Americans believed all people (i.e., white males) possessed the rights to life, liberty, and property. The best way to protect these rights was by limiting the power of government and allowing people to govern themselves.
Separation of powers refers to the process of dividing government into different branches and giving different responsibilities and powers to each branch. In this way, the separate branches must work together to govern the nation. For example, according to the Constitution, Congress has the power to draft legislation. However, the president must sign a piece of proposed legislation before it becomes a law. Thus, the president and Congress must work together to make the nation’s laws.
The Fourteenth Amendment gave citizenship to African Americans and made all Americans equal before the law regardless of race or color. Over the years it has also been used to require states to guarantee their residents the same protections as those granted by the federal government in the Bill of Rights