U.S. Constitution Exam (with Download)


We the People Constitution exam main

The exam below consists of 25 document-based multiple-choice questions. You can download a pdf copy for use in your classroom by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page. The pdf includes the exam and answer key.

United States Constitution Exam

Directions: Choose the best answer for each question.

1. The primary purpose of the Articles of Confederation was to

  1. provide powers to the national government
  2. establish a framework of the national government
  3. give the national government the power to form a judiciary
  4. guarantee a bill of rights to protect citizens from the national government

2. In order to win ratification of the United States Constitution, supporters agreed to

  1. add a bill of rights
  2. Lower tariffs for the southern states
  3. Admit new states to the Union
  4. Establish an electoral college

3. The main reason the Constitutional Convention was called to update the Articles of Confederation was that it

  1. lacked provision for a national congress
  2. Placed too many restrictions on the states
  3. restricted immigration from Eastern Europe
  4. Failed to give the central government enough power

Base your answers to questions 4 and 5 on the following:

We the people of the United States, in order

to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. — Preamble to the United States Constitution

4. Which two groups debated the ratification of the new Constitution?

  1. North and south
  2. Federalists and Anti-federalists
  3. Democratic party and Republican party
  4. Legislative branch and judicial branch

5. In this passage, the founding fathers believed that A.All citizens should have the right to vote B.State governments should have providence over the national government C.Sovereignty should be in the hands of the people D. people get their power from the government

6. Building support for the ratification of the United States Constitution was the purpose of the

A. Farewell Address of George Washington

B. Virginia House of Burgesses

C. Federalist Papers

D. Common Sense

7. Which two groups debated the ratification of the new Constitution? A.North and south B.Federalists and Anti-federalists C.Democratic party and Republican party D.Legislative branch and judicial branch

Base your answers to questions 8 and 9 on the following:

“The United States, in congress assembled, shall never engage in a war, nor grant letters of marque and reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defence and welfare of the united states, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the united states, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine states assent to the same…” Excerpt of the Articles of Confederation

8. Under the Articles of Confederation Congress could not declare war or coin money unless

  1. The president approved
  2. There was money in the treasury to pay for it
  3. Both houses concurred
  4. 9 of the 13 states approved

9. This portion of the Articles makes it clear

  1. The national government did not have much power
  2. Senators wielded most of the decision-making power
  3. The national government could approve treaties
  4. The state governments gave sovereignty to the national government

10. Federalism is best defined as a principle of government that

  1. divides power between the central government and state governments
  2. includes a system of checks and balances
  3. allows the states to nullify national laws
  4. Includes 3 branches of government

11. Which of the following is an example of checks and balances?

  1. three-quarters of the states must approve a constitutional amendment
  2. The president has the power to veto a bill
  3. The president has the power to appoint judges
  4. A Supreme Court justice is appointed for life

Base your answers to questions 12 and 13 on the following excerpt from the U.S. Constitution:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

12. Allowing for 2 senators from each state is a result of which constitutional compromise?

  1. Three-fifths Compromise
  2. Commerce Compromise
  3. Great Compromise
  4. The Missouri Compromise

13. If a senator leaves office for any reason mid-term who chooses a temporary replacement?

  1. The president
  2. The departing senator
  3. A judge
  4. The governor of the senator’s state

14. The constitutional principle of popular sovereignty refers to

  1. Dividing the power in government to avoid tyranny
  2. The ultimate power of government lies in the hands of the people
  3. Each state retains power
  4. The president has the power over the people

15. Shay’s Rebellion was an example of

  1. The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
  2. The weaknesses of the Constitution
  3. The first amendment in action
  4. The power of the executive branch to enforce laws

Base your answers to questions 16 and 17 on the following:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

Federalist Paper 51–James Madison

16. As an author of the Federalist Papers James Madison was

  1. A strict constructionist
  2. In favor of a strong central government
  3. Against a strong federal government
  4. An advocate of the Articles of Confederation

17. Madison’s message in this passage is that

  • All men are not inherently good
  • External controls over government are not necessary
  • People must control the government
  • Checks and balances are needed to control the people in government

18. The Constitution is a flexible document because

  1. It can be altered through the amendment process
  2. The 3 branches each have different roles
  3. The Bill of Rights allow for freedom
  4. The systems of checks and balances

19. The 3/5 Compromise created

  1. A way to amend the Constitution
  2. Dictated that 3/5 of Congress is needed to pass a bill
  3. Representation of slaves in Congress
  4. Whether representation should be based on population

Base your answers to questions 20 and 21 on the diagram above:

20. The diagram depicts

  1. The system of federalism
  2. The executive branch as the most important branch
  3. How representatives in Congress are chosen
  4. The system of checks and balances

21. One way in which Congress can check on the president is by

  1. Declaring war
  2. Declaring a law unconstitutional
  3. Approving federal judges
  4. Overriding a veto

22. Which of the following are constitutional principles?

  1. Popular sovereignty and federalism
  2. Federalism and the elastic clause
  3. The Bill of Rights and federalism
  4. Popular sovereignty and powers of the executive branch

23. During the Constitutional Convention which parties were at odds over-representation in Congress?

  1. The large states and the small states
  2. The northern states and southern states
  3. The federalists and democrats
  4. The anti-federalists and democrats

Base your answers to questions 24 and 25 on the following excerpt from Article 6 of the Constitution:

“…that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution, or law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

24. According to Article 6 of the Constitution

  1. Dividing the power in government is proper and necessary
  2. The ultimate power of government lies with the national government
  3. Each state can override a federal law
  4. The president is the supreme law of the land

25. The Constitution was written based on Enlightenment era ideas such as

  1. Separation of powers and the need for a strong leader
  2. The natural rights of people and the elastic clause
  3. Natural rights of the people and separation of powers
  4. The power of the executive branch over the legislative branch

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