Online  CAHSEE Language Arts (CLA) Lesson
                    (Reading Comprehension Strand 2 - RC)
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          Preamble to US Constitution   of  the insure provide for the promote
the and of
to ourselves and our do and establish this for the United States of America.

 
                                               

Question: There are five fundamental principles:

   1  establish justice
   2  insure domestic tranquility
   3  provide for the common defense
   4  promote the general welfare
   5  secure the blessings of liberty ...

Under which principle were the Armed Forces created? 
 

Answer Box.  Type the number of the answer in the box,  then press the "Test Button".

 

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Question: The five fundamental principles:
1  establish justice                             2  insure domestic tranquility
3  provide for the common defense   4  promote the general welfare
5  secure the blessings of liberty ...

Under which principle was "Freedom of the Press" created? 

Answer Box.  Type the number of the answer in the box,  then press the "Test Button".

Constitutional Law -- Reading Comprehension

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Question #3: The five fundamental principles:
1  establish justice                             2  insure domestic tranquility
3  provide for the common defense   4  promote the general welfare
5  secure the blessings of liberty ...

Under which principle was the right to be "treated fairly" created? 

Answer Box.  Type the number of the answer in the box,  then press the "Test Button".

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Question: ..
____ ____ _____
 give the government the right to govern us while protecting our rights.

Answer Box.  Type the 3-word answer in the box,  then press the "Test Button".

    California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) Language Arts Section

 

  

 

The Preamble  Ref: Mount, Steve. "Constitutional Topic: Martial Law." USConstitution.net. 30 Nov 2001.
                                                         http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_pre.html

The Constitution was written by several committees over the summer of 1787, but the committee most responsible for the final form we know today is the "Committee of Stile and Arrangement". This Committee was tasked with getting all of the articles and clauses agreed to by the Convention and putting them into a logical order. On September 10, 1787, the Committee of Style set to work, and two days later, it presented the Convention with its final draft. The members were Alexander Hamilton, William Johnson, Rufus King, James Madison, and Gouverneur Morris. The actual text of the Preamble and of much of the rest of this final draft is usually attributed to Gouverneur Morris.

The newly minted document began with a grand flourish - the Preamble, the Constitution's r'aison d'etre. It holds in its words the hopes and dreams of the delegates to the convention, a justification for what they had done. Its words are familiar to us today, but because of time and context, the words are not always easy to follow. The remainder of this Topic Page will examine each sentence in the Preamble and explain it for today's audience.

We the People of the United States

The Framers were an elite group - among the best and brightest America had to offer at the time. But they knew that they were trying to forge a nation made up not of an elite, but of the common man. Without the approval of the common man, they feared revolution. This first part of the Preamble speaks to the common man. It puts into writing, as clear as day, the notion that the people were creating this Constitution. It was not handed down by a god or by a king - it was created by the people.

in Order to form a more perfect Union

The Framers were dissatisfied with the United States under the Articles of Confederation, but they felt that what they had was the best they could have, up to now. They were striving for something better. The Articles of Confederation had been a grand experiment that had worked well up to a point, but now, less than ten years into that experiment, cracks were showing. The new United States, under this new Constitution, would be more perfect. Not perfect, but more perfect.

establish Justice

Injustice, unfairness of laws and in trade, was of great concern to the people of 1787. People looked forward to a nation with a level playing field, where courts were established with uniformity and where trade within and outside the borders of the country would be fair and unmolested. Today, we enjoy a system of justice that is one of the fairest in the world. It has not always been so - only through great struggle can we now say that every citizen has the opportunity for a fair trial and for equal treatment, and even today there still exists discrimination. But we still strive for the justice that the Framers wrote about.

insure domestic Tranquility

One of the events that caused the Convention to be held was the revolt of Massachusetts farmers knows as Shays' Rebellion. The taking up of arms by war veterans revolting against the state government was a shock to the system. The keeping of the peace was on everyone's mind, and the maintenance of tranquility at home was a prime concern. The framers hoped that the new powers given the federal government would prevent any such rebellions in the future.

provide for the common defence

The new nation was fearful of attack from all sides - and no one state was really capable of fending off an attack from land or sea by itself. With a wary eye on Britain and Spain, and ever-watchful for Indian attack, no one of the United States could go it alone. They needed each other to survive in the harsh world of international politics of the 18th century.

