created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.


HGov: Constitutional Amendments

bill of rights

The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution shortly after its ratification. These amendments guarantee certain political, procedural, and property rights against infringement by the national government. Outside of the Bill of Rights there are 17 other amendments to the Constitution.

1st Amendment
People have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the Government. 1791.

2nd Amendment
People have the right to have a weapon to protect themselves. 1791.

3rd Amendment
Soldiers cannot take or live in a person’s house. 1791.

4th Amendment
The government cannot arrest a person or search their property unless there is “probable cause.” 1791.

5th Amendment
The government must follow the law (due process) before punishing a person. 1791.

6th Amendment
A person has the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury. 1791.

7th Amendment
A person has the right to a jury trial for civil cases. 1791.

8th Amendment
The government cannot demand excessive bail or fines, or any cruel and unusual punishment. 1791.

9th Amendment
The Constitution does not include all of the rights of the people and the states. 1791.

10th Amendment
Any powers that the Constitution does not give to the federal government belong to the states. 1791.

11th Amendment
Citizens cannot sue states in federal courts. 1795.

12th Amendment
The President and Vice President are elected on a party ticket. 1804.

13th Amendment
Slavery is illegal in the United States. 1865.

14th Amendment
Every person born in the USA is a citizen. An immigrant can become a naturalized citizen. 1868

15th Amendment
All US male citizens have the right to vote. 1870.

16th Amendment
Congress can tax income. 1913.

17th Amendment
The people can elect US Senators. 1913.

18th Amendment
Alcohol is illegal. (Prohibition). 1919.

19th Amendment
All US female citizens have the right to vote. 1920.

20th Amendment
The President is inaugurated in January. Congress begins to meet in January. 1933.

21st Amendment
Alcohol is legal. Each state can make laws about making, selling, and drinking alcohol. 1933.

22nd Amendment
The President cannot serve for more than two terms. 1951.

23rd Amendment
The US Citizens in the District of Columbia have the right to vote for President. 1961.

24th Amendment
It is illegal to make a citizen pay a voting fee or take a reading test to vote. 1964.

25th Amendment
If the president dies or cannot serve, the vice-president becomes president. If both die, the Speaker of the House becomes president. 1967.

26th Amendment
US citizens who are 18 years old or older have the right to vote. 1971.

27th Amendment
Congress must limit when and how much its members are paid. 1992.

Econ: Andersonville Economy


All society must develop an economic system to answer the basic economic questions. While we usually identify economic systems with a country (the United States has a market oriented system; the former Soviet Union had a command system), it is also possible to identify an economic system at a micro level. Students will examine how a group of civil war prisoners developed an economic system within their camp, a system designed to allocate scarce resources.

After our discussion, we read “Andersonville, What Really Happened.”  We read it, underlining those aspects of the Andersonville economy that reflect a command approach and circling those aspects that reflect a market approach. Finally we shared our ideas on the question: “Is it appropriate to label the Andersonville system as a market economy?” We learned that this economic system, like many economic systems, was a mixture of market and command economic systems.


HGov: Amendments


Today we learned that the Constitution was designed to adapt to the changing times while still preserving the basic forms and principles of government. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed and ratified in two ways. An amendment is proposed at the national level but is ratified in a state-by-state process. One method of proposing an amendment is by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. The other way is for two-thirds of the states to ask Congress to call a convention. One method for ratifying a proposed amendment is for the legislatures in three-fourths of the states to vote on it.  The other method is for the states to hold special conventions and then have three-fourths of the conventions approve it.

The United States Constitution is unusually difficult to amend.  Because any amendment can be blocked by thirteen states withholding approval, in either of their two houses, amendments don’t come easy.  In fact, only 27 amendments have been ratified since the Constitution became effective, and ten of those ratifications occurred almost immediately, known as the Bill of Rights. 

HGov Homework:
1. Amendments worksheet
2. Constitution and Amendments Quiz – Thursday 9/25


Econ: Comparing Economic Systems


Today we learned that one of the few advantages existing in a traditional economy is that the roles of individuals are clearly defined. Every member of the society knows exactly what they are to do and most don’t have any complaints about it. There are also many disadvantages to this type of society. These societies are often very slow to change and when new technologies are introduced, these ideas and techniques are discouraged.

Command economies focuses on equality and the government tries to eliminate all private property and distribute its good equally. If done correctly no one is in poverty and no one is wealthier than another. Social services are also emphasized in this type of economy. The government will provide equal health care, education opportunities, and make sure all people are fed. Another strength pf this type of economy is that it is capable of rapid change for major problems. The government owns the companies, so if production needs need to be shifted into a different area, the government is capable of doing it rather quickly. Finally, command economies are very stable. Command economies will never have sudden depressions. Command economies also have many weaknesses. In a command economy there is very little freedom. The individual usually doesn’t have the opportunity to decide what they want to do for a career, and they have no control over the goods they receive. Another major problem is that there is little reason for innovations, hard work, or quality of the work. Since no one makes more money than everyone else, the people feel like there is no reason to work hard. Another weakness is that there is little focus on consumer wants. Finally, when it comes to minor day-to-day changes, the government has a hard time coping with them.

