Posted by: Ed Darrell | April 25, 2011

TAKS Review for 2011, Part 3

Courtesy of George Blair’s site to assist students at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas — from his Big Stick Social Studies site, with a few edits — a review of things you need to know about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, mostly part of the eighth grade curriculum which juniors are expected to remember and will be tested on. This should help get you through the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for Social Studies (11th grade, or Exit Level):

U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights

1787 U.S. Constitution written at Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia; Ratification of Constitution accomplished with the help of the Federalist Papers in 1788
Philadelphia Convention 1787, constitutional convention resulted in creation of FEDERAL government (separate executive, judicial and legislative branches); replaced the Articles of Confederation and wrote the U.S. Constitution
Constitution A document that defines the government a constitution restrains the powers of the government and guarantees certain rights to the people; James Madison is considered the “Father of the Constitution”
U.S. Constitution 1787-1788 Basic law and government of the United States, based on 7 principles – republicanism, popular sovereignty, federalism, limited government, separation of power, checks and balances, individual rights
Limited government Limits are placed on the powers of government, everyone including all authority figures must obey the laws
Republicanism Power is held by the people and exercised through the efforts of representatives elected by those people
Federalism Distribution of the powers of government between a central (federal) government and the regional (states) governments
Separation of powers Form of government organized in three branches – a legislative branch (Congress), an executive branch (the President) and a judicial branch (Supreme Court) — each branch with its own duties and sphere of influence separate from the other branches
Checks and balances Each branch of the government shares its power and checks the other two branches; prevents any branch of government from becoming too powerful
Popular sovereignty All political power rests with the people who can create, alter, and abolish government; most obvious demonstration of popular sovereignty is democratic elections for key officials of the government
Federalist Papers Newspaper articles published first in New York state – 84 essays explained reasons why people should adopt the new US constitution; authors: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay (There were opposing views, expressed in the “Anti-Federalist Papers,” but that won’t be tested)
Individual rights The rights of the people protected in the Bill of Rights including economic rights related to property, political rights related to freedom of speech and press, and personal rights related to bearing arms and maintaining private residences
Bill of Rights:  1st through 10th Amendments Basic rights protections spelled out explicitly; rights protected include:

  • Freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, petition
  • Right to bear arms
  • No citizen required to quarter soldiers in the citizen’s home
  • Warrants required for searches and seizures
  • Due process of law before punishment or forfeit of property
  • Right to a fair trial for criminals
  • Jury trial rights guaranteed
  • No cruel or unusual punishment
  • States rights reserved
  • Individual rights not listed are also protected
Free speech 1st Amendment right, right to speak one’s own mind
Freedom of the press 1st Amendment right, right to state anything in the printed form without prior restraint from government — no censorship pre-publication

Watch for the other TAKS Review posts:


  1. It was easy and simple. :)

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