Civics Study Guide

Bill Huang


John Locke
  • Social Contract: An agreement for mutual benefit between individuals
  • Common Good: The benefit of all people in society or in a group
  • Political parties: an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office
  • Representative Democracy: A type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy
  • The enlightenment: A philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine
  • John Locke: An English philosopher and political theorists who laid much of the groundwork for the Enlightenment and came up with the "Social Contract"
  • Jean Jacque Rousseau: One of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe. He thinks people are generally a blank piece of paper, good or bad is based on the society they grow up in
  • Thomas Hobbes: An English philosopher who is considered one of the founders of modern political philosophy. He thinks we need to make strict laws because people act to satisfy their own needs
  • Baron DE Montesquieu: French philosopher who came up with the idea of "separation of powers"
  • The Magna Carta: Also known as "The Great Charter" It was signed by King John and established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the king, was subject to the law.
  • The English Bill of Rights: Had a massive influence on the colonies in North America and the Constitution of the United States.A frequently summoned Parliament and free elections. 1. Members should have freedom of speech in Parliament. 2. No armies should be raised in peacetime. 3. No taxes could be levied, without the authority of parliament. 4. Laws should not be dispensed with, or suspended, without the consent of parliament. 5. No excessive fines should imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted
  • Committee: A group of people appointed for a specific function, typically consisting of members of a larger group
  • Apportionment: The determination of the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives according to the proportion of the population of each state to the total population of the U.S.
  • Gerrymandering: The dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible
  • Redistricting: To divide anew into districts, as for administrative or electoral purposes.
  • Expressed, Delegated Powers: Those powers, expressed, implied, or inherent, granted to the National Government by the Constitution
  • Implied Powers: Those delegated powers of the National government that are suggested by the expressed powers set out in the Constitution; those "necessary and proper" to carry out the expressed powers
  • Inherent Powers: Powers the Constitution is presumed to have delegated to the National Government because it is the government of a sovereign state within the world community
  • Reserved Powers: Those powers that the Constitution does not grant to the National Government and does not, at the same time, deny to the States
  • Privileges and Immunities: It prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner


  • Republic: A representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies, not the people themselves, vote on legislation
  • Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole
  • Commonwealth: an independent country or community, especially a democratic republic
  • Presidential: A system of government where the executive branch exists separately from a legislature.
  • Constitutional: A government that is operated under a constitution


The legislative committee helps to organize the important works of the committee. Considering, shaping and helping to pass laws to govern the nation.

The people can write their Representative or Senator, or work in for a candidate or political party. They can make presentations to their local school board or city council, or call the police to complain about the neighbor's dog.

Our Political Beginning Notes

  • English Bill Of Rights: Had a massive influence on the colonies in North America and the Constitution of the United States.A frequently summoned Parliament and free elections.
  • Magna Carta: Also known as "The Great Charter" It was signed by King John and established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the king, was subject to the law.
  • Theories of Power: Divine Right, Social Contract: Social Contract: People give power to the state in return receive a stable way of life, services, and protection, Divine Right: Rulers are chosen by something mystic. Some type of Deity or God was involved. Rulers were either descendants of gods or chosen by gods. To suppose the monarch was to oppose god

The Enlightenment Notes

  • Hobbes: Because of Hobbes's idea of people are generally bad, we made laws today
  • Locke: John Locke's ideas of natural, property rights and civil were put into the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution
  • Montesquieu: We have three branches in our government today, in America. The legislative, Judicial, executive
  • Rousseau: Rousseau's ideas strongly influenced the French Revolution and the development of Liberal, Conservative and Socialist theory

Articles of Confederation Notes

Shay's rebellion created pressure because the government wasn't strong enough to interfere and stop the rebellion so they needed to create a private army to stop it proving weaknesses in the government.

Constitution Convention Notes

  • Author: Philadelphia Convention
  • Created: September 17, 1787
  • Location: National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • Why: To replace the Articles of Confederation (1777)


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Executive, legislative, executive

  • Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press
  • Amendment 2 - The Right to Bear Arms
  • Amendment 3 - NO Housing of Soldiers
  • Amendment 4 - Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
  • Amendment 5 - Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property
  • Amendment 6 - Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases
  • Amendment 7 - Rights in Civil Cases
  • Amendment 8 - Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden
  • Amendment 9 - Other Rights Kept by the People
  • Amendment 10 - Undelegated Powers Kept by the States and the People


Created with images by Martin Pettitt - "Stowe Park, Buckinghamshire"

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