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Popular Sovereignty

The Founders, influenced by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, believed in this doctrine, which asserts that the people are the source of just government power. Government and laws are created through the will of the people. Thomas Jefferson articulated this doctrine in the Declaration of Independence, writing “…to secure these [inalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist No. 22, “The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.”

This stands in contrast to the philosophies behind English charters such as the Magna Carta and the Petition of Right, which were based on the idea that monarchs had God-given power to govern.