Today we have a president who lacks respect for the Constitution. This is why it is important to understand one of the principles of the United States Constitution: Limited government.
Limited government is when the powers of the government (leaders, other branches of government) are limited by requiring input and agreement from other branches and leaders. When there is a limited government it’s called a democracy. In a democracy the powers of the government are given and shared so that no one part of the government has too much or all the power (or impacts on decisions). There are many democratic governments around the world: United States, England, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. (study.com) There are many ways a government can be limited.
There are many ways a government can be limited.
Parts of Government
A limited government is made so that each part of the government has a role in governing.
One way a government is limited is the government limiting itself by having more than one part. A limited government is made so that each part of the government has a role in governing. This helps to keep peace because every part of the government accepts that this is the way it works. (study.com) In the United States there is a system called “checks and balances”. Checks and Balances is another principle of the United States Constitution that helps the government limit itself. For example, there are 3 branches of government: the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. The Legislative branch can propose a law and the Executive branch can make an executive order (orders detail how an already existing law should be carried out). The Judicial branch limits the other two branches by interpreting both the laws and the executive orders to check that the orders and laws are constitutional. These are examples of the United States government having parts that limit one another.
The government serves the people, not the other way around. (www.shmoop.com)
Another way a government is limited is by the people limiting it. Limited government is in the first three words of the Preamble of the United States Constitution: “We the people….” (US Constitution) This is an example of limited government because the only reason the government of the United States exists is because “we the people” wanted it to exist. The United States government doesn’t have all the power. The only powers it has are the ones we want it to have. The government can’t do more than we want it to do. This is why it’s a limited government. The government doesn’t have any automatic powers. The government serves the people, not the other way around. (www.shmoop.com) A democracy is also protecting the people’s rights and private property. Both the government leaders and citizens have to follow the law. The citizens get to choose who proposes the laws (members of Congress), and who approves or vetoes the laws (the president). [study.com] For example, people vote for their leader and other decision makers (the legislative branch). There is another term for the fact that the power is shared between the people and the government. It’s called “popular sovereignty.” Popular sovereignty is the idea that political power comes from the agreement of the people who are not part of the government. (www.shmoop.com) These are examples of people limiting the government.
Popular Sovereignty: the idea that political power comes from the agreement of the people who are not part of the government. (www.shmoop.com)
The US Constitution was created so that anybody (the government and people) could refer back to it at any time so they would be reminded of how the whole system works and so all the laws would agree with it.
The fact that the Constitution limits the government is another way that the government is limited. There is an example of limited government in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….” (US Constitution) Everything in this section refers to things that the government can’t do. This tells us that there are limits to the United States government’s power. The United States Constitution has lots of do’s and don’ts. (www.shmoop.com) The US Constitution was created so that anybody (the government and people) could refer back to it at any time so they would be reminded of how the whole system works and so all the laws would agree with it. These are examples of the Constitution limiting the government.
This Executive Order drastically lowered the number of refugees that would be allowed into the country, including all refugees from Syria where there’s a war being fought.
Limited government is evident in our country today. In January of 2017 President Donald Trump made an Executive Order that included preventing people from Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) from coming into the United States. This Executive Order also drastically lowered the number of refugees that would be allowed into the country, including all refugees from Syria where there’s a war being fought. A federal judge stopped the Order from going through. Then President Trump made a second Executive Order that was similar to the first. Federal judges stopped the second Executive Order as well. The Judicial Branch is declaring the Order unconstitutional and possibly illegal. (www.aljazeera.com) In an online article from Aljazeera, the author (unnamed) quoted US District Judge Derrick Watson as saying, “ ‘a reasonable, objective observer...would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavour a particular religion.‘ ” (www.aljazeera.com) This statement shows that the judge thought that the evidence proved that the president wants to target a certain religion. The particular religion is Islam or Muslim people. The First Amendment of our Constitution protects freedom of religion. This current event is an example of limited government in the real world because the Judicial Branch is limiting the Executive Branch, and the Constitution is limiting the Executive Branch. The Judicial Branch is limiting the Executive Branch by making sure the Order follows the law.
A democracy was built to protect the citizens.
Limited government is important. We currently have a President who doesn’t follow the Constitution. The Executive Orders that he wants to put in place are unconstitutional, against our laws, and will split families apart. There are Muslim people living in the United States right now, and those Muslims might have family members who are trying to get into the country and, with Trump’s ban, they wouldn’t be able to. Our system of limited government is making sure that we have a Judicial Branch that is preventing the Executive Branch from doing something against our laws and Constitution. This is important to all of us because if the president can target a specific religion and get away with it, that means he could target any religion. In a situation like this people can do something about it. They can take the issue to court, they can take the issue to Congress, and they can choose to not vote for the same President again. In a democracy the people get to have a say in who governs them. A Constitution spells out rights that every person has, and it’s permanent and can be referred to over time. The President, Congress, and the Judicial branch protect these rights. If one of the branches abuse a right, the other branches can try to stop the abuse. Power is distributed. A democracy was built to protect the citizens.