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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Constitution Test!

Final Exams Schedule

Tuesday, December 20 
2nd Hour:  8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
4th Hour:  10:10 AM – 12:05 PM (1st Lunch:  10:10 AM – 10:35 AM; 2nd Lunch:  11:40 AM – 12:05 PM)
6th Hour:  12:15 PM – 1:45 PM
Eagle Hour/Liberty Hour:  1:45 PM – 3:15 PM (students who stay meet in cafeteria or LMC)

Wednesday, December 21
1st Hour:  8:10 AM – 9:40 AM
3rd Hour:  9:45 AM – 11:15 AM
4th Hour/Lunch:  11:20 AM – 12:05 PM  (1st Lunch:  11:20 AM – 11:45 AM; 2nd Lunch:  11:45 AM – 12:05 PM; with student study in 4th hour)
5th Hour:  12:10 PM – 1:40 PM

7th Hour:  1:45 PM – 3:15 PM 

Constitution Test Day!!! You got this.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Brutus I & Federalist 51

Constitutional Principles Quiz

Brutus 1 & Federalist 51 Discussion Questions

As you read Brutus 1 and Federalist 51, please answer the following questions with specific references to the text.

  1. Brutus asks the question whether a confederated government is the best for the United States or not.  One great republic vs. thirteen confederated republics?  Explain his position.

  1. What is Brutus’s main concern with this government?  What two clauses does he specifically mention to support his fear?  What do those two clauses mean to the idea of a confederation and the rights of states?

  1. What does Brutus believe to be the most important power of the legislative branch?  Why is this power so important?

  1. What other powers does the national government possess that worry Brutus?

  1. Brutus believes that a smaller republic is preferable to a larger one.  Why?  What advantages are there in a smaller republic?  What problems are there in a larger republic?
  1. In Federalist 51, Madison argues that the new government will not become all powerful.  Madison writes, “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”  How will the government do this? What key features of the constitution will ensure that rights and liberties will be protected?

  1. What branch does Madison believe to be the most dominant?  How can its powers be checked?

  1. Madison counters Brutus argument concerning the protection of liberties in a large republic.  How does Madison refute Brutus’s position?  How does a large republic better ensure the rights of citizens?

  1. Who is right—Madison or Brutus?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Debate over Ratification: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists

HW for Thursday: Read Brutus I and Federalist 51; Constitutional Principles Quiz tomorrow!

When the delegates wrapped up the convention and presented the Constitution to the states for ratification in September 1787, it was not a guarantee that it would be approved. Fierce debate took place between Federalists,those who supported this new proposal of government, and their opponents who feared too strong of a central government, the Anti-Federalists. Today we look at the arguments and differences between them. 

Let's begin by looking at this comparison chart:

Based on the above chart, try to identify these statements as either Federalist or Anti-Federalist positions:

1. “I think those delegates exceeded their authority in creating a whole new government. They were just supposed to work on the Articles a bit.”
2. “What Americans need is a bill of rights, and this new government will not get my approval until we have one.”
3. “I think this new plan will provide a good balance of power.”
4. “Those people want to make the United States undemocratic and get special privileges for a limited few Americans.”
5. “It’s obvious that the Articles weren’t working, and I think this new plan reflects a careful compromise among a variety of opinions.”
6. “I and my two friends wrote our essays under the name ‘Publius’ because we wanted people to be influenced only by the facts.”
7. “If we give too much power to a central government, what’s to stop the United States from becoming a monarchy like Britain?”
8. “I think it’s important for people to realize that the large size and diversity of the United States will make it impossible for any single group to form a majority that could dominate the government.”
9. “I encouraged the delegates at the Convention to sign the Constitution and I fear that this nation will crumble if the states do not accept it.”
10. “I’m just a simple farmer, but I think those supporters of the Constitution expect to get all the power into their own hands.”
Now let's try the same thing, but with actual quotes from Federalist/Anti-Federalist papers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Constitutional Principles

Quick Survey

HW due Wednesday: Constitutional Principles Quiz

HW due Thursday: Read Brutus I and Federalist 51. Be prepared for an in-class discussion on Thursday using these discussion questions.

Final Exam: Constitution Test Review Sheet

One reason the Constitution has endured for so long and our country has been so successful is the effectiveness of the constitutional principles. These ideas, embodied in the Constitution, are designed to limit power and protect the rights of the people from tyrannical government.

Here are the key constitutional principles:
  • Popular Sovereignty
  • Republicanism (Representative Government)
  • Federalism
  • Separation of Powers
  • Checks and Balances
  • Limited Government

In-class check for understanding (GoogleDoc of these examples):
Constitutional Principles

Evaluate and explain what Constitutional Principle (Limited Government, Separation of Powers, Checks & Balances, Popular Sovereignty, Federalism) is illustrated in each of the following examples.

_________________1. Congress passes the Affordable Care Act.

_________________ 2. The Supreme Court upholds the challenge to the Affordable Care Act and rules it constitutional.

_________________ 3. The Department of Health and Human Services begins implementing the national part of the Affordable Care Act.

_________________ 4. States set up their own health care exchange programs for people to buy low cost insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act.

_________________ 5. Two of Missouri’s representative lose their re-election bid after supporting the Affordable Care Act.

_________________ 6. Congress votes to defund (not provide money in the budget) for the Affordable Care Act.

_________________ 7. The national government cannot restrict your religious beliefs.

_________________ 8. Congress proposes an amendment to repeal the 22nd Amendment and it is ratified by the states.

_________________ 9. The President orders a military strike against Syria.

_________________ 10. Congress moves to impeach President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Helpful videos:

Crash Course: Separation of Powers & Checks and Balances

Monday, December 12, 2016

Checks & Balances

Homework for Tuesday: Complete the Checks & Balances worksheet (make a copy).

“The Constitutional Convention of 1787 is supposed to have created a government of ‘separated powers.’ It did nothing of the sort. Rather, it created a government of separated institutions sharing powers.” -Richard Neudstadt

In addition to separation of powers, the Framers crafted a government of limited powers by creating a system of checks and balances to ensure that each branch had some control over the others and that no one branch could ever have complete control.  Here are a couple websites that explain checks and balances along with a few examples.

Social Studies Help Center: How does our system of checks and balances help limit power?

US Constitution Online: Constitutional Topic--Checks & Balances

American System of Checks & Balances

Checks and Balances: Internal Constraints on Government Power

The charts and videos below help illustrate how the system works with specific checks.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Separation of Powers

Homework for Monday: Complete the separation of powers worksheet.

One of the key constitutional principles is separation of powers, dividing governmental powers among three branches.

Make a copy of this Google Doc and identify what branch is responsible for each item described.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Other Amendments

HW due Friday: Read 77-90 and take the reading quiz.

Articles 1-7 & Bill of Rights Quiz

Today, we are finishing up our overview of the 27 amendments to the Constitution. As we finish, think about which amendments are the ten most important or essential. Tomorrow, we will do an in-class activity where you will be responsible for ranking the amendments and justifying your decisions.

What should be the next amendment?

Here is a list of recently proposed amendments in Congress.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Amendment Process & Bill of Rights

HW due Friday: Read 63-77 and take the reading quiz.

The Constitution is not a perfect document and the Framers were wise enough to realize that changes or additions, formally called amendments, would be necessary. They also recognized the impossible task of amending under the Articles (unanimous consent), and made the process of changing the Constitution easier, but still difficult enough to ensure that only vital changes would take place.

Today (and for the next few days), we are going to take a look the amendment process and the additions to the Constitution.