Ch 1: U.S. Constitutional Foundations

About This Chapter

Review the lessons in this chapter to learn important facts about the history and foundations of the U.S. Constitution. Each video or text lesson cover's a different topic needed to understand the constitutional foundations of the country.

U.S. Constitutional Foundations - Chapter Summary

Gain a thorough understanding of the foundations of the Constitution of the United States with these helpful text and video lessons. Go over these lessons to learn about philosophies from history that influenced the development of the U.S. Constitution and review the history of the framing of the Constitution itself, as well as the process for ratifying and amending it. Review the main points and signers of the Declaration of Independence and learn the weaknesses of Shays Rebellion and the Articles of Confederation.

and Specific topics you can learn about include:

  • Political philosophies, ideas and contributions of Plato
  • Ideas and works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Viewpoints and political theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
  • The First and Second Continental Congress
  • The Constitutional Convention and great compromise
  • The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance
  • Documents that influenced the U.S. Constitution
  • The Preamble, Bill of Rights and parts of the U.S. Constitution

Each lesson is complemented by a practice quiz that can help you test your understanding of that particular topic. Once you complete the entire chapter, the final chapter exam goes over the major points. You can also message the lesson instructors if you would like more information or clarification on specific points as you are going through the chapter.

14 Lessons in Chapter 1: U.S. Constitutional Foundations
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Who is Plato? - Philosophies, Ideas & Contributions

1. Who is Plato? - Philosophies, Ideas & Contributions

This lesson reviews Plato's life, his works, and his central ideas. It's the essential ideas that you need to understand when studying the most influential philosopher in Western civilization.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Ideas, Impact & Works

2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Ideas, Impact & Works

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most important philosophers of the Enlightenment period. Learn about his important works, his main ideas, and how he influenced other philosophers, movements, and governments in this lesson.

Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views

3. Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views

In this lesson, we discuss the two premier English political theorists of the 17th century: Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. We'll also take a look at their impact on Western philosophy in contemporary and modern times.

The Continental Congress: Definition & Purpose

4. The Continental Congress: Definition & Purpose

The First Continental Congress met in 1775 to advocate for colonial grievances against the crown. Within a year it would find itself declaring independence and running a war against the most powerful nation on Earth at the time. Develop an understanding of the Continental Congress and the progression from protest to revolution. Test your knowledge with a short quiz.

The Second Continental Congress and Thomas Paine's Common Sense

5. The Second Continental Congress and Thomas Paine's Common Sense

1763 marked the beginning of the long road to revolution for the American colonies. By 1775, military actions had finally erupted. How were the colonists and their leaders going to respond?

The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

6. The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

After 12 years of tension and fighting, the colonists and their leaders were ready to declare themselves a new country, independent of Great Britain. This lesson examines the motives, the text, and the legacy of America's Declaration of Independence.

The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance

7. 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.

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion

8. 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.

Influential Documents for the U.S. Constitution

9. Influential Documents for the U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is a very important document, but the ideas within reflect centuries of innovative ideas about government and society. Explore various documents that influenced the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

10. 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.

The Ratification of the Constitution and the New U.S. Government

11. 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.

The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments

12. 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.

The Bill of Rights: The Constitution's First 10 Amendments

13. 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.

The Process of Amending the Constitution

14. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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