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The big picture: What you need to know and why.
Principles of Government
The Framers of the Constitution knew exactly what kind of government they didn't want. They didn't want the British monarchy, a system of government that centralized so much power in the hands of o...
"We the People…" The first and most basic principle of the Constitution—the principle of limited government—begins to emerge in the very first three words of the Preamble. The go...
Separation of Powers
The Framers of the Constitution wanted to create a government that was powerful enough to take care of business, but not so powerful that it could threaten tyranny. One key idea in designing such a...
Checks and Balances
The Framers believed their most important action in preventing the rise of tyranny in America was to divide the key powers of government among the three branches. They could have simply stopped the...
The last key element of America's system of limited government is the principle of federalism. In a federal system, some key powers are held by a centralized national government while others are re...
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