US Constitution Quiz

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Question 1
What is the main purpose of the United States Constitution?

A
To declare independence from Great Britain
B
To establish a new government for the United States and designate its powers and limits
C
To lay the groundwork for ending slavery in the United States
D
To provide citizens with a written record of the constitutional convention
Question 1 Explanation: 
The Constitution is the supreme legal document of the United States. The document establishes the structures of the federal government and is the foundation for all laws and legal decisions in the country.
Question 2
What is the introductory sentence of the Constitution called?

A
The Bill of Rights
B
The Articles of Confederation
C
The Preamble
D
The Constitutional Address
Question 2 Explanation: 
The Preamble is one of the most important sentences in American history. It outlines the role of the United States government and reiterates an idea first set out in the Declaration of Independence — that the United States is a nation governed by and for its people:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Question 3
What do the first three articles of the Constitution accomplish?

A
Outline the responsibilities and powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
B
Clearly define the fundamental rights of all American citizens
C
List the main reasons for separation from Great Britain
D
Provide a vague outline of the American government
Question 3 Explanation: 
The bulk of the United States Constitution is contained within the three articles that follow the Preamble. These articles lay out the purpose, responsibilities, and structure for the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government.
Question 4
How did the framers of the Constitution aim to ensure a separation of powers between the three branches of government?

A
They established a system of checks and balances such that each branch’s power was limited by the other two.
B
They ensured considerable overlap between the different branches’ roles and responsibilities such that negotiation and collaboration between the three branches over key decisions would be necessary.
C
They attributed the same powers to multiple branches of government to ensure a slow decision-making process.
D
All of the above.
Question 4 Explanation: 
The system of checks and balances ensures that no single branch of government can become too powerful. The Founders hoped that each branch would resist attempts by the other two to increase their authority.
Question 5
What does Article I of the U.S. Constitution accomplish?

A
Explains the powers of the executive branch
B
Explains the powers of the legislative branch
C
Explains the powers of the judicial branch
D
Outlines the relationship between each state and the others, and between the states and the federal government
Question 5 Explanation: 
Article I not only establishes bicameral legislature in the United States, but also defines the process for creating laws, and choosing Congressional delegates. It is the instruction manual for how the legislative branch is to operate.
Question 6
What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution accomplish?

A
Explains the powers of the executive branch
B
Explains the powers of the legislative branch
C
Explains the powers of the judicial branch
D
Outlines the relationship between each state and the others, and between the states and the federal government
Question 6 Explanation: 
Article II describes the functions of the executive branch. It not only details how the President and Vice President are chosen and removed from office, but also explicitly grants such powers to the executive branch as making foreign treaties and commanding the American Armed Forces.
Question 7
What does Article III of the U.S. Constitution accomplish?

A
Explains the powers of the executive branch
B
Explains the powers of the legislative branch
C
Explains the powers of the judicial branch
D
Outlines the relationship between each state and the others, and between the states and the federal government
Question 7 Explanation: 
Article III describes the role of the judicial branch of government and its authority to interpret the law. It establishes the Supreme Court and its jurisdiction.
Question 8
Which Article outlines the process for amending the Constitution?

A
Article IV
B
Article V
C
Article VI
D
Article VII
Question 8 Explanation: 
Article V establishes that any changes to the Constitution require both congressional and state approval.
Question 9
Which Article outlines the relationship between the federal and state governments?

A
Article IV
B
Article V
C
Article VI
D
Article VII
Question 9 Explanation: 
Article IV describes how the federal government will deal with such state issues as admitting new states into the Union, legal jurisdiction within state borders, and protection from invasion and insurrection.
Question 10
What does the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution accomplish?

A
It establishes the President as the supreme authority in times of crisis
B
It declares the United States the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth
C
It establishes the Supreme Court as the supreme authority in times of crisis
D
It establishes the Constitution as the highest law within the borders of the United States
Question 10 Explanation: 
The “supremacy clause” states that the Constitution, “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” When there are conflicts between federal and state law, the federal law overrides the state law. Even state constitutions are subordinate to federal law.
Question 11
What are the conditions for ratification of the Constitution set out in Article VII?

