United States History and the Constitution Assessment Bank

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1. George Mason wrote in 1787 that “The purse and the sword must not be in the same hands.”

Which principle in the U.S. Constitution best reflects the concern expressed in this quotation?

A. due process of law

B. popular sovereignty

C. separation of powers

D. independent judiciary

2. The system established to make sure that no one branch of government controls the other branches is called

A) federalism.

B) republicanism.

C) checks and balances.

D) separation of powers.

3. Which of these is an example of a "check and balance" power of Congress?

A) the power to tax

B) the power to veto

C) the power to borrow money

D) the power to impeach public officials


4. What is one reason that the Bill of Rights was adopted?

A) to sooth the fears of many Federalists in the United States.

B) to protect national government from the abuse of power by the state governments.

C) to protect the rights and liberties of the states from abuse of power by the newly created government.

D) to ensure that the national government would be strong enough to protect the public from internal rebellion and external invasion.


5. Which viewpoint MOST ACCURATELY describes the view of humankind held by the Founding Fathers who wrote our Constitution?

A) People of average or below average intelligence should never be legally allowed to govern themselves.

B) People are not capable of governing themselves and should be ruled by the most capable who have risen in society.

C) People need a government that will keep the various factions in balance while giving ultimate authority to the people.

D) People are basically good and can be trusted to treat their fellow humans fairly and therefore need little government at all.

6. A government principle by which the legislative, judicial, and executive powers are essentially held by different groups and people is called

A) reserved powers.

B) expressed powers.

C) checks and balances.

D) separation of powers.
7. State governments MIGHT be opposed to a federal government’s decision to prohibit taxes on persons seeking Internet access because it would limit the state’s ability to

A) earn money.

B) maintain order.

C) treat people fairly.

D) provide quality service


8. Which of these political debates is MOST closely related to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

A) gun control

B) capital punishment

C) search and seizure warrants

D) separation of church and state
9. Which branch of the federal government is responsible for interpreting the laws of the United States?
A) Executive
B) Judicial
C) Legislative
D) Treasury
10. This movement was characterized by a belief that the U.S. national government under the Articles of Confederation was too weak, and that a stronger central government was needed.
A) Federalism
B) Nationalism
C) Judicial Review
D) Separation of Powers
13. In the early-19th century, South Carolina protested what it believed to be a violation of its rights by
A) declaring war on the United States.
B) threatening to secede from the Union.
C) legalizing slavery throughout the state.
D) attempting to tax the federal government.

14. What is federalism?

A) a form of government with elected representatives
B) a division of power between the national and state governments
C) a sharing of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial systems
D) a form of government in which elected officials make all economic decisions

15. The principle of "Separation of Powers" is improved with a bicameral legislature rather than a unicameral legislature because a bicameral legislature

A) creates a legislature that has less power than the judicial branch.
B) needs fewer representatives to pass the same number of laws.
C) takes more of the power from the executive branch.
D) requires that two bodies of government pass laws.
16. Which is the BEST example of checks and balances?
A) Congress may override a president’s vetoing of a bill.
B) The Supreme Court bases its judgments on Constitutional law.
C) The president works to ensure that existing laws are enforced.
D) The Constitution may be amended to fit changing circumstances.
17. The hatred for the Quartering Act, passed by Parliament to affect the British colonies in North America, can be seen in which Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
A) 1st Amendment
B) 2nd Amendment
C) 3rd Amendment
D) 10th Amendment
18. An example of a STATE issue would be the requirements for
A) printing money.
B) getting married.
C) running post offices.
D) establishing an army.

19. Taxes may be levied on U.S. citizens by both the federal and state governments. This is an example of

A) double jeopardy.
B) a reserved power.
C) an exclusive power.
D) a concurrent power.

20. In American democracy, why is the principle of checks and balances important?

A) Elections are fair and free.
B) Minority rights are protected.
C) No one branch can have too much power.
D) Representative government is guaranteed.
21. How did the Magna Carta and English bill of Rights influence the Constitution?

A. They established a long political tradition of securing rights.

B. They gave the legislature the most power within government.

C. They allowed barons to take over the monarchy.

D. They justified the Americans’ call for a Glorious Revolution.

22. What do separation of powers, popular sovereignty, and the social contract have in common?

A. They were compromises that failed to gain support at the Constitutional Convention.

B. They are Enlightenment ideas that helped shape the Constitution.

C. They are arguments against Federalism.

D. They are enumerated rights included in the Bill of Rights.

23. Which Founding Father authored part of the Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution?

A. John Adams

B. Alexander Hamilton

C. Thomas Jefferson

D. John Marshall
24. Which compromise or plan during the Constitutional Convention negotiated the significance of states’ slave populations?

A. Three-fifths compromise

B. New Jersey Plan

C. Virginia Plan

D. Great Compromise
25. John Locke believed that citizens’ bond to government was formed through a

  1. Spirit of nationalism.

  2. Two-way contract.

  3. Unilateral obligation.

  4. Feeling of humility.

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