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How the Constitution Limits the Power of Government

Posted by Justin on

The United States Federal Government is both the most powerful and the most limited federal government in the world.

Although the US is a dominant force on the world stage, the Founding Fathers were wise enough to limit the power of the budding Federal Government to prevent the tyranny they had lived through from returning in the future.

Let’s break down how the Constitution limits the powers of the Federal Government in detail:


Separation of Powers

The first major way the Constitution protects us from tyranny is through separating all federal powers into three major branches: the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. 

The Legislative branch is in charge of creating laws, while the Executive and Judicial branches are in charge of enforcing and interpreting those laws, respectively. This prevents any one person or single body from having all federal power in the US government. 

It’s all part of a system of “checks and balances” that was developed specifically to prevent the Federal Government from becoming too powerful. 

With this system, no single entity can both create laws and then enforce them without the consensus of the rest of the government, nor can a single group develop laws and then decide how they will be interpreted for the future.

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Term Limitations

Another major way the Constitution limits federal power in the US is through term limitations. Unlike many historical monarchies, government officials in the US are not elected for life (with the exception of Supreme Court justices, who are exempt from this rule and serve from appointment until death). 

Therefore, no one can be President for decades on end, just like no one can be a Representative or Senator for decades on end unless they are successfully reelected by their constituents over and over.

Term limitations prevent anyone from consolidating power for too long and allow democracy to naturally evolve and shift with the viewpoints of the people over time. 

Furthermore, the elections of many government representatives are deliberately staggered to prevent any one political party or entity from controlling the entire government by rigging elections every four years or so.

The 10th Amendment

Lastly, the 10th Amendment – the last amendment in the Bill of Rights – also plays a big role in limiting Federal Government. It states that any powers not explicitly awarded to the Federal Government via the Constitution are automatically awarded to either the State Government or individuals.

This Amendment is in place to prevent the Federal Government from gradually gaining powers as new issues or societal aspects are discovered.

For example, the Constitution says nothing about regulating interstate commerce, so the Federal Government can’t control this part of the American economy. It’s left up to State Governments instead.

As you can see, the Founding Fathers took great pains to make sure that the Federal Government they set up could not become an organization that was difficult to remove or change. 

Instead, they deliberately limited the powers of the Federal Government so that individuals and State Governments would have more freedom and control over their destinies.

Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots. 

Justin | FamTeeWorld
Maine, USA

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