promote the general Welfare

This, and the next part of the Preamble, are the culmination of everything that came before it - the whole point of having tranquility, justice, and defense was to promote the general welfare - to allow every state and every citizen of those states to benefit from what the government could provide. The framers looked forward to the expansion of land holdings, industry, and investment, and they knew that a strong national government would be the beginning of that.

and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

Hand in hand with the general welfare, the framers looked forward to the blessings of liberty - something they had all fought hard for just a decade before. They were very concerned that they were creating a nation that would resemble something of a paradise for liberty, as opposed to the tyranny of a monarchy, where citizens could look forward to being free as opposed to looking out for the interests of a king. And more than for themselves, they wanted to be sure that the future generations of Americans would enjoy the same.

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

The final clause of the Preamble is almost anti-climatic, but it is important for a few reasons - it finishes the "We, the people" thought, saying what we the people are actually doing; it gives us a name for this document, and it restates the name of the nation adopting the Constitution. That the Constitution is "ordained" reminds us of the higher power involved here - not just of a single person or of a king, but of the people themselves. That is it "established" reminds us that it replaces that which came before - the United States under the Articles (a point lost on us today, but quite relevant at the time).

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The content statndards that  this lesson partially fulfills are noted by an "X"

 

CALIFORNIA LANGUAGE ARTS CONTENT STANDARDS.

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1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development.  Students apply their knowledge of word origins to determine the meaning of new words encountered in reading materials and use those words accurately.

X

1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations.

X

1.2 Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words and interpret the connotative power of words.

X

2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)  

X

2.3 Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.

X

2.4 Synthesize the content from several sources or works by a singleauthor dealing with a single issue; paraphrase the ideas and connect  them to other sources and related topics to demonstrate comprehension.

X

2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.

X

2.6 Demonstrate the use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical directions (e.g., those found with graphic calculators and specialized software programs and in access guides to World Wide Web sites on the Internet).

X

3.11 Evaluate the aesthetic qualities of style, including the impact of diction and figurative language on tone, mood, and theme, using the terminology of literary criticism. (Aesthetic approach)

X

3.12 Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period. (Historical approach)

X

3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.

X

3.7 Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal.

X

3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text.

X

8.3.7 Analyze a work of literature, showing how it reflects the heritage, traditions, attitudes, and beliefs of its author. (Biographical approach)

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Organization and Research:    1.3 Use clear research questions and suitable research methods (e.g., library, electronic media, personal interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary and secondary sources.


 

 

 

Note to educators,  this lesson has two purposes:  One, to teach Constitutional Law, a projected online course, which begins with this lesson;  and, two,  practice in meeting the standards of the Reading Comprehension strand of the CAHSEE Language Arts exam, 2nd strand, including

Standards: 
          1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development.
          1.2 Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words and interpret the connotative power of words, (2.0) Reading Comprehension. 
          1.3 (Organization and Research) Use clear research questions and suitable research methods ... to elicit and present evidence from primary and secondary sources.
          2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration,  (2.6) Demonstrate the use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical directions. 
          2.7 Critique the logic of functional documents by examining the sequence of information and procedures in anticipation of possible reader misunderstandings, and, especially gnerate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.
          3.12 Analyze a work of literature, showing how it reflects the heritage, traditions, attitudes, and beliefs of its author. (Biographical approach).
          3.7  Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period. (Historical approach).
          8.3.7  (Literary Analysis).  Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal.  


 This lessons uses "Rich Media"  (visual, interactive, and virtual techniques) to involve the student in the lesson. The goal is that the greater the involvement, the greater the comprehension.   It uses short-written answers, drill-and-practice, heuristic type learning, guided responses, and answer-reinforcement.  All of these methods instill a 'sense of CONTEXT' in the student -- The goal is to apply the technology to optimize Online, Interactive learning to supplement, and reinforce class-room / personal contact instruction. This is a Continuous Quality Improvement and Innovation project, and your suggestions / improvements therefore are welcomed by the authors. Joseph Auciello and Samuel T. Johnson
 (c) Copyright, 2006-2007.