A strength of a market economy is it can adjust to change easily. If there is a demand for one thing, companies have the ability to change what they produce instead of having to go through too much government. People have the ability to make as much money as they can and do what is in their best interest. Another strength of a market economy is that the government tries to stay out of the way of businesses. Although the government sets certain standards businesses must follow, for the most part businesses can do as they please, allowing them to produce what they want, how they want. The market economy produces a great variety of goods and services for consumers. If there is a demand for a good or service, the demand will almost always be met in a market economy. A weakness of a market economy is that it doesn’t always provide the basic needs to everyone in the society. The weak, sick, disabled, and old sometimes have trouble providing for themselves and often slip into poverty. Another problem is that it becomes hard for a government with so many private businesses to provide adequate defense, education, and health care to its people. Another weakness to this type of economy is that there is uncertainty in the business world. One company could easily be forced out of business causing all of its employees to become unemployed and lose their means of income. Finally, there are market failures. This can cause some companies to become too powerful and become a monopoly. If the government doesn’t step in, the monopoly can take advantage of the consumers and charge higher prices.

Econ Homework:

1. Read Chapter 3.1-3.3 pp.37-46


HGov: Constitutional Convention


The Virginia Plan, written mainly by James Madison, was clearly designed to replace the Articles, not to revise them. It called for a government of three branches. The legislative branch would make the laws, the executive branch would carry out the laws, and the judicial branch would interpret the laws. Under the Virginia Plan, the new government would have a bicameral, or two-house, legislature. The Virginia Plan proposed that representation in both houses should be based on the population of each state. This would give the more populous states more representatives, and thus more influence, than states with smaller populations.

William Patterson of New Jersey introduced an alternative approach. The New Jersey Plan proposed a series of amendments to the Articles of Confederation. These changes would have created a somewhat more powerful national government with a unicameral, or one-house, legislature in which all states had equal representation.

Finally, Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed a compromise designed to satisfy both sides. His plan called for a bicameral legislature with a different form of representation in each house. In the Senate, states would have equal representation. In the House of Representatives, states would have representation based on their populations. Sherman’s plan, known as the Great Compromise, resolved the issue of representation in Congress and allowed the convention to move forward.

Other issues also divided the delegates. Those from northern states differed with those from southern states on questions of slavery and commerce. Many northern delegates wanted the constitution to include a provision for abolishing slavery. But most southerners opposed ending a system of labor on which their agricultural economy depended. These differences over slavery spilled into debates on representation and taxes. Since most slaves lived in the South, delegates from the South wanted slaves to be counted when determining representation in the House of Representatives. Yet they did not want slaves counted when determining each state’s share of taxes to support the national government. Delegates from the North wanted slaves to be counted for taxation, but not when determining representation. After much debate, the delegates reached another important compromise. For purposes of both representation and taxation, a slave was to be counted as three-fifths of all free persons. The Three-Fifths Compromise helped hold the new nation together.

Delegates from the North and South also argued over commerce. Northerners favored giving Congress broad powers to control trade. Southerners worried that Congress might outlaw the slave trade and place heavy taxes on southern exports of crops. Once again the delegates reached a compromise. Congress would have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, but it could not tax exports, and it could not outlaw the slave trade until 1808.

Another major issue concerned the formation of the executive branch. Some delegates wanted a single executive to head the government. Others were concerned that giving power to a single leader might give rise to a monarchy or tyranny, favored an executive committee made up of at least two members. In the end, the delegates voted for a single president. The delegates thought a special body called the Electoral College would be made up of electors from each state who would cast votes to elect the president and vice president. Each state would have as many electors as the number of senators and representatives it sent to Congress.

The Constitution included a provision for ratification. To go into effect, the new plan of government would need to be ratified by at least 9 of the 13 states. Ratification was to take place at state conventions made up of delegates elected for this purpose. Success was by no means assured. The pro-ratification effort was led by supporters of the Constitution who called themselves Federalists. They favored the creation of a strong federal government that shared power with the states. Their opponents were known as Anti-Federalists. These were people who preferred the loose association of states established under the Articles of Confederation. The battle between these two groups was played out in the press, in state legislatures, and at the state ratifying conventions.

By January 1788, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New   Jersey had ratified the Constitution. Georgia and Connecticut soon followed. In Massachusetts, however, the ratifying convention deadlocked over a key issue: the lack of a bill of rights. After much debate, the Massachusetts delegates agreed to ratify after receiving assurance that such a list of rights would be added after ratification. A number of other states ratified with the same understanding. By the summer of 1788, all but two states had ratified. The Constitution was now in effect. North Carolina would join the new union in 1789, and Rhode Island in 1790.


