See all 12 question attached with study guide.

POL 2301, United States Government 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Summarize the origins of American political thought.
1.1 Discuss the influences of Enlightenment philosophers and their ideas on the American colonial
movement toward revolution.
1.2 Describe the impact of John Locke’s political philosophy on the key characteristics of the
Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
1.3 Trace the origins of the colonial experience that led to the revolution.

2. Identify the distinctive attributes of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
2.1 Explain how the fundamental weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were addressed by
the new U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
2.2 Summarize the major political features of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights that help
ensure against the development of tyranny.
2.3 Describe the purpose and process of amending the U.S. Constitution.
2.4 Define federalism and its purpose in American government.
2.5 Trace the evolution of federalism from the Civil War period through today, including dual
federalism, cooperative federalism, new federalism, and competitive federalism.

Learning Outcomes
Learning Activity
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 37–64
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 3, pp. 71–102
Unit II Assessment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 3, pp. 71–102
Unit II Assessment
The U.S. Constitution and American Federalism

POL 2301, United States Government 2
Required Unit Resources

In order to access the following resources, click the links below.

Throughout this course, you will be provided with sections of text from the online textbook American
Government 2e. You may be tested on your knowledge and understanding of the material presented in the
textbook as well as the information presented in the unit lesson.

Chapter 2: The Constitution and Its Origins, pp. 37–64

Chapter 3: American Federalism, pp. 71–102

Unit Lesson

Influences on the Founders and the Right to Revolution

Beginning in the late 1600s and throughout the 1700s, immigrants traveled to the New World in search of new
opportunities. Some fled from religious persecution, political oppression, and poverty. Others were drawn
toward the open expanses of land and freedom. They came from England, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden. They
were Pilgrims and Puritans, Catholics and Quakers, and Lutherans and Anglicans. Some arrived still bound
with an allegiance to their old countries. Others immigrated in search of a new homeland. These early
immigrants who colonized America brought with them diversity of religion and culture and an independent
spirit that would help build a new nation.

Americans often celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the U.S .Constitution as this country’s most
important historical documents. As we learned in Unit I, the ideas of ancient Greek philosophers such as
Aristotle, and English philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, were important influences on
those who founded this country and framed its unique political system. In this unit, we will learn more about
the founders and the wealth of political experience they brought first to colonial America and later to the newly
formed United States.

The founders closely followed Locke’s view that the purpose of government was to protect citizens and their
rights, especially their natural rights to life, liberty, and property. These ideas broke with the dominant tradition
of the time that political rulers were divinely appointed, were working as God’s representatives on Earth, and
were permitted to rule as they saw fit. Locke and the American founders rejected this conception of the origin
of government in favor of the social
contract. The social contract was an
implicit agreement among people that
they would give up some of their rights in
exchange for the government’s
protection. However, unlike a divine
monarchy, the social contract was not
absolute. If a government failed to
protect the rights of citizens or if it
actively deprived citizens of their rights,
citizens were entitled to withdraw their
popular consent (the idea undergirding
democratic government that in order for
government to be legitimate, the people
must give their consent to be governed).
This led to Locke’s right to revolution, but
this idea that citizens have the right to rid
themselves of political leaders who fail to
protect and represent them is rooted in
the political culture of the ancient Greek
city-state. Watch the following National
Geographic video Ostracism in Ancient
Greece to learn about the Greek idea of
President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint
session of Congress, as required by the U.S. Constitution
(Craighead, 2017)

POL 2301, United States Government 3
ostracism, which refers to the removal of ineffective or corrupt political officials from office (Cartwright, 2016).
The transcript for the video Ostracism in Ancient Greece is also available for your viewing.

Colonial Discontent and Revolution

The American Revolution was rooted not
only in philosophy but also in economics.
During the early colonial period, British
monarchs allowed the American colonists
significant political and economic
freedom. They enjoyed broad self-
governance with all of the colonies
having their own constitutions by the mid-
1700s (the Mayflower Compact is an
early example), many colonies
established local legislatures (such as the
Virginia House of Burgesses established
in 1619), and the colonial governments
were allowed to send representatives to
the British Parliament. In addition, the
colonists were able to develop thriving
local industries and routinely ignored
many of the British trade policies that
required the colonies to export more than
they imported in order to ensure trade
dollars for the British treasury; however,
by 1754, when the British became
embroiled in a protracted war with France, which is known as the French and Indian War, colonists became
increasingly concerned with the economic and political implications. In particular, the British monarchy began
to demand that the colonists provide financial support for the war. This financial support came in the form of
taxation, including the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Act, Tea Acts, and Coercive Acts (Krutz, 2019). See
the timeline below for more information about these and other events leading to the American Revolution.

