Principals of the Constitution

By Thomas Lopez

Popular Sovereignty

Popular Sovereignty is basically power to the people. An example of this from the Constitution is the beginning of the preamble stating, "We the ordain and establish this Constitution." Popular Sovereignty could be displayed as a citizen voting for someone.


This principle is exercising the people's power to elected representatives. Article IV from the Constitution states that "the national government [will] guarantee each state a republican form of government. Republicanism could be showed as a citizen writing to an elected official about their beliefs.


Federalism is the division of power between the national government and the state government. The Constitution (Article I, Section 8) contains a list of national powers. Amendment 10 states the powers that aren't denied to the states are up to the states. This would be like the process of marijuana legalization in the states.

Separation of Powers

Power in the national government is split into three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Article I creates and defines the Legislative, Article II creates and defines the Executive, and Article III creates and defines the Judicial. An example of Separation of Powers is the Legislative branch being able to make the laws, but the Judicial deciding if they're constitutional.

Checks and Balances

Checks and Balances is an ability between the national government where each branch is able to control the other branches, such as when the president is able to veto a bill (stated in Article II.)

Limited Government

This principle states that government doesn't have absolute power. The Constitution is what limits the government and this is stated in Article I, Sections 9 and 10. An explanation of Limited Government is basically the citizens have the same amount of power as the national government.

Individual Rights

Individual Rights is rights that are granted to the people through the constitution within the Bill of Rights. Examples of Individual Rights are freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition; right to bear arms; etc.