Timothy Kinsella
Political Science
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • American Government
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Foundations of American Government: Course Map & Recommended Resources


    Foundations of American Government

    The resources included here are intended to map to the following learning objectives for an American Government Course:

    1. Describe key British influences on American political thought. 
    2. Identify actions by the British government which created the conditions for the Declaration of Independence.
    3. Explain why Americans initially adopted a confederation as their form of government.
    4. Understand the structure and functions of the U.S. Constitution
    5. Compare and contrast the views and characteristics of the Federalists and Antifederalists.
    6. Explain why Antifederalists wanted a Bill of Rights.
    7. Describe the basic mechanics of the Article V Amendment Process.

    Multimedia Resources

    Discussion Questions and Key Concepts

    Discussion Questions

    1. As outlined by Locke, describe the state of nature.

    2. What does John Locke mean by natural rights of individuals?

    3. Why is it important that individuals have natural rights in the state of nature?

    4. What does John Locke mean by a government founded on a social contract?

    5. According to Locke, under what conditions are people justified in rebelling  against a government?

    6.  Describe the path toward the ratification of the Constitution. What choices or compromises did the Federalists make to help ensure its ratification?

    7. How is power distributed under the Constitution?

    8. How does the Constitution limit the powers of the national government?

    9. In Federalist No. 10, how does Madison define factions and what “cures” does he offer for controlling the “mischiefs of faction”? What is Madison’s cure?

    10. In Federalist No. 51, Madison describes the distribution of power. What is his solution to how power should be distributed? How is this solution reflected in the Constitution?

    Key terms or concepts (define):

    1. Natural rights

    2. State of nature

    3. Anti-Federalists

    4. Federalists

    5. Three-Fifths Compromise

    6. Popular consent

    7. Judicial Review

    8. Separation of powers

    9. Checks and balances

    10.  Shay’s Rebellion

    Supreme Court Cases

    1. Marbury v. Madison (1803)