Introduction to American National
Information for POL 201 Exam #1
The first examination in Introduction to American National Government (POL 201) will be on
Wednesday, 9/26. This exam will include all of the topics shown on your syllabus from the first day of class through
“The U.S. Becomes More Democratic” on Monday, 9/24. The exam will cover the textbook pages on your syllabus for the
same period (with the exceptions shown on pages 3 and 4 of this document. If you misplace your syllabus during the
semester, it is on Blackboard under the heading Syllabus. On Blackboard, you will also find Handouts #1 (only the ideas
from this that we cover in class) and #2. They are under the heading Course Documents. The exam will include all of the
ideas we have talked about from the first day of class through Monday 9/24. The examination is worth 100 points and
is 1/3 of your course grade.
If you don’t already have it, you will find material describing the type of information you should focus
on for all three exams on Blackboard, under the heading Course Documents. This also describes the
wording and format of the examinations. It gives you an example of the kind of questions you will see on the test. Read
this material thoroughly.
You should arrive on time and bring a pencil. You will have no more than 55 minutes to complete
There will be 45 multiple-choice questions. The
distribution of these questions on the exam will be as
6 questions about these concepts: government, nations, states and nationalism.
6 questions about The Enlightenment and democracy.
12 questions about the British American colonies, Declaration of Independence, American
Revolution, Articles of Confederation and early American experience.
12 questions about the Constitutional Convention and the U.S. Constitution.
9 questions about constitutional amendments, mainly those related to civil liberties and
For your information
1. Names of People
You need to understand what groups of people believed or did early British colonists in the New World in the
1600’s, the elite during the first few years after the American Revolution ended, Enlightenment classical liberal
philosophers, etc. The only names of people you need to recognize (you’d also need to know the significance of these individuals) for the exam are (John) Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Hancock, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Madison,
Hamilton and Montesquieu.
As you know, the correct definition of the term state is: a state is a political entity that has people, territory, a
government and its government is sovereign. The United States, France, Turkey, Israel, Japan, etc. are all states. We
call the 50 political entities in the United States states because that is exactly what they were when the United States
of American was established. They could still be said to fit this description but (as you will see during the material for
Exam #2), their sovereignty has been weakened as time has gone by. This all makes the term confusing for many
Americans. So you are not confused during the exam, I will always make it clear if I am talking about a state (world
political unit, like the United States) or a state (an entity inside the United States like Florida).
You must understand the time periods that we have discussed and that you have read about. Like, you would be required
to know that the earliest significant colonies to be established in the New World by Great Britain were in the early
1600’s. You would not be required to remember exact dates. For example, you would not need to remember that the
Jamestown Colony was started in 1607.
4. Articles and Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
As it says in the handout you have about the exams, you should know any of the articles or amendments in the U.S.
Constitution that we talked about in class to the extent they were discussed in class. Know the basic
concepts we discussed related to them. You must remember the numbers of each to understand the questions on the
For example, Article I is about the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government (the U.S. Congress), and they are
primarily responsible for making U.S. laws. By the exam, we will have talked about the way they are elected, according
to Article I and now. We will have discussed compromises made at the Constitutional Convention related to Congress
(The U.S. House is chosen based on population to please the states with a large population, etc.). Etc. On the exam, the
articles will be written with Roman numerals Articles I, II, III, IV, etc.
For example, the 1 Amendment says the government cannot make a law establishing a religion. It also can’t
make a law abridging your right to free speech, to a