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What basic ideas about government were present in the newly formed United States of America? 

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There were several ideas that were evident when we became independent from Great Britain and formed our government. One idea is that the government must protect our rights. We have believed since the beginning days of our country that there are certain rights that all people have and can’t be taken away by the government. These include the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Another basic idea is that the power of the government should be limited. Under the plan of government created by the Articles of Confederation, there were many things that the government couldn’t do. For example, the government couldn't levy taxes. When the Constitution was created, the government was divided into three branches, with each branch having a different job to do. No branch could do everything by itself. The branches also have the power to control the other branches. Even the power of the President was limited under the Constitution. The President can be impeached if he abuses his power or breaks a law. Under the Articles of Confederation, a three-person committee led the executive branch.

The fear of losing our rights also can be seen with insistence of the addition of the Bill of Rights before some states agreed to ratify the Constitution. The idea of protecting our rights was very clear when we developed our plans of government.

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