Limited government

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Limited government is a form of government with roles and powers given, and limited by law, usually in a written constitution. A limited government has only the powers that the people give it.

Related to this idea is "small government" – a system that put most of its power in smaller groups, such as private businesses and its own citizens. On the other hand, “big government” involves a great amount of intervention by the state.

In Great Britain, the idea of limited government is part of the political tradition. It was started by the Magna Carta, which limited the power of King John. The execution of Charles I and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 reinforced this. Even monarchs had to accept limits to their power, and parliamentary democracy became more important.

In the United States, the idea of limited government is written into the United States Constitution.