Congress and the Constitution

The Battle for Balance

Clock 70 minutes

The Framers of the Constitution had a rich intellectual foundation and long practical experience with representative legislatures to draw from as they framed the new Constitution and founded a new nation. The Framers at the Constitutional Convention debated the principles of republican government, federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances throughout the summer of 1787. They unanimously agreed that the government would be republican, or representative of the sovereign people, who gave their consent to form a government to protect their natural rights.

Founding Principles

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Federalism

The people delegate certain powers to the national government, while the states retain other powers; and the people, who authorize the states and national government, retain all freedoms not delegated to the governing bodies.

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Representative / Republican Government

Form of government in which the people are sovereign (the ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.

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Separation of Powers

A system of distinct powers built into the Constitution to prevent an accumulation of power in one branch.

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