Term Definition
constitution a detailed, written plan for government
bicameral a legislature consisting of two parts, or houses
confederation a group of individuals or state governments
ratify to vote approval of
constitutional convention meeting of state delegates in 1787 leading to adoption of new Constitution
great compromise agreement providing a dual system of congressional representation
three-fifths compromise agreement providing that enslaved persons would count as three-fifth of other persons in determining representation in Congress
electoral college a group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
federalists supporters of the Consitution
federalism a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states
anti-federalists those who opposed ratification of the Constitution
preamble the opening section of the Constitution
legislative branch the lawmaking branch of government
executive branch the branch of government that carries out laws
judicial branch the branch of government that interprets laws
amendment any change in the Constitution
popular sovereignty the notion that power lies with the people
rule of law principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern
separation of powers the split of authority among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches
checks and balances a system in which each branch of government is able to check, or restrain, the power of the others
expressed powers powers the Congress has that are specifically listed in the Constitution
reserved powers powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the States
concurrent powers powers shared by the state and federal governments