School Improvement in Maryland

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic C. Protecting Rights and Maintaining Order

Indicator 1. Examine the impact of governmental decisions on individual rights and responsibilities in the United States

Objective d. Describe the expansion of the powers of the national government in the decision of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

Have the students write “friend of the Court” arguments addressing one of the two major constitutional issues raised in the McCulloch case: either the meaning of the “necessary and proper” clause or the notion of federal supremacy. Be sure the students’ arguments either defend or warn against the expansion of federal power that “might” result from the Court ruling in favor of McCulloch over Maryland.


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Selected Response Item

1998 NAEP Civics Item:

Congress has been able to expand the powers of the federal government based largely on its authority to

  1. coin money
  2. govern the District of Columbia
  3. declare war
  4. make all laws necessary to perform its duties

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Which part of the United States Constitution was a basis for the decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)?

  1. the due process clause
  2. the establishment clause
  3. the equal protection clause
  4. the necessary and proper clause

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Which of these was an effect of the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland?

  1. It guaranteed the right to an attorney in criminal cases.
  2. It established the separate but equal doctrine.
  3. State laws that conflicted with federal laws became unconstitutional.
  4. Congress had only those powers that were stated in the Constitution.

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

In McCulloch v. Maryland, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution to mean that

  1. laws passed by Congress must be approved by all states
  2. laws signed by the President cannot be ruled unconstitutional
  3. states have power only if all states agree
  4. states cannot tax the federal government

Correct Answer:

Resources for Objective 1.C.1.d:
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