About This Chapter
Who's it for?
Anyone who needs help learning or mastering American government material will benefit from taking this course. There is no faster or easier way to learn American government. Among those who would benefit are:
- Students who have fallen behind in understanding key concepts in American constitutional democracy
- Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
- Students who prefer multiple ways of learning social science (visual or auditory)
- Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
- Students who need an efficient way to learn about constitutional democracy
- Students who struggle to understand their teachers
- Students who attend schools without extra social science learning resources
How it works:
- Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
- Press play and watch the video lesson.
- Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
- Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
- Verify you're ready by completing the constitutional democracy chapter exam.
Why it works:
- Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
- Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
- Be Ready on Test Day: Use the constitutional democracy chapter exam to be prepared.
- Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any constitutional democracy question. They're here to help!
- Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.
Students will review:
This chapter helps students review the concepts in a constitutional democracy unit of a standard American government course. Topics covered include:
- The expansion of democratic ideals during the Revolutionary War
- The Northwest Ordinance and the Articles of Confederation
- Negatives of the Articles of Confederation and Shays' Rebellion
- The Constitutional Convention
- The Constitution's ratification and the new U.S. government
- Preamble, articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution
- Provisions for limited government in the Constitution
- The process for amending the Constitution
- The Bill of Rights
1. The Spread of Democratic Ideals During the Revolutionary War
Democratic ideals spread before, during and after the American Revolution. This generated the democratic government known in the United States today. This lesson explores the Revolutionary roots of the Constitution.
2. The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance
The Articles of Confederation was the new nation's founding document, but the government established under the Articles was too weak. The new central government had no way of raising revenue and no ability to enforce the commitments made by the states. The Northwest Ordinance paved the way for the growth of the new nation.
3. Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion
The Articles of Confederation were too weak to create an effective government for the new nation. In this lesson, discover how Shays' Rebellion proved that the national government needed to strengthen.
4. The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise
The Constitutional Convention was intended to amend the Articles of Confederation. Instead, those in attendance set out to found a republic (the likes of which had never been seen), which is still going strong well over 200 years later. To accomplish this task, compromises had to be made. The Great Compromise designed the bicameral congress the U.S. has today.
5. The Ratification of the Constitution and the New U.S. Government
The U.S. Constitution may be one of the most important documents in history, but it wasn't a sure thing. A lot of debate took place. There were many people passionate about ratification, and many people passionate about ensuring it didn't get ratified. The divide over the Constitution shows us the root of political parties in the U.S.
6. The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments
The U.S. Constitution is one of the most important documents in history. It establishes the government of the United States, and its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, assures every U.S. citizen the rights we have all come to hold dear.
7. Constitutional Provisions for Limited Government
The United States Constitution lays out a limited federal government. Our federal government is based on federalism, with a separation of powers. This lesson explores constitutional provisions for a limited government.
8. The Process of Amending the Constitution
Amending the United States Constitution is a complicated process. It's only been accomplished 27 times. This lesson outlines the process by which the U.S. Constitution can be amended.
9. The Bill of Rights: The Constitution's First 10 Amendments
The Bill of Rights was pivotal in getting the U.S. Constitution ratified. More importantly, the Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of every citizen of the United States in a way that is nearly unequaled.
10. Bicameral Legislature: Definition & Features
In this lesson, we learn about bicameral legislatures, giving a definition and some features of this system. We'll discuss the importance of this system in the United States in detail, to understand how the House and Senate are structured and operate.
11. Primary & Secondary Sources of Law
This lesson discusses primary and secondary sources of law as well as the role of both in legal research. Here, we will examine how to find and use these sources as students learning about the trial court process in the United States.
12. What is Representative Democracy? - Definition, Examples, Pros & Cons
Democracy has become, for many Americans, an unquestionable positive. For most of us, referring to a nation as 'un-democratic' is a pretty strong slur. But what does it really mean to be 'democratic?' Where did this idea come from? And what is 'representative democracy,' the sort practiced in the United States?
13. The Virginia Plan: Description & Facts
The Virginia Plan helped shape the way the United States government works today. In this lesson, you'll learn about the structure of the Virginia Plan, its supporters, and the results of the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
14. Buck v. Bell in 1927: Summary & Decision
Meet Carrie Buck, a 17-year-old rape victim who was committed to a state institution and sterilized against her will. Learn about Carrie's fight to stop of the sterilization and discover one of the most infamous cases in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
15. Dartmouth College v. Woodward: Summary & Overview
Many landmark Supreme Court cases impacted American history, but some influenced the nation in unexpected ways. In this lesson, we'll look at the case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, and see what impact this case had on the United States.
16. Demagogue: Definition & Overview
Learn about what a demagogue is and how they operate in a political situation. This lesson will illustrate what demagogues are through several historical examples.
17. Devolution: Definition, Theory & Examples
In this lesson, you'll learn what devolution is, why countries have devolved systems, and look at two examples. Finally, the lesson will briefly discuss two ideas about why devolution is on the rise.
