA Layer cake federalism.
Original idea of federalism with a minimum of overlapping.
Each government adheres to its jurisdiction.
National Gov. powers: What are states in the constitution. And use whatever was
“necessary and proper" to achieve its means.
All other matters not involved with interstate trade and foreign trade.
EG: US vs. Lopez.
13. Due process of law
Granted by the 14 amendment.
The idea that everyone is equal before the law and subject to a fair trial.
Life, liberty and property everyone is entitled to.
In American history it was used to expand civil rights and liberty rights.
1905 Lochner vs. NY is an example where Lochner was convicted of violating the law bc
his employees would work more than 10 hours while they had their own personal
1857 Dread Scott vs. Sandford. A slave who lived in a state free slave and considered
himself free. The court ruled that he was not considered free because he wasn’t a
citizen according to the constitution.
14. Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
First of 10 amendments of the constitution.
To protect people’s rights to liberty and property.
The enumeration of certain rights. Some opposed to it, while others thought that having
written natural rights would protect it more.
Contended in local and state courts since the Supreme Court would most likely support
15. Brown v. Board of Education
In 1950’s Justice Warren declared the “separate but equal doctrine” unconstitutional
Overturned the doctrine and abolished segregation in schools.
Many schools remained segregated.
One school in particular chose to admit black students to class and mob was angry.
President Eisenhower, although opposed at first, sent the army to impose the changes.
No child was supposed to be deprived of education. This was one of the events that contributed to the social movements of the 60’s.
After this, all three branches of government worked to get rid of Jim Crow Laws.
16. The veto power
Power of the president to say NO to bills that have run through Congress and other
Mostly used to protect the constitution.
Makes the president stand above political party.
Way of the president to manage his agenda.
Thought of fixing congressional mistakes and his agenda.
17. The seniority system (in Congress)
Is a system in congress in which congressman and senators are seen as delegates and
experience and time is an asset. Those with the most experience get to choose the
positions they want as well as committee members and assignments.
In modern era seniority is the key power in congress.
Some argue pro stability and order; others argue that it creates Autocracy.