Constitution Cheat Sheet

Government Cheat Sheet
The Constitution Important Amendments
Bill of Rights
1st Free Speech, Assembly, Religion
Petition, Press
2nd right to bear arms
3rd no quartering of troops
4th Unwarranted search & seizure
5th rights of accused; self incrimination
6th speedy trial & right to lawyer
7th right to jury in civil trials
8th no cruel or unusual punishment
9th other rights not specifically
mentioned still exist
10th Powers not delegated to federal gov.
are reserved for states.
Reconstruction Amendments
13th End of slavery
14th Equal treatment under law
15th African American males can vote
Progressive Amendments
16th Income Tax
17th Direct election of Senators
18th Prohibition of alcohol
19th Women’s suffrage
21st Repeal of Prohibition
Election Reforms
22nd 2 term limit for President
24th No poll taxes
25th Succession of President & VP
26th Voting age 18 (from 21)
Articles of Confederation
• No power to tax
• No executive (only
• States retain most power
• Treaty of Paris (won Rev.)
• Northwest Ordinance (sets
up provisions for admission
of new states)
Legislative Branch: make laws
bicameral: 2 houses bill: proposed law
filibuster: talking bill to death cloture: vote to end debate
pork: extra $ for district
pigeonhole: put off indefinitely in committee
House of Representatives
-based on pop.
-directly elected, 2 year terms
-most responsive to the
Special Powers
-Revenue ($) bills start in
-Elect President if tie
-Power to bring impeachment
-2 per state
-6 year terms
-originally appointed by state
legislatures, now directly elect
(after 17th amendment)
-less responsive to people
Special Powers
-Ratify treaties (2/3)
-Confirm Presidential
appointments (majority)
-Decide on removal in
impeachment cases (2/3)
Executive Branch: carry out/enforce the laws
-4 year terms, elected by electoral college, originally limited by
tradition to 2 terms, now limited by 22nd amendment
Roles of President in Constitution:
-Chief Exec: carry out laws
-Commander in Chief: command military
-Chief Diplomat: negotiate treaties
-Chief of State: symbolic representative of American people
Roles in Unwritten Constitution
-Head of Political Party
-Recommends legislation
-Chief Guardian of economy
Special Powers
-appoint judges & cabinet officials
-state of union address
How a bill becomes a law
1. Intro. into one house
2. Assigned to standing
3. Committee researches,
may pass, deny or
4. If passes, goes to floor for
debate… vote… if passes…
goes to other house
5. Once passed by both houses,
conference committee irons out
6. Goes to President… he can
sign, veto or pocket veto… if
he signs, bill becomes law
7. If he vetos, bill can be
overridden w/ 2/3 vote from
both houses
Judicial Branch: interpret the law
-Supreme Court: currently 9 members, but # set by Congress
-justices appointed for life to ensure objectivity
Judicial Review: right to overturn unconstitutional acts… set in
case Marbury v. Madison
Unwritten Constitution
-traditions, not actually in
-President’s cabinet
-Political Parties
-President recommends laws
-President crafts economic
Limited Government
1. Separation of Powers: 3 branches each w/
roughly equal power (was Montesquieu’s idea)
2. Federalism: share power between levels of gov.
delegated power: given to Congress
reserved power: given to states
concurrent: shared by both federal & state
implied: from elastic clauseTHE CONSTITUTION

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