Review questions - Fasttrack Civics
   Unit CE 2 - Fundamental Principles and Documents
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Review Questions for Unit CE 2 in Fasttrack Civics - Fundamental Principles and Documents

Questions about fundamental principles of government and their origins:

1.  Our word "democracy" comes originally from two words in the ancient Greek language.  Do those words translate into English as "demonstrate authority," or "the people rule"?

Voting Poster and Voter

2.  Does the voting poster shown above illustrate the concept of "direct democracy," or the concept of "representative government"?

3.  Under the principle of "consent of the governed," the people are the ultimate source of any and all government power.  What does the word "consent" mean in the phrase "consent of the governed"?

4.  Under the principle of "the rule of law," do government officials, leaders, and judges have to follow the nation's laws, or are they considered above the law?

5.  Does the principle of "individual rights" mean that the government creates basic rights for its citizens, or does it mean that all human beings have basic rights simply because they are human beings?

6.  Why is the principle of "limited government" considered so important in protecting the liberties of a nation's citizens?

Map of Mediterranean area

7.  On the map above, which dot shows the location of Athens, where a system of democracy began in 508 B.C.?

8.  On the map above, which dot shows the location of Rome, where a system of representative government began around the year 500 B.C.?

9.  What is the name of the famous document signed by King John in England in 1215 A.D. that helped establish the principles of limited government and the rule of law in England?

10.  In England, the power of the king was balanced after about 1300 A.D. by the growing power of an elected lawmaking body.  What is the name of that elected body, which now holds almost all lawmaking power in England? 

Questions about documents leading to or influencing the U.S. Constitution:

11.  What important guarantee about English rights did the Charter of the Virginia Company of London provide for the people who settled Jamestown and other parts of Virginia in the Colonial era?

12.  Who was the main author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was adopted by Virginia in 1776 as the colony broke away from English rule?

13.  The Virginia Declaration of Rights later served as a direct model for what other famous document that became a part of the U.S. Constitution?

14.  In 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that the 13 Colonies were independent of Great Britain.  Tell two of the famous statements about individuals and individual rights that are found in this document.

Declaration and Author

15.  Who is the author of the Declaration of Independence shown in the image above?

16.  During the Revolution, the 13 original states formed a national government with a document called the Articles of Confederation.  What was the basic problem with that design of government?

17.  What is the name of the law passed in Virginia in the early years of the nation that guaranteed freedom of religious belief within the state?

18.  Leaders from most of the states met in Philadelphia in 1787 and decided to write a new Constitution that would _____________ the powers of the national level government.  (Answer choices:  weaken, strengthen, abolish.)

What does the Preamble of the Constitution tell the reader of the document?

20.  Tell what this phrase in the Preamble means: "To ensure domestic tranquility."

21.  Not everyone supported the new Constitution, and some people argued against ratification of the document.  What were these opponents of the Constitution called?

22.  Was the Bill of Rights part of the original U.S. Constitution, or was it added after the Constitution was ratified by the states?

Questions about the Constitution and the fundamental principles it expresses:

Each of these phrases is used once to answer the questions below individual rights; limited government; the rule of law; representative government; consent of the governed.

We The People

23.  The opening words of the U.S. Constitution pictured above show that the American government is based on what fundamental principle of government?

24.  The U.S. Constitution creates a system in which the citizens elect lawmakers.  What is the term for this kind of democracy?

25.  The U.S. Constitution has paragraphs that list things the government cannot do.  What principle of government does this most clearly show?

26.  The U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, lists certain rights of citizens including freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.  What fundamental principle does this most clearly show?

27.  The U.S. Constitution makes it clear that no one, not even the President, is above the law.  What fundamental principle of government does this most clearly show?

Questions about amending the Constitution:

28.  Is the process of changing the Constitution with an amendment an easy process, or one that is complex and time consuming?

29.  How many amendments have been added to the Constitution?

30.  Either Congress or the states can start the amendment process with a proposed amendment.  Either way, what is the final step of the amendment process?  (Answer choices:  approval by the President; ratification by the states; a nationwide election.)

Copyright 2007, 2015 by David Burns
All rights reserved


Copyright Notice

Copyright 2006, 2015 by David A. Burns.  All rights reserved.  No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright holder.   Contact:  Fasttrack Civics Project, 6215 Lavell Court, Springfield, VA 22152.

This work is a guide to the Virginia Civics SOL exam, and follows the organization and content of the Virginia Standards of Learning framework for that subject.  Some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences found in the Virginia SOL, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author’s copyright extends to this work's original text and graphic content, unique design and layout, and other related material.
Illustrations appearing in this publication are taken from sources in the public domain and from private collections used by permission.  Sources include: the Dover Pictorial Archive, the Library of Congress, The Hart Publishing Co., Corel Corporation and its licensors, Nova Development Corporation and its licensors, and others.  Maps were created or adapted by the author using reference maps from the United States Geological Survey and Cartesia Software.