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The Constitution
Guide: U.S. Constitution

These resources explain the conflicts the Framers attempted to resolve between federal and state power as well as the three branches of government. Use these resources to help students learn about why the Framers thought it was important to have checks on federal and state power. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Societies need government to promote harmony, reduce conflict, and increase economic productivity
  • Governments come in many forms, including rule by one, rule by a few, and rule by many
  • Philosophical thought often influences a society's form of government
  • New political systems are shaped by emulating and opposing older systems of government
  • Founding documents are a result of compromise and the direct experiences of those drafting them
  • Democratic governments derive their power from the consent of the governed
  • Protection of individual rights and liberties is central to American democracy
  • Democratic governments strike a balance between majority rule and minority rights

Key Questions

  • How does the U.S. Constitution lay out a new relationship between the states and a more powerful central government?
  • In what key ways does the constitution incorporate Montesquieu's idea regarding separation of powers and checks and balances?


  1. Overview: U.S. Constitution
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Amending the U.S. Constitution
  6. Lesson: 1-Concerns Addressed by the Constitution
  7. Lesson: 2-Democracy vs. Republic
  8. Lesson: 3-Federal-State Tension in the U.S.
  9. Lesson: 3-Separation of Powers in the Constitution
  10. Lesson: 4-Federal Power in the Constitution
  11. Lesson: Closing
  12. Glossary Terms: supremacy clause
  13. Photos & Illustrations: U.S. Constitution: signing of the Constitution
  14. Reference Articles: Necessary and Proper Clause
  15. Reference Articles: Checks and Balances
  16. Reference Articles: Constitutional Convention
  17. Reference Articles: Federalism
  18. Reference Articles: Separation of Powers
  19. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: U.S. Constitution
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: Mason, George: "Objections to This Constitution of Government" article (1787)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: New Jersey Plan (1787)
  22. Political, Government & Court Documents: Virginia Plan (1787)
  23. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 51 (1788)
  24. Political, Government & Court Documents: Bill of Rights (1791)
  25. Political, Government & Court Documents: U.S. Constitution (1787)

MLA Citation

"U.S. Constitution." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156179?cid=256. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Entry ID: 2156179

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