*Not an actual blog post, this is for a project in school!*
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The first principle of the Constitution is Limited Government. Limited government is a restriction on government. Basically, it means the government cannot do whatever it wants to do. In the Constitution, this is found in Article one, section 2, clause 3 (1.2.3.) It is also found in 1.9.2-7. In these clauses, the founding fathers explicitly place limitations on the government, such as the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended and also no tax should be placed on articles from any state. It’s also found in 3.3.2, which says that Congress has the power to declare punishment of treason, but there should be no attainder.
The second principle is the separation of powers. This is implemented by the three different branches of government, which is the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Each of these branches does a specific job; legislate→ makes laws; executive→ enforces laws; judicial→ interprets laws. In the Constitution, this can be found in 1.3.6, where it states that the Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. Also, in 2.2.3 it states that the President shall have the power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate. Another example from the Constitution is 3.2.2 where it says that the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting public ministers.
The third principle is checks and balances. This is the three government branches checking up on each other and making sure one another doesn’t have more power than the others. In the Constitution, this is explicitly shown in 1.7.4 stating that the president shall approve orders passed by the Senate and vice versa. It is also shown in 2.2.2, stating that after the president appoints public ministers, the Senate will have to show 2/3 approval. Also, in article one, the legislative branch is created, and in article 2, the executive branch is created.
The fourth principle is federalism or more simply, the division of powers. This is basically the division between state and national government. In the Constitution, this is shown in 1.10.1-3. These clauses basically state limitations on what the state cannot do; such as, entering into a treaty, laying import or export duties, or keeping troops during times of peace. Another example is Amendment 10, where it gives powers not stated in the Constitution to the states or the people. Also in 6.2, it states that laws and treaties made under the Constitution, will be the supreme law of the land.
The fifth principle is popular sovereignty, which is essentially giving power to the people. This mainly stems from John Locke’s Social Contract Theory that if the people don’t like their government, it is in their power to change it. In 2.1.3, the Constitution states that each state shall have representatives that vote based on that state´s votes, thereby giving power to the people through those representing their state. Also in 1.2.1, it says that the House of Representatives Members will be chosen every 2 years by the people. Another example is Amendment 10, where it gives powers not stated in the Constitution to the states or the people.
Lastly, the sixth principle is judicial review. Judicial review is the Supreme Court reviewing whether a law is constitutional or not. In the Constitution, this is implied in 3.2.1, which states that ¨The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution.¨ An example of judicial review being used is in the case of Marbury v Madison. It’s also found in 3.1.1, which says that judicial power will be in one supreme court and will ordain and establish.
So, tell us…Do we have the six principles of the Constitution in today’s political environment?
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