Stansbury’s Elementary Catechism on the Constitution (1828)

A catechism is defined as “a set of formal questions put as a test” and can be on a variety of subjects.

An 1828 book by Arthur Stansbury presented a series of questions and answers on the U.S. Constitution. Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States: For the Use of Schools, mentioned in this video by David Barton, is available to read in its entirety here. Test your knowledge of the Constitution with this book — and below are a few questions from this catechism!


Q. Cannot all the people of a country govern themselves?

Q. Who is to determine whether any law is contrary to the Constitution or no, the people themselves?

Q. Suppose all the members of the Senate, or all the members of the House of Representatives do not attend a meeting, can those who do attend make laws without them?

Q. Who executes the laws which Congress have made, that is, who takes care that every body shall obey the laws?

Q. Can he [the answer to the above] make the law?

Q. How are the Judges of the Courts of the United States appointed?

Q. How long do they [these Judges] remain in office?

Q. Has the United States Government any power but such as is contained in the Constitution?


Stumped? See the answers below. And be sure to check out the complete book!


A.If every man was perfectly virtuous, and knew what would be best for himself and others, they might. But this is far from the case; and therefore the people of every country are and must be governed.

A. No: but certain persons whom they have appointed, [called Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States].

A. If more than one half are present, they have in most cases power to do whatever the whole number could have done. More than one half are called a Majority, less than one half are called a Minority. As many as are necessary to do business are called a Quorum.

A. The President of the United States.

A. Not at all. These two powers, of making law, and executing law, are kept by the Constitution, entirely separate; the power that makes the law cannot execute it,and the power the executes the law cannot make it. (The one of these powers is called the Legislative, and the other is called the Executive power.

A. By the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

A. During good behavior; that is, until they resign their office or are turned out of it for some great offence.

A. No.

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By | 2017-03-23T17:13:31+00:00 December 29th, 2016|Categories: Issues and Articles|0 Comments