The Constitution is written, based on rules and it brings back many ideas of government power and how it was used. It was written to protect the natural rights of the people and declare more freedom. Senators decided that people from each state should vote on whether slavery should be allowed in the United States. There is the idea that government power comes from the consent of the people. Government power is divided into three significant branches, which enforce and make laws. The Constitution was written in 1787 to protect the "unalienable" rights of the people.
Popular Sovereignty is the idea that government power comes from the people. The Constitution placed popular sovereignty in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence. The first three words of the Preamble are "we the people". This means the people are the source of government power. For example, Senators in the 1850's proposed popular sovereignty as a compromise to settle slavery. They did this by allowing people from each state to vote on whether they should authorize slavery. Without popular sovereignty, the rights of citizens are not secured. The idea of people being able to vote and having a say in their government is significant to the Constitution. Government power comes from the consent of the people.
Limited Government is the thought that government has only the powers that the Constitution gives it. Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2 in the Declaration of Independence states the president was called "for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people". This means the people have natural rights that should always be protected by the government. These are also known as "unalienable rights", meaning they cannot be taken away. The three major rights are life, liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. The United States is an example of a limited government because there are many restrictions to the law. Therefore, the people are the source of government authority and should be able to obtain their natural rights. Limited government is important because it protects certain rights and allows more freedom in society.
Separation of Powers is when the governments' power is divided among three branches. Article 1, Section 3, Clause 2 states, "They shall be divided, as equally, as may be into three classes". This means that the government is separated into three branches which are the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The executive enforces the laws and the legislative makes the laws. Finally, the judicial explains the laws of the country under the Constitution. It is also called the Supreme Court. The separation of powers in democracy prevents abuse of power and protects the freedom of the people. Therefore, each branch can check and balance the other to stop the concentration of power. The three branches of government play an important role in the division of powers.
Federalism is the concept that federal and state governments share power. Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1 in the Declaration of Independence states, "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution". This differs from separation of powers because there is no division of authority between states. This principle describes that all federal and state governments share the same judicial rule as it extends throughout the nations. An example of federalism is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Congress is given the power to levy taxes and declare war. The United States Constitution tells us that the federal government is the highest, or supreme, governmental power. Federalism is the sharing of powers between federal and state governments.
Checks and Balances is the idea that each branch of government has the power to limit the actions of the other two. Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2 in the Constitution states, "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States". This brings up the idea that every bill has to be accepted by the President and passed through the two houses of congress in order to become a law. First, the legislative branch can pass a law. Second, the judicial branch recognizes the law. Third, the executive branch can veto a bill. The system of checks and balances is used to keep the government from gaining too much power in one branch. For example, the executive branch can veto, or reject bills from the legislative branch, but the legislative branch can overthrow the veto. The three branches of government can limit the powers of others in the system of checks and balances.
Privileges and Immunities
A representative government allows citizens to elect representatives to government to make laws. Article 4, Section 2, Clause 1 in the Declaration states "The Citizens of each state shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of citizens in the several states". This explains that every person will have the right to vote. They can also make laws instead of voting directly on laws. For example, the legislative branch of Congress is made up of elected officials who represent the people from their states. Representative government is the idea of citizens electing representatives to government in order to make laws.
What were the first three words of the Preamble? Why is this important?
What are the three major natural rights? What is the source of government power?
What are the three branches of government? What role does each branch play in the Constitution?
What are the powers of Congress? Give an example.
Create a new way of how a bill should become a law.
What is your opinion on the current voting age, 18? Should it be lowered? Should it be raised? Explain your answer.