AP US Government : Impact of Constitutional Amendments

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

The extension of the Bill of Rights to apply to State governments as much as they do to the Federal government is primarily because of __________

Possible Answers:

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Supreme Court’s rulings in cases like Gibbons v. Ogden.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the necessary and proper clause.

Congress attempting to subjugate the South during the Reconstruction Era.

Congress attempting to win over support in the South during the Reconstruction Era.

Correct answer:

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Explanation:

The Bill of Rights, and the individual protections it ensures, has been almost universally extended to the State governments by a series of Supreme Court rulings. All of these rulings are drawn from the Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Amendment states, among other things, that state governments have no right to deny life, liberty, or property outside of the law of the land. This is called the due process clause.

Example Question #2 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

Prior to the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment, representatives in the Senate were chosen by __________.

Possible Answers:

a vote of the people

the House of Representatives

the Supreme Court

the State Legislatures

the State Governors

Correct answer:

the State Legislatures

Explanation:

The Seventeenth Amendment, passed in 1913, established that senators would no longer be chosen by a vote in the State Legislature, but would instead be elected by a vote of the people who lived in each senator's district. This represented the culmination of a decades-long struggle by the Progressives to extend greater suffrage rights and responsibilities to the people of the United States.

Example Question #3 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

What constitutional amendment allowed the Supreme Court to later enforce the Bill of Rights on state governments?

Possible Answers:

The 14th Amendment

The 17th Amendment

The 18th Amendment

The 12th Amendment

None of the other answers are correct

Correct answer:

The 14th Amendment

Explanation:

The passage of the 14th Amendment and the due process clause was interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean all persons have a right to equal due process, both before the federal and state governments. The federal government is supreme over state governments, and thus the states were forced to incorporate the Bill of Rights.

Example Question #4 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

Which constitutional amendment secures citizens from unreasonable search and seizure by government forces?

Possible Answers:

The Sixth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment

The Eleventh Amendment

The Fifth Amendment

Correct answer:

The Fourth Amendment

Explanation:

The Fourth Amendment is one of the most important parts of the Bill of Rights. It protects citizens from random government raids on their homes, and requires police to have probable cause or a court-sanctioned warrant to search a person's home. The Fourth Amendment is the reason the police, unless in an extenuating circumstance in which harm is imminent, need warrants to search homes and persons.

Example Question #5 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

What amendment lifted Prohibition?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This answer requires relatively little explanation—it’s one of those questions that requires rote memorization. That said, there is a trick to remembering which amendment lifted prohibition (I believe we covered it in a previous question); 21 to drink—the 21st Amendment lifted prohibition.

As for the others, they are incorrect:

18th: Enacted Prohibition

19th: Granted the franchise to all women

20th: Does a number of things, primarily ending lame duck, and setting succession

23rd: Extends the franchise to residents of Washington DC (why was this necessary?)

Example Question #6 : Impact Of Constitutional Amendments

Which of the following amendments expanded the categories of enfranchised people?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The 15th Amendment expanded the right to vote to people regardless of their race. The 19th Amendment expanded the right to women. The 9th Amendment reserves some unlisted powers in the Constitution for the states.  

Example Question #61 : Civil Rights, Amendments, And Court Cases

The Equal Protection Clause is found under which amendment in the Constitution?

Possible Answers:

The 20th Amendment

The 4th Amendment

The 13th Amendment

The 14th Amendment

Correct answer:

The 14th Amendment

Explanation:

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and contains various provisions, including ensuring that the rights of all would be protected. This Amendment was focused on providing for the rights of the former slaves who faced discrimination and attempts to stifle their rights. This Amendment states that the government shall not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This part of the Amendment is referred to as the Equal Protection Clause and is often used to justify intervention by the federal government on behalf of those who are being discriminated against.

Example Question #62 : Civil Rights, Amendments, And Court Cases

Which amendment established the principle of birthright citizenship?

Possible Answers:

The 14th Amendment

The 27th Amendment

The 13th Amendment

The 20th Amendment

Correct answer:

The 14th Amendment

Explanation:

The Amendment was ratified to ensure the rights of former slaves and the birthright citizenship section was included to ensure that all former slaves are citizens and are entitled to have the same rights as other citizens. While slavery was allowed slaves were considered property, not citizens, so this amendment was needed to clear up confusion about the status of the former slaves and to ensure that their rights were protected.

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