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Chapter 2 Review Sheet

Answer Key

  1. Why were the Articles of Confederation deemed unacceptable and how were they replaced?

Many people felt the need for a stronger central government than the Articles provided. Therefore, a special convention of delegates was called and this convention drafted the initial U.S. Constitution that established the federal government when it was ratified by nine states.

  1. Why was the Bill of Rights adopted?

Four of the original 13 states did not ratify the U.S. Constitution because they thought it did not provide adequate protection of the human rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights was adopted to shield individuals against the violation of these basic human rights.

  1. How is the protection of individual rights continued as society’s views and conditions change?

New circumstances or points of view that require the statement of specific rights can be enforced by amendments to the Constitution. For example, the Nineteenth Amendment specifically grants the right to vote to women. Courts can also make decisions protecting rights not specifically granted in the Constitution and legislatures can enact new protective laws.

  1. Why is due process so important?

If an individual is convicted of breaking a law, the individual may be deprived of life (by execution), liberty (by imprisonment), or the pursuit of happiness (fines or other penalties), which are basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, fundamental fairness is essential to guaranteeing that these rights are not denied unfairly.

  1. Which Amendments to the Constitution dealt with the right to vote?

The Fifteenth Amendment grated the newly freed slaves the right to vote. The Nineteenth Amendment granted the right to vote to women. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment ended the practice of the “poll tax” which was used in areas of the country to prevent black Americans from voting. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment granted the right to vote to all Americans citizens aged 18 or older.

  1. What are peripheral rights? Give an example.

Peripheral rights are those rights not specifically mentioned in the U S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights but are recognized in courts as necessary to protecting the rights that are mentioned in both documents. The right of privacy is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, however in the 1960s the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the right of privacy as a separate right.

  1. What documents were written in the course of our nation’s founding?

The four documents written in the course of our nation’s founding were the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

  1. How has the Constitution been a shield against violations of basic human rights?

The Constitution guarantees many civil rights and also provides for due process of law to ensure fundamental fairness under the law. Subsequent amendments also have abolished slavery and guaranteed the right to vote to all citizens regardless of gender or race. The Fourteenth Amendment extends these protections to the state level.

  1. How does the Constitution create a system of checks and balances?

The three branches of the federal government have specific authority. The legislature enacts legislation that must be approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives. This legislation must then also be signed by the executive branch and proved constitutional by the judicial branch.

  1. What are the powers of each branch of government:


Declares laws unconstitutional

Interprets/makes meaning of laws

Issues a pardon

Serves as commander-in-chief of the army and navy

Signs bills into law

Makes treaties

Vetoes bills


Introduces laws

Coins money

Declares war

Overrides presidential veto

Borrows money on behalf of the United States

Impeaches/Removes president

  1. How does the executive branch of the federal government check the judicial branch?

  • Appointing judges who share your political viewpoints

  • Enforcing the court’s decisions

  1. How does the executive branch of the federal government check the legislative branch?

  • Proposing new legislation

  • Vetoing bills

  1. How does the legislative branch of the federal government check the executive branch?

  • Overriding presidential veto on a bill

  • Impeaching/removing president

  • Approving presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, and federal agencies (such as the FBI)

  1. How does the legislative branch of the federal government check the judicial branch?

  • Confirming appointments to the Court

  • Impeaching or removing judges

  • Proposing new amendments to the Constitution

  1. How does the judicial branch of the federal government check the executive branch?

  • Declaring executive acts unconstitutional

  1. How does the judicial branch of the federal government check the legislative branch?

  • Declaring laws unconstitutional

  1. How is the power to govern divided between the federal and state governments?

The federal government has the specific power to govern granted by the Constitution. All other powers are reserved for the states and individuals.

  1. What issues are governed by cyberlaw?

Legal issues that have arisen from computer technology are testing the courts and established laws. The cases in which these issues are developing involve the computer and subject areas such as jurisdiction, trademarks, copyrights, contracts, privacy, obscenity, defamation, security of data and crime.

  1. What are long-arm statutes and how do they permit multi-jurisdictional cases to be heard in courts?

Long-arm-statutes” protect the citizens of a state and allow disputes between multi-jurisdictional disputes to be heard. The standards a state’s long-arm statute sets for the involvement of the non-resident defendant in the state must be met or the suit will be dismissed. These standards vary from state to state.

  1. What are the fundamental rights of freedom of speech?

The basic means of expression such as speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition are guarded in both their fundamental forms and also in the extension of those forms. Those extensions may include flag burning, anti-government publications, or what the majority of citizens may consider obscenities.

  1. What are the constitutional issues involved in the use of electronic communication?

Freedom of speech and privacy rights are both being challenged by the widespread use of the Internet. When deciding what is or is not obscene, courts are faced with enforcing community standards, but the question arises, which community? When people communicate using the Internet they may find that their communications are not private. Recently a court held that an employee had no true expectation of privacy when using a company’s e-mail system. Although the employee’s e-mails were personal, the right of privacy did not protect them.

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