The US Constitution Informational Website

Introduction

America, like some other places, has a Constitution. Ours was signed on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, and all of them insure our rights. The Constitution has many things, but the most important thing it has is rules. Rules about the government; what it can and can't do. Rules about protecting the citizens power. It's there to make sure everyone gets power and nobody gets too much. There are six principals to make this happen. First we have Popular Sovereignty, which makes sure that the people get the power and lend it to others to keep us safe. The next is Limited Government, which pretty much does what it says. The third is Separation of Powers, which is based on the three branches of government and how they can't take each others power. After that we have federalism, insuring the state governments get power, not just the federal government. Our fifth principal is Checks and Balances, where it's made sure that no one branch gets out of hand and gets too much power. Last but not least, we have Representative Government, where everyday people vote for Representatives, Senators, and even our President. If you'd like to hear more, see the rest of the website.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty makes sure that the people have the power. We only lend it to powerful figures in the government. That's the only reason they get power. Our Constitution makes sure the government realizes this. Even the first few words, "We the People" (Preamble) suggests this idea. Another one of these appears in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2, where it says that states appoint electors, who, in turn, elect the President. The people in the states have the power.

Limited Government

Limited government keeps the government below the law. Another thing our Constitution does is explain exactly what our government can and cannot do. As an example, It doesn't let our treasury distribute money freely (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7) This is extremely important because our money would decrease in value if not for this. Another thing it limits is government officials. They aren't allowed to have multiple positions in government, making sure they don't have too much power (Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2)

Separation of Powers

There are three branches in government -- the legislative, judicial and executive branches -- as a Separation of Powers. They're there to insure that our government's power is divided. No one branch can do much by itself. For an example, take federal laws. Tax bills are made in the House of Representatives, but amended or passed by the Senate (Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1). Last but definitely not least, the President can approve or veto them, leaving him some power (Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2).

Federalism

Federalism is when a country's federal and state governments share power. It's another key idea put into the Constitution, sharing power. One of the times it shows up would be in Article 4, Section 4, Clause 1; it guarantees each state a Republican form of government. Because it's shared, the federal government gets a bit of power, denying the states some, in Article 1, Section 10.

Checks and Balances

There are certain Checks and Balances in government that make sure no one branch has too much power. They do that by sure that each branch can be limited by the other two. For example, the President can be impeached if he commits a serious crime, limiting their power (Article 2, Section 4). Another example would be how bills and laws are made in the House but approved in the Senate (Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1).

Representative Government

Representative government keeps us a republic. Citizens elect representatives to government to make laws for them. It's mentioned many times in the Constitution. One of those those times is Article 1, Section 2, Clause 1, where it clearly states that only the people can elect representatives. To elaborate on that, we have Article 1, Section 4. It makes sure our representatives are elected as soon as a vacancy appears.

6 Question Quiz

  1. Can you name all six principals of the Constitution?
  2. Which sections in the constitution suggest that the people give our government it's power?
  3. Predict what would happen if this document was not to exist.
  4. In your eyes, what is the least important principal?
  5. What are the pros and cons of the Constitution?
  6. Propose an alternative document to keep these rights in check.

Credits:

Created with images by dbking - "US Supreme Court" • frankieleon - "We the People" • leoncillo sabino - "The White House" • blachswan - "Branches" • cogdogblog - "Life is Sharing" • Provenance Online Project - "Woodcut illustration of the zodiac sign Libra used by Alexander and Samuel Weissenhorn of Ingolstadt" • Phil Roeder - "United States Capitol"

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