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List of Benchmarks for United States History

Standard 8.Understands the institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how these elements were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  Level II (Grade 5-6)
   1. Understands the factors involved in calling the Constitutional Convention (e.g., Shay’s Rebellion)
   2. Understands the issues and ideas supported and opposed by delegates at the Constitutional Convention (e.g., enduring features of the Constitution, such as the separation of powers, and checks and balances; the Virginia Plan; the New Jersey Plan; the Connecticut Compromise; abolition)  A 
   3. Understands the significance of the Bill of Rights and its specific guarantees (e.g., the relevance of the Bill of Rights in today's society)  A 
   4. Understands the differences in leaders (e.g., George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson) and the social and economic composition of each political party in the 1790s
   5. Understands the issues that impacted the lives of farmers in western Pennsylvania during the Whiskey Rebellion
  Level III (Grade 7-8)
   1. Understands events that led to and shaped the Constitutional Convention (e.g., alternative plans and major compromises considered by delegates, the grievances of the debtor class and the fears of wealthy creditors involved in Shay’s Rebellion, the accomplishments and failures of the Articles of Confederation)
   2. Understands arguments over the necessity of a Bill of Rights (e.g., Anti-Federalist arguments for its inclusion in the Constitution) and Madison’s role in securing its adoption by the First Congress
   3. Understands the establishment of power and significant events in the development of the U.S. Supreme Court (e.g., the role of Chief Justice Marshall in the growth of the court, Article III of the Constitution, Judiciary Act of 1789, Marbury v. Madison )
   4. Understands the development and impact of the American party system (e.g., social, economic, and foreign policy issues of the 1790s; influence of the French Revolution on American politics; + the rise of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties; the election of 1800; the appointment of the "midnight judges")
   5. Understands the role of ordinary people in the Whiskey Rebellion and in demonstrations against Jay's Treaty (e.g., the causes of the rebellion, similarities and differences between rebellion against the whiskey tax and British taxation during the revolutionary period, why western farmers objected to Jay's Treaty)
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Understands influences on the ideas established by the Constitution (e.g., the ideas behind the distribution of powers and the system of checks and balances; the influence of 18th-century republican ideals and the economic and political interests of different regions on the compromises reached in the Constitutional Convention)
   2. Understands how Federalists and Anti-Federalists differed (e.g., their arguments for and against the Constitution of 1787, their relevance in late 20th century politics, their backgrounds, service during the Revolution, political experience)
   3. Understands the Bill of Rights and various challenges to it (e.g., arguments by Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the need for a Bill of Rights, the Alien and Sedition Acts, recent court cases involving the Bill of Rights)
   4. Understands the significance of Chief Justice Marshall’s decisions on the development of the Supreme Court (e.g., Marbury v. Madison [1803]; Dartmouth College v. Woodward [1819]; Gibbons v. Ogden [1824]; McCulloch v. Maryland)
   5. Understands how the stature and significance of the federal judiciary changed during the 1790s and early 19th century, and the influence of the Supreme Court today
   6. Understands the factors that led to the development of the two-party system (e.g., the emergence of an organized opposition party led by Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton's financial plan)
   7. Understands the factors that led to the Whiskey Rebellion (e.g., the extent to which the rebellion was a confrontation between the haves and the have-nots; the government's reaction; similarities and differences between grievances of the Whiskey Rebels and those of the Regulators, the Paxton Boys, and the Shaysites)

 A  = Assessment items available