"The people . . . erected this government. They gave it a Constitution, and in that Constitution they have enumerated the powers that they bestow on it. They made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers as are granted . . . ." Daniel Webster, Second Reply to Hayne.
As Webster explained, the federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers. The Constitution specifically sets forth its powers, and any powers not expressly granted to the federal government reside in the states.
Although a core concept of our Constitution, the First Principle of limited government has often been but an afterthought in policy discussions. Regardless of one's views about particular issues and policies, we do a grave disservice to our freedom and the Constitution when we fail to recognize and account for the limited nature of our federal government. To maintain our liberty, limited government needs to front and center.