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Ch 2: American Constitutional Principles

About This Chapter

This comprehensive chapter covers principles of the American Constitution and government. You'll find lessons on types of government, constitutional changes, separation of powers and more.

American Constitutional Principles - Chapter Summary

This collection of political science lessons covers the core principles of the American government. These comprehensive lessons outline different types of government power, impeachment and the benefits of a federal government system. You'll also take a look at concepts such as impeachment and the separation of powers. Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Summarize the core principles of the American government
  • Differentiate between formal and informal constitutional changes
  • Recognize examples of enumerated, concurrent, reserved and implied powers
  • Describe unitary, confederal and federal governments
  • Assess the benefits and powers of a federal government
  • Define the separation of powers
  • Understand the process and requirements for impeachment

This study resource allows you to quickly and efficiently review important topics related to the American Constitution and government. Our expert instructors use straightforward definitions and engaging illustrative examples to help you learn and remember important concepts, including historical figures, laws and regulations. Self-assessment quizzes are included to help you check your understanding of the information you learn, and each lesson comes with a printable transcript you can use to review the material. This course is accessible on any computer or mobile device, which makes studying on-the-go, at home, at school or in the office highly convenient.

10 Lessons in Chapter 2: American Constitutional Principles
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Core Principles of American Government

1. The Core Principles of American Government

In this lesson, we will examine a few of the core principles of American government. We will pay special attention to the ideas of popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism.

Formal vs. Informal Constitutional Changes: Definition & Examples

2. Formal vs. Informal Constitutional Changes: Definition & Examples

The United States Constitution is made to be changed. In this lesson, we will discuss the various processes of changing the Constitution, both formally and informally.

Enumerated Powers: Definition & Examples

3. Enumerated Powers: Definition & Examples

The powers of the federal government that are specifically described in the Constitution are sometimes called 'delegated' or 'expressed powers,' but most often they are known as 'enumerated powers,' and they describe how a central government with three distinct branches can operate effectively.

Concurrent Powers: Definition & Examples

4. Concurrent Powers: Definition & Examples

Concurrent powers are those powers given to both states and the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. We'll look at some examples of concurrent powers in this lesson.

Reserved Powers: Definition & Examples

5. Reserved Powers: Definition & Examples

In a federal system with two levels of government, how do we know who can practice what sort of power? The reserved powers clause of the U.S. Constitution provides a handy mechanism for sorting out who can do what in a republic like America.

Implied Powers of Congress: Definition & Examples

6. Implied Powers of Congress: Definition & Examples

Congress' powers are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, but what about the powers that aren't listed? The implied powers of Congress might be more important than its expressed powers, but they're harder to nail down and identify. In this lesson, we'll figure that out.

Unitary, Confederal & Federal Governments

7. Unitary, Confederal & Federal Governments

This lesson compares three systems of government, and gives you the basics about each. Learn how the region that is now the United States has interacted with all three approaches.

What is a Federal Government? - Definition, Powers & Benefits

8. What is a Federal Government? - Definition, Powers & Benefits

A federal government is a system that divides up power between a strong national government and smaller local governments. We'll take a look at how power plays out between the national and local government, and the benefits of a federal government.

Separation of Powers: Definition & Examples

9. Separation of Powers: Definition & Examples

Separation of powers is the distribution of political authority within a government. Learn more about how separation of power works in the United States, then check your understanding of this topic with a quiz.

Impeachment: Definition, Process & Requirements

10. Impeachment: Definition, Process & Requirements

The following lesson will cover impeachment, or the process by which the president, vice president or other civil officer can be removed from office. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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