The Principles of Government
Although the Constitution has changed in many aspects since it was first adopted, its basic principles remain the same now as in 1789:
- The three main branches of government are separate and distinct from one another. The powers given to each are delicately balanced by the powers of the other two. Each branch serves as a check on potential excesses of the others.
- The Constitution, together with laws passed according to its provisions, and treaties entered into by the president and approved by the Senate, stands above all other laws, executive acts and regulations.
- All persons are equal before the law and are equally entitled to its protection. All states are equal, and none can receive special treatment from the federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must be democratic in form, with final authority resting with the people.
- The people have the right to change their form of national government by legal means defined in the Constitution itself.