The US Constitution 6 Guiding principles


The US constitution stated the basic right of citizens of the US. It also established America's national government and the fundamental laws. They began writing the constitution in the beginning of March and finished writing it by September. They official signed the US constitution on September 17th, 1787.

Popular Sovereignty

The government derives its political authority from the people in popular sovereignty. First, popular sovereignty illustrates the power of Americans over the government. In the Preamble of the Constitution it says "We the people" which implies that people are the source of governments power. Also, the Preamble says that the government has its power because of the people and wouldn't have the power they have without the people.

This picture shows people in government which are not above the people.

Limited Government

Limited government keeps government from getting to powerful. First, in a limited government the government is not above the law. Next, in Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 it says that the officials of the government can only have one position in government at a time. Also, in Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 it limits the distribution of money. In addition, they limited the government by creating the House of Representatives and Senate.

This is the side of the White House where the House of Representatives are.

Separation of Powers

The Constitution made three branches which was called the separation of powers. One branch was the legislative branch, which made the laws. Another branch was the executive branch, which enforces the laws. The last branch was the judicial branch, which interprets the laws. Also in Article I, Section 6, Clause 2 states that no Senator or Representatives can be appointed to any Civil office under the US. In addition in Article I, Section 7, Clause 3 says that every vote that the Senate and House of Reps thinks are necessary need to be presented to the President.

The first picture is the legislative branch where they make laws. The second picture is the executive branch where they carry out the laws. The third picture is the judicial branch where they interpret laws.


Federalism divides power between the state and the federal government. First, Article I, Section 10, Clause 1,2 and 3 state what state government can and cant do. Also, it forbids states from taxing imports and exports , keeping an army or navy, and making treaties or declaring war unless being invaded. In addition, Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 states that some powers denied to the federal government are also denied to the states. In conclusion, Federalism keeps either side from getting too powerful by limiting each other.

The left picture is a map of Massachusetts showing state. The picture on the right is a map of the US showing federal.

Checks and Balances

Checks and balances limit the power to prevent emergence of a single center of power. First, the President can veto laws but two-thirds majority is needed in both houses of congress to over ride it. Also, checks and balances make laws on what each house can and cant do. Then, In Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 says that treaty making power is shared between the President and the Senate. In addition, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1,2, and 3 say that the supreme court may check Congress by declaring a law unconstitutional.

This picture is the white house where the President and Senate are.

Representative Government

Representative government is when people elect their own President. First, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 states that the population determines the number of Representatives each state gets while each state gets 2 Senators only. Also, people in the electoral college, or a group of people chosen from each state, would elect the President. In addition, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 3 states that people elect everything up to the state officers.

This picture is a "I Voted" sticker showing people vote for president.

Quick Quiz

1. When was the Constitution written?

2. What would happen if we got rid of the Constitution?

3. What was the main idea of popular sovereignty?

4. What were some of the motives behind writing the Constitution?

5. What changes would you make to the Constitution if any?

6. Can you develop a proposal which could replace the Constitution?


Created with images by jp26jp - "old transcript constitution" • cliff1066™ - "Signing of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919" • dbking - "Rep. Wayne Hayes (D-OH) / Elizabeth Hayes" • cliff1066™ - "United States Capitol" • dbking - "US Supreme Court" • Ari Helminen - "Finnish Council of State, Helsinki" • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL - "Map of Massachusetts" • Joaquín Martínez Rosado - "U.S. Territorial Acquisitions" • Andrew Choy - "White House" • yaquina - "I Voted"

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