Chapter 1 Founding of American Political Thought Study Guide Key



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Chapter 1 Founding of American Political Thought Study Guide Key


Early Influence on American Political Theory

  1. Which ancient civilization had the greatest influence on the American Founding Fathers?

  2. What medieval government had an elected monarch, a form of parliament (Witena Gemot), and the principle of restitution (Weregild)?

  3. What document was signed by King John in 1215 resulting in limited government and ushered in the modern political era?

  4. What political document was signed on April 6, 1320 that declared Scotland’s independence and stated “For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom—for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”?




  1. What founding document was signed in 1689 by William and Mary that guaranteed individual freedoms and liberties?




  1. In regards to the proper role of government, which political philosopher stated “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”?

  2. Which French political philosopher promoted the idea of checks and balances by dividing power among three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial?

  3. What essays on liberty were published in Britain in the early 18th century by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon?

  4. Which of Adam Smith’s works contains the following: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”?

  5. What legal system was established in Virginia in 1619 and became America’s first representative government?

  6. What document was signed by the Pilgrims in 1620 that granted them the authority to create their own political institutions?

  7. What was established in 1636 and became the first basic system of laws in the New England Colonies?

  8. What was written in 1639 and became America’s first formal constitution?

  9. What term refers to the autonomy that had developed in the colonies with self-government for over a 150 years due to the geographical distance between Britain and the America?

  10. What was created in 1707 with the unification of England and Scotland?

  11. What trial took place in 1735 that resulted in the reinforcement of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press?

Declaration of Independence

  1. What war took place from 1754 to 1763 between Britain and France in North America?

  2. What power was granted to British officials by Parliament in 1755 to conduct widespread searches of colonial property?

  3. What act was issued by Parliament in 1764 that placed an indirect tax on molasses imported into the colonies?

  4. What act was issued by Parliament in 1765 that placed a direct tax on legal documents, books, licenses, etc. in the American colonies?

  5. Who was known as the “Father of the Revolution” and created the Sons of Liberty and the Committee of Correspondence?

  6. What act was issued by Parliament in 1766 that declared that Parliament had power over the colonies to pass laws and levy taxes?

  7. What acts were issued by Parliament in 1767 that placed a direct tax on tea, paper, lead, glass, and paint?

  8. What formal agreement was made between the colonies in 1768 to boycott all British imports?

  9. What event took place in 1773 that resulted in the destruction of British property over taxes imposed on certain goods?

  10. What acts were issued by Parliament in 1774 with the intent to punish Massachusetts?




  1. What meeting took place from September to October in 1774 and was held at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia?

  2. Who declared the following? “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God– I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

  3. What name was given to the average colonist who was willing to volunteer to use his own time and resources to defend himself and others against British aggression?

  4. What battle took place on April 19, 1775 and was the first battle of the War for Independence?

  5. What was the name of the extra-legal government that was formed by the colonies in 1775 to oppose measures that were issued by Parliament and later became the colonial government during the War for Independence?

  6. Who was the president of the Second Continental Congress?

  7. What book was published by Thomas Paine in 1776 that was very impactful on the historical narrative and sold 250,000 copies of which were passed around to several readers and was read by as many as half of the adult population in the colonies?




  1. Which member of the Second Continental Congress presented a resolution for independence in June 1776?

  2. Which member of the Second Continental Congress was assigned to write up a document that would formally separate the American colonies from Great Britain?

  3. Which member of the Second Continental Congress gave the most important speech of his life and convinced the Congress to declare independence?

  4. What document was adopted on the 4th of July 1776 that declared the independence of the thirteen original colonies and their secession from the British Empire along with expounding on natural rights and establishing the philosophical basis for creating a new government?

  5. According to the Declaration of Independence, what is the sole function of government?

  6. According to the Declaration of Independence, in what terms are “all men created equal”?

  7. According to the Declaration of Independence, what can the people do with government if it infringes on natural rights?

  8. “…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their__________, it is their__________, to throw off such Government…”?

  9. What name is unofficially given to the second section of the Declaration of Independence that discusses the following and more: For imposing Taxes on us without our consent. For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our government. He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures. For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, etc.?

  10. What three things did the Signers pledge in support of the Declaration of Independence?

  11. What founding documents were written from 1776 to 1777 that became the blueprints for the legal and political organizations of each state?