Econ: Economic Systems


Today we learned that the way a nation determines how to use its resources to satisfy its people’s needs and wants is called an economic system. Each type of system is labeled according to how it answers the basic economic questions of What, How, and For Whom to produce. The major economic systems in use today are traditional, command, market, and mixed. In the traditional economy, the basic questions are answered by tradition, customs, and even habits handed down from generation to generation. In a command economy, a central authority answers the three basic questions. In a market economy, decision making is decentralized with consumers and entrepreneurs playing a central role. Most economies in the world today feature some mix of traditional, command, and market economies. A nation’s values and goals influence its choice of economic systems. The major economic and social goals used to evaluate the performance of an economic system are economic freedom, economic efficiency, economic equity, economic security, full employment, price stability, and economic growth.


HGov: Constitution


The Constitution provides the basic framework for American government. It also guarantees the rights and freedoms that we, as Americans, sometimes take for granted. The Constitution is a three-part document, consisting of the Preamble, the articles, and the amendments. Adopted as the “law of the land” in 1788, it is the oldest written constitution still in use anywhere in the world. The Constitution serves as both a practical outline for government and a symbol of our national way of life. Learning about the Constitution not only helps us understand the rights and freedoms we enjoy as Americans, but also gives us tools to defend those freedoms.

The Preamble is a single, long sentence that defines the broad purposes of the republican government created by the Constitution. It begins with the phrase “We the people,” signifying that power and authority in our system of government come from the people, not the states. The Preamble goes on to set various goals for the nation under the Constitution. These goals are expressed in a series of key phrases. “Form a more perfect union.” The framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure cooperation among the states, and between the states and the national government. “Establish justice.” The framers hoped to create a system of government based on fair laws that apply equally to all people. “Ensure domestic tranquility.” The framers wanted government to ensure peace and order. “Provide for the common defense.” The framers wanted the government to protect the nation against foreign enemies. “Promote the general welfare.” The framers hoped the government would ensure the well-being of the citizens. “Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The framers hoped to guarantee freedom for Americans, then and in the future.

The main body of the Constitution consists of seven articles. These seven articles are further divided into sections and clauses. The first three articles establish the three branches of government – legislative, executive, and judicial – and define their powers. These articles lay out the basic structure of the national government. The four remaining articles of the Constitution cover various subjects, including relations among the states, the supremacy of national law, and the amendment process.

The first article sets up Congress as the lawmaking body in government. It describes the two chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the election, terms, and qualifications of their members. It also sets guidelines for rules and procedures in each chamber. This is the longest article in the Constitution, reflecting the founders’ belief in the importance of the legislature in a representative democracy.

Article II establishes the executive branch. The executive branch is led by the president and vice president. The Constitution describes the election, terms of office, and qualifications of these executive officers. It also defines the powers of the president, which include the power to command the armed forces, to make treaties, and to appoint other executive officials.

Article III creates the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, while leaving Congress to create the lower courts. It defines the jurisdiction of the federal courts, specifying the types of cases that can be tried. It also guarantees the right to trial by jury in criminal cases and defines the crime of treason.

Article IV concerns relations among the states. It has four sections, which make the following key points: “Full faith and credit.” Each state must honor the laws and court decisions of other states. “Treatment of citizens.” No state may discriminate against the residents of another state. It must treat them as it treats its own residents. States must return suspected criminals to the states in which they are wanted. “New states and territories.” Only Congress can authorize the creation of new states. It also has power over territories and other jurisdictions of the United   States. “Protection of states.” The national government guarantees each state a republican form of government. It also promises to protect states from outside attack and, if requested, to help states put down internal rebellions.

Article V describes the amendment process. The framers understood that it might be necessary to make changes to the Constitution from time to time. Article V spells out the ways such amendments can be proposed and ratified.

Article VI covers several topics. It states that the national government agrees to repay all of the debts that were incurred under the Articles of Confederation. This was critical to ensure support for the new government. It also states that the Constitution is the “supreme Law of the Land.” This section, known as the Supremacy Clause, means that federal law supersedes all state and local laws. When the laws conflict, federal law reigns supreme. In addition, it stipulates that all federal and state officials must take an oath swearing their allegiance to the Constitution. Also, no religious standard can be imposed on any official as a qualification for holding office.

Article VII stipulates that the Constitution would not take effect until ratified by at least nine states. Although the Constitution was signed by the framers on September 17, 1787, ratification did not occur until the following year.

The framers never meant for the Constitution to provide a complete and detailed blueprint for government. In general, the framers made broad statements and left it to political leaders to work out many of the specific details of governing. They also built in an amendment process, in Article V, that would allow for formal changes to the Constitution. They hoped that this flexibility would allow the Constitution and the government to endure.



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