U.S. Constitutional Principles the 6 principles


The United States constitution is a written document that was to establish a national government and the six principles that explain the basic rights of U.S. citizens. The constitution was written on September 17, 1787. Before the constitution most the United States functioned as separate countries and not as one nation. The constitution brought the countries together under one national government and established six basic rights for citizens.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular Sovereignty is how the government derives its power from the people. First the people are the source of governments powers and without peoples votes and decisions the government could be seen as an absolute power with no freedom. In the preamble of the U.S. constitution it starts with the three words; "We the people..." this means the document that is the rights of government and citizens was made by the people, which means that people give government power.

Limited Government

Limited government prevents government from becoming too powerful. Limited government is based on the idea of rule of law. This means that the government cannot be above the law and are still responsible for their actions. Also limited government describes what the government can and cannot do. In article 1 section 9 clause 7 of the constitution it states that they limit the distribution of currency so the value of money stays the same and their isn't too much money to the point where it becomes worthless. Another example is article 1 section 6 clause 2 this states government officials can only hold one position in government.

Separation of Powers

The separation of powers was a way to make sure there was no misuse of power in government. First the people wanted to make sure that the government doesn't take over and misuse their power. To make sure this didn't happen they split up into 3 parties or groups; legislative branch which makes the laws. the judicial branch interprets laws, and the executive branch carries out laws. Article 1 Section 7 Clause 1 in the U.S. constitution states that all laws raising money have to originate in the House of Representatives. All bills relating to tax must begin in the House of Reps but senate can alter the laws as well. Another example is article 1 section 7 clause 3. This says that every vote of the senate and house of representatives has to be presented to the president and approved or disapproved.


State government VS National govenrment

Federalism is the division of powers between state government and national government. First the authors of the constitution didn't want the states to act as their own nations. They didn't want the states to create their own money or make their own treaties for each state. The national government decided to create one type of currency that would be accepted throughout the states, and the national government would sign off on treaties instead of states making their own treaties. In article 1 section 10 clause 1 of the constitution it is the writers saying that the state and national governments have different levels of power. Another example is in article 1 section 10 clause 2 where it lists the things states aren't allowed to do unless a law is passed by congress. Such as tax imports and exports without congress' consent.

Checks and Balances

Checks and balances is the senate approving treaties and preventing power from rising. First checks and balances is designed to prevent the emergence of a single dominant force in government. In article 2 section 2 clause 2 it also states in checks and balances that two thirds of the senate must approve things to prevent the emergence of power. Another example is in article 2 section 2 clause 1, 2 and 3. They say that the supreme court may check congress by declaring a law unconstitutional.

Representative Government

Representative government is how the states are represented by the government while voting. The bigger states needed more electoral votes because they had more people within the state. The more people per state the more electoral votes they needed to represent their state. In article 2 section 1 clause 2 of the constitution it says that the states vote for a president and other officials and the number of votes are based on the amount of senators and representatives per state. Another example is article 2 section 1 clause 3 which states that the electors would vote for two candidates, whoever had the majority of votes would become president and runner up would become the vice president. If it was a tie however the senate would chose. The twelfth amendment changed the electoral college system so this wouldn't happen again.

quick Quiz

What are the 3 branches of governments?

What would happen if the constitution was never written for our government?

What was the main idea of separation of power?

Whats is the relationship between checks and balances and separation of power?

Do you think the electoral college system of voting is a good or bad thing?

If you had all of the resources, how would you deal with the United States acting as separate countries and not as one nation?


Created with images by jp26jp - "flag usa patriot" • Photographing Travis - "We The People..." • smaedli - "Law" • Andrew Choy - "White House" • jalbertbowdenii - "Virginia State Map - Home Page - ED Website(1)" • jalbertbowdenii - "NAIP Coverage (2002-2014) Map" • jensjunge - "capitol building architecture" • yaquina - "I Voted"

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