Goals and Principles of the Constitution

Goals and Principles of the
The Ideas Behind “We the People”
Parts of Constitution
• Preamble = opening statement “We the people”
• 7 Articles:
Article 1: Legislative Branch
Article 2: Executive Branch
Article 3: Judicial Branch
Article 4: Relations between the States
Article 5: Amending process
Article 6: Constitution is Supreme Law of Land
Article 7: Ratification process
Parts of Constitution Continues
• Amendments
– 1st 10 amendments = Bill of Rights
– 27 in total
6 Goals of Preamble
• #1 – Form a more perfect union
– States should work together as a unified nation
• #2 – Establish Justice
– Uniform system needed to settle legal disputes
and apply the law fairly
• #3 – Insure Domestic Tranquility
– Keep peace and order at home
6 Goals of Preamble
• #4 – Provide for the Common Defense
– Protect citizens against foreign attack.
• #5 – Promote the General Welfare
– National government can protect and promote
the well being of the citizens – Example National
Institutes of Health
• #6 – Secure the Blessing of Liberty
– Maintain freedom for future generations
Principles of Government
• Popular Sovereignty
– Government gets its authority from the people =
social contract
– People have the right to change or abolish their
Principles of Government
• Limited Government
– Government only has the powers listed in the
– Even the President must obey the law
Principles of Government
• Separation of Powers
– Government is divided into 3 branches
• Executive (headed by President) carries out the laws
• Legislative (Congress) makes the laws
• Judicial (courts) explains and interprets the laws
Principles of Government
• Checks and Balances
– Safeguard against the abuse of power by any one
– Each branch has the power to limit the actions of
the other two
• Example: President can Veto a Congressional Bill
• Example: Congress can impeach the President
• Example: Supreme Court can rule a law
Principles of Government
• Federalism
– Division of power between federal (national)
government and the states.
• Example: Fed. Government can declare war and State
Governments can establish schools
Principles of Government
• Republicanism
– Republican form of government = citizens elect
representatives to act on their behalf in
government. However, once in office,
representatives vote according to their own
judgment, but must listen to the opinions of the
people they represent
Principles of Government
• Individual Rights
– Bill of Rights established the protection of
individual rights such as freedom of speech,
religion, right to a trial by jury, etc.

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