AP Government‎ > ‎

Constitutional Underpinnings

  • Explain the historical and philosophical origins of American constitutional government and evaluate the influence of ideas found in historical documents such as the Second Treatise, Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers.
  • Explain the significance of the major debates and compromises underlying the formation and ratification of American constitutional government including the Virginia and New Jersey plans, the Great Compromise, debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists, debates over slavery, and the promise for a bill of rights after ratification.
  • Explain how the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights reflected political principles of popular sovereignty, rule of law, checks and balances, separation of powers, social compact, natural rights, individual rights, separation of church and state, republicanism and federalism.
  • Identify and explain the core fundamental values of America’s constitutional republic and their reflection in the principles of the United States Constitution.
  • Use court cases to explain how the Constitution is maintained as the supreme law of the land (e.g., Marbury v. Madison, Gibbons v. Ogden, McCulloch v. Maryland).

Christy, L.R. Howard Chandler. Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, 1940, accessed August 14, 2013. http://americanhistory.abc-clio.com/.

Enrichment Links: 

Road to the Revolution Trivia Game

Which founding father are you?

Annenberg's Guide to the Constitution

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution

The Constitutional Convention

The Interactive Constitution:  Different Perspectives on the Clauses of the Constitution