18. Exclusive Powers: Definition & Examples
In this lesson, we'll examine the concept of exclusive powers compared to reserved powers. We'll then examine the specific exclusive powers of the federal government.
19. Executive Agreement: Definition & Examples
Learn about executive agreements, including who has the power to enter into them and where the authority derives from. Then look at some examples of executive agreements that have been entered into by past presidents.
20. Executive Privilege: Definition & Examples
This lesson will discuss executive privilege. You will learn what executive privilege is, where its authority comes from, and better understand executive privilege through examples of its use from history and today.
21. Formal Amendment: Definition & Process
Learn about a formal amendment and how the process of creating an amendment works. Once you've discovered how this fundamental part of the American government works, you can test your knowledge with a quiz.
22. Freedom from Self-Incrimination: Definition & Overview
This lesson explains what it means to 'have the right to remain silent.' We will learn what the freedom from self-incrimination found in the Fifth Amendment is and what it means today.
23. Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure: Definition & Amendment
The freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is one among many rights that protects citizens from government overreach. This lesson discusses the definition, background, and application of the amendment that protects this right.
24. Gibbons v. Ogden: Summary, Decision & Impact
Gibbons v. Ogden was a landmark case that examined how much the federal government could regulate interstate commerce. We'll look at the historical background, and then look at the arguments offered by both sides. Finally, we'll consider the impact of the decision.
25. Sedition Act of 1798: Definition & Summary
In this lesson, define the Sedition Act of 1798, learn about the historical events that led to its passage, and understand the important consequences it had on the First Amendment.
26. Texas v. Johnson in 1989: Summary, Decision & Significance
In this famous case, the Supreme Court considered if Americans had the constitutional right to burn the flag. The Court ruled by a vote of 5-4 that flag burning was protected by the first amendment.
27. The Case of McCulloch v. Maryland: Summary, Decision & Significance
One of the landmark cases of the early Supreme Court, McCulloch v. Maryland determined if the United States government had the right to establish a bank in Maryland and if the state had the right to tax the government for doing so. We'll discuss the case's decision and significance.
28. The Commerce Clause: Definition, Analysis & Cases
This lesson will identify the purpose of the Commerce Clause and the different interpretations of how it works. It will also help you understand how the courts have ruled regarding Congress' use of the Commerce Clause. Then you can test your new knowledge with a quiz!
29. The Establishment Clause: Definition & Cases
The 1st Amendment guarantees not one, but two rights about religion in U.S. society--the 'free exercise clause' and the 'establishment clause.' The latter establishes a 'wall of separation' between church and state; though over the last two centuries and a variety of court cases, the wall has become a more porous barrier.
30. The Right to Bear Arms: Definition, Amendment & Debate
Gun control is one of the most highly debated issues in modern American politics. Learn here about the right to bear arms and how each side views the issue.
31. The Supremacy Clause: Definition & Example
This lesson will cover the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states that if a federal law and a state law come into conflict with one another, the federal law will take priority over the state law.
32. Unconstitutional: Definition & Examples
'Constitutional' sounds like an easy definition - something that is allowable under the Constitution - but how do we know what is and isn't allowable? And when do we know if the definition should change? Through the federal court system, the Constitution built in a mechanism that allows us to change its meaning over time.
33. What is Freedom of the Press? - Definition, History & Examples
This lesson will teach you about freedom of the press. Specifically, you will review the definition of freedom of the press and learn about its history. Finally, you will examine some examples to gain a heightened understanding of how freedom of the press still works today.
34. Strict & Loose Constructions of the Constitution
In this lesson, you'll learn the difference between two philosophies of constitutional interpretation: strict construction and loose construction. You will also learn the historical, political, and legal significance of the terms, as well as how they apply to contemporary legal controversies.
35. Majority Rule vs. Minority Rights
Most societies today agree in a democratic system of government, but there are still some major debates within this system. In this lesson, we'll talk about how majority rule and minority rights are balanced in a democracy.
36. U.S. Constitutional Amendments: Definition, Summary & Order
There have been 27 amendments to the US Constitution. Some of them have been better ideas than others. Read about the end of slavery, the rights of women and why the police have to follow the law just like everybody else.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 79 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the American Government: Help and Review course
- Introduction to the Study of American Government: Help and Review
- The Study of American Government
- Different Forms of Government
- Federalism in the United States: Help and Review
- American Political Culture, Opinion, and Behavior: Help and Review
- Civil Liberties: Help and Review
- Civil Rights: Help and Review
- Political Parties in the United States Government: Help and Review
- Interest Groups and American Democracy: Help and Review
- The Media and American Democracy: Help and Review
- The Federal Bureaucracy in the United States: Help and Review
- The Presidency: Election, Powers, and Practice: Help and Review
- The Congress: Election, Powers, and Representation: Help and Review
- The Federal Judicial System: Help and Review
- The U.S. Federal Judicial System
- Public, Social, and Environmental Policy: Help and Review
- Economic and Fiscal Policy: Help and Review
- Foreign and Defense Policy: Help and Review