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6 Big Ideas About the Constitution

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Maggie McCutcheon

on 3 March 2015

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Transcript of 6 Big Ideas About the Constitution

By: Maggie McCutcheon

6 Big Ideas of the Constitution
This system separates the government into three different branches legislative, judicial and executive. These branches can check each other to make sure not one can get too much power. History shows that giving the unlimited power to one group or person ends in the people being oppressed. With this system it prevent one branch of government getting too much power.

Separation of Powers
The system of checks and balances guarantees that the government can not get too powerful. It grants every branch the power to check one and other. This balances everyone's powers and insures not one branch can gain too much power. And overtake the government to make a tyranny.

Checks and Balances
Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between the national government and various regional governments.

Republicanism is the idea of of the states and the people getting representatives in government. It ensures that popular sovereignty is given to the people and they are not subjects to the government. Also leaders are elected by the people for a specified amount of time. Republicanism stresses the importance of civic virtue. Because the people rule and they must sacrifice for the common good.

Popular Sovereignty
Limited Government
Popular sovereignty is the principal that the government gets their power from the people. The people have elected representatives that they essentially grant the power to rule them through the election process. Also it explains that government should be dissolved by the people if it is not protecting the people.
The concept of limited government is the government having restricted power of the people. A political system in which the government is restricted by enumerated and delegated powers. The government is strictly limited by a constitution. The peoples rights and liberties are protected form the government.

Separation of Powers

Separation of powers is carried out in the constitution through each branch having its own specified purpose only given to them. The legislative branch only has the power to make laws and the executive branch only has power to enforce and administrate laws and the judicial branch only has the power to judge and interpret the law. They wanted to separate the power to prevent tyranny. In government a person can only be a member of one part of government at a time this is stated in Amendment XIV Section 3.
Checks and Balances
Checks and balances are carried out in the constitution by the three branches having powers used to check each other. Checks and balances grants special powers to each of the branches of government used to check each other. The president can veto any law the congress makes but, with a two thirds majority vote the congress can “veto” the presidents veto. Also the congress can impeach the president. The supreme court can declare the acts of the president unconstitutional. Yet the president nominates the justices. The supreme court can also declare the acts of congress unconstitutional, but congress confirms the nominations into the court. Also congress can impeach supreme court justices.

The word is not specifically used in the constitution but it is shown throughout, with the powers given to states Amendment X. And the 18 powers given to congress Article I Section 8. It also shows through the concurrent powers in the constitution that are shared by both the states and the government.

Republicanism is shown throughout the constitution. It is very prominent in the process of electing representatives. The people choose the representatives to lead them and make their decisions. This is essentially popular sovereignty. Along with this, representatives can only be in office a specified amount of time Amendment XX Section 1. Republicanism is guaranteed in the Constitution in Article IV Section 4.

Popular Sovereignty
Popular sovereignty is shown in the constitution throughout. Specific examples of this would be the election process of the representatives in government. Also in the bill of rights, the right to bear arms Amendment II. This is to protect ourselves against a harmful government.

Limited Government
Limited government is shown though out the constitution. It is represented by the enumerated, delegated, expressed and implied powers written through out the constitution. Also the powers denied to congress Article I Section 9 and the powers denied to states Article I section 10. Also the bill of rights restricting the government from infringing on the peoples individual rights and liberties.
Separation of Powers

Separation of powers shows that we are scared of the government turning into a tyranny. We are scared that our government will become to powerful and will violate our rights like King George did in Britain. The experience in Britain substantially imprinted on our beliefs about government. This concept of separating powers preserves liberty by preventing tyranny. But control is still achieved by a central government that has enough power over the people to sustain control.

Checks and Balances
Checks and balances shows that we are scared of one group getting too much power. Separation of power and checks and balances proves how scared we are of the government turning into a tyranny. Checks and balances also shows how we feel that people are power hungry and need to be supervised. Liberty is persevered by this system, because it prevents a tyranny. It is very similar to the concept of separation of powers.

This system shows we believe the states need power and a say in the government. But we also need a central government to control the self interests of the states and essentially the people. In this system of government liberty is persevered by the states having power, yet order is achieved because the central government also has power. This keeps order by letting the states have a lot of say in the government, but the central government has the final say.

In this system, it shows that we don't trust the people to have enough civic virtue to put aside their self interests to sacrifice for the common good. This is what a democratic society thrives on and needs. So we have representatives to make the decisions for us they filter out the self interests of the people. This system gives the people liberty, because the people indirectly make the decisions because the person they elected has the same ideas they have.

Popular Sovereignty
Popular sovereignty shows we trust the people to be an active part of the government. We believe the people need the power in government because, they are being governed and they should have a part in the decision making process. Liberty is preserved through the people deciding who have the power over them. Though order is achieved by the people having leaders in the central government making decisions for them.
Limited Government
This concept shows we don’t trust the government and we want them to have rules set in stone so a tyranny can’t take over. This shows we don’t trust the people in government with power because we believe that they are power hungry. Limited government preserves liberty because the people are protected against the government and them infringing on their individual rights. yet order is established through a central government ruling the people.
Civic Virtue
Civic virtue is the commitment of citizens to the common good of the nation even if they must sacrifice their self interests. It is extremely important in a democracy because the people need to surrender their self interest to benefit the welfare of a nation because they are a part of a government. In a government with a large central power the people don't participate in the government they are told what to do so they don't need to posses any civic virtue.
Civic Skills
Debate, dissent, logic, clarity, civility and reason are the tools democracy needs to survive according to Richard Dreyfuss. These are the skills that every citizen needs to learn as a child, so we can be be an active part of the government. We need to question the government. Also we need to be informed so we can make good decisions regarding the government like electing representatives, we can't elect flashy campaigners that could lead us to a tyranny. This is just one example of how we use theses civic skills.
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"A government powerful enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have."

-Thomas Jefferson
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