Study Guide #2 – Civics The U. S. Constitution

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Study Guide #2 – Civics

The U.S. Constitution

Name __________________

Period _________________

1. The U.S. Constitution is just ___________ words, but those words define the basic structure of our national government. It is a comprehensive document that ________________________ the government into ____________________________ and describes the ________________ of those branches, their relationships , and the ____________________between government and the citizens who are governed.

2. Most Americans ____________________ the Constitution as ________________________. “_____________________________” is the government and legal system established under the Constitution. To claim that a law or a political action is _________________________ is like claiming that it is ____________________________. And so the Constitution has taken on a ______________________ that has strengthened its authority as the basis of American government.

3. The U.S. Constitution, written in __________________ for a small society, now guides the political life of a huge expanding society in the _______________ age.

4. The _________________ of the Constitution and the political system it created is all the more remarkable because the Constitution itself was rooted in ____________________________. Revolution is defined as the ____________________________ of one government or ruler and the substitution of another in its place. The American Revolution was not fought to ______________, but to _________________________________ that Americans already had as colonials. The U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent ___________________________(the absence of any form of government) by forming a union of states.

5. To understand the values set in the Constitution, we must understand its ______________ ___. They lie in “____________________________” which was written by _____________________ ___, in the ________________________________, and in the failure of the ______________________________, the document that governed the new nation after the Revolution.

6. The early colonies from ___________________ to __________________ had successful governments, each headed by a ______________________, each with a _______________________, with many similarities from one state to the next. In the early years, ____________________ paid little attention to the colonies, and the colonists were ________________________________. Eventually the British saw the colonies as a possible source of _______________________. Parliament began ________________________ the colonies heavier and heavier. England also began ____requiring___ colonists to purchase ___________________ goods only, while at the same time mandating that the colonist could only _________________ to the British.

7. The colonists, who were __________________, were not allowed _______________________ in Parliament. The colonists’ battle cry soon became “_________________________________________”. Parliament made the situation worse by passing even ___________________ which the colonists would call the ___________________. They included such things as:



8. In addition to these repressive acts, other events transpired that would bring the colonies closer to ________________________. In Boston, Massachusetts tensions between colonists and British troops became more strained. These tensions would result in the _______________________ which was less a massacre and more ____________________ created by __________________ like ____________________ who ran a newspaper in Boston and used this forum to increase colonial support against the ________________. This “massacre” did however result in the deaths of several colonists including _____________________, a man that many historians consider to be the first death of the ____________________________.

Yet another act of defiance took place in Boston as a group of colonists reacted to the British taxes by “throwing” the ___________________. A mob of colonists boarded three British ships and emptied _____________________, a valuable substance at that time, into _______________________. The tea at that time was valued at __________________. Naturally, ______________________ was angered by these acts of defiance and tried to exert even more control over the colonists.
9. Fed up, the colonists had a meeting to decide how to _____________________ with England. This meeting would become known as the ___________________________________. After this meeting has lasted for more than ______ weeks, a ______________________ was drafted demanding rights for the colonies. The backup plan was to ______________________ if the king refused their demands.
10. Not only did _________________________ refuse to meet their demands, but he decided to increase the _______________________________ in the colonies to enforce his strict and unfair laws. As planned, the colonists met a second time, a meeting known as the _______________________________, to decide what action to take. Although all of the ________________________ (representatives) at this meeting were not in favor of ________________________, the _______________________ were. At the Second Continental Congress, a committee was appointed to ___________________________ officially declaring ______________________________________. Although a committee was assigned this task, _______________________________ actually did almost all of the work.
11. The __________________________________________didn’t declare America to be ______________________________, but rather _________________________________________ known as __________________, each with its own _________________________________. The major premise of the Declaration of Independence is that people have the ______________________________ when they determine that their government is denying them their legitimate rights. The colonists believed that the actions of _______________________ was evidence of that denial.
12. There were a few delegates who wanted to _______________________________. At the Second Continental Congress, delegates drew up plans to form a ___________________________ (a group of states with common goals and interests) of the new states. This didn’t make the states a _______________; it was merely an agreement for the __________________________. This meant that each state was its own country working with other states toward a single purpose…to defend themselves against the British.
13. All _______ states ratified the _____________________________, but it didn’t take long to

discover that the ___________________ were not the perfect solution. The Articles had only one branch of government, a ____________ legislature. The Articles of Confederation were not successful because they:

    1. ______________________________________________________

    2. ______________________________________________________ (All 13)

    3. ______________________________________________________

    4. ______________________________________________________

    5. _____________________________________________________ (They had to borrow money to pay their war debts.)

Quiz #1 on the above notes. (30pts)

Because of these problems Congress realized that a better system needed to be created.
14. The event that finally persuaded the Congress to create a new government took place in _____________________, Massachusetts in 1787. Taxes in the state had become so high that many farmers were loosing their farms because of _______________. A farmer and veteran of the American Revolution named ________________________, who was on the verge of loosing his farm, led an army of over ____________________ in a march to take a federal armory in Springfield. Shays was defeated, but _______________________________ would be credited with being the final straw in creation of a new government.
15. In ___________, ______ delegates (representatives) met in __________________________ in

__________________ to revise and repair the _______________________. This meeting become known as the___________________________________. Although the men who attended this meeting were not representative of the average American at the time, they all had two important qualities that made them well suited for the job: ____________________ and _________________. These men decided early that each state would be granted __________, and that decisions would be made based upon _______________. However, ___________________ would require approval from ______ of ______ states.
16. The person who was unanimously elected to preside (president) over the meeting was a delegate from Virginia named _______________________. Other notables in attendance included ____________________ of Pennsylvania, and _________________________ of New York. Several prominent names were missing in attendance: ________________________ and _____________________ both of Virginia, ______________________ of Massachusetts, and representation from the state of ___________________. Several delegates came to the meeting with ideas on setting up the new government, but the idea which was closest to the government we have today was the idea of a Virginian by the name of _____________________. His plan was known as the ______________________. He believed that representation should be based on each state’s ____________________ (larger states having more votes than smaller states). The ____________ states refused to support this plan.
James Madison would be remembered as the “______________________________.”

