AP US Government : Bill of Rights

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

Example Question #157 : Constitution And Government Foundations

Which of these was NOT a major influence on the Bill of Rights?

Possible Answers:

The Magna Carta (1215)

The Federalist Papers (1787)

The Intolerable Acts (1774)

The English Bill of Rights (1689)

The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)

Correct answer:

The Federalist Papers (1787)

Explanation:

The conflict between Federalists and Antifederalists was the major thread of late eighteenth century American politics. A major sticking point was the need for a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Students should recall that Federalists like Alexander Hamilton did not see a need for a Bill of Rights to be added, while Antifederalists James Madison spearheaded the amendments.

Example Question #158 : Constitution And Government Foundations

To address the concerns of many Anti-Federalists during the debate over ratification of the Constitution, the Federalists agreed that?

Possible Answers:

States would retain control of interstate commerce

Slavery would be eliminated by an amendment

A bill of rights would be added

Political parties would be formed

Correct answer:

A bill of rights would be added

Explanation:

Debates between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists can be considered the first political party debates in America. Anti-Federalists disliked the creation of the constitution because they feared it was creating a too powerful central government. The Federalists favored the constitution due to issues with the Articles of Confederation and its lack of a strong central government. A compromise was reached with the formation of the Bill of Rights which was designed to protect civil liberties of all citizens.

Example Question #159 : Constitution And Government Foundations

The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution states that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” This section of the Constitution addresses which issue?

Possible Answers:

Limits on governmental power

Implied powers

States’ rights

Separation of powers

Correct answer:

Limits on governmental power

Explanation:

The 4th amendment is more commonly known for its protection from unreasonable search and seizure, it is part of the Bill of Rights, which was designed for the protection of individual rights.

Example Question #160 : Constitution And Government Foundations

George Mason was a leading Anti-Federalist; given his ideology which of the following would he argue for as a balance to the increased federal power?  

Possible Answers:

Declare independence from England

A Bill of Rights to the Constitution

A denouncement of the Federalist Papers

The creation a system of checks and balances among the branches

Correct answer:

A Bill of Rights to the Constitution

Explanation:

The center of the debate between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalist was the power that the central government would have. Anti-Federalists argued for the protection of states and individual rights. Anti-Federalists such as Mason were began to support the Constitution when the bill of rights was added to protect states and individual rights.

Example Question #1 : Bill Of Rights

Which of the following amendments is often called the “states’ rights” amendment, due to its powerful endorsement of states’ rights?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Fairly easy question as long as you know your amendments. The answer is the 10th amendment, as it reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In somewhat plainer English, this means that any governmental power that is neither (1) given to the federal government, nor (2) forbidden to the states is given to the states or the “people” (citizens). It is for this very reason that the 10th amendment is commonly referred to as the “states’ rights” amendment.

Example Question #2 : Bill Of Rights

Which Amendment deals with the Right to Petition?

Possible Answers:

The Fourth Amendment

The First Amendment

The Sixth Amendment

The Tenth Amendment

Correct answer:

The First Amendment

Explanation:

The First Amendment concerns five different liberties that are fairly similar, including the right of the people “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The Amendment does not mandate that the government need to address or address the “grievances,” but this ensures that people can still formally show their displeasure to the government.

Example Question #3 : Bill Of Rights

Another crucial concern shared by many architects of the Constitution was the protection of individual rights. However, because most of the delegates believed that such rights were already being adequately safeguarded by the states and the national government’s system of checks and balances, the initial draft of the Constitution contained only a few key provisions to protect personal freedoms. Which of the following is not one of those early protections?

Possible Answers:

Freedom of speech 

Protection of the writ of habeas corpus 

A ban against any religious qualifications for government officeholders

A right to a trial by jury 

A prohibition against any bills of attainder

Correct answer:

Freedom of speech 

Explanation:

Surprisingly, the right to freedom of speech –one of the most famous individual freedoms– was not part of the initial Constitution. Freedom of speech and others of the most well-known rights (such as freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, and freedom of religion), as contained in the Bill of Rights, were all later additions to the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists were some of the most vociferous advocates of the Bill of Rights and many states refused to ratify the Constitution at all unless such personal freedoms were given explicit written protection. The ten Amendments that together comprise the Bill of Rights were therefore added to the Constitution in 1791, in order to allay these fears.

Example Question #4 : Bill Of Rights

Why was the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution?

Possible Answers:

To provide protection from ex post facto laws

To establish a state church

To safeguard individual liberties

To enshrine state power.

To outline the basic structure of the judiciary

Correct answer:

To safeguard individual liberties

Explanation:

The constitution as originally drafted, did not have any safeguard for individual liberties. Many objected to this, so as a condition of ratification, it was promised that a Bill of Rights would be drafted.

Example Question #5 : Bill Of Rights

The Fifth Amendment prohibits "double jeopardy." What is "double jeopardy"?

Possible Answers:

The right to a jury of your peers

When someone is tried twice for the same crime

The right to remain silent

Cruel or unusual punishment

Correct answer:

When someone is tried twice for the same crime

Explanation:

The Fifth Amendment says that no person shall "be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb", thus defining double jeopardy as being tried for the same crime. The Fifth Amendment provides people the right to remain silent instead of prohibiting it. Although the Bill of Rights does prohibit the use of cruel and unusual punishment, it's prohibition is under the Eighth Amendment. The Bill of Rights guarantees a jury of your peers, not prohibits it.

Example Question #6 : Bill Of Rights

Which statement about the Bill of Rights is FALSE?

Possible Answers:

Modern judicial precedent ensures that the Bill of Rights is equally (or near so) applicable across the federal, state, and local levels

The Bill of Rights was greatly popular among ordinary citizens, not least because many retained painful memories of the abuses and infringements perpetuated by King George III and the British Parliament

Originally, the Bill of Rights was believed to apply only to the national government, until Congress passed the incorporation doctrine to enforce the Bill on the state level

Many Framers, state legislators, and Congressional delegates refused to ratify the Constitution at all until the Bill of Rights was added

Correct answer:

Originally, the Bill of Rights was believed to apply only to the national government, until Congress passed the incorporation doctrine to enforce the Bill on the state level

Explanation:

It is indeed true that originally, many Congressmen and federal judges had doubts as to exactly how far beyond the national government’s scope the Bill of Rights could legally reach. In fact, in 1833 the Supreme Court even ruled that the Bill of Rights only imposed limitations on the federal government, leaving the states and local administrations exempt. However, the Court quite clearly found this stance to be deficient, as did other sectors of government, and so in a further case (which proceeded in 1925), the Supreme Court first established the so-called incorporation doctrine. Citing the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court defined the incorporation doctrine as the principle by which the Bill of Rights could be applied beyond the national government, to the conduct of state and local governments as well. Especially relevant for the doctrine’s justification is the Due Process Clause, contained in the Fourteenth Amendment, which prevents either state or federal governments from infringing on any individual’s life, liberty, or property rights without due process of the law (meaning that special legal permission must be obtained, usually under severe circumstances).

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