Between 1764 and 1775, the colonists experienced an erosion of the rights and freedoms they once enjoyed.
It was a period of growing discontent, fear, and suspicion. As the British government imposed economic
hardships on colonists with tax after tax without the consent of colonial governments, it also became
increasingly intrusive into the daily lives of colonial families by requiring them to quarter British troops in their
own homes. In reaction to British-imposed hardships, discontent turned to action, and opposition groups
began to form. The Sons of Liberty and the Daughters of Liberty were more actively engaged in dissent. Both
of these groups formed in response to British taxation in the colonies during the time of the American
Revolution. The Sons of Liberty engaged in protests and riots, while the Daughters of Liberty organized
boycotts throughout the colonies.

In order to access the following podcast, click the link below.

Listen to the podcast 60-Second Civics: Episode 178, which is sponsored by the Center for Civic
Education and provides more information on taxation without representation. The transcript for the
podcast 60-Second Civics: Episode 178 is also available for your viewing.

The Mayflower Compact (1620) by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
(Ferris, 1620)

POL 2301, United States Government 4

An alternate version of the infographic above is provided using assistive technologies.

(Boltneva, n.d.; Cooper, 1789; New York Public Library, 1765; Revere, 1770)

POL 2301, United States Government 5
In order to access the following activity in order to check your
understanding of the timeline above, click the link below to access a
nongraded quiz.

Interactive Activity 2.1: Milestones to the Revolution

Click here to access the PDF version of Interactive Activity 2.1:
Milestones to the Revolution.

These early revolutionaries began to form throughout the colonies and engaged in protests and riots. In 1765,
nine of the 13 colonies sent representatives to a meeting in New York; these individuals became known as
the Stamp Act Congress that drafted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which was a list of ways that
the British Crown had violated the rights of colonists. In 1772, Samuel Adams led in the creation the
Committees of Correspondence. This organization was a group of political dissidents throughout the colonies
who shared information about British activities, movements, and colonial efforts to oppose British rule.
Samuel Adams of Massachusetts was a key leader and cousin of the second President of the United States,
John Adams. In 1774, the First Continental Congress met and drafted a resolution known as the Declaration
of Rights and Resolves against the Coercive Acts, which suspended many colonial rights, including self-rule
and trial by peers.

The British monarch King George III refused to yield to colonial demands. A month before the Second
Continental Congress was to meet in May 1775, fighting broke out between British troops and colonists in
Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on April 1775. The revolution had begun with the “shot heard ‘round
the world.” In these early skirmishes, eight colonial minutemen were killed, and 16,000 British troops laid
siege to Boston. When the Second Continental Congress met a few weeks later in May 1775, they presented
one final appeal to King George III to halt hostilities. The British monarch refused and responded with an
additional 20,000 troops and a declaration that all opposition to the king was traitorous, and traitors were
subject to death. Meeting in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress appointed a committee of five to
draft a proclamation of separation from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia was the primary writer.
Drawing on Enlightenment ideals of natural rights and self-rule, Jefferson penned the new nation’s first
statement of political rights. You can listen to, read, and view the original Declaration of Independence below.

In order to access the following resources, please click the links below.

Audio speech by John F. Kennedy reading the Declaration of

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

Image of the Declaration of Independence

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. A few days
later, it was read aloud to a crowd of citizens at Bowling Green Park in New York City. Following the public
reading, the Sons of Liberty led New Yorkers in toppling a statue of King George III. The lead from the statue
President John F. Kennedy
(Stoughton, 1963)
(Chernetskaya, n.d.)

POL 2301, United States Government 6
was later melted down and recast as ammunition used in the Revolution (New York City Department of Parks
and Recreation, n.d.).

An alternate version of the infographic above is provided using assistive technologies.

(Spalding, n.d.; Trumbull, 1819)

POL 2301, United States Government 7

An alternate version of the infographic above is provided using assistive technologies.

