Limited Government: A Constitutional Principle By Zach Thomas


There are many ideas our country was founded on, but some are larger--much larger--than others. The US Constitution was built on four major principles: limited government, federalism, checks and balances, and separation of powers. Limited government, as one of these four Constitutional principles, is a very important part of all three branches of our government.


Limited government is a principle largely inspired by the colonists’ hatred for King George III’s tyranny. The government is set up to have limited power over its citizens, hence the name of the principle. As Dr. Kamshia Childs--a teacher with 13 years of experience and three degrees in education--tells us in her Limited Government lesson, there are major restrictions on the government’s power to prevent a dictatorship from coming to be: “Within this system of government, powers are delegated or distributed so that one leader or group of leaders does not have too much influence or power.” Like all democracies, the United States government is set up to have less power than its citizens. As well as balance of power, another function of limited government is to keep peace between all involved parties.


There are many different limitations a government following this principle could have. The US Bill of Rights, for example, is a set of ten amendments to the Constitution that limits the government’s power over the people even more than the initial Constitution did with the added freedoms of religion, speech, and press. Some other examples of our limited government are the people voting on the Congressional representatives they want to make laws; all government officials taking oaths to follow the Constitution and therefore keeping themselves below the law; and the checks and balances system allowing each branch to check the power of the others. Other countries have also used this principle, but not all limited governments have the same types or degrees of limitation.


Limited government, although an old concept, is still a prominent part of our government. US President Donald Trump has said he will limit the government in various ways. He says he will redirect funding and power from the federal government to the state governments, regularly use the checks and balances system as it was originally devised, and give power back to the people, all while not growing the federal government in any way.


Limited government is one of the US government’s base principles. It has many parts, and, although old, is still highly valued. Every part of our government is limited in some way, and our country has survived hard times because of it.


Childs, Kamshia. "What Is Limited Government? - Definition, Principle & Examples - Video & Lesson Transcript." Web.

"What Is the Definition of Limited Government?" Reference. Web.

Malloch, Theodore Roosevelt. "President’ Trump’s Limited Government." WND. World Net Daily. Web.

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