Chapter 2

American Government (12th Edition)

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Chapter 2 – From Colonialism to Constitutionalism Definitions Magna Carta – An English document of 1215 stating that the kings was to be bound by law and was to respect the rights of his subjects. English Bill of Rights – A list of the rights of Englishmen adopted by Parliament in 1689. Included in the list are the right to trial by jury and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. First Continental Congress – A meeting of delegates from twelve colonies in 1774 for the purpose of coordinating colonial opposition to the policies of Great Britain. Georgia did not attend. Second Continental Congress – The second meeting of colonial delegates in May 1775. Although it had no specific authority, the Second Continental Congress printed money, raised troops, coordinated colonial efforts in the war against England, and adopted the Declaration of Independence. State sovereignty – The theory that final legal authority resides in each of the American states. Articles of Confederation – The document that created the United States first central government. It was ratified in 1781 and remained in effect until 1788. Congress, the only brach of government created by the articles, did not have the power to tax or to regulate commerce and was unable to address the economic problems of the nation. Shay’s Rebellion – A protest in 1786 against mortgage foreclosures and high taxes in Massachusetts led by Captain Daniel Shay. Constitutional Convention – A meeting in 1787 of fifty five delegates selected by the states to revise the Articles of Confederation. The result of the Convention was, however, an entirely new constitution, which was ratified in 1788. New Jersey Plan – An alternative to the Virginia Plan presented to the Constitutional Convention by William Paterson of New Jersey. It called for a unicameral legislature that would have the authority to tax and to regulate interstate commerce, a national executive office presided over by two people, and a national judiciary. Virginia Plan – The fifteen resolutions presented by Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia to the Constitutional Convention. It influenced the decision to abandon the Articles of Confederation and write a new constitution. The plan called for a national government consisting of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The legislature was to be bicameral, with representation based on population and taxes paid.
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Connecticut Compromise – A compromise between the NJ and VA plans worked out at the
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Chapter 2 - Chapter 2 From Colonialism to Constitutionalism...

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