The United States Constitution establishes our Nation’s government powers, the goals of the government, and most importantly, the citizen’s individual rights. These aspects of the Constitution rest upon the principles of the Constitution. These principles are:
- Popular Sovereignty
- Limited Government
- Separation of Powers
- Checks and Balances
- Individual Rights
The Constitution comprises three sections, namely the Preamble, the Articles, and the Bill of Rights. Throughout these sections, the principles of the constitution reoccur and build upon one another, which is what makes our nation’s founding document strong and meaningful.
Principles in the Preamble
The Preamble of the Constitution defines the goals of the document. Immediately the principle of popular sovereignty is on display in the opening words, “We the People.” Popular sovereignty is the idea that the citizens of a country create the government’s power and assign that power as they see fit. This is opposed to a monarchy where bloodlines and holy lineage gave monarchs the right to rule.
The principle of popular sovereignty gives the term “We the People” meaning. It is a declaration of power for the people and is upheld throughout the rest of the Constitution. The Preamble continues to list the other fundamental goals of the constitution, which include:
- To form a more perfect Union
- To establish justice
- To insure domestic tranquility
- To provide for the common defense
- To promote general welfare
- To secure the blessings of liberty
The principle of individual rights is apparent in the final goal, “To secure the blessings of liberty.” Liberty is the freedom to act within a society’s rules, and the specific liberties American citizens have are explained further in the Bill of Rights.
Another couple of principles of the Constitution introduced in the Preamble are separation of powers and checks and balances. The Preamble tells us the Constitution is meant to establish justice. Within justice is the inherent structure of a separation of powers that enables checks and balances. The Articles of the Constitution develop the specifics of these principles to fulfill the goal of establishing justice.
Enacting Principles in the Constitution’s Articles
The Constitution’s Articles establish the framework for the United States government. The first three articles set up the responsibilities of the three branches of government and, in doing so, materialize the principles of checks and balances and separation of powers.
The power dynamic between the branches of government is meant to ensure no single branch receives too much power. If a branch commits an injustice, the system is built to rectify it and establish justice, just as the preamble said.
For instance, if the legislature passes a law that impedes individual rights, the courts can rule the law to have an unconstitutional meaning and eliminate it.
Federalism in the Constitution
The final four articles of the constitution flesh out the principle of federalism and republicanism. Federalism is a type of government where a state is subject to multiple levels of government. The final articles of the Constitution establish the relation between levels of government and therefore codify federalism in America’s governmental structure.
The federalist structure is seen in the national adoption of Stand your Ground Laws, while there is only state-specific adoption of Castle Doctrine laws. No state can create a law contradictory to the national Stand your Ground, but they can add to it with other laws like Castle Doctrine laws if the citizens of the state desire.
Republicanism in the Constitution
Article four of the Constitution also solidifies the principle of republicanism. A republic is a form of democracy where the citizens vote for representatives that make the governmental decisions on their behalf. Article four gives people the right to vote for their representatives and, in doing so, upholds the principles of republicanism and popular sovereignty.
This right to vote is also the Constitution fulfilling the goal of forming a more perfect union that is first in the Preamble’s list of goals. Through voting and a republic, the people can change laws and the Constitution to make it “more perfect.” The American rhetoric of striving and progress is within our Constitution in the preamble and how we organize the government.
The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of rights establishes the principle of individual rights, which is how the Bill of Rights protects individual civil liberties.
The founders used the goals of the preamble and the principles of the Constitution to guide their decisions about what rights to guarantee in the Bill of Rights. They came to agree on the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and freedom of religion.
The Second Amendment
The Preamble states that the Constitution is to provide for the common defense. In stating, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” the Second Amendment creates a right that fulfills the common defense goal of the Constitution.
The Second Amendment is one example of how the Bill of Rights brings the Constitution’s principle of individual rights to life. The Constitution provides the basis for the argument that protecting the Second Amendment is about freedom rather than guns.
This principle is partially ensured in the Articles of the Constitution because they establish how the government gets and uses its power.
The Bill of Rights limits government by ensuring that laws do not impede individual rights. The prioritization of individual rights over the power of the government is an essential part of creating a limited government.
Be Proud of Your Rights
The principles of the Constitution create a strong document that elevates the individual as the most important member of society. From the strong protection of individual rights and the government framework that gives power to the citizens, the United States Constitution succeeds as a founding document.
At We The People Holsters, our pride for the Nation’s founding document is displayed in our name. We work hard to bring you high-quality materials that reflect well upon your individual right to bear arms. Check out our inventory of patriotic apparel, targets, or holsters and read our blogs for more Second Amendment-related content.