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a belief that government should be based on the consent of the people; people exercise their power by voting for political representatives

Limited Government

the principle that requires all U.S. citizens, including government leaders, to obey the law

Checks and Balances

the ability of each branch of government to exercise checks, or controls, over the other branches


a system of government where power is shared among the central (or federal) government and the states

Separation of Powers

the division of basic government roles into branches

Popular Sovereignty

a government in which the people rule; a system in which the residents vote to decide an issue

Individual Rights

a personal liberty and privilege guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Bill of Rights

executive branch

branch of government that enforces, or carries out, the laws

legislative branch

branch of government that makes the laws

judicial branch

branch of government in which courts decide legal cases and interpret laws


a change made to a law, bill, or document


the basic principles and laws of a nation or state that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people

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