Principles of the Constitution

By: Savanna Cox - 2nd Period

Limited Government


    Limited government is a system in which self-governing people give their government leaders only certain specific powers. Within this system, powers are distributed so a leader or leaders may not become too powerful. Our national government only has powers specifically granted to it by the constitution. Everyone, including the president, must obey the laws.


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Separation of Powers

This principle refers to how the power of the government is divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Our legislative branch has the power to make laws, the executive branch has the power to carry out laws, and the judicial branch has the power to interpret laws.

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Checks and Balances

Under a system of checks and balances, each branch of government can check the powers of the other branches to prevent any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. For example, our president (executive branch) can veto a law passed by Congress (legislative branch) and can appoint federal judges (judicial branch).

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Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty refers to a government in which the people rule. The authority of the government is established and sustained by the consent of the governed. In America, the power to govern flows upward from the people, not downward from a ruler. Americans vote and elect government representatives.
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Repubicanism

Republicanism is a form of government where people have the opportunity to vote and elect representatives to make and enforce laws. Americans elect representatives to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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Individual Rights

Individual rights are the basic rights of the people. These rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as explained in the Declaration of Independence and those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, which are the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The first of these ten amendments guarantees freedom of religion.
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Federalism

Federalism is a system in which power is divided between the national and state governments. For example, each state has the right to decide whether or not to have the death penalty for convicted murderers.
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