Restriction of Government Power


In order to guard against what one of the Founding Fathers 
called an "excess of democracy," the Constitution was built with many
ways to limit the government's power. Among these methods were 
separating the three branches, splitting the legislature so laws
passed are carefully considered, and requiring members of Congress to 
meet certain criteria to qualify for office.

 Separation of power was very effective; The three branches of 
government (executive, legislative, and judicial) are kept separate,
and each has different powers. Congress has legislative, or law 
making, powers; the President has the power to carry out, or execute, 
the laws; and the Judicial branch had the judging power, used to 
interpret the laws. In addition, each branch is able to restrain or 
balance the powers of the other two branches upon power abuse. If the 
President is suspected of unlawful acts, he can be impeached, or tried 
by the House and Senate for misusing his power. If he is found guilty, 
he can be thrown out of office, unless two thirds of Congress agrees 
with a treaty he proposes. Furthermore, if the President wants to 
spend money, his request must pass through Congress, since it has 
control over spending. Lastly, Congress can re-pass a vetoed bill. 
Congress also has checks and balances against itself. The president 
can veto a bill from Congress, and although Congress can override a 
veto, obtaining a two-thirds vote is very difficult. Public speeches 
by the President may also concern the public with an issue, putting
pressure on Congress to act upon it. 

 The limitations on and difficulties of law passing are very, 
very important. The split legislature creates a more complicated maze
through which laws must find their way before being passed. First, a 
law must be introduced in either the House of Representatives or the 
Senate, the former having sole power to introduce laws concerning 
revenue. After the law is introduced, it must be approved by the other 
house, who may agree with, amend, or discard the law. Once both houses 
have agreed on the law, however, the President must approve it. If he 
does not, he may also amend it and return it to its originating house 
for reconsideration. If both houses then agree on the amended bill by 
a two thirds vote, it can be passed. The bill also becomes a law if 
the President does not return it to Congress within ten days (except 
Sundays) of his receiving of it. The labyrinth of Clerks, which is not 
even mentioned in the Constitution, makes law passing far more 
difficult, resulting in only the passing of laws that have been 
extremely carefully considered. 

 Only allowing qualifying Congressmen and Senators to run for 
office allows for a more mature Congress, which will be more careful 
about its actions. A Representative must be at least 25 years old and 
a US Citizen for 7 years. That he must be a resident of the state in 
which he is elected means that he will be more attuned to the needs of 
the state he represents. A Senator must be at least 30 years old and a 
citizen for 9 years. He must also be a citizen of the state which he 

 In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers limit the power of 
government in many, many ways - many more than even the
aforementioned. Their most important intent was to make the nation 

less democratic and to keep the government small. The Constitution has 
accomplished the Founding Fathers' goal until now, and will hopefully 
continue doing so in the future.


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