Honors Fundamentals of American Democracy Study Guide

Creating the Constitution (1781-1789)


Explain the difference between a unicameral and a bicameral legislature.

Explain how and why delegates were chosen under the Articles of Confederation for the “Congress of Delegates”.

Explain how power was divided under the Articles of Confederation between small states like Rhode Island and large states such as Virginia.

Explain the purpose and reasons for the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Explain the impetus, reasons and accomplishments of the convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787.

Compare and contrast the Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut (Great Compromise). Explain the fears and concerns expressed by the opponents of each plan.

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

Contrast the fears and concerns toward ratification of the Constitution between the Federalists and the Anti- Federalists. Explain the compromise that was reached in order to achieve ratification.

Explain why some states wanted a more democratic form of government with greater representation for the common people favored and how they achieve this desire. Explain how other states approached this “problem”.

List and Describe the rights guaranteed in most state constitutions during the founding period.

Explain why the “Founding Fathers” originally created the type of government found in the Articles of Confederation.
List and Describe the weaknesses and strengths of the Articles of Confederation.

Explain the ratification process for the Constitution implemented by the “Founding Fathers” and how final ratification was achieved.

List and explain the six underlying principles the U.S. Constitution is based upon according to your chapter text and how each is incorporate into the Constitution.







Explain the philosophy and purpose of federalism.

List the authors of The Federalist and explain their purpose for penning this important explanation of the U.S. Constitution.

Explain why it was difficult to pass laws and to revise/change the Articles of Confederation. Explain why these “safeguards” were implemented by its creators.

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

Define and Give the Significance for the Following Terms


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 Compromise




The Federalist

Bill of Rights

Popular sovereignty

Limited Government

Separation of powers

Checks and balances

Electoral college

Representative government