7 Principles of the Constitution
- The principle that the power of the government is created and sustained by the consent of the people who are being governed. This means that if the people decide to stop obeying the government, it won't have power anymore. The people govern.
- Example: A town votes for their mayor.
- Quote: Preamble- "We the people of the United States..."
- Republicanism is the principle that the people else their power and say in government by electing representatives to represent their town, city, or state. Citizens give their power to the elected representative to do their job in running the government.
- Example: Every 4 years, US citizens vote for who they want to be their next president of the country.
- Quote: Article IV- "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government..."
Separation of Powers
- Power in the national government in divided into 3 separate branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. This was because the people didn't want any certain part of government to be too powerful.
- Legislative: House of Representatives and Senate
- Makes the laws
- Withholds Federal budget
- Approve appointments made by President
- Override a veto with a 2/3 vote
- Impeach a president or a Supreme Court justice
- Executive: President, Vice President, Cabinet, and Law Enforcement
- Appoints federal judges and cabinet officers
- Veto acts of congress
- Commands the armed forces
- Judicial: Supreme Court justices and lower federal courts
- Declare laws and executive acts unconstitutional
- Example: The president declares when the United States is officially at war.
- Quote: Article I Section I- "All Legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
Checks & Balances
- Checks and Balances is the principle that gives each branch of government certain controls or checks over the other two branches. Congress has the power to impeach, try, convict, and remove members of the other two branches from office. The President has the power to veto a bill passed by Congress, and the President appoints Supreme Court and Federal Court Justices. The Judicial Branch has the power to review laws and presidential acts and declare them unconstitutional.
- Example: The President vetoes at bill passed by Congress.
- Quote: Article I Section 2- "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."
- This principle means that the government's power is limited by the rule of the law. This includes the Constitution and laws passed under the authority of the Constitution. It means that the government officials still have to follow the same laws as the people.
- Example: A police officer would still get in trouble for speeding if there wasn't any reason for it like someone breaking the law.
- Quote: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” – Article 1, Section 9.7, U.S. Constitution
- Personal freedoms, personal protections, and equality under the law are guaranteed in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and laws of the United States. These are unalienable rights that everyone is born with and cannot be taken away.
- Example: Everyone has the freedom of religion, so the government cannot tell them who or what to worship.
- Quote: Bill of Rights- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
- This is the principle that says power is divided between the federal (national) government and the state government. Powers not given to the Federal government by the Constitution and not denied to the states are reserved for the states. Some powers are shared.
- National powers: maintain military, declare war, establish postal system, set standards for weights and measures, protect copyrights and patents
- State powers: establish local governments, set up schools, regulate state commerce, make regulations for marriage, establish and regulate corporations
- Shared powers: collect taxes, establish courts, regulate interstate commerce, regulate banks, borrow money, provide for the general welfare, punish criminals
- Example: Texas created the STAAR test for all Texas schools.
- Quote: Bill of Rights (Amendment 10)- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."