America’s Founding Documents
Common Sense - Thomas Paine
Constitutional Amendment Process
Constitutional Amendment Process - National Archives
Creating the U.S. Constitution (DPLA)
Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence - National Archives
Federalist & Anti-federalist Debates
Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
On Liberty - John Stuart Mill
Second Treatise on Government - John Locke
The Annotated Constitution of the United States
The Leviathan - Thomas Hobbes
Video – Constitutional Compromises: Crash Course Government and Politics #5
Video – Federalists vs Anti-Federalists in 5 Minutes
Video – Mini-Bio: John Locke
Video – Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution: Crash Course
Video – The Articles of Confederation - The Constitution Before the Constitution
Video – The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History #8
Video – The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights [BROKEN LINK]
Video – Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Video – What is Magna Carta
Video – Why is the US Constitution So Hard to Amend?
Video – The Great Compromise
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:
- Describe key British influences on American political thought.
- Identify actions by the British government which created the conditions for the Declaration of Independence.
- Explain why Americans initially adopted a confederation as their form of government.
- Understand the structure and functions of the U.S. Constitution
- Compare and contrast the views and characteristics of the Federalists and Antifederalists.
- Explain why Antifederalists wanted a Bill of Rights.
- Describe the basic mechanics of the Article V Amendment Process.
Main Text: American Government - Lumen Learning
- Constitutional Compromises: Crash Course Government and Politics #5
- Federalists vs Anti-Federalists in 5 Minutes
- Mini-Bio: John Locke
- The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights
- What is Magna Carta
- Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution: Crash Course
- The Articles of Confederation - The Constitution Before the Constitution
- Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
- The Great Compromise
- Why is the US Constitution So Hard to Amend?
- The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History #8
Discussion Questions and Key Concepts
As outlined by Locke, describe the state of nature.
What does John Locke mean by natural rights of individuals?
Why is it important that individuals have natural rights in the state of nature?
What does John Locke mean by a government founded on a social contract?
According to Locke, under what conditions are people justified in rebelling against a government?
Describe the path toward the ratification of the Constitution. What choices or compromises did the Federalists make to help ensure its ratification?
How is power distributed under the Constitution?
How does the Constitution limit the powers of the national government?
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?
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):
State of nature
Separation of powers
Checks and balances
Supreme Court Cases
- Marbury v. Madison (1803)