The US Constitution 6 guiding principles

Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is the belief that government power comes from the People. For example, it's shown in the Preamble of the Constitution. The first few words are "We the People..." Also, the people are the source of the government power.

Separation of Powers

Separation of powers is when the power is divided between everyone. For example, in Article 1, Section 4, Clause 5 it states the government power is spread between the branches. Also, in Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 it says the power also gets divided between the states, President, and Congress.

Limited Government

Limited government is in the Constitution and it states what powers the government has. For example, in Article 2, Section 2, clause 1 it says the congress gets some, but not all of the power. Also, in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 it states the President only has some of the power and the states also get some.


Federalism is when the power gets spread out between the states and nation. For example, in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 it says the states get some power. Also, it can be found in Article 1, Section 10 and it states the nation's power gets spread out.

Checks and Balances

Checks and balances is when the House of Representatives checks in on the President's power. For example, in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 it says a President can be impeached if they are not using their power correctly. It can also be found in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2.

Representative Government

Representative government is when the citizens choose who they want to make the laws. An example, it states in Article 4, Section 2, Clause 1 the people choose the law makers.


1. What are the first few words of the Constitution?

2. Give a few examples of the groups that get some power.

3. What would some problems be if everyone had the same amount of power?

4. What would be good and bad if all the power was set in one place?

5. Can you design a way the government can check in on the power of the president?

6. Who chooses what people make the laws?


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