U.S. Constitution – MajorPrinciples As the supreme law of the land, you might expect the Constitution to be long. When the founders drafted the Constitution in 1787, it was only around 7000 words & could be read in about ½ hour. They purposefully didn’t include many details about how the new government would work The new Constitution was built on 6 major principles
Popular Sovereignty “We the People” are the opening words of the Constitution All political power in the U.S. resides in the people People are the source of government power Government can only govern with the consent of the governed
Limited Government Government is not all powerful Government may only do the things that the people have given it the power to do In the Bill of Rights the founders strengthened the concept of limited government power over the people with the words, “Congress shall make no law”
Separation of Power The Constitution distributes the powers of government among 3 equal branches Legislative – Tasked with creation of laws (Article 1) Executive – Tasked with enforcement of the laws (Article 2) Judicial – Tasked with interpretation of the laws (Article 3)
Checks and BalancesEach branch is subject to restraints on theirpower by other branches.
Judicial Review The power of judicial review is the power of courts to determine whether what government does is in accord with what the constitution provides. That means that any laws that the government creates cannot break any of our constitutional rights such as freedom of speech.
Federalism The principle of federalism is the division of power among a central government and several regional governments. By spreading the powers throughout the different states the Framers of the constitution built a stronger, more effective national government while preserving the existing states and the concept of local self government.