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Something to Consider
all about american govt
Let's learn all about the thing that keeps the United States running—the government. By the time we're through, you may just know enough to start your own government.…
Click here to review everything covered in this episode of Standard Deviants TV. go!
  1. Introduction to Government.
    1. The Origins of American Government
    2. Types of Government
    3. Characteristics of American Democracy
  2. All the Stuff That Happened Before the Constitution Was Written
    1. Origins of a New Nation
    2. The Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation
    3. The Constitutional Convention
  3. The United States Constitution
    1. The Basic Principles of the Constitution
    2. The Articles of the Constitution
    3. The Drive for Ratification
sample test

1. What does popular consent mean?

2. What is the idea behind the social contract theory?

3. True or False: In a direct democracy, people vote for representatives who work on their behalf to create laws.

4. True or False: England had a sizeable amount of money after the French and Indian war.

5. True or False: The Virginia Plan called for a strong national government that derived its power from the people, not the states.

6. According to Aristotle's theory of natural law, society should be governed by:
(a) A monarch
(b) Ethical principles
(c) Aristotle

7. In which type of government is the power to govern given to the people?
(a) Aristocracy
(b) Oligarchy
(c) Democracy

8. What is one of the main reasons the colonists began to organize against England?
(a) England imposed strict taxes on the colonists
(b) England said that the colonists would have to turn their homes over to the French
(c) They came home late one night, and England grounded them

9. When were the Articles of Confederation ratified?
(a) Before the Revolutionary War
(b) During the Revolutionary War
(c) After the Revolutionary War

10. In a confederation, which of the following holds the most power?
(a) State governments
(b) National government
(c) Courts

11. What is the result of the Great Compromise?
(a) Representation in Congress determined by state population.
(b) Every state gets two representatives in Congress.
(c) Both "a" and "b".

12. Which of the following best describes federalism?
(a) The national government possesses almost all of the power.
(b) The state governments possess almost all of the power.
(c) Power is distributed to both the national and state governments.

13. According to the supremacy clause in the Constitution, which type of law has supremacy?
(a) National law
(b) State law
(c) Local law

14. In Article I of the Constitution, the Necessary and Proper clause gives what type of powers to Congress?
a) Elastic powers
b) Enumerated powers
c) Super powers

15. Article III of the Constitution deals with what branch of government?
(a) Executive
(b) Legislative
(c) Judicial

Click here to see the answers.

something to consider
1. Throughout American history, the balance of power has shifted between the national government and state governments. Who would you say has more power now, the national government, the state governments, or neither? Do you think this will change in the near future?

2. What are some reasons the Constitution has been amended infrequently? How does the relative infrequency of amendments affect how we view the Constitution?

3. The first three articles of the Constitution define the three banches of government. Which Branch's powers does the Constitution most cleary define? Which branch of government did you think the framers intended to have the most power?

4. What influence did the anti-federalists have on the Constitution?

5. Which of the six main components of American Democracy (popular consent, popular sovereignty, majority rule, individualism, equality, and personal liberty) do you think Americans are most passionate about? The least?

6. Is the third amendment still necessary? Should it be repealed?

Back to the Top

american gov't


did you know?
You think high-ranking public figures were more congenial in "the old days"? Think again: on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey, during a pistol duel, former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded the former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.

top ten
Top 10 Faulty Government Terms

10. senator: A creature in Greek mythology that is half human, half horse.

9. bureaucrat: The piece of furniture you use to store your crats.

8. congress: A female conger.

7. checks and balances: A tasty snack mix and the device used to measure it.

6. bicameral: Having two cameras.

5. impeach: To completely engulf with canned peaches.

4. Register: Host of the hamster version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

3. represent: A crummy gift that you got last year that you rewrap and give to someone else.

2. ratify: To deliberately infest with rats.

1. two-party system: A system in which two parties run simultaneously in case the cops crash one of them.
amendment — An addition, alteration, or other change to a constitution or other legal document.

aristocracy — A form of government in which a privileged few rule.

Articles of
— Ratified in 1781, this was the first constitution of the United States. It created a government that received its power from a confederation of semi-sovereign states.

bicameral — A system of government in which the legislature consists of two parts. In the United States federal government, these parts are the Senate and the House of Representatives.

constitution — A document or set of documents in which the laws or principles of a government are laid out.

Declaration of Independence — Document adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, that asserted the thirteen American colonies' independence from England.

democracy — A form of government in which the people have the power to rule themselves.

enumerated powers — A group of key powers the First Article of the Constitution explicitly gives to Congress. Examples include the power to tax, coin money, and regulate commerce.

federalism — A governmental principle that calls for a strong national government, with some power given to individual states.

monarchy — A form of government in which hereditary rulers (kings and queens) hold power over the people.

natural law — The political theory that says society should be governed by certain ethical principles.

oligarchy — A form of government in which a relatively small body of individuals who govern possess high levels of wealth, social or military status, or achievement.

popular consent — Political theory asserting that people should be able to participate directly in the governing of their own societies.

social contract
— Likens a society's government and its citizens to parties entering into a contract. In this theory, individuals are considered free, so they give their consent when they agree to be governed.

supremacy clause — Principle of the Constitution that holds that the laws of the Constitution and the nation as a whole are supreme in regard to any laws enacted by states.

Explore some websites related to American Government. Remember, you will be leaving the Standard Deviants TV website.
Related Sites

Check out the Declaration of Independence!

Check out the Articles of Confederation!

Check out the United States Constitution!

Check out the Bill of Rights!

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