The following U. S. Constitution study guide is meant to supplement your own homeschool American history or government curriculum. Using these weblinks to helpful resources and printable pdf files will assist you in providing your home school student with a thorough examination of our nation's foundational document. Quizzes and a final test are included; however, keys are not available. All answers can be easily found by studying the Constitution itself or the web pages to which the links direct you. Learning with our children is one of the great experiences we enjoy as homeschoolers.
From Colonies to a Country: The history behind our U.S. Constitution
This portion of the study assumes that you have or will be studying the colonial period of the United States. The links below only describe specific events that led our founding fathers to develop a new system of government and the Constitution on which it is based. Use the following weblinks to answer these questions:
From Articles to Amendments: A study of the U.S. Constitution
The following Study Guide can be downloaded in a pdf file so that students can work offline if you prefer. The headers of each section are a link to an online copy of that portion of the U.S. Constitution. Most American history or American government texts include a copy, or you can contact your Illinois State Representative for a copy of the Illinois Handbook of Government which contains both the federal and state constitutions. Other links will guide you to external websites that will enhance your study or explain the question posed.
- What six reasons did the founding fathers give as the purpose for establishing the Constitution?
- Click here to listen to the "Schoolhouse Rock" Preamble song.
Article I...Legislative Branch
The U.S. has a bicameral (two-house) legislature. The two houses of Congress are the House of Representatives and the Senate.
- How many members make up each house?
- What is the basis for the membership number of each house?
- What are the qualifications to be a U.S. Representative?
- What is the term of this office?
- What are the qualifications to be a U.S. Senator?
- What is the term of this office?
- What fraction of Senators are chosen every second year and why?
- What is the main function of Congress?
- What powers are delegated to Congress?
- What powers are forbidden to Congress?
- What duties are reserved for the House of Representatives?
- What duties are reserved for the Senate?
- What are two names given to Article I, Section 8, paragraph 18? Why is this paragraph so important?
- Describe ex post facto and why such a law is forbidden from being passed.
- Describe the purpose of a writ of habeas corpus and give a time in our nation's history that the privelege was suspended.
- The regular session of Congress begins on what day?
- A majority of each house must be present in order to conduct business. What is this majority called and how many members of each house does that represent?
Understand the process of a Bill becoming a Law.
- How many days does the President have to act on a bill?
- What happens if the President has not signed a bill within that timeframe?
- What is a "pocket veto"?
- Where does a vetoed bill go first after the President vetoes it?
- How large of a majority is needed to override a presidential veto?
- Participate in a Mock Congress activity.
Know your leaders.
Article II...Executive Branch
The President is the head of the Executive Branch.
- What are the qualifications for President of the United States?
- What is the term of office?
- According to Article II, Congress may determine the time of choosing Electors; when are federal elections held?
- What is the purpose of the electoral college?
- List nine duties given to the President.
- Name the various ways a President can be removed from office.
Understand support and succession.
- Who are the President's Cabinet members?
- List the order of succession should a vacancy in the Presidency occur.
Article III...Judicial Branch
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.
- How many judges sit on the court?
- How does one become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice?
- How long is the term of office?
- Who are the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices?
- Who is the Chief Justice?
- What are the names of other federal courts inferior to the highest court?
- List the kinds of cases heard by federal courts.
The System of Checks and Balances
Complete this QUIZ over checks and balances.
Article IV...States' Rights
- Explain the "full faith and credit clause" of Section 1.
- What right is granted to each citizen in Section 2, paragraph 1?
- What is extradition?
- What one exception has occurred to Section 3 and why?
Article V...Amendment Process
The Constitution provides two ways to propose an amendment.
- How large of a majority is necessary in both houses of Congress to pass a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
- How many members of each house does that represent?
- How large of a majority of states are necessary to ratify an amendment?
- How many states does that represent?
Article VI...Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
- Paragraph 2 is very important because it establishes the Constitution as the "supreme law of the land." What does that mean?
- What kind of test can never be required of a person in order to serve in any office or public trust under the United States?
Additional recommended resource that explains the branches of government.
U. S. Constitution TEST