The Principles of the United States Constitution Created by Paula Turner, Field MS, C-FB ISD
I. Limited Government Framers wanted to guard against tyranny. Government is limited to the power given them in the Constitution. The Constitution tells how leaders who overstep their power can be removed.
II. Popular Sovereignty The people hold the ultimate authority. A representative democracy lets the people elect leaders to make decisions for them.
III. Checks and Balances With checks and balances, each of the three branches of government can limit the powers of the others. This way, no one branch becomes too powerful. Each branch “checks” the power of the other branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them.
IV. Federalism Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central government (U.S.) and smaller governments (STATES). Constitution assigns some powers to the central government (delegated) and some powers to the states (reserved). The central government and the states share some powers (concurrent). The National Government has the “supreme power”.
V. Separation of Powers No one holds “too much” power Legislative branch makes the laws Executive branch carries out the laws Judicial branch interprets the laws
Legislative Branch Senate and House of Representatives Make our laws Appropriate Money Regulate Immigration Establish Post Offices and Roads Regulate Interstate Commerce and Transportation Declare War
Executive Branch The President of the United States Chief Executive Chief of State Chief Legislator Commander in Chief
Judicial Branch Supreme Court and other Federal Courts Preserves and protects the rights guaranteed by the Constitution Considers cases involving national laws Declares laws and acts “unconstitutional”
Executive Checks Propose laws to Congress Veto laws made by Congress Negotiate foreign treaties Appoint federal judges Grant pardons to federal offenders
Legislative Checks Override president’s veto Ratify treaties Confirm executive appointments Impeach federal officers and judges Create and dissolve lower federal courts
Judicial Checks Declare executive acts unconstitutional Declare laws unconstitutional Declare acts of Congress unconstitutional The Supreme Court holds the final check
VI. Individual Rights Citizens of the United States are guaranteed rights by the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, and federal laws. That all citizens have rights: BASIC FREEDOMS (life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) PERSONAL PROTECTIONS (Amendments 1 – 3) PERSONAL PROTECTIONS (Amendments 1 – 3) EQUAL PROTECTION (Amendments 4 – 8) under the law.
VII. Republicanism In a REPUBLIC, the people exercise their power by electing representatives to serve in government and make decisions on their behalf.