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Considering the passionate motives of those who supported or opposed the new Con-stitution, Hamilton worried that a spirit of self-righteous passion would make compro-mise and cooperation difficult, and that the intolerant spirit would tempt one side to at-tempt to dominate the other side by physical force rather than the force of argument. InTo Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpreta-
34|Chapter 2: The US Constitutional Governmenttion(1995), Douglas Gerber argues that the purpose of the Constitution was to effectuateor make possible the Lockean liberal principles that were asserted in the Declaration ofIndependence. The Declarationasserted the existence of certain unalienable or naturalrights; the Constitution created a system of constitutional government that provided themeans to achieve the rights and protect them. The main body of the Constitution establishes the basic framework of government. Itprovides for a republican system of government; elections and representation; and itgrants and limits the powers of government. Article I provides the powers of the legisla-tive branch. Article II provides the powers of the executive branch. Article III providesthe powers of the judicial branch. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, com-monly referred to as the Bill of Rights, provide for individual rights. The Bill of Rightsincludes important limits on the powers of government.2.51 | The Three Functions of the ConstitutionThe U.S. Constitution does three things. It establishes the basic framework of the govern-ment; it allocates government powers; and it declares or guarantees individual rights.Establish the basic framework of government. The Constitution creates a republicanform of government, a federalsystem of government, and a system of government withthe separation of powers. A republic is a type of democracy. It is an indirect democracy.Elected representatives make public policy for the people. The people control govern-ment by electing government officials.A federal system is a two-tiered system of government where power is divided be-tween a central government (the national or federal government) and the regional or stategovernments. Federalismis a geographicdivision of power between the national govern-ment and the state governments. The actual division of powers is specific in some areasof public policy (e.g., the national government has exclusive power over interstate com-merce, coining money, and foreign affairs) but general in others (e.g., both national andstate governments make crime, education, environmental, and tax policy). Furthermore,the division has changed over time. The federal government is involved with more areasof public policy than originally intended because the Founders intended to create a state-centered political system. Federalism is an important part of the Madisonian system of in-stitutional checks and balances whereby the national and state governments check one an-other’s powers.