There were three principles. They still apply today for over more than 200 years. The first one is the seperation of powers. That means that powers divided by three branches of government: the legislative branch that enacts the law, the executive branch that sees that the laws are carried out, the judicial branch that interprets the law. Next is a system of checks and balances.This means that each branch of the government has some authority over other branches. It limits the power. For example, congress passes the laws but the president has the power to veto or to reject the law. However if 2/3 of the legislatures still want the law even after its been vetoed they can vote to overide the president. The surpreme court can enveladate or cancel the law if it finds that the law contridicts or violates the principles of the constitution. A 3rd principle of the constitution is called shared powers. That means that the federal government shares power with the states. For example, only the federal government can declare war and print money while the states can establish their own schools and regulate local governments. But both the federal and the state government can impost taxes, regulate banks, and have their own courts. This makes our national government a federation. A confederation is a weak central government with very strong independant states. A federation is a strong central government that shares powers with the states. That's an overview of the constitution. Now let's look at the constitution step-by-step.