Fundamentals of American Democracy Study Guide

Creating the Constitution-Study Guide

Explain the difference between a unicameral and a bicameral legislature.

Explain how under the Articles of Confederation, the state delegates to the national congress were chosen.

Explain why under the Articles of Confederation, small states like Rhode Island, wielded as much power as large states such as Virginia.

Compare and contrast the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Explain the original reason for the meeting of delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and why.

Explain how the Virginia Plan differed from the Articles of Confederation and how the New Jersey Plan was similar to them.

Explain the reason and purpose of the Three-Fifths Compromise.

Explain why the Federalists favored ratification of the new Constitution and why the Anti-Federalist opposed ratification.

Explain why states that wanted a more democratic form of government with greater representation for the common people favored a unicameral legislature

Explain why most state constitutions guaranteed the freedom of religion.

Explain the type of government the Articles of Confederation created for the new American nation.

List and explain the weaknesses and strengths of the Articles of Confederation.

List and describe the elements of the Virginia plan that ultimately were part of the finished U.S. Constitution.

Explain why the Constitution finally went into effect in 1788.

Explain the principle that provides for a system in which the government derives its power from the governed.

Explain how the legislative branch checks the power of the judicial and the executive branches?

Explain how the political theory of the separation of powers defines the different responsibilities for each branch of government.

Explain why the Federalists wanted the Constitution to provide for a strong central government.

Explain why the Anti-Federalists criticized the Constitution.

Explain how James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay became prominent members of the Federalist point of view.

Explain the compromise that the Federalist were willing to make to win support for the Constitution.

Explain the criticisms of the Virginia Plan by its opponents.

Explain how Federalism works.

Explain the six principles on which the Constitution is founded and how each is incorporate into the Constitution.

Compare and contrast the Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut plans. Give the significance of each of the three plans.

Compare and Contrast the position of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist in regards to ratification of the Constitution in regards to the following; taxation, foreign policy, power, commerce, and protection of the individual.



Unicameral legislature

Bicameral legislature

Articles of Confederation


Northwest Territory

Land Ordinance of 1785

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Shay’s Rebellion

Virginia Plan


Council of Revision (class notes)

New Jersey Plan

Connecticut Plan (Great Compromise)


Three-Fifths CompromiseRatification

Federalist Anti-Federalist The Federalist

Bill of Rights

Popular sovereignty

Limited Government

Separation of powers Checks and balances

Electoral college

Representative government