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02-07-2007, 11:46
What are the main principles inspiring the American Constitution?

So far I understood it is a lot based on:
-the declaration of independence
-bill of rights
-principle of common law???

Please help I have got my exam tomorrow!!! Thanks a lot.

02-07-2007, 13:29
Many might think you have the cart before the horse in thinking that the bill of rights inspired the constitution but actually those were fundamental to its creation. Some didn't want the bill of rights added because they felt that they were already inherant in it and adding them would somehow make them less fundamental (the prohibition amendment certainly takes away from the fundamental idea of the amendments) others wanted them explicitly spelled out.

A big aspect was the seperation of powers and checks and balances.
This idea of seperation of power can be seen at every level of our society (although it is decreasing more and more all the time, especially under Bush).
A local sheriff is elected and has considerable authority and does not answer to anyone save the voters. A city mayor does not report to the governor and a state governor does not answer to the US president, etc.

Another aspect was trying to limit foreign influence by requiring the president to be a 'natural born citizen'. (This foreign influence fear also inspired our electrol college system)

09-07-2007, 00:19
When my Filipina wife went to the INS to take her citizenship exam, she had studied and crammed, and practically memorized the book. The examiner asked her only 1 question "Who was the first president of the United States?" and she answered "George Washington!" The examiner replied, "No, it was Lincoln, but that's okay, you passed."

09-07-2007, 03:28
Ben's Guide: Branches of Government (3-5) (http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/government/branches.html)