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How to Use
the Readings


Inquiry Question

Historical Context


Reading 1
Document 1
Reading 2
Reading 3



Table of

Determining the Facts

Document 2: The United States Constitution[Document 2, Page 1] with link to larger version.

[Document 2, Page 2] with link to larger version.

[Document 2, Page 3] with link to larger version.

[Document 2, Page 4] with link to larger version. (National Archives and Records Administration)

The Constitution outlines specific rules for the operation of the government. The 4,543-word document contains a brief introduction or Preamble followed by seven articles. Articles I-III detail the role of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Article IV explains that each state must honor the laws of all other states. Article V outlines how the Constitution can be changed or amended. Article VI establishes the Constitution as the highest law of the nation. Article VII establishes that nine states must ratify the Constitution in order for it to become official.

To answer the questions below, please refer to the provided partial transcript of the United States Constitution.

Questions for Document 2

1. According to the Preamble, why was the Constitution established?

2. What examples can you find in the excerpts that illustrate some of the compromises reached during the Constitutional Convention?

3. Why do you think delegates made sure to allow for amendments or changes to be made to the Constitution? Find out how many times the Constitution has been amended over the years.

4. Based on Reading 1, how would you define the phrase "checks and balances"? What examples can you find in the excerpts?

5. What do you think the delegates meant when they called the Constitution the "supreme Law of the Land"?

6. What is the general tone of the Constitution? How does the tone differ from that of the Declaration of Independence? What do you think accounts for this difference?

* The small images on this screen will print poorly. You can obtain larger versions of Document 2, Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; and Page 4 but be aware that some of the files may take as much as 2 minutes to load with a 28.8K modem.


Comments or Questions

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