Grade 8: US History to Reconstruction

Standard 3: American System of Government 

Content Standard 3: The student will examine the formation of the American system of government following the Revolutionary War and the creation of the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of the land.
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Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation that led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, including:
A. resolution of disputes over the western territories as resolved by the Northwest Ordinance
B. organization and leadership necessary to win the war
C. lack of a common national currency
D. lack of a common defense
E. lack of a national judiciary
F. mismanagement of war debts due to an inability to tax
G. unanimous vote required to amend the Articles of Confederation
H. civil unrest as typified in Shays’ Rebellion.
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Analyze the significance of the Constitutional Convention, contributions of the Framers, major debates and compromises including the Virginia and New Jersey Plans, Great Compromise, the leadership of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, and George Washington, President of the Convention.
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Describe how the framers of the Constitution addressed the issue of slavery including the Three-Fifth Compromise which maintained the institution of slavery in both northern and southern states, the Fugitive Slave Clause, and the delayed ban on the slave trade.
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Explain the significance of the Commerce Clause in establishing a constitutional relationship between Indian tribes and the United States government.
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Examine the concept of self-government, the purpose, and the responsibilities of government as expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.
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Analyze the key principles of government established by the Constitution of the United States including:
A. federalism (reserved and concurrent powers)
B. separation of powers among three branches of government 
C. a system of checks and balances among the three branches
D. popular sovereignty and consent of the governed
E. judicial review
F. rule of law
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Examine the Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments for and against the ratification of the Constitution as expressed in the Federalist Papers authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay and the writings of Anti-Federalists, such as George Mason, including concerns over a strong central government and the omission of a bill of rights
Explain how the Constitution of the United States was amended to include the Bill of Rights; identify and analyze the guarantees of individual rights and liberties as expressed in each of the ten amendments.
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Identify the structure and responsibilities of the elected and appointed officials of the three branches of government in relationship to the legislative process, including the role of Congress and the President, as well as the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review.
Describe the responsibilities of US citizens such as:
A. registering and voting in public elections
B. engaging in informed civil discourse
C. serving on a jury
D. paying taxes
E. obeying laws
F. registering for military service