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Basics of American Government Quiz 1

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The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. In what year did it take effect?
1789
Prior to the ratification of the Constitution, the former colonies were held together under what governing document?
Prior to the ratification of the Constitution, the former colonies were held together in a loose confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1788.
The authors of The Federalist Papers used a pseudonym? What was it?
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius." These 85 papers were the equivalent of today's "opinion/editorials" and were designed to sway the voters of New York to agree to ratify the new Constitution. They were written and appeared between October of 1787 and May of 1788. New York ratified the Constitution in July of 1788.
How many Federalist Papers were there?
85
The Federalist Papers were written by three people. Name them.
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
The Constitution has been amended how many times?
The Constitution has been amended 27 times, most recently in 1992.
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are referred to as what?
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are commonly referred to as "The Bill of Rights."
Article I of the Constitution outlines the powers and organization of what branch of government?
The Legislative Branch
The United States Congress is bicameral. What does this mean?
The United States Congress is bicameral; in other words, it is comprised of two chambers—a House and a Senate.
The U.S. House of Representatives has how many voting Representatives?
The House is comprised of 435 voting Representatives elected to two year terms; as of 2011. Montana has one representative and over 990,000 residents; Wyoming has one representative and less than 600,000 residents.
Each member of the House of Representatives represents a district comprised of approximately how many people?
Each represents a district of approximately 710,000 people.
The U.S. Senate has how many members?
The Senate has 100 members elected to six year terms; each represents a state and all states have the same number of senators (2) regardless of population or land mass.
Connecticut sends how many members to the U.S. House of Representatives?
Connecticut has five (5) Representatives.
Connecticut sends how many members to the U.S. Senate?
Like all states it has two (2) Senators.
Who is the current Speaker of the House? What state does he or she represent?
The highest ranking officer in the House of Representatives is the Speaker of the House. The current Speaker is Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). His last name is pronounced BAY-ner.
As of January 3, 2013, which party held a majority of seats in the U.S. House and how many did they hold?
As of January 3, 2013, there were 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As of January 3, 2013, which party held a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate and how many did they hold?
As of January 3, 2013, there were 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, 2 Independents in the Senate.
Who is the current House Minority Leader? What state does he or she represent?
The leader of the minority party in the House (i.e., the party that controls fewer seats) is referred to as the "Minority Leader." The current Minority Leader is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In 2007, she was sworn in as the first female Speaker of the House. She lost that position when Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 elections.
The highest ranking officer in the Senate holds two titles. List the titles and name the person who holds them.
The highest ranking officer in the Senate is the President of the Senate. The Constitution dictates that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate. The current President of the Senate is Vice President Joseph Biden.
Who is the current Senate Majority Leader? What state does he or she represent?
The current Senate Majority Leader is Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).
Who is the current Senate Minority Leader? What state does he or she represent?
The leader of the minority party in the Senate is referred to as the "Minority Leader." The current Senate Minority Leader is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Article II of the Constitution outlines the powers and organization of what branch of government?
Article II of the Constitution outlines the powers and organization of the executive branch.
The President of the United States is elected to a term of how many years?
The President of the United States is elected to a term of 4 years.
Who was the first President of the United States? How many terms did he serve?
George Washington was the first president. After being elected twice (1789, 1792), he chose not to run again.
Who was the first Republican President? In what year was he elected?
Abraham Lincoln of Illinois was the first Republican President. He was elected in 1860.
Only one President has served four terms. Who was he?
Franklin Roosevelt (D-NY) was elected President 4 times (1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944).
What constitutional amendment limits Presidents to two terms? In what year was it ratified?
The 22nd Amendment (ratified in 1951) now limits the President to two terms.
Only one president was born in Connecticut. Name him.
Only one President was born in Connecticut - George W. Bush (the 43rd President) was born in New Haven in 1946.
Who is the current President of the United States? In what year was he elected President?
The current President is Barack Obama; he was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. His mother was an American citizen; his father was Kenyan. He is the first President of black African descent.
How many cabinet positions are there in the executive branch?
There are 15 cabinet positions in the executive branch; the oldest and most prestigious is Secretary of State. The newest is the Department of Homeland Security. The current Secretary of Homeland Security is Janet Napolitano
Who is the current Secretary of State?
The current Secretary of State is John F. Kerry.
Which article of the Constitution mandates the existence of a Supreme Court?
Article III of the Constitution mandates the existence of the Supreme Court and "such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."
When there are no vacancies, the Supreme Court has how many justices? (provide total number)
Members of the Supreme Court are referred to as "Justices," not judges. By law, the Court has nine members—8 Associate Justices and a Chief Justice.
Who currently serves as Chief Justice of the United States?
The Chief Justice of the United States is John Roberts. Note that the person holding this position is not referred to as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In what year was the current Constitution of the State of Connecticut ratified?
1965
In what year were the Articles of Confederation ratified?
1781 (all states but Maryland ratified in 1777)
In what year did the Civil War begin?
Civil War: 1861-1865
In what year was the 13th Amendment to the Constitution ratified? What did it do?
Ratification of the 13th Amendment (ends slavery): 1865
In what year was the 14th Amendment to the Constitution ratified?
Ratification of 14th Amendment (grants citizenship and equal protection under the laws to all persons born in the United States; also overrides 3/5 compromise): 1868
In what year was the 15th Amendment to the Constitution ratified? What did it do?
Ratification of 15th Amendment (guarantees "right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude"): 1870
In what year was the first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress?
1868 (2 members of each chamber for total of 4)
In what year was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress? What was her name? What state did she represent?
1916 (Jeannette Rankin, R-MT; service began in 1917)
In what year was the 17th Amendment to the Constitution ratified? What did it do?
Ratification of 17th Amendment (direct election of senators): 1913
In what year was the 19th Amendment to the Constitution ratified? What did it do?
Ratification of 19th Amendment (guarantees that states may not deny or abridge right to vote on account of sex): 1920
In what year was the 26th Amendment to the Constitution ratified? What did it do?
Ratification of the 26th Amendment (lowers voting age from 21 to 18): 1971
How many members of the current Connecticut congressional delegation are Republicans?
None