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The Role of Government

  • natural rights
  • First Amendment
  • Articles of Confederation
  • James Madison
  • liberty
  • John Locke
  • checks and balances
  • consent of the governed
  • Constitution
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Founders
  • Magna Carta
  • Eighth Amendment
  • limited government
  • Bill of Rights
  • separation of powers

The Role of Government Activity: How Is Government Limited in the Constitution?

Place students in seven groups and give each group one of the cards from Handout A: Limited Government Cards. Have students work in groups to analyze the passage(s) from the Constitution to identify the features of limited government reflected in their assigned portion. Students should complete the assigned section of the graphic organizer on Handout B: How Is Government Limited in the Constitution?

After students complete their section, discuss each section as a whole group so that students can complete the rest of their graphic organizer.


The Role of Government: McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Students will trace the arguments found in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers and in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) to determine how the “Necessary and Proper Clause” has been understood and interpreted.

Have students read Handout C: Case Background; Handout D: The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 18; Handout E: Federalist No. 33; Handout F: Federalist No. 39; Handout G: An Old Whig; and Handout H: Brutus No. 1. Each student should write an essay comparing and contrasting the documents to explain how the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists understood the phrase “Necessary and Proper,” and how the Supreme Court interpreted this phrase with regards to the creation of a national bank.

Student Handouts

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Separation of Powers with Checks and Balances