The U.S. Constitution The Six Guiding Principles


This is the flag of the United States and it is shown to symbolize America as a whole.

The Constitution is a document that provides guidelines to help keep the United States government in line. It helps make sure that our government system stays a democracy and does not become a monarchy or a dictatorship. The Constitution was written and revised over a total of time period of 5 months, but it was finalized on September 15, 1787.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is the idea that all government power comes from the people. The preamble of the constitution starts with "We the People". These first words state how the citizens of the United States are the source of the government's power.

Representative Government

When you vote during an election you always get a sticker afterwards.

Being able to vote for representatives, for either your state or the country as a whole, is the basis of representative government. For example in Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1 states that "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in several states". This basically sums up that every citizen of the U.S. has the same amount of rights. Also in the 15th amendment it states that the people of the United States have the right to vote.

Separation of Powers

This is the capital building in Washington D.C. where the legislative branch is located. The legislative branch is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The concept of separation of powers is to help control the government, and make sure no one person gets too much power. One example is shown in Article II, Section 2 where it shows that the executive branch is able to limit the legislative branch by the power it has to veto a law. Also in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 it indicates that the judicial branch only deals with cases of law and interpreting the constitution and that is its only power.

Checks and Balances

This is the White House which is where the president lives. Inside of the White House is the Oval Office which is where the president does all his work.

The checks and balances are used to designate the certain powers each branch of government has. In Article I, Section 4 it shows that the House of Representatives can impeach the president if they have evidence and if it is necessary. Also in Article II, Section 2, Clause 6 it states that the president can only make treaties with the permission of congress. This shows how the legislative branch limits the executive branch to make sure it doesn't have too much power.


This the Sacramento Capital Building in Sacramento, California. This is where laws are passed for the state of California, and this is an example of a state government.

Federalism is the idea that the federal government shares power with the state government. In Article I, Section 10 it shows how the state governments are limited by the federal government, but there are some things the federal government cannot control in the states. An example of this is that the national government cannot tell the states what to teach in schools. That is entirely up to the states to decide. In Article IV, Section 4 it says that the national government offers protection to the states. If there was ever a state of emergency then the states always have protection from the federal gov.

Limited Government

Limited government is the belief that the government only has power if the constitution gives it to it. In Article I, Section 9 it states that congress cannot do things that the Constitution says is unconstitutional. In Article I, Section 10 it states that the state governments cannot do anything unconstitutional as well. When either the legislative or executive branch wants to do or change something it is checked by the judicial branch to be made sure that it goes by the guidelines of the Constitution.


1. How long did it take for the Constitution to be written?

2. If you could change one of the principles of the Constitution which one would you change? Explain.

3. What day was the Constitution complete?

4. How important do you think the Constitution is to the way the government runs?

5. Do you think the government could run well and fairly without the Constitution? Explain.

6. What is Federalism and how does it affect the balance of power between the state and the federal government?

Created By
Amenah Jebril


Created with images by Ronile - "statue of liberty new york ny" • eviltomthai - "American Flag" • yaquina - "I Voted" • frankieleon - "US Capital Building" • nathanborror - "White House" • Ed Bierman - "California Capital"

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