Limited Government

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DEFINITION of 'Limited Government'

A political system in which legalized force is restricted through delegated and enumerated powers. The United States Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, were designed to limit government's role to what America's founding fathers saw as government's most essential functions: To preserve individual liberty and protect private property.

Individuals differ in their concept of a limited government, but one common interpretation is that a limited government is one that levies just enough taxes to provide for national defense and police protection and otherwise stays out of people's affairs.

BREAKING DOWN 'Limited Government'

A system of limited government, for example, generally does not concern itself with matters such as what wages employers are allowed to pay to employees (minimum wage), how individuals may invest funds for retirement (Social Security) or how many miles per gallon a vehicle must get (CAFÉ standards).

However, there are varying degrees of limited governments. The opposite of a limited government is an interventionist government.

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