Principles of the constitution

Megan Mathews

Popular sovereignty

The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.”

-Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #22

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Power of the people

Separation of powers

“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

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Executive, legislative, and judicial branches

Republicanism


  1. is the ideology of governing a society or state as a republic (la. res publica), where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty rather than the people being subjects of the head of state.


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•The people exercise their power by electing representatives to govern

Individual rights

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it which obliges everyone:and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”

John Locke

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A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

Checks and balances

counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups.
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Each branch of the national government has certain controls (checks)over the other two branches.

Republicanism

  1. is the ideology of governing a society or state as a republic (la. res publica), where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty rather than the people being subjects of the head of state.

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•The people exercise their power by electing representatives to govern.