The Six Constitutional Principles
The U.S. Constitution established America's national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens.The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. By signing this document it guaranteed that civilians would get their basic rights, and that's what happened. The Six Constitutional Principles ensure that the government doesn't have too much power.
"We the people" illustrates the power of Americans over their government. This means that American citizens run their country because they are allowed to vote on their government representatives. Since the people are the only source of government power, they are sovereign. The government can only govern with the consent of the people.
The Government doesn't have absolute power because citizens are able to vote on things such as taxes. As Ronald Reagan states in the video, "We the people are the drivers, the government is the car, and we decide where it should go". This makes sure that the government doesn't have the power to take away our rights. The government must obey the law- it is not all powerful. It must be conducted according to constitutional principles, which is also called the "rule of law".
Separation of Powers
Our government is separated into three different groups: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. The Legislative Branch, which is Congress, is in charge of making laws. The Executive Branch, which is the President and Vice President, is in charge of enforcing the laws. The Judicial Branch, which is made up of the Supreme Court, chooses the punishments for law breakers. Separating the three branches ensures that no one branch can be too strong and take away our rights.
Checks and Balances
Our system of Checks and Balances was put together so all three of our branches of government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) have equal power. This system makes sure that each branch has the power to stop the other two branches from making dangerous decisions that could hurt the people of the United States. The branches each have governmental authority, but they are not separate or independent of each other because of these Checks and Balances. For example, the president can veto congressional legislation, but the Supreme Court can declare presidential acts unconstitutional, and Congress can pass laws over the president's veto and can impeach the president and remove him or her from office.
Judicial Review means that the Judicial Branch of government chooses the punishment for government officials. This is done to make sure that all government officials have to obey the law. The Supreme Court uses Judicial Review to shoot down laws that are unconstitutional. They can declare a government action illegal, null and void, or of no force and effect if it violates a provision in the Constitution.