"We the People…"
The first three words of the Preamble of the Constitution express the principle of limited government. The government of the United States only exists because We the People choose that it should exist.
The government has only whatever limited powers we choose to give it. The government has no right to try to do more than we have authorized it to do. It is limited.
The idea of limited government appears throughout the Constitution. Many sections include long lists of things that the government cannot do. The Bill of Rights begins with the words "Congress shall make no law…"
The principle of limited government expands upon the idea of popular sovereignty, which is the idea that legitimate political power must come from the consent of the governed. The Constitution is the place where we clearly state which powers we choose to give to the government and which powers we refuse to give to it.
Source: Limited Government
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