The Bill of Rights and Federalism
Explores the powers reserved to the states as provided by the Tenth Amendment. Explains the Founders’ understanding of a federalist system and the expansion and contraction of the federal government’s power.
What is a Federal Republic?
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention embraced the difficult duty of crafting a government that appropriately distributed the power between the national government and the states. For the Founders, the principle of federalism was a means of protecting liberty by limiting and dividing government power. This lesson explores the principle of federalism, how it is constructed in the Constitution, and the relationship between national and state powers.
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.
Inalienable / Natural Rights
Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.
Citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers which protect their life, liberty, and property.
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.
Separation of Powers
A system of distinct powers built into the Constitution to prevent an accumulation of power in one branch.