A good portion of the United States
History and Government curriculum is based on the ideas
and principles of American government. These ideas and
principles are best exemplified by the United States
A Constitution is a country's
plan of government. The discussion of the US Constitution
focuses on the features that make our plan of government
unique and enduring.
Government review focuses on these eight main areas:
Highlights the roots of the American system and
the unique history of United States political
though that gave rise to the Constitution.
Focuses on the dynamics of the Constitutional Convention
of 1787 in Philadelphia, the differing point of
view and eventual compromises that gave birth to
the document itself.
Examines the three
branches that compose the Federal Government, their
unique powers and roles, as well as how power is separated
in order to keep one branch of government from
dominating the system.
Examples of the system
of checks and balances in action. Examples of how
each branch is endowed with the power to temper
the power of the other two.
Identifies the unique
balance between federal and state power, as well
as the types of powers identified in the Constitution.
Discusses the process
for amending the Constitution, as well as a
discussion of the Bill of Rights, the other amendments
and their historic roots.
Explains the features of
the Constitution that are considered implied or
"unwritten". Provides examples of these
features in action, as well as a reasoning behind their
A selection of significant
legislation from American history, focused on the
provisions of the laws and their historic roots.
Enduring Constitutional Issues
enduring Constitutional issues are considered to be the
core of what the Regent's examination in United States
History and Government will test on the topic of
government. It is recommended that you familiarize
yourself with these 13 issues. As you progress through
your government review be aware of how what you know
about government relates to one or more of these
enduring Constitutional issues.
The Constitution created
a "limited government" with clearly
delegated powers, however over time federal power
has grown to include a greater amount of implied
as well as "necessary and proper"
The Constitution attempts
a balance of power between the federal government
and those of the states. Over time the federal
government has grown to meet the demands of a more
complex society, how do we preserve the balance of
federalism while meeting these demands?
As interpreter of the Constitution
and its changing meaning over time, the Judicial
Branch has a unique power to shape the
Constitution and its protections in order to adapt
to the changing needs and challenges of society.
An on-going discussion
in American history has been the delicate balance
between the civil rights of the individual with
the security, welfare and needs of American
society as a whole.
and Rights of the Accused
The Constitution (in
the Bill of Rights) very specifically details the
rights of the accused and the limits on the
government in prosecuting accusations. At the same
time we have struggled to balance the rights of
the accused with the general welfare of the nation
and the rights of the victim.
as a Constitutional Value
The Constitution does
not outline the specific ways in which equality is
to be defined, be it social, economic or
political. As the nation has progressed,
reinterpretations of the Constitution have helped
to better define the meanings of
The Constitution does
not specifically address the rights and status of
women, save for the 19th amendment, however in the
recent past Constitutional protections assumed for
men have been extended to fully include women as
of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
The Constitution has
in many ways failed to protect the rights of ethnic
and racial minorities, however in recent history
there has been a greater push to extend
Constitutional protections to a greater number of
Foreign and Wartime Powers
Presidential power has
increased as the nation as grown and expanded,
reaching their peak during times of war and
The Constitution set
up three branches of government, each with
specific and unique powers, as well as system of
checks and balances designed to limit those power
The Constitution provides
for voting rights, which have been expanded over
time to include a greater amount of the
population. The growth of political parties also
has aided in the growth of representation in
and Economic Rights
provides for the general welfare and protects the
rights of the people to own property and exercise
Change and Flexibility
The Constitution as a
"living document" with the ability to
amend and be reinterpreted to meet changing times.