In the Declaration of Independence, the thirteen colonies ‘assumed among the powers of the earth, the separate & equal station to which the laws of nature & nature’s God entitled them’. They each ‘assumed’ all the sovereign powers claimed by any other nation state. They were reluctant to give up much of this new ‘sovereign power’ to create a central gov’t, and as a result the first constitution of the United States, the Article of Confederation, gave very little authority to the new national gov’t and kept most power for the state legislatures. As the ‘union’ under the Articles of Confederation fell apart, the framers of the Constitution of 1787 realized they must create a stronger national govt, but they were still distrustful of any central power. So they agreed to a constitution which would establish a stronger national gov’t, but they also agreed to four basic principles specifically to limit the power of the new national government they proposed to create. These were separation of powers
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