Directed by the
CENTER FOR CIVIC EDUCATION and funded by the
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the
UNITED STATES CONGRESS
“Washington Crossing the Delaware,” Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) Private Collection (study after “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” by Emmanuel Leutze, the Metropolitan Museum, NY) © Art Resource, New York Cover + book design: Mark Stritzel
© 2003, CENTER FOR CIVIC EDUCATION 10 09 08
08 09 10
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ISBN 13 978–089818169-2 ISBN 10 0–89818–169–0
ADVISORY COMMITTEE We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Hon. Spencer Abraham
Gordon M. Ambach
Hon. Dianne Feinstein
Hon. David McIntosh Joe McTighe
Hon. Les AuCoin
Hon. Kweisi Mfume
Richard D. Bagin
Milton D. Morris
Richard A. Baker
Hon. Patty Murray
William G. Baker
Hon. Claiborne Pell
Hon. Max S. Baucus
William F. Harris
William T. Pound
Hon. Orrin G. Hatch
Hon. J. Danforth Quayle
Hon. Bill Bradley
Hon. Mark O. Hatfield
Hon. Augustus F. Hawkins
Alfred S. Regnery
Hon. John H. Buchanan Jr.
Hon. Rick Renzi
Hon. Dale L. Bumpers
Robert A. Schadler
R. Freeman Butts
Hon. Ernest F. Hollings
Jonathan S. Shapiro
Mark W. Cannon
Hon. Philip R. Sharp
A. E. Dick Howard
John William Smith
Raymond W. Smock Hon. Robert T. Stafford
Hon. Henry J. Hyde
Hon. Thad Cochran
Hon. James Jeffords
Hon. William Cohen
Hon. Edward M. Kennedy
Hon. Strom Thurmond
John F. Cooke
Hon. Tom Lantos
Hon. Philip M. Crane
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.
William L. Lucas
Paul A. Yost Jr.
Leonard De Fiore
Jean B. Elshtain
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Center for Civic Education President
Hon. Richard Ibanez
Members Emeriti R. Freeman Butts
H. David Fish
C. Hugh Friedman
Leland R. Selna Jr.
A. Ronald Oakes
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The following staff and consultants have contributed to the development of this text
Charles N. Quigley
Charles F. Bahmuller Sandy Baker
Margaret Stimmann Branson
Theresa M. Richard
SPECIAL THANKS We wish to express our thanks to the following individuals who also contributed to the development of this text. Michael Conroy for editorial expertise, Juliet De Souza and Bianca Olsen for proofreading, Dick Kean for advice and direction on solving difficult content issues, Rose Freeland for colorization, Robert Meyers for prepress, and Sally Mills our print consultant. Special thanks to sixth-grader Diane Motamed who graciously critiqued portions of the text, tested activities, and volunteered her opinions on choice of cover image.
Warren E. Burger (1907–1995) Chief Justice of the United States, 1969–1986
CHAIR, COMMISSION ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE U NITED S TATES C ONSTITUTION The years 1987 to 1991 marked the 200th anniversary of the writing, ratification, and implementation of the basic documents of American democracy, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our Constitution has stood the tests and stresses of time, wars, and change. Although it was not perfect, as Benjamin Franklin and many others recognized, it has lasted because it was carefully crafted by men who understood the importance of a system of government sufficiently strong to meet the challenges of the day, yet sufficiently flexible to accommodate and adapt to new political, economic, and social conditions. Many Americans have but a slight understanding of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the later amendments to which we pledge our allegiance. The lessons in this book are designed to give you, the next generation of American citizens, an understanding of the background, creation, and subsequent history of the unique system of government brought into being by our Constitution. At the same time, it will help you understand the principles and ideals that underlie and give meaning to the Constitution, a system of government by those governed.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction Unit One Lesson 1
What basic ideas about government did the Founders have?
What were the British colonies in America like in the 1700s?
Why did the Founders believe that people needed a government?
What is a republican government?
What is a constitutional government?
What ideas did the Founders use in the Declaration of Independence?
What were the first state governments like?
How did the Framers write our Constitution?
What was the first national government like?
How was the Philadelphia Convention organized?
How many representatives should each state have in Congress?
What did the Framers do about the problem of slavery?
How does the Constitution organize our government?
What basic ideas about government are included in the Preamble to the Constitution?
How does the Constitution limit the powers of our government?
What is the legislative branch?
What is the executive branch?
What is the judicial branch?
How did the Constitution create a federal system of government?
How does the Constitution protect our basic rights?
How does the Constitution protect your right to freedom of expression?
How does the Constitution protect your right to freedom of religion?
How does the Constitution protect your right to equal protection of the laws?
How does the Constitution protect your right to due process of law?
How does the Constitution protect your right to vote?
What are the responsibilities of citizens?
What is the role of the United States in the world today?
What are some important responsibilities of citizens?
How can citizens promote the common good?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States