The Spirit of American Politics

  1. Explain the meaning of a constitution and its role in American politics (40).

The Colonial Roots of the Constitution

  1. Describe the colonial roots of the constitution (40-2)

Why the Colonists Revolted

  1. Describe the political context and the issue of representation during the colonial period. (42-3)
  2. Describe the significance of the Stamp Act and the Townshend Act (44-5).
  3. Describe the significance of the Boston Tea Party and the outbreak of revolution. (45-6).

The Declaration of Independence

  1. Describe the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and its list of grievances (47-8).

The First American Government: The Articles of Confederation

  1. Explain what a confederation is and describe how the Articles of Confederation structured government (49-50).
  2. What were some of the problems with the Articles of Confederation? (50-1).
  3. Explain the reasons for the rise of Shay’s Rebellion and how it impacted some of the Framers of the constitution (50-1).
  4. Explain how and why the Constitutional Convention was formed in secrecy (51-2).

The Constitutional Convention

  1. What were the debates in the Constitutional Convention concerning how much power should be retained by the people (53).
  2. Describe the meaning and function of federalism (54).
  3. Explain proposals of the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan, as well as the compromise, at the Constitutional Convention (54-6).
  4. Explain the reasons why the framers created an Electoral College to elect the President (56-7).
  5. Explain the significance and function of the separation of powers (57-8).
  6. Explain the issue of slavery at the Constitutional Convention and the meaning of the three-fifths compromise (60-2).

Overview of the Constitution

  1. Explain the significance of the Preamble. (63)
  2. Describe the function and powers of Article 1 of the Constitution (63-4).
  3. Describe the function and powers of Article 2 of the Constitution (64-5).
  4. Describe the function and powers of Article 3 of the Constitution (65).
  5. Describe the function of Article 4 of the Constitution (65-6).
  6. Describe the function Article 5-7 of the Constitution (66).


  1. What were the debates between the Federalist and Anti-Federalists? (67-8).
  2. How did the issue of a Bill of Rights impact the ratification of the Constitution? (69-70).
  3. Explain the significance of the Bill of Rights and the other seventeen amendments in Constitution (72-3).
  4. How should we interpret the Constitution today? Explain the notions of originalism and pragmatism with respect to constitutional interpretation (72-4).