America’s First Experiment with Self-Government: The Articles of Confederation

Once free from Great Britain, the newly independent states were faced with establishing a government that
would ensure the sovereignty of the 13 states, protect the rights of citizens, bolster failing state economies,
and unify a war-torn country. By November 1777, the Second Continental Congress had drafted the Articles
of Confederation, a loose association of independent states. However, it took nearly 4 years for the states to
ratify the Articles of Confederation, and during this time, it became increasingly apparent to statesmen such
as James Madison, George Washington, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton that the first attempt at self-
government was flawed. The concern was that a too-strong national government had created a weak central
authority, which was unable to function effectively or efficiently.

Economics and Finance
When faced with mounting economic problems, the national government was unable to establish a truly
national economy in which the states worked together. States coined their own money, used various
currencies, and imposed trade tariffs on each other, making commerce between states difficult. In addition,
(Spalding, n.d.; Stone, 1823)

POL 2301, United States Government 8
the central government had no powers to raise revenue through taxes to provide public goods and pay off
Revolutionary War debts.


Fearful of a return to monarchial rule, the Articles of Confederation created a weak executive with supporting
offices to develop and implement policies. Representation in the unicameral Congress was one legislator per
state, which created discontent among the larger, more populated states. Additionally, the Articles of
Confederation did not establish a judicial system to help resolve growing disputes over growing land claims
and conflicts between states. Any changes to the Articles of Confederation required unanimous consent,
which was often challenging to obtain.

National Defense

The central government was not given the authority to raise and fund a national army or navy, which left the
states to provide for their own defense against foreign and internal threats. Shays’ Rebellion illustrated the
need for a stronger central government that could protect all of the states collectively. See more information
regarding Shays’ Rebellion in the paragraph following the interactive activity.

In order to access the following nongraded quiz, click the link below.

Interactive Activity 2.2: Articles of Confederation

Click here to access the PDF version of Interactive Activity 2.2:
Articles of Confederation.

The Second Constitution

Before the states could attempt to address the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, unrest began to
break out in some of the states. In Massachusetts, a newly adopted state constitution imposed property
ownership as a requirement for voting and office-holding, which began disenfranchising the lower and middle
classes. Women and slaves were already denied political rights. By the late 1780s, the economies in many of
the states were on the decline with banks foreclosing on farms, which was devastating to what was left of the
agrarian economy of the country. In 1786, Revolutionary War veteran and farmer Daniel Shays led a group of
farmers, many of whom were veterans, to the Massachusetts capital of Springfield to protest foreclosures.
While the state tried to quell the Shays’ Rebellion, it lacked funds to raise arms against the uprising.
Massachusetts appealed to the national government for assistance. While the Congress appropriated funds
for a militia, all but one state refused to pay. While the rebellion was eventually subdued through privately
raised funds, it solidified the resolve of many political leaders across the states that the Articles of
Confederation was inadequate to keep the new country safe, prosperous, and unified.

In order to access the following presentation,
click the link below.

To learn about the Constitutional Convention and
the three plans debated in Philadelphia in 1787,
view the presentation Constitutional Convention.

The PDF version of the Constitutional
Convention presentation is also available.

(Chernetskaya, n.d.)

POL 2301, United States Government 9
Once the Constitution was signed, it still had to be ratified by at least nine of the 13 states. This proved to be
a far more arduous process than creating the document. It took almost 3 years to achieve ratification on May
29, 1790. Attempts to ratify the Constitution led to the development of two factions: the Federalists, who
sought to adopt the Constitution and favored a strong central government, and the Anti-Federalists, who did
not support the adoption of the 1787 Constitution that created a strong federal government. The Federalists’
defense of the Constitution was presented in a series of newspaper articles that are collectively known as The
Federalist Papers.

One of the greatest points of contention between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists was the lack of civil
rights and civil liberties in the Constitution. Many states strongly believed that additional laws were needed to
protect and ensure individual liberties. James Madison’s first act when Congress met was to present a long
list of amendments aimed at safeguarding individual rights and ensuring greater protection of those rights.
From this list, the House of Representatives approved 17 amendments and, of those 17, the Senate approved
12. Of those 12 amendments, the states approved 10, with Virginia serving as the final state to ratify what
would become known as the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. There was an agreement, one final
compromise, made by the Founding Fathers that if the Constitution was passed, then a Bill of Rights would be
accepted and enforced immediately to ensure liberties were protected by the Constitution.

POL 2301, United States Government 10
(Blyth, 1766; Sneff, 2017; Trumbull, 1793)

POL 2301, United States Government 11
An alternate version of the infographic above is provided using assistive technologies.

Fundamental Principles of the Constitution

The Founding Fathers created a political system that included political features and practices aimed
at ensuring powers are limited. These features include separation of powers, checks and balances,
and federalism.

