According to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, where does the government get its power?

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lan950s | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States proclaim the power of the government comes from the people. In the preamble to the Constitution, the opening words indicate that this is where the power originates:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." 

The Declaration of Independence makes the same claim. In fact, it also makes it within the opening words:

"The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

The two documents present the idea of democracy in different ways. The Constitution directly states that the people have the power to create the governing rules, while the Declaration states the people have the power to pull away from an existing governing body in the face of tyranny and injustice.

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