Principles of the Constitution a gUIDE TO PASS THE CITIZENSHIP TEST

The definition of a "constitution" is a body of principles according to which an organization is acknowledged to be governed. The United States at this point in time needed it's laws and principles to be obvious for everyone so the US constitution did just that. The US constitution was written to state basic laws for citizens and establish America's government. The constitution was signed and finalized on September 17, 1787, in the same place the Declaration of Independence was signed, during the Philadelphia Convention.

The Six Principles:

Popular Sovereignty is the first principle and it is the idea that government power comes from the people. Popular Sovereignty is stated in the preamble first using the words "We the People". This start helped to write the constitution and also gives the idea that the people are the source of government power.

Limited Government is the idea that the government has only the power that the constitution gives it. This principle often refers to the rule of law. It also infers that government leaders are not suppose to be above the law. In the constitution it explains this extensively in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1.6 and Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.

Separation Of Power is a principle in the constitution that states the government's power is divided between three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. This principle was put in the constitution to prevent misuse of power by any of the three branches. The legislative branch enables laws. The executive branch is lead by the president and it's main job is to carry out laws, negotiate treaties, and command armed enforces. The judicial branch intercepts the constitution and enforces the law. The constitution established the "Supreme Court" and authorize congress to establish other courts as needed. The constitution explains more about how the governments power is divided in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 12 and all in Article 2 and 3.

Federalism is the principle that states the federal government and the state government share power. The dividing power between the states and nation is federalism and it is written in the constitution in Article 6 declaring the constitution and any laws passed under it form "supreme law of the land in a passage called the supremacy clause. At first, putting this in the constitution meant that the states could not issue their own paper or provide debtor relief at creditors expense. Federalism also reserves some powers to the state government, for example state laws regulate all elections.

Checks and balances describes that each branch of government has the power to limit the actions of the other two branches. The principle is designed to prevent the emergence of a single unfair center of power. In Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5, it explains how the House of Representatives can impeach the president.

Representative Government states that citizens elect representatives to government to make laws. Writers created indirect democracy in which voters elect representatives to govern. An example of this is how the constitution is made. The constitution is stipulated by having the citizens indirectly elect only the representatives to the House of Representatives. You can educate yourself more about the representative government you can find it in the constitution in Article 4, Section, 2, Clause 1.


1. Where can you find examples of "Popular Sovereignty" in the constitution?

2. What is the idea of "Limited Government"?

3. Tell what would happen if "Separation of Power" didn't exist.

4. In your own opinion, do you think there are any problems with federalism?

5. What are the pros and cons of checks and balances?

6. Can you develop a proposal which could replace "Representative Government"?

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