Separation of Powers

As we learned in Unit I, separation of powers is the division of political authority between branches of
government. The Founding Fathers adopted this concept and created three distinct branches of government:
the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Each branch has its own area of authority. Some powers are
exclusive while others are shared. The purpose of the separation of powers is to prevent one group of people
from accumulating too much power and risking the rise of tyranny.

Checks and Balances

In order to ensure that powers remain separate, the framers created the double protection of checks and
balances. Checks and balances is a system of overlapping powers in which each branch has some control
over the other branches. Almost every power held by a branch is shared by one or both of the other branches.
In this way, the political authority of each branch is checked by the other branches.

In order to access the following video, click the link below.

Watch this short video Lesson 11, Section 6: How
well does the system of separated and shared
powers work?, which is sponsored by the Center for
Civic Education. Note: You will need to scroll down
past the first five videos on the page.

The transcript for the video Lesson 11, Section 6:
How well does the system of separated and shared
powers work? is also available for your viewing.


The third constitutional protection against tyranny is federalism. Federalism is the division of power between
levels of government—national, state, and local levels. While separation of powers divides authority within
one level of government, federalism separates powers between levels of government. The concept is a
mixture of a unitary system, where political authority is concentrated in a central government, and a
confederal system, where political power rests with lower units, such as states. In a federal system, authority
is divided and shared by states and a central government.

There have been several different forms of federalism throughout American history. The first era of federalism
ran from 1789, with the inception of the Constitution, until 1865, when the Civil War ended. From 1865 to
1937, dual federalism was the predominant form and was based on the idea that separation of state and
national power was not only possible but desired. Cooperative federalism emerged with the Great Depression
and the growing need for federal authority and funding. Cooperative federalism focuses on national power.
Beginning with the Johnson administration’s creative federalism, efforts were made to emphasize joint
partnerships between national, state, and local governments. However, it is the national government that
ultimately decides where federal resources are distributed. Under new federalism, federalism is decentralized
with the aim of reinvigorating state and local power while reducing federal spending.

POL 2301, United States Government 12

Blyth, B. (1766). Abigail Adams [Painting].

Cartwright, M. (2016). Ancient history encyclopedia.

Chernetskaya. (n.d.). Time to engage [Image].

Cooper, W. D. (1789). Boston tea party [Engraving].

Craighead, S. (2017). President Donald Trump delivers the address to congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017,
at the U.S. Capitol [Photograph].

Ferris, J. L. G. (1620). The Mayflower compact [Painting].

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. (n.d.). Bowling Green.

New York Public Library. (1765). Bostonians reading Stamp Act, 1765 [Etching].

Revere, P. (1770). The fruits of arbitrary power, or the bloody massacre [Engraving].

Sneff, E. (2017, March 1). March highlight: Remembering the ladies. Harvard University.

Stone, W. (1823). United States Declaration of Independence [Image].

Stoughton, C. (1963). John F. Kennedy, photograph in the oval office [Photograph].,_White_House_color_photo_portrait.jpg

Trumbull, J. (1793). John Adams [Painting].

Trumbull, J. (1819). Declaration of Independence [Painting].,_by_John_Trumbull.jpg

Suggested Unit Resources

In order to access the following resources, click the links below.

Appendix B in the online textbook American Government 2e provides you with an opportunity to review the
U.S. Constitution. You are encouraged to review the following pages in order to gain a greater understanding.

Appendix B: The Constitution of the United States, pp. 665–679

Appendix C contains two essays written by James Madison, and they discuss one of the key threats that
faced the newly created American government. In Federalist Paper #10 on pp. 681–684, Madison warned
against the dangers of the many and diverse interests that existed within the new country. He argued that
these interests would compete for power and potentially weaken the government and political society. To

POL 2301, United States Government 13
address this issue, Madison suggested in Federalist Paper #51 on pp. 685–687 that an indirect democracy
would better serve the new country than a pure democracy. Madison recommended having a form of
insurance against the tyranny of self-interest by separating the three key powers of government (i.e.,
making laws, implementing laws, and resolving disputes over law). He argued that separating government
into three branches (i.e., legislative, executive, and judiciary) would create a double security against the
tyranny of interests.

Appendix C: Federalist Papers #10 and #51, pp. 681–684, 685–687

Review a transcription of the U.S. Declaration of Independence by accessing the resource below.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (1776, July 4). Declaration of Independence: A
transcription. …

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