AP Government study guide

Topics: United States Constitution, United States Congress, U.S. state Pages: 7 (2262 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Unit One Study Guide

1. a. Following the French and Indian War, Parliament placed the Sugar Act of 1764 on the colonies to pay for the expenses of the Seven Years War. This tax on goods such as sugar and coffee created great upset among the colonists. Following the Sugar Act came the Stampt Act of 1765, which mandated a stamp on all paper items bought and sold among the colonies. Colonists argued that these taxes enforced by British parliament were unjust because they lacked the opportunity to voice their opinion in the British Parliament. This lead to the famous saying, “no taxation without representation.” Both of these acts had a strong influence in the colonists decision to write The Declaration of Independence. In fact, the colonists even listed this in the Declaration as one of the many issues the they had with the King. Those who failed to participate and pay the required tax on specific goods were tried in court. However, if the judge concluded that the specific individual was guilty, they received a bonus in their salary, which provided an incentive for the judge to rule in opposition of the defendant. Colonists were furious that the judge could be bribed with money for ruling a specific way. In writing the Bill of Rights, a part of the Constitution, it is clearly stated that American citizens are guaranteed the right to trial by jury, forever eliminating the salary bonus of judges for a particular ruling. In addition, the King imposed the Coercive Acts of 1774 among the colonies. One act, known as the Quartering Act, mandated that colonists had to house British soldiers. In strong opposition to this act, it is stated in the third amendment of the Constitution that Americans will not have to provide housing for the military without first agreeing to the situation.

b. The ideas of American philosopher, John Locke, greatly influenced the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Locke believed that it was the responsibility go the American government to preserve life, liberty, property and to assure justice to all citizens. This idea is reflected in the opening lines in the Declaration of Independence, “..that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Locke also believed in the social contract theory, an agreement that Americans would follow the laws set by the government as long as they seemed just and reflected the desires of Americans. This also led Locke to believe Americans had the right to overthrow the government and replace it with a new one in times of unjust. This theory is also clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.

2. a. 1. No regulation of interstate commerce: The national government had the power to coin money, but it lacked the power to put a value on its currency. This lead to states coining their own money. In addition, individual states attempted to enter treaties with other states and nations due to the national governments lack of ability to regulate interstate commerce.

2. No Power to Tax: As stated in the Articles of Confederation,Congress had no power to tax, which meant there was no way for the government to pay off war debts or even run the government. The government was only allowed to ask for money from the states, which resulted in no income.

3. Lack of a strong central government: The greatest weakness of the Articles of Confederation was the lack of a strong central government. The only powers the government had were to wage war and make treaties with foreign countries. But once a treaty was made, the government lacked the authority to enforce the treaty among individual states. In addition, the government was unable to form an army which resulted in a lack of defense and national security.

3. a. To formally amend the Constitution requires a very slow, two stage process of proposal and ratification. This method of formally amending the Constitution was designed to be difficult by the Framers, as...
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