Chapter 2: The Constitution

Study Guide

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying Chapter 2, you should be able to:

1. Discuss the importance of the English philosophical heritage, the colonial

experience, the Articles of Confederation, and the character of the founding fathers

in shaping the agenda of the Constitution writers.

2. Identify the important principles and issues debated at the Constitutional

Convention and describe how they were resolved.

3. Explain the Madisonian model of limiting majority control, separating powers,

creating checks and balances, and establishing a federal system.

4. Understand the conflict between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the

ratification of the Constitution.

5. Describe the formal and informal processes by which the Constitution is changed in

response to new items on the policy agenda.

6. Evaluate the Constitution in terms of democracy and its impact on policymaking.

The following exercises will help you meet these objectives:

Objective 1: Discuss the importance of the English philosophical heritage, the colonial experience, the Articles of Confederation, and the character of the founding fathers in shaping the agenda of the Constitution writers.

1. Make a list of the major grievances of the colonists under British rule.

2. What are the major components of John Locke's political philosophy and how did they influence Thomas Jefferson's writings?

3. Draw a schematic diagram of the American government under the Articles of. Confederation.

4. Make a list of the reasons why the Articles of Confederation failed.

 

 

5. Briefly describe the general philosophical views of the founding fathers on the following issues:

Human Nature:

Political Conflict:

Objects- of Government:

Nature of Government:

Objective 2: Identify the important principles and issues debated at the Constitutional Convention and describe how they were resolved.

1. What were the three major equality issues at the Constitutional Convention and how were they resolved?

1.

2.

3.

2. What were the major economic problems addressed at the Constitutional Convention and how were they resolved?

 

 

3. Why did the founding fathers believe it was not necessary to address individual rights issues specifically in the Constitution?

 

 

Objective 3: Explain the Madisonian model of limiting majority control, separating powers, and creating checks and balances.

1. Draw a schematic diagram of the Madisonian model of government.

 

 

2. Define the term "constitutional republic."

 

 

Objective 4: Understand the conflict between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the ratification of the Constitution.

1. Complete the following table summarizing the major differences between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists on the issues of civil liberties, power of the states, and the economy.

Issues

Federalists

Anti-Federalists

Civil Liberties

 

 

Power of the States

 

 

Economy

 

 

2. Why did the Anti-Federalists believe the new Constitution was a class-based document?

 

 

Objective 5: Describe the formal and informal processes by which the Constitution is changed in response to new items on the policy agenda.

1. What is meant by the "unwritten constitution"?

 

2. Describe the different ways in which a formal constitutional amendment might be

adopted.

 

 

3. The text examines four ways the Constitution changes informally. Complete the following table, listing these ways, defining them, and giving an example for each.

Informal Change

Definition

Example

 

Objective 6: Evaluate the Constitution in terms of democracy and its impact on policymaking.

1. List and explain the five Constitutional amendments that expanded the right to vote.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

2. In what ways does the Constitution expand and diminish the scope of government?

 

 

KEY TERMS

Identify and describe:

Constitution natural rights consent of the governed limited government

Articles of Confederation Shays' Rebellion U. S. Constitution

Factions New Jersey Plan Virginia Plan

Connecticut Compromise writ of habeas corpus separation of powers

Declaration of Independence checks and balances republic

Federalists Anti-Federalists Federalist Papers

Bill of Rights Equal Rights Amendment Marbury v. Madison

Judicial review