Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

High School American Government, part 3: The Constitution

Constitutional Government in America

Identify the major principles of constitutionalism and trace it's evolution in the United States through various written contracts.
govern government
establish the legal authority for government

Articles of Confederation
colonial charters
Mayflower Compact
English Magna Carta
The Second Continental Congress in 1776 adopted a written Declaration of Independence 

Troubles Confronting a New Nation

Assess the obstacles to nationhood.
The new government's:
inability to levy taxes under the Articles of Confederation
inability to fund the Revolutionary War debt
obstacles to interstate commerce
monetary problems
civil disorders, including Shay's Rebellion

Consensus and Conflict in Philadelphia

Outline the principles on which the Founders were in agreement and characterize their areas of conflict.
liberty and property
the social contract
limited government
need for a national government

compromised their differences over representation by creating two co-equal house in the Congress: The House of Representatives, with members apportioned to the states on the basis of population and directly elected by the people for two-year terms, and the Senate, with two members allotted for each state regardless of its population and originally selected by state legislatures for six-year terms.

The Economy and National Security

Analyze the economic and security issues that the Founders faced and the solutions they reached.
conflicts over levying taxes
regulating commerce
establishing a uniform currency
establishing a common market
resolving the questions over the national debt
the new country's foreign and military affairs

Solutions: The Constitution:
negotiate treaties with foreign nations
establish the president as the Commander in Chief
at first relying on state militias made up of citizen soldiers and later developing a professional army

The Structure of the Government

Explain how the Constitution structured the new government.
national supremacy
separation of powers
checks and balances
judicial review

Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances

Analyze the separation of powers and the checks and balances established by the Constitution.
"to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other" -Madison

Conflict over Ratification

Outline the arguments made by the Anti-federalists for ratification of the Constitution, and how was this ratification accomplished and for what purpose.
Felt that the Constitution was:
threat to rights of the states and the people

Led to:
the Bill of Rights
10 Amendments added to Constitution
designed to limit the power of the national government and protect the rights of individuals and states

Amending the Constitution

Assess the protections provided by the Bill of Rights and determine the various means through which the Constitution may be changed.
Bill of Rights protects...
freedom of speech
freedom of press
freedom of religion
provides for privacy and
rights of criminal defendants

formal amendments
judicial interpretations
presidential actions
congressional action {2/3 vote of both houses of Congress and ratification by 3/4 of the state legislatures}
changes in custom and practices


  1. The constitution established a government: 
    1. of limited power 
    2. based on law with three branches 
    3. at the federal level 
    4. by executive fiat 
    5. based on religious principles 
  2. Congress under the Articles of Confederation relied on __________ as a major source of funding.  
    1. the new income tax loans from wealthy patriots 
    2. the sales tax taxes on interstate commerce 
    3. foreign loans 
  3. Which of the following was a principal that the Founders had trouble reconciling?  
    1. the social contract 
    2. natural right to property 
    3. representation in Congress 
    4. natural right to liberty 
    5. the state church principles 
  4. Which of the following economic groups played little role in the development of the Constitution?
    1. slave owners
    2. land spectulators
    3. the government bureaucracy
    4. bankers and investors
    5. merchants and traders
  5. The provision in the Constitution that makes state law inferior to federal law is:
    1. the full faith and credit clause
    2. the interstate commerce clause
    3. state inferiority clause
    4. the national supremacy clause
    5. the interstate clause
  6. It would be accurate to say that the power of judicial review provides that:
    1. Congress may review the financial affairs of the federal courts.
    2. the Supreme Court may declare  an act of Congress unconstitutional.
    3. the executive has the authority to review the judiciary for impropriety.
    4. each state supreme court may review the constitutionality of the federal statutes.
    5. Congress has the ability to overturn judicial decisions.
  7. How did the Farmers deal with the issue of the division between the various states over ratification?
    1. The required unanimity, that all thirteen states ratify the Constitution for it to take force.
    2. There was no minimum requirement to approve; any state ratifying the constitutions became subject to it.
    3. They required nine of the thirteen states to ratify in order to enact the Constitution.
    4. They required a simple majority of the thirteen states (7) to ratify in order to enact the Constitution.
    5. They allowed the Convention to impose the Constitution without ratification.
  8. The Bill of Rights were included into the new Constitution in order to:
    1. provide protection from ex post facto laws.
    2. outline the basic structure of the judiciary.
    3. provide safeguards and protections for individual liberties.
    4. provide for writs of habeus corpus.
    5. establish a church.
  1. 3
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 2
  7. 3
  8. 3

High School American Government

1 comment:

  1. I seriously love how you break these things down.


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