US History Lesson: US Constitution Quiz

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US Constitution Quiz

This is a 10-question quiz that could be used at the start of a unit on the Constitution to gauge previous knowledge and understanding or as an end of the unit review before test or quiz.

It is an on-line quiz that provides immediate feedback.

1. WHAT WAS OUR COUNTRY’S FIRST CONSTITUTION CALLED?

A. THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

B. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

C. THE “FEDERALIST PAPER”

D. THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – The Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was in effect from 1781 – 1789. It was based on the concept of a weak central government because of the experience we had under the strong influence of Great Britain. This constitution was our first written plan of government and was based on an opposition to a strong central government, strong executive, taxation and the power to control trade.

2. LAWS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARE MADE BY:

A. THE PRESIDENT

B. THE SENATE

C. CONGRESS

D. THE SUPREME COURT

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – Congress. This is found in Article 1, Section 1: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Thus, the function of Congress is to legislate or make the laws.

3. THE LONGEST POSSIBLE TIME A PERSON CAN NOW SERVE AS PRESIDENT IS:

A. 4 YEARS

B. 8 YEARS

C. 10 YEARS

D. 12 YEARS

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – 10 Years. Based upon Amendment Twenty-Two of the Constitution, no person can be elected to the office of President more than twice or serve more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President. Therefore, the total length of time that any person could serve as President is ten years.

4. A MAN ACCUSED OF A CRIME IN COURT HAS A RIGHT TO:

A. HEAR THE WITNESSES AGAINST HIM

B. BE TRIED WHEREVER HE WANTS

C. HAVE ANY JUDGE HE WANTS

D. CHANGE COURTS

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – hear the witnesses against him. This is guaranteed to every person in the United States based on the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him ………”

5. INVOKING THE FIFTH AMENDMENT MEANS AN ACCUSED MAN:

A. REFUSES TO TESTIFY AGAINST HIMSELF

B. REFUSES TO BE TRIED AGAIN

C. DEMANDS A GRAND JURY

D. WANTS TO APPEAL HIS CASE

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – refuses to testify against himself. This constitutional right is found in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: “No person shall ……. be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

6. OUR FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT WAS:

A. ALEXANDER HAMILTON

B. THOMAS JEFFERSON

C. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

D. JOHN ADAMS

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “D” – John Adams. The elections of 1789, 1792, 1796 and 1800 were based on the constitutional provision that the individual with the most electoral votes became president and the one with the second highest became vice-president. John Adams received the second highest vote count in the election of 1789 and became President George Washington’s vice-president. The process was changed in 1804 with the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment.

7. THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS:

A. THE FIRST TEN AMENDMENTS

B. THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT

C. THE ENTIRE CONSTITUTION

D. ALL OF THE AMENDMENTS

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – the first ten amendments. There was a concern when the Constitution was written in 1787, that the federal government would be too powerful. The Bill of Rights was added in 1791 to put a check on the power of the national government and to protect the individual rights of all Americans.

8. IF NEITHER THE PRESIDENT NOR THE VICE-PRESIDENT CAN SERVE, THE POSITION WOULD BE FILLED BY:

A. THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

B. THE CHIEF JUSTICE

C. THE ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

D. THE SECRETARY OF STATE

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – the speaker of the house. The importance of succession to the presidency was initially addressed in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6 and further clarified by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. The present order of succession is President, Vice-President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate and then the various cabinet positions based on their order of creation (with the exception of the Department of Defense that combined the Departments of War and Navy in 1947). The Secretary of Defense is now fifth in the overall order of succession.

9. THE MAJOR DEPARTMENT HEAD WHO IS APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT TO DEAL WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS THE:

A. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

B. SECRETARY OF STATE

C. ATTORNEY GENERAL

D. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – Secretary of State. The Secretary of State was the first Cabinet Position created by President George Washington in 1789. The country’s first Secretary of State was Thomas Jefferson.

10. THE PRESIDENT IS ELECTED IF HE:

A. WINS A MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORAL VOTES

B. WINS MOST OF THE COUNTRY’S VOTE

C. WINS ALL OF THE STATES’ VOTES

D. WINS MOST OF THE STATES’ VOTES

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – wins a majority of the electoral votes. Based upon the electoral process as described in the Constitution in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 3: “The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed …”

After completing the quiz, students will be asked a few questions. Once completed, a score will be given along with the state average and the national average.

There is a 50-question advanced quiz that is a more challenging test to knowledge about the Constitution.

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