7 Principles

By: Dakota Gallier

Principle #1: Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is pretty much "people in power." The people establish government and give it its power. An example of popular sovereignty is the Constitution, the people following the Constitution, or the people voting for government officials. The preamble is another good example.

"No government can have a right to obedience from people who have not freely consented to it." -John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government.

Principle #2: Republicanism

Republicanism is people elect representatives to govern. An example is Senators and Representatives are elected by citizens of each state to represent their interests in the law-making process.

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence." -U.S. Constitution Article IV, Section 4

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Principle #3: Seperation of Powers

Seperation of Powers is power in the Federal government divided into 3 branches; Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch. A few good examples are:

~The legislative branch is responsible for creating and passing laws.

~The judicial interprets laws by hearing cases in court.

~The executive branch is responsible for enforcing laws.

"When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no Liberty. The same monarch or senate would enact tyrannical laws and execute them in a tyrannical manner." -Charles de Montesqieu, Spirit of Laws 1748

Principle #4: Checks and Balances

Checks and balances is the branches of government keeping each other in "check" or balancing powers. An example of this is Andrew Johnson was accused of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and the House of Representatives voted to impeach him.

"Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated." -Article 1 Section 7.2, U.S. Constitution

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Principle #5: Limited Government

Limited government means the government isn't all that powerful! The Bill of Rights is an example of Limited government. The government can't violate the Amendments.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." -Amendment 1, U.S. Constitution

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Principle #6: Federalism

Federalism is power divided between the states and national government. A good example- Interstate highways are owned and operated by the states, but the federal government sets down some basic guidelines that all states must follow and also provides funding.

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in State governments are numerous and indefinite." -James Madison, The Federalist No. 45

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Principle #7: Individual Rights

Personal rights and protections guarenteed in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights. An example is an individual citizen writes a letter to her congressman to express her opinion about an important issue.

"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by the law." -Amendment III, U.S. Constitution

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