Constitution of the United States

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Which of the six basic principles of the Constitution is the most important? 

One could argue that of the six basic principles of the Constitution, the most important is popular sovereignty. This is the notion that the people are the ultimate source of political power in the nation. What makes this principle contentious, however, is that the definition of what constitutes the people has changed considerably over the course of American history.

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The six foundational principles of the United States Constitution are generally held to be those of limited government, republicanism, federalism, a system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and popular sovereignty.

It is clear that two of these principles, the system of checks and balances and the separation of powers are primarily a means of achieving one of the others—limited government. Similarly, one might regard another two, republicanism and federalism, as ways of protecting popular sovereignty. The principles of limited government and popular sovereignty, therefore, are more important than the other four.

If one asks why limited government and popular sovereignty are important, the answer is substantially the same in both cases. Both protect the freedom of the people. However, they do this in different ways. Popular sovereignty guarantees that the people rule, rather than a tyrant. The United States is not ruled by a ruler, but presided over by a president. Power, at...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 940 words.)

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