The Study of American Government (Wilson) and the U.S. Constitution
Study Guide #1
Vocabulary: legitimacy, elite, Marxist view, Power elite view, Bureaucratic view, Pluralist view, ex post
facto, habeas corpus, enumerated, due process, ratification, quartering, appellate, jurisdiction,
impeachment, extradition, appropriations, commerce, immunities, bicameral.
1. Why is the U.S. Constitution given legitimacy? When has the legitimacy of our constitution come
2. Many today argue that direct democracy was and is the best form of government, though the
framers of our constitution would not have agreed. What potential problems did the framers see
with giving direct power to the people?
3. Today we are still faced with “problems” of democracy in that sometimes popular passions lead to
immediate results that only benefit the short term and not the long term. What examples in history
or present day would qualify this statement?
4. Change isn’t always driven by majoritarian politics, rather an elite group of people, motivated to
become active in party politics do drive public policy. Read carefully each of the elitist views on
page nine of your textbook. Which view do you believe is more accurate? Explain your answer
5. Though many believe that politics is purely self-serving, examples from history negate that
assessment. Now using an example from the section, come up with at least four examples of your
own that prove Americans are not only interested in their own personal gain.
6. Our government has gone through a serious of changes since its inception. Usually those changes
occur with war, immigration, economic interests and availability, and social morals. Looking
back over the last 2 ½ centuries, what major events have changed our government? Give at least
Constitution Questions (pages A4 – A20)
7. How many articles, sections and amendments comprise the U.S. Constitution?
8. Give the qualifications for a House rep, senator and president.
9. What power does Congress have over the President?
10. What power does Congress have over the Judicial Branch?
11. What are the exceptions on the habeas corpus clause?
12. What clause gives Congress the ability to create new laws?
13. What congressional power gives the federal government power over the states?
14. What amendments are called the due process rights?
15. Which amendments deal with presidential succession?
16. What three amendments is the direct result of the Civil War?
17. What amendment authorizes the Federal government to take your money once a year in April?
18. After which U.S. president was the 22nd Amendment added to the Constitution?
19. What was the voting age prior to the 26th Amendment?
(vocabulary words are worth ½ point each, and questions are worth 2 points each)
Due: August 10th
* Be prepared for a 20 points quiz on the Constitution based on the study guide
questions, your starters.