17. After two weeks of arguing another delegate who was in attendance from the small state of New Jersey named ______________________ proposed a plan of his own. The plan proposed that states would have ___________ representation in Congress. Patterson’s plan became known as the ______________________. _______________ states refused to support this plan.
18. For some ________________ the delegates debated the merits of the two plans, and neither side would give in to the other. Some delegates threatened to _______________ the convention because of the lack of progress. But then a committee headed by ______________________ of Connecticut proposed the answer. He proposed that the new Congress should be ________________, meaning that it would have two houses. One, known as the _____________________________, would have representation based on state population. The other, known as the __________________, would have equal representation.
19. This agreement to use a combination of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey plan is generally known as the _____________________________, an agreement in which each side agreed to give up something to get something. It is also referred to at the ____________________________ as the solution was proposed by the delegate from Connecticut.
20. In addition to Congressional representation, three other major compromises were made:

1) (Established the electoral college)

2) (5 slaves = 3 people when counting population)
3) (Congress was given the authority to ban slave trading in 1808.)
21. The ____________________ was established for the purpose of selecting the

___________________ and _______________________. This system is still used today. According to this system today, voters elect a number of electors who then cast their votes for these two offices. It is their vote, not the vote of the public that actually decides the election. (Although the electors usually cast their votes with the opinion of the voters.)
22. At the time of the ___________________________ there were more than ______________ African Americans in the 13 states (most were slaves in southern states). Southern states wanted these slaves counted as part of their populations to increase their voting power in the House of Representatives. Northern states had few slaves and opposed the idea. The ________________________ decreed that every five slaves would count as three free persons.
23. The _____________________________ focused more on the capability of the new legislature to impose new taxes on exports that could affect and harm the southern states economies. Southern states also feared that the new legislature would stop slave traders from bringing enslaved people into the states. This too would harm the southern economies as these slave state economies depended heavily upon slave labor. The ____________________________ made two important agreements.

1) –
2) –
24. Once the Constitution was written it had to be __________________, approved by the citizens.

Those who favored it were known as ___________________, and those who opposed it were

known as _________________________.
25. A series of political essays known as The _______________________ convinced the public that the

Constitution should be ratified (approved). On June 21, ________, the Constitution became law.

___________________________ was the ninth state to ratify it in ________, making the Constitution law and the independent states into the United States of America.
26. The Constitution established and gave specific powers to three branches of government:

1) --which makes laws.

2) --which carries out laws.

3) --which interprets laws.
27. The legislative branch includes the ________________ and the ____________________ which

are jointly known as the _________________. The executive branch includes the ___________________, the ____________________________, and the president’s ___________________. In addition to carrying out laws, the executive branch approves _______________________ legislation, writes the national ______________, and makes _____________. The judicial branch includes the _____________________.

28. To keep any one of these branches from becoming too powerful, the Constitution set up a

self-monitoring system known as __________________________________. Under this system,

each branch is able to limit the powers of the others.

Quiz #2 on the above notes. (30pts)
Answers to 29-31 are located in your textbook on page 91

29. Two powers held by the executive branch which check and balance the other branches are (name what branch each is checking):


30. Six powers held by the legislative branch which check and balance the other branches are (name what branch each is checking):







31. Two powers held by the judicial branch which check and balance the other branches are (name what branch each is checking):


32. The Constitution is the highest ________ of the land. No law or authority in the nation is

above it.
33. The Constitution is divided into _____ sections (the _________________, the ________________, and the ______________________.) It begins with an introduction known as the ___________________,
The answers to 34 & 35 may be found in your textbooks beginning on page 82:

The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution are ______ _______ _________.

34. The Preamble lists six goals for the American government:

1) To allow states to operate as a _____________________________.

2) To be sure all citizens are treated ________________________________.

3) To maintain ________________________ among all people.

4) To maintain an ________________________ for the protection of people.

5) To assist Americans to lead _______________, _________________, and ____________________.

6) To ensure that citizens are _______________________________ and basic rights of all Americans, including __________________.

35. The middle section of the Constitution contains the ___________________.

Article I – establishes a __________________ Congress (meaning made-up of two houses)

Article II- establishes the offices of ________________ and _________________.

Article III- establishes the ___________________________.

Article IV- explains the relationship between the ___________ and the ___________________ government.

Article V- specifies how the _____________________ can be ___________________.

Article VI- discusses general provisions about the __________________.

Article VII- states that the __________________ will go into effect after ___ states had ______________ it.
36. The Constitution reflects a uniquely American way of thinking about government, and it is

based on four basic principles:

--the idea that people should have a right to rule themselves.

--the idea that there are some things a government must not do, even if

the majority of citizens feels that the government should do them.

--the idea that power should be divided between the national

government and the states.

--the idea that no one branch of power can gain too much power for itself.

37. In setting up the federal system, the writers of the Constitution divided the powers of government into three types:

--powers given specifically to the national government.

--powers given to the states.

--powers shared by both national and state.

The answers to 36 - 39 may be found in your textbooks beginning on page 92:

38. Seven examples of enumerated powers are:








39. Five examples of reserved powers are:






40. Five examples of concurrent powers are:






See page 93 to answer #41.

41. The Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI of the Constitution, declares that:
Exam on Unit 2 notes. (200pts)

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