  12. What founding document was written by George Mason in 1776 that outlined natural rights?

  13. What founding document did the states come together under after declaring their independence?

  14. During the Confederation of the States from 1781-1787, what did not have the power to tax or issue laws that affect individual Americans?

  15. What rebellion took place in Massachusetts from 1786-1787 that was used by the critics of the Confederation as a pretext to amend (abolish) the Articles of Confederation?

  16. What convention was held in 1786 that called for another convention to assemble the following year in Philadelphia?


The Constitution of 1787

  1. What convention was held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1787?

  2. What was the purpose of this convention?

  3. Who was the President of the Constitutional Convention?

  4. What plan was written by James Madison and proposed by Edmund Randolph that became the outline for the Constitution?

  5. What did Roger Sherman of Connecticut offer to appease both the large and small states?

  6. Who was part of the Committee of Style and put to prose the principles of the Constitution?

  7. What are the first three words of the Constitution?

  8. What name was given to those who promoted the ratification of the Constitution?

  9. What name was given to those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution?

  10. What name is given to the collection of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay from 1787 to 1788 to explain and promote the ratification of the Constitution?

  11. Who stated that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”?

  12. What cannot exercise whatever powers it chooses in the name of the people and can only exercise those powers that are granted to it in the Constitution?

  13. What was NOT originally included in the Constitution?

  14. What form of government did the Founding Fathers establish with the Constitution?

  15. According to Alexander Hamilton, how should all unconstitutional legislation be considered?

  16. What name is given to the following passage of the Constitution? “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  17. Which Article of the Constitution deals with powers of Congress?

  18. According to the Constitution which branch of government has the following powers: Levy taxes, borrow money, pay off the federal debts, declare war, raise and support armies, regulate foreign commerce, coin money, regulate patents and copyright, control the postal system, etc.?

  19. What powers are granted to the Congress of the United States?

  20. What part of the Constitution contains the following? “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

  21. What branch has the power “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”?

  22. What is the only form of Constitutional currency?

  23. What is the name of the following clause of the Constitution? “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States”

  24. What institution can approve treatises, Cabinet-level appointments, and appointments to the Supreme Court?

  25. Which Article of the Constitution deals with powers of the President?




  1. According to the Constitution which branch of government has the following powers: serve as commander in chief of the armed forces, commission military officers, conduct foreign affairs, grant pardons, veto legislation, make treaties, etc.?




  1. What is the only oath of office contained in the Constitution?

  2. Which office in the British political system most closely resembles that of President of the United States?

  3. Which Article of the Constitution deals with powers of the Supreme Court?

  4. According to the Constitution which branch of government has the following powers: controversies involving two or more states, all cases arising from the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties, all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, etc.?

  5. Which Article of the Constitution discusses States?

  6. Which Article of the Constitution deals with amending the Constitution?

  7. What branch of government has the power to propose amendments?

  8. Which Article of the Constitution states that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land?

  9. Which Article of the Constitution deals with Ratification?

  10. How many states are required for the Ratification of the Constitution?

The Bill of Rights

  1. Which Founding Father argued that an inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution would jeopardize those rights not mentioned in the document?

  2. Who condensed all of the proposed amendments sent by the various states into 12 amendments?

  3. What name is given to the first ten Amendments to the Constitution?

  4. List the five key parts to the First Amendment:

  5. What amendment to the Constitution protects the natural right of the people to defend themselves by force from tyrannical government?

  6. What amendment to the Constitution protects Americans from being forced to quarter soldiers in their homes and on their property?

  7. What amendment to the Constitution protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures?

  8. What amendment to the Constitution addresses Due Process of law?

  9. List the five key parts to the Fifth Amendment:

  10. What amendment to the Constitution guarantees a right to a speedy and public trial, an attorney, and access to witnesses?

  11. What amendment to the Constitution protects the right to trial by jury?

  12. What amendment to the Constitution protects individuals from excessive fines and bails, and cruel and unusual punishments?

  13. What amendments to the Constitution addressed the concern that rights not mentioned in the document would be assumed by the government to not exist?

  14. According to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, what political institution assumes all powers not mentioned in the Constitution?

  15. What amendment declares the following: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”?


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