The U.S. Constitution was signed by its drafters in Philadelphia on September 17th 1787. Most American are woefully uninformed at to its content. For example, surveyed college seniors/graduates received a failing grade when attempting to answer multiple choice questions on the following constitutional topics: federalism (44%), judicial review (42%), congressional powers (29%), women’s suffrage (58%), representative democracy (58%), the establishment clause (48%), The Federalist Papers (50%), and the Anti-Federalists (44%). And they only earned a “D” on these fundamental issues: the three branches of government (64%), the war power (62%), and federal foreign policymaking (68%).
Try your hand at it. Being a student of history, I scored a 90 %. Hope you can do as well or better, or that your lesser grade will motivate you to learn more.
1. What is federalism?
a) A political party at the time of the Founding.
b) A set of essays defending the Constitution.
c) A political system where the national government has ultimate power.
d) A political system where state and national governments share power.
e) The belief that America should be unified with a trans-continental railroad.
2. The power of judicial review was established in:
a) The Constitution.
b) Marbury v. Madison.
c) McCulloch v. Maryland.
d) The Bill of Rights.
e) A presidential executive order
3. The Federalist (or The Federalist Papers) was written to:
a) Support ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
b) Oppose ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
c) Support America’s independence from Britain.
d) Oppose America’s independence from Britain. e) support the Missouri Compromise.
e) Support the Missouri Compromise.
4. The principle of the “separation of powers” suggests that:
a) Legislative, executive, and judicial powers should be dispersed.
b) Government becomes more efficient with division of labor.
c) There should always be at least two global superpowers
d) No single political party should dominate any legislature.
e) Courts should formulate policy during periods of Congressional gridlock.
5. Which of the following is NOT among the official powers of Congress?
a) Declare war.
b) Regulate commerce with foreign nations.
c) Receive ambassadors.
d) Create courts lower than the Supreme Court.
e) Approve treaties with foreign nations.
6. What are the three branches of government?
a) Executive, legislative, judicial.
b) Executive, legislative, military.
c) Bureaucratic, military, industry.
d) Federal, state, local.
7. The United States Electoral College:
a) Trains those aspiring to local office.
b) Was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.
c) Is otherwise known as the U.S. Congress.
d) Is a constitutionally mandated assembly that elects the president.
e) Was ruled undemocratic by the Supreme Court.
8. What impact did the Anti-Federalists have on the United States Constitution?
a) Their arguments helped lead to the adoption of the Bill of Rights.
b) Their arguments helped lead to the abolition of the slave trade.
c) Their influence ensured that the federal government would maintain a standing army.
d) Their influence ensured that the federal government would have the power to tax.
9. What part of the government has the power to declare war?
b) The president.
c) The Supreme Court.
d) The Joint Chiefs of Staff.
10. In the area of United States foreign policy, Congress shares power with the:
b) Supreme Court.
c) State governments.
d) United Nations.