The US Constitution .Six Guiding Principles.


The people of the constitution established a representative government based on these basic principles: popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, federalism, checks and balances, and representative government.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is the idea that all the government's power comes from the people. We the people wrote the constitution that the people are the source of the government power which came from preamble.

Limited Government

In a limited government the constitution specifically states what powers the government has. The government has only the powers that is given by the constitution. Article 1 Section 9 Clause 5 "No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state."

Separation of powers

Separation of powers is how the constitution assigned certain specific powers to each of the three branches of the federal government. The three branches include The Legislature, The Executive, and The Judicial. Article 1 Section 3 Clause 2 "Every two years one third of the senators run for selection."


Federalism is how the constitution divides power among the 3 branches of the federal government. The federal government and state government share power. Article 1 Section 10 Clause 1 "No state shall enter into a treaty, alliance, or confederation."

Checks and Balances

Checks and balances is a designed system that prevents the emergence of a single domineering center of power. The branches of the government has the power to limit the actions of the others. The senate must approve of the presidents nominations for the judges. Article 1 Section 2 Clause 5 "The house of representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment."


An electoral college, a group of people chosen from each state is called the representative government. Citizens elect representatives for the government to make laws. Article 2 Section 1 Clause 1 "The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United states of America."

Quick Quiz

  1. Do you think it is a bad or good thing how the government power comes from the people?
  2. Tell how much change there would be if the constitution didn't specifically state what powers the government had.
  3. Can you name all the government's three branches?
  4. What could happen if the federal government and the state government didn't share power?
  5. Would you be able to design a system to prevent the emergence of a single domineering center of power?
  6. What is the function of an electoral college, a group of people chosen from each state?

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