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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, ColoradoMr. Sedivy wants YOU to enjoy history!

American Government
What is a Constitution?

A constitution is a plan that provides the rules for a government. It may be written or unwritten. Constitutions are incomplete. The individuals who came up with them cannot foresee every possible thing.

George WashingtonThomas Jefferson
Left: George Washington. Right: Thomas Jefferson.

The US now has a two-term tradition for the presidency. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were not subject to these limitations, nor was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who entered into a fourth term as president. Amendment 22 changed our Constitution to allow our present two-term limit.

Willkie election poster Willkie
Left: Willkie campaign poster. Right: Wendell Willkie, Republican presidential candidate in 1940, campaigned against a third term for Franklin Roosevelt.

A constitution does not always reflect actual practice. Communist China has "Human Rights," but their citizens probably aren't even allowed to visit this web site. (A minor problem compared to the violation of human rights that routinely goes on there.) Hitler came up with his "Mein Kumph," but it was never added to the German constitution.

Main Purposes of a Constitution
The statement of goals and purposes to be served by government is called a "preamble." "We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America."

US Constitution
George Washington's draft of the US Constitution.
Click to view more of the documents and Washington's notes.

A constitution is the framework for the government. A main body sets out a plan. They describe the relationship between National, State, and Local governments. A procedure for amending or changing the constitution is described. Our US Constitution is broken down into sections and articles.

More information about the US Constitution at this site: Constitution

Highest Law, the Supreme Court
Our Constitution provides the supreme law for states. The Supreme Court is the highest law in the United States. The Supreme Court is a special assembly to interpret law and apply the Constitution. The Supreme Court sets the extent and limits of government powers and the rights of the people.

US Government - Democracy
State Government / National Government
Why Did Government Originate?

American Constitution
What is a Constitution?
Powers Prohibited to Congress / Powers Prohibited to States

Other Types of Government
Autocracy, Totalitarian Dictatorship, Absolute Monarchy

Trial and Judicial System Information
Officers of the Court / Characteristics of a Trial
Courtroom Demeanor / How to Dress for Court
Testifying in Court - The DOs and DON'Ts

Trial Tactics and Tricks Used by Attorneys
Common Trial Objections During Testimony
Courtroom Definitions

Class Activities
Constitution Presentations
The Trial of Goldilocks

America's Entry into World War I

More Information
View WWI Uncle Sam Poster - 1917



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Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
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