A
All of the states must ratify the Constitution
B
9 of the 13 states must ratify the Constitution
C
7 of the 13 states must ratify the Constitution
D
The Constitution goes into effect on a state-by-state basis as it is ratified
Question 11 Explanation: 
The Founders set a high bar for ratification, but they stopped short of requiring unanimous approval and settled on a two-thirds majority (after the difficulties presented in getting the Articles of Confederation ratified). Once the first 9 states ratified the Constitution it went if effect only in those states. The remaining 4 states all ratified it within the following 2 years.
Question 12
What conditions must be met in order to amend the Constitution?

A
The House of Representatives must ratify the amendment with a two-thirds majority
B
The Senate must ratify the amendment with a two-thirds majority
C
Three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment either in state legislatures or in conventions
D
All of the above
Question 12 Explanation: 
Article V states that a constitutional amendment can be proposed by either a two-thirds vote from both Houses of Congress or by a convention of states. However, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states in order to become a part of the Constitution. This difficult process was implemented to ensure that any changes to the Constitution had broad support from the states and the people.
Question 13
How can an amendment to the Constitution be formally proposed?

A
A state legislature can propose an amendment and submit it for a ratification vote.
B
An amendment can be proposed by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.
C
The Supreme Court can propose amendments when issuing unanimous opinions.
D
None of the above
Question 13 Explanation: 
According to Article V, Amendments can be proposed with a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, or by a convention of states. Over the years there have been several concerted efforts to summon an Article V Convention, but they fell just short of the two-thirds threshold. All of the amendments passed to date were the result of Congressional proposals.
Question 14
The Necessary and Proper Clause grants ____________ the power to, “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution...”

A
Congress
B
the President
C
the Supreme Court
D
the American military
Question 14 Explanation: 
Located in Article I of the Constitution, this is known as the Necessary and Proper Clause or the “Elastic Clause.” The inclusion of this clause became a source of criticism for those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution, and Anti-Federalists were concerned that the clause would grant the federal government unlimited power. It has, in fact, been used over the years to expand the scope of the federal government (along with the Commerce Clause).
Question 15
How does the Constitution ensure popular sovereignty?

A
Bills submitted to Congress by an American citizen must be debated and granted an up-or-down vote
B
Free and fair elections must be held regularly
C
Government officials can be censured by a popular vote
D
All of the above
Question 15 Explanation: 
Popular sovereignty is the idea that the government gets its power from its citizens. Voting gives the American people the ability to elect representatives to serve and promote their views. Should an official fail their constituents, reelection is unlikely.
Question 16
How does the rule of law outlined in the Constitution ensure a limited government?

A
The Constitution must be ratified again by a three-fourths majority of the states every twenty years
B
The Constitution limits the number of federal laws and government officials
C
The Constitution can be superseded by the laws of individual states
D
The Constitution applies to everyone, even the highest ranking government officials
Question 16 Explanation: 
To protect the American people from unfair treatment and tyranny, everyone, even the President, is subject to the rule of law established by the Constitution.
Question 17
What are enumerated powers and reserved powers in the Constitution?

A
Enumerated powers are the explicitly stated powers of the federal government, whereas reserved powers are those given to the states.
B
Enumerated powers are the explicitly stated powers of the state governments, whereas reserved powers are those given to the federal government.
C
Enumerated powers clearly define the lawful actions of citizens, whereas reserved powers define the lawful actions of government on behalf of its citizens.
D
Enumerated powers must be approved by state legislatures, whereas reserved powers must be approved by a two-thirds majority of Congress.
Question 17 Explanation: 
One of the major debates in drafting the Constitution was where to draw the line between federal and state government powers. As a result, the enumerated powers define the powers given to federal lawmakers, whereas reserved powers are explicitly given to each of the states to decide for themselves.
Question 18
Which of the following is a concurrent power?

A
The power to declare war
B
The power to tax
C
The power to establish public schools
D
All of the above
Question 18 Explanation: 
Concurrent powers are those that exist at both the state and federal level. The federal government alone has the power to declare war, whereas the states alone have the right to establish public schools. Taxation can be (and is) carried out by both state and federal governments.
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