POL 215 Foundations of the US Federal Government Worksheet

Foundations of the U.S. Federal Government Worksheet

Complete the chart below by identifying the three branches of government and their entities.

U.S. ConstitutionLegislative3. Judicial2. Executive
6. Supreme Court5. President4. Congress
9. Vice President
8. Senate7. House

Right or Wrong

Choose the Best Answer

  • The power of the state became limited with the Tenth Amendment. Right or Wrong
  • The Bill of Rights can be found on the 1787 Constitution. Right or Wrong
  • Dual sovereignty or the exclusive power in interstate commerce of the federal government was created under the Constitution. Right or Wrong
  • The legislative branch composed of the President and the Vice President among others. Right or Wrong
  • One of the powers of the Congress is to provide federal mandates to the state government. Right or Wrong

Provide Short Description

  • What is dual federalism?
  • Something that lasted until 1980 in the US
  • Mirrors the federalism’s concepts like a marble cake
  • The power of the state has limitations
  • State and federal power as interchangeable and cannot be amend
  • Define Bill of Rights
    • Part of the Constitution and can be found on the Preamble
    • IT’s been present since the first Constitution was draft
    • It is the Constitutions first 10 Amendments
    • What composes the Legislative branch?
  • House of Senate and the House of Representative
    • The country’s president and its second in command, the vice
    • The justices from the Supreme Court
    • All officials of the state
  • What is the First Amendment of the Constitution for?
    • It is the citizens right to have arms and carry it with them
    • It is the citizens right to have fair trial with a jury
    • It is about limiting the federal government’s power
    • It is the citizens right to have freedom of religion, of speech, to gather or assemble, to make be heard through the press and to petition any issues they think is not right
  • Modern federal grants-in-aid was mirrored from
    • World War 2
    • The 1930’s
    • After the Civil War end
    • In the middle part of 1960’s

Answer each question in 3-4 sentences with no more than 100 words and not less than 75 words.

The events that could have influenced the creation of the US federal government are the Monroe Doctrine, Brown v. BOE, The Civil War, The Louisiana Purchase, and The New Deal.

  • Identify historical events that influence the creation of the US federal government and how it indeed influenced it. Choose one among and explain how it indeed influenced it. Describe the impact of such event to the lives of the American people at present.

For me the Civil War has the most significant impact because it affected everything, the economy, the political system and the people. Because of the Civil War, slavery was abolished, Union were respected yet the South was affected economically speaking because their laborers are gone and set free. With the civil war comes the development of machines to replace human slaves hence the industrial society was born. Since then, the south no longer holds the economic power and was shifted to the north where industrial building started to appear helping the country rise from the ashes of war. From there comes the different Amendments like the 13th, 14th and 15th as well as the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.

One of the contemporary philosophers who shaped the nation’s government is John Locke who actually said the words “”Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”- a famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson’s can be found on Locke’s works. His works include the Two Treatises on Government. Another phrase that Thomas Jefferson got from Locke’s writings is says “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions” which was modified by Jefferson and changed the last word to suit the meaning of what he means when we he said everyone has the right to own things and call it theirs. John Locke also wrote a lot of his beliefs and political thoughts like the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens, that the government should not be too powerful and that having absolute power (like monarchy) is immoral and that is it the government’s responsibility to recognize its responsibilities to the people it serves. He also believes that the people can overthrow a government if the government fails to do its responsibilities.

  • Name few philosophical contributors that helped the S government to be where it is today and describe how they helped the country.

Another political philosopher that shaped the American government is Montesquieu. His famous idea about the checks and balance was quite popular to other governments because he believes that by dividing the power and the function of the government, then liberty can be protected. It means power is not on one man’s hand. It is now being translated to the government having branches that hold different powers like the legislative, judiciary, and the executive branches.

When it comes to democracy then it will be the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He wrote The Social Contract in 1762 where he states his beliefs that man was created free and no one should own them, that a government formed by the power of the people is a good government and that forming free government means being selfish and allowing the best interest of the majority of the people rather than individual interests and lastly, if the people created their government through free will, then their rights are being preserved. It only means one thing for Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the power lies within the people and Jefferson used Locke’s idea when he stated that there is no man that can rule the American nation and they are no longer giving their consent to the King of England because they are free people who live in a free country.

Lastly, Voltaire used his work to open the eyes of the people against the negative impact of corruption. His works depicts prejudices especially when it comes to religion as well as injustices served to those who are poor. His works was used to pattern the slavery that happened in the US during the early times causing the Founding Fathers to stand against them. The British corruption of the early era was fought by the freedom thirst Native Americans and they believed in freedom of speech which is Voltaire’s another idea as well.

The Supreme Court ensures that the power allocated to the officials of the government is legit and that is being used properly. They ensure that the power in all level, national to local is not overused and that they are only using it accordingly. This is what agreed upon when the officials of the government are still running after getting their federal posts in the country. The word “federal” indeed means formal agreement or form of covenant from the Latin translation of the original word “foedus”. In every unit of the society, there is a government and in every government, good governance is needed and this is the role of the Supreme Court, to ensure good governance happens to all government involved.

  • What is the role played by the Supreme Court during cases of federalism and how it changed in the 1990s and its implications today?

The laws that passed and directed in the country came from the Legislative branch of the government. The legislative branch gets to see the laws being passed by the legislators and do a check and balance as to it is to be passed or denied or needs further review. Once the law is made, it is the job of the executive branch to execute the new law into action.

  • Identify and describe what are the Legislative branch and its duties and how to be a part of it. Explain how each branch work with each other.

The branch of the judicial system made up of the justices of the Supreme Court and all other courts in the federal government. When legislation is being questioned, it is the judicial department’s job to explain and defend it. There are 9 justices in the US Supreme Court and they are all selected and appointed by the President of the country as approved by the Senate House. Supreme Court justices can stay on their job as long as they want to.

  • Identify and describe what are the judicial branch and its duties and how to be a part of it. Explain how each branch work with each other.


The relationship between the state government and the federal government is what we call Federalism. It means that the power of the states in the United States is now being given to the center of the government which is the federal state or the country’s President. Before the American Civil War, the states have their own power of their own and no one controls them but Federalism made a way to make each states surrender their main power to the federal government to form unity and bond as a country. However, during the term of President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), a new meaning of Federalism was coined meaning the power is now being given back to the states. The new Federalism allowed each state to no longer rely on the budget the Federal government is giving them but is actually now allowed to spend all money of the state for the state’s welfare.

  • What is federalism and how it becomes relative to the US political climate of today. Keep answer within 250-300 words.

This new meaning of Federalism was also called as the “rights of the state” but is not being use much due to some connotations it brings in association to some historical famous personality. The modern federalism law is intuitive of the interpretation of the Commerce Clause like the partial birth abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart), federal police powers (United States v. Morrison, which struck down portions of the Violence against Women Act), or agriculture (Wickard v. Filburn), medical marijuana (Gonzales v. Raich), and gun possession (United States v. Lopez). The succeeding presidents of the country continued to follow the example of Reagan and let the states decides for themselves with the new Federalism ideas.

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