Gov: Constitution Unit

citizenship-test  Government classes: Constitution Unit Pretest

A preliminary test administered to determine a student’s baseline knowledge about the U.S. Constitution.

Government Homework:
1. Independence Quiz – tomorrow (Tuesday 10/1)



Honor Gov: Judicial Branch Unit

citizenship-test   Honors Gov class: Judicial Branch Pretest

A preliminary test administered to determine a student’s baseline knowledge about the judicial branch.

Honors Gov Homework:
1. Amendments Quiz – Wednesday 10/2
2. Constitution Quiz II – close Thurs 10/3


Honors Gov

Paw - Excellence_sm This paw is for those who scored 13+ on their quiz.


Gov: Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention

Without money or the ability to impose taxes, the Confederation Congress could not maintain an army for the defense of the states. The weaknesses in the Articles led to widespread financial issues that eventually forced amendments to the Articles in order to provide economic stability. A growing number of Americans were ready to agree to a strong national government.

Economic problems, national security concerns, and internal disturbances demonstrated the need for a stronger central government and led Congress to call a convention in May 1787 to revise the Articles. However, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention chose instead to create a new political system for America.

The Constitution forged at that convention was designed to provide for a government in which political power would limited yet adequate to govern. The Framers wanted to ensure that the government they were creating would not itself be a threat to freedom. Delegates to the convention struggled with many issues, especially how to allocate seats in Congress and how to deal with the issue of slavery. Finally, a compromise was reached that formed a bicameral Congress with the House of Representatives based on population, and the Senate with two members from each state. Other compromises allowed counting three-fifths of enslaved persons for purposes of House representation and taxes, giving Congress the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and using the Electoral College system to elect the president.

Government Homework:
1. Constitutional Convention notes
2. Chapter 2 Quiz III – close Monday 9/30
3. Chapter 3 Independence Quiz – Tuesday 10/2


Honors Gov: Quiz and Amendments

Dog Taking Test  Good luck on your quiz   Paw - Integrity_sm


Other Amendments

We completed our lesson on the amendments to the Constitution, We started with  look at the Civil War Amendments: Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen, which were the result of that conflict. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment, similar to the Fifth Amendment, prohibits a state from depriving a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the government from denying a person’s right to vote on the basis of race. The later amendments, Sixteen through Twenty-seven, were added in the twentieth century. They deal with a range of topics that reflect some of the changes that occurred in American society during that period such as advances in the status of workers, African Americans, and women.

Honors Gov Homework:
1. Other Amendments notes 
2. Read Chapter 4 pp.134-137
3. Amendments Quiz – Wednesday 10/2


Gov: U.S. 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 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.

Government Homework:
1. Constitution notes
2. Read Chapter 3.4 pp.51-55
3. Chapter 2 Quiz III – close Sunday 9/29


Honors Gov: Amendments

Amendment 5   The Fifth Amendment includes protections for people accused of crimes: the right to a grand jury and protections against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and government seizure of property without just compensation. It also requires that the national government follow due process of law. Self-incrimination was meant to prevent law enforcement officials from pressuring suspects into admitting guilt for a crime they did not commit.

In Miranda v. Arizona, Ernesto Miranda was arrested at his home and taken in custody to a police station where he was identified by the complaining witness. He was then interrogated by two police officers for two hours, which resulted in a signed, written confession. The Court set forth a procedure for ensuring that suspects know their rights. These rights of the accused became known as Miranda rights.

Amendment 6  The Sixth Amendment guarantees additional rights to the accused: to have a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, to hear and question witnesses, and to be defended by a lawyer.

In the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, Clarence Earl Gideon was unable to afford an attorney. He asked the court to provide him free legal counsel, however, Florida courts provided such services only in death penalty cases. The judge turned him down and Gideon was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. Gideon filed an appeal that eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. The justices sided with Gideon, arguing that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of legal counsel should not depend on the defendant’s ability to pay.

In the case of Sheppard v. Maxwell, Sam Sheppard’s wife was murdered at the couple’s home. Sheppard claimed that an armed intruder had knocked him unconscious and then killed his wife. The Cleveland press covered the story relentlessly, in a manner that implied Sheppard’s guilt. Sheppard appealed his conviction arguing that biased press coverage had prevented him from getting a fair trial. The Court overturned the murder conviction, agreeing that coverage of the trial had “inflamed and prejudiced the public.” Although the Court acknowledged the media’s First Amendment rights, it said that press coverage should not be allowed to interfere with a defendant’s right to due process. In cases where intense media coverage might unfairly influence a trial, the trial should be moved to another location or the jury should be isolated from all news coverage.

Amendment 7   The Seventh Amendment assures the right to a jury trial in civil cases. Civil cases do not involve criminal matters.

Amendment 8    The Eighth Amendment protects against excessive bail or fines and forbids cruel or unusual punishment. Bail is money given over to the court in exchange for a suspect’s release until his or her trial begins. Most of the legal challenges to this amendment have involved the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. In Furman v. Georgia, the Court focused on the death penalty. It concluded that capital punishment was cruel and unusual when it was inconsistently and unequally applied from one case to another. Too often people convicted of a capital crime received very different penalties. One might be sentenced to life in prison while the other was condemned to death. The Court’s decision put a sudden halt to all executions in the United States. In Gregg v. Georgia, the Court concluded that the death penalty was constitutional under the new laws. As a result, capital punishment became a sentencing option in most states.

Amendment 9     The Ninth Amendment provides that people’s rights are not restricted to those specified in Amendments 1 through 8. Some of these unlisted rights were later protected under other amendments and laws. In the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, Estelle Griswold, an official with the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, had been arrested for providing medical advice to married couples on how to prevent pregnancy. Her actions violated a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. In its decision, the Court declared that the law violated marital privacy rights. The Court said that it was an implied right in the First, Third, and Fourth amendments. The Ninth Amendment provides further support by stating that a right need not be cited in the Constitution to be valid.

Amendment 10    The Tenth Amendment restates that any powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states are reserved to the states and to the people. In the case of United   States v. Morrison, the Violence Against Women Act that allowed victims of domestic violence to sue their attackers in federal court. The Court struck down this law saying that violent crime between individuals was an issue for the states not the federal government.

Honors Gov Homework:
1. Chapter 3 Quiz I – Friday 9/27
2. Chapter 2 Quiz III – close today @ 6:00 PM