US Constitution 6 Guiding Principles

Separation of Powers

Separation of powers is power divided into three branches. The three branches are Legislature, Judicial, and Executive. First, the Legislature branch makes the laws. Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives are apart of this branch. Next, the Judicial branch holds the Supreme Court and they evaluate the laws. Finally, the Executive branch carries out the laws which the President does. For example, in article 1, section 3, clause 4, the power between the Senate and President are divided with different power. In addition, in article 111, section 1, clause 1, the power of the branch is handled in one supreme court.

Limited Government

Limited government is government that only has the power the constitution gives it. With this, government leaders are not above the law. For example, in article 11, section 1, clause 2, you can't be in one branch and serve for another branch. Also, no one person can quarter any house which is stated in the Third Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Checks and Balances

In the principle, Checks and Balances, each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches. For example in article 1, section 2, clause 5, the House of Representatives can impeach the President. Also in article 1, section 3, clause 1, a senator is voted for every six years. However, the congress can enact laws and the President can veto them.

Representative Government

The principle Representative Government, is that the citizens elect representatives to make laws. Therefore, the citizens elect the President, House of Representatives, and the senate. For example, in article 1, section 2, clause 1, people vote every two years for the House of Representatives. Finally, in article 1, section 3, clause 1, people vote for senator every six years.


Federalism divides power between states and federal government. In addition, it maintains balance of power. For example in article 1, section 10, clause 1, it says that powers denied states. This means states can't print money. Another example is in article 1, section 9, clause 5. This says that powers denied congress. This meant that federal government can't create state taxes.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular Sovereignty is when the people are the source of government power. In addition, government leaders are not above the law. For example, the quote in the Preamble, "We the People...", shows that people control the government.

Quick Quiz

1. What are the six principles?

2. Explain Popular Sovereignty in your own words.

3. If you could change one thing in a principle what would it be and why?

4. Order the six principles from most important to least important in your opinion.

5. Compare the principles. Explain 2 principles are are more similar to each other.

6. Come up with another principle and explain